Updated: Oct 19
A few weeks ago I went to Haarlem, just a few minutes by train from Amsterdam, for a couple of days, spend some time away from the daily routine and enjoy the beautiful Dutch counrtryside all around Haarlem.
For me the real idea behind this magical little escape, is to truly slow down and reconnect with nature. In the modern world we live at such a fast pace we barely get chance to take in our surroundings or admire the true beauty of our natural world. For me, the thought of going fully ‘off-grid’ for a couple of days was absolute heaven !
In this blog post I'm going to share my Cycleseeing adventure on the Haarlem route, the places we saw, the foods we had, where we stayed, the experiences we had and I would love you to come along!
A little Gate away from Amsterdam
We started our morning around 10am, when we took the train from Amsterdam Central to Haarlem.
The weather wasn't that nice, it was cloudy and a little cold as well, certainly strange for being July, we were a little afraid to get to cycle in this condition, not really up for getting soaked on a bike!
Our train ride went fast and smooth and il less than 20 minutes we were already in Haarlem station. Got outside to get to the bus for our hotel.
We took the bus N 300 from the station , few bus stop later we arrived at the Carlton Square Hotel , our home for the next couple of days.
We checked in immediately, left the bags in the room and met the rest of the group in the lobby for a short brief meeting and then we all went for lunch at the Restaurant Parck .
So guys, the Carlton Square Hotel has a wonderful location, at least it is perfect for me that I love so much walk in the nature, specially early in the morning, it doesn't really matter if is sunny or rainy, I love it anyway unless of course is gonna be crazy scary stormy! In the very center of Haarlem, this hotel has everything you need : walking distance from museums, restaurants and bars, but also very quite all around, peaceful and green!
After our lunch we got back to the hotel for a quick refresh and get ready for our adventure! We picked our e-bike and we met out tour guide Liefsuit.Zandvoort who took us exploring the beautiful Haarlem surroundings ( I honestly truly recommend you guys to contact her and Visit Zandvoort in case you wanna take a tour around the #amsterdamarea, Zandvoort and Bloemendal).
Left the Carlton Square Hotel, we cycled around Haarlem heading out of the city center and guys I can tell, more we were going away and more I could see and appreciate the authentic beauty of the Dutch countryside! The houses all decorated with flowers and front gardens very well taken care of. It felt a bit unreal for how perfect, clean and lovely everything was! I will never stop to tell you guys to explore more of the Netherlands and not just focus on Amsterdam, which is definitely gorgeous but there are so many other places worth a visit reachable with just a short train ride, distances in this country aren't a problem and trains connections work really well.
After what it probably was a 30 minutes cycling, we reached the beach of Bloemendal where we saw the sand dunes and the sea! It was pretty windy and we kind of had to climb a real dune to get to the beach, but it was totally worth it! The beach wasn't so busy, lot of people doin water activities tho, like kite surfing.
On our way back to the bikes we had a dinks & bites break at Camping de Lakens . We got to see part of the camping and it looked huge already, with different kinds of accommodations, tends, bungalov and even small cottages. Our guide told us that the place use to be pretty busy, specially during weekends so in case you wanna book always better check the availabilities on the website.
Drinks we had were delicious and also the unmissable bitterballen were so good!
Cycling through a National Park and along the Formula1 Zandvoort circuit, we made our way back to Haarlem and to our Hotel. A bit tired we got to the rooms to leave our bags and get quickly ready for dinner. On our way to the restaurant I had a chance to admire Haarlem which is really cute and has all the things that Amsterdam is famous for : narrow houses, the canals with their cute bridges, amazing bars & restaurants, lovely night life and of course "Bitterballen"; plus isn't that crowded as Amsterdam is so even if you don't have a reservation, will not be a nightmare to find a place to eat on Friday evening!
Our dinner was ate the Restaurant Dané , in the center of Haarlem. Here we had a delicious explosion of flavors, a very unique and unforgettable culinary experience.
On the way back to the Carlton Square Hotel part of the group decided to go get some drinks while some others, like me, went to get some drinks at the Hotel lobby, nice glass of red wine before going to bed and get some rest before the second day of our Cycleseeing adventure!
Our second day started around 8am with a delicious breakfast at the Carlton Square Hotel , we packed our stuff, checked out, stored our bags at the Hotel's luggage room and left for another adventure around the #amsterdamarea.
The weather was worst than the day before, it was grey and wet but fortunately not cold at all. The first stop was at the MH17 National Monument, a special place dedicated to the 298 victims dead on July 17 2014 when the Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur got shot down with a BUK missile over eastern Ukraine.
In a beautiful sunflowers field, 298 trees have been planted here in honor and memory of the 298 victims thanks to the incredible commitment of the MH17 Monument Foundation .
Then cycle near the Schipol airport, along the airstrip: you never saw the planes land so close! Believe me!
It might sound silly, I know, but this was definitely the Highlight of this trip for me, seeing planes landing so close, omg guys, for an Avgeek like me was litterally dope. It was crazy windy, you can't imagine how hard it was to keep my arm steady and take the shoots!
There were few photographer as well, very well placed and prepared to get the best plane shots and honestly I'm planning to go back there asap, maybe with a bit better weather condition, just hang there with my camera watching the giants of the sky get their first step on the strip!
Cycling around we suddenly saw a lavender field and guys, it was wonderful! Seeing the color bumping out from the grey of the day was really spectacular! We had to stop to take it all in and, of course, to get some shots. The nature all around was just amazing, all the green and the cows and little cute goats also. I tried to buy their trust feeding them with some leaves :) !
Our lunch break was at the Restaurant Long Islands where we had a delicious and very much needed lunch! I had a caesar salad which was huge and juicy, I really enjoyed it! I loved the interiors of this place, the surfing boards were such a vibe!
Cycling to Aalsmere was litterally amazed by how cute the houses were around there, the cure in every little detail. From the outside every house was looking so perfect! Gorgeous and colorful flowers everywhere, the garden so green perfectly mowed, the water around, I really thought the people living there were very happy!
Unfortunately our beautiful adventure was going to an end.
We took a small boat which carried us and our bikes on the other side of the river, it was fantastic guys, not for the adrenaline or anything crazy, just never saw something like that, really only in the Netherlands (one more reason to love this country, you can see/experience such unique things, just like that!)
We had our last stop at the restaurant The Rock , a lovely place on the water where i saw lot of people doing activities like windsurf or kitesurf . That day that I was there it was pretty windy so they have a great time I guess.
Here we warm a little bit ourselves up enjoying a glass of red wine and some delicious snacks. After that we left our bikes, jumped on a shuttle and went back to the Carlton Square Hotel in Haarlem to get back our stuff and, a bit sadly, say goodbye!
As you all know guys already, I use my bike only on a daily base in the city, but I loved to do these Cycleseeing Tours and honestly, I'll do that again as soon as I get another chance, specially with such an amazing group of people, I really hope to get a chance to meet you all again one day !
A special thanks goes to IAMSTERDAM , VISITZANDVOORT VISITHAARLEM , VISITAALSMERE and VISITHAARLEMMERMEER ,they make all of this possible, thank you so much to all of you and for the great job you're doing!
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