Exploring Haarlem on a Budget: Free Things to Do


Nestled in the Netherlands, just a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam, lies the charming city of Haarlem. With its rich history, picturesque canals, and stunning architecture, Haarlem is a destination that offers a plethora of experiences for visitors. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there’s no need to worry because Haarlem has plenty of free activities to keep you entertained. In this blog, we’ll guide you through the best free things to do in Haarlem.

  1. Stroll through the Grote Markt:

Start your exploration in the heart of Haarlem at the Grote Markt, the city’s central square. Admire the impressive Gothic-style St. Bavo’s Church, and marvel at the grandeur of the historic City Hall. Take a moment to soak up the lively atmosphere, enjoy street performances, and visit the weekly market held every Saturday.

  1. Discover the Hidden Hofjes:

Haarlem is famous for its hidden courtyards known as “hofjes.” These tranquil oases can be found throughout the city. Step into a different era as you wander through the picturesque gardens, surrounded by charming almshouses. Some notable hofjes to explore include Hofje van Bakenes and Hofje In den Groenen Tuin.


  1. Explore the Teylers Museum:

Immerse yourself in art and science at the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands. While admission is charged for the main exhibitions, you can access the museum’s stunning Oval Room for free. Marvel at the intricate collection of fossils, minerals, and scientific instruments, and admire the beautiful rococo architecture.

  1. Wander along the River Spaarne:

Take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Spaarne and enjoy the serene ambiance. Admire the picturesque views of the city’s historic bridges, charming houses, and quaint windmills. Pack a picnic and relax by the river as you watch the boats glide by.

  1. Visit the Frans Hals Museum Gardens:

While entry to the Frans Hals Museum requires a fee, you can still enjoy the beautiful gardens surrounding the museum free of charge. Take a moment to appreciate the well-manicured lawns, colorful flowers, and peaceful atmosphere. It’s a perfect spot to relax and soak up the art-inspired ambiance.

  1. Attend a Free Concert at the Grote Kerk:

Experience the vibrant music scene in Haarlem by attending a free concert at the Grote Kerk (St. Bavo’s Church). This impressive church often hosts organ recitals and other musical performances, allowing visitors to enjoy the splendid acoustics and the talent of local musicians.

  1. Enjoy the Haarlemmerhout Park:

Escape the bustle of the city and unwind in the tranquil Haarlemmerhout Park. This beautiful green space offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers. Take a relaxing walk or find a cozy spot for a picnic. If you’re visiting during the summer, keep an eye out for festivals and events that often take place in the park.







Haarlem is a city that caters to all kinds of travelers, including those on a budget. From exploring historic squares and hidden courtyards to immersing yourself in art and nature, Haarlem offers a wealth of free activities that will leave you with lasting memories. So, pack your walking shoes, grab your camera, and embark on a budget-friendly adventure in this enchanting Dutch gem.