An Affordable way to see Amsterdam, Netherlands

Haarlem – Amsterdam, Netherlands

We had booked up our flight already and planned to take the train out and had two nights in Amsterdam to plan for. Quickly it was becoming evident that hotel accommodation in the city was going to be very expensive as compared to other destinations and even other European major cities.

Outside the airport.  Frequent and quick trains connect the airport railway station to Haarlem often changing at Amsterdam Sloterdijk
Outside the airport. Frequent and quick trains connect the airport railway station to Haarlem changing at Amsterdam Sloterdijk.

We researched the areas around Amsterdam but didn’t want to be in some outer suburb so we opted for a charming as can be town about 15 minutes train ride (if that) to Amsterdam Centraal. Haarlem is a destination in and of itself we found out.

One of the many cafe and restaurant districts in Haarlem.
One of the many cafe and restaurant districts in Haarlem.

We stayed at the Hotel Carillon on the Grot Markt and couldn’t have been happier with our selection. It was reasonably priced (as compared to Amsterdam) and was very clean and convenient. There was a fair going on in the square during our visit which was quite fun to see. Great waffles and screaming kids in the fun house were quite nice to experience.

The Hotel Carillon at night was busy but the rooms were quiet.
The Hotel Carillon at night was busy but the rooms were quiet.

The hotel was a short two stops along via bus from the Haarlem Central Station or you could walk it – which we did after the first time. Hotel staff were terrific and there is a great cafe on the ground floor for perfect relaxing indoors or out and the best people watching. There is no lift which is not uncommon and Dutch stairs often are more like ladders and therefore we weren’t surprised when we found there was no lift and the stairs were quite like a ladder. My size 12 shoes had to go up and down sideways on the steps.

A typical street in Haarlem is filled with activity.
A typical street in Haarlem is filled with activity.

Haarlem itself has plenty to see and lots of little alleys and winding roads spinning off the Grot Markt. On the south side there is a large canal with lots of shops in between and to the north there is the central station with lots more shops. There are several districts with restaurants and pubs and cafes. The food and atmosphere far exceeded our expectations.

To the south of the old town is this beautiful canal and gorgeous Dutch architecture.
To the south of the old town is this beautiful canal and gorgeous Dutch architecture.

I’ll post separately about Amsterdam itself but suffice to say it was quick and cheap to get there from Haarlem. In fact, the next visit we’re already planning and will definitely stay in a town near Amsterdam but not in it. The money saved was well worth spending on a great dinner and other things.

Haarlem Central Station with frequent bus service to parts of the town and trains to Amsterdam leave frequently and are quick.
Haarlem Central Station with frequent bus service to parts of the town and trains to Amsterdam leave frequently and are quick.
Advertisements

3 thoughts on “An Affordable way to see Amsterdam, Netherlands

    1. I have a backlog of stories on this last trip – Amsterdam being just one stop. Not sure where or when the next trip will be – that’s always the fun part. Thanks so much and glad it was helpful – it really saved us a bunch and was nice doing it the way we did it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s