Are you looking for the best way to get from Amsterdam to Haarlem? Then this post is created especially for you. I love Haarlem. The city feels so different, and still, it’s so close. Haarlem is located just west of Amsterdam.
The most convenient way to travel to Haarlem from Amsterdam is by a short train ride of just a few minutes.
In this post, I will tell you about this journey step by step. Trust me. There’s no need for an organized tour. Traveling there is as smooth as a Dutch pancake. And with its many things to do, Haarlem is the perfect day trip from Amsterdam.
It’s a fascinating city, steeped in history, while it sits right next to the famous Dutch dunes and wide sandy beaches, which are easily accessible from Haarlem. The city boasts impressive landmarks like the St. Bavo Church (a few minutes walk after you arrive in Haarlem) and the picturesque Grote Markt Square (the main square) with its beautiful city hall.
It’s also home to important museums like the Frans Hals Museum, the Teylers Museum (the oldest museum in the Netherlands), and the Corrie Ten Boom House (an authentic peek into the resistance movement of World War II, where the Ten Boom family lived and created a hiding place for Jewish people).
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Amsterdam to Haarlem Train Times
From Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem, there are many trains each hour.
The average journey time to Haarlem is only 15 minutes. You can go direct by NS trains between these two Dutch cities six times an hour.
It means there are many direct trains per day. You can travel by direct train every 5-8 minutes. Just show up and take the next available departure.
How To Buy Your Train Ticket From Amsterdam to Haarlem?
I’ve seen advice that recommends you go to the ticket machine or, worse, how to get an OV chip card (a local tap-in tap-out card), which are both things of the past.
You don’t have to do either. It only adds costs and complexity. There are much simpler ways to travel, such as using the new OVPay option.
Today it can be as simple as tapping any debit or credit card when you enter the gates (tap in) at Amsterdam Central Station (which gives access to the platforms), and you do the same after arrival in Haarlem (tap out).
The correct fare is automatically calculated and charged to your card, and that’s it—no printing tickets or losing time getting one.
The ticket machine or staffed ticket desk only adds extra time and a charge for buying your ticket, which can be avoided by using the app or directly tapping in and out with your bank/credit card.
For a complete guide on train travel in the Netherlands, including details on how to buy your tickets, I recommend you read my post on train travel in the Netherlands.
Practical Information Using Dutch Trains
In both cities you must pass entry and exit gates to access the platforms.
Just tap your ticket or contactless bank card. If you have a printed ticket, or have a ticket in the App, open it and scan the QR barcode. You do this at Central Station to “check in” and again once you arrive at Haarlem Station to “check out.”
Tip: When you travel by train from Amsterdam Central, take some time to admire the beautiful building momentarily instead of running straight to your platform. Have a coffee or lunch in the “Restaurant 1e klas” on platform 2. A waiting room turned restaurant from another century. It feels like you’re stepping into a museum. (Remember to say hi to the parrot at the bar).
PS: Most trains to Haarlem leave from platform 1 or 2, very close to the 1st class restaurant.
Check Your Platform
Always check the departure monitors for track changes. They regularly occur. Please do not board any train leaving from platform 1 or 2, because I told you so.
Once at the platform, there are digital signs with the train’s final destination and the stops it will make along the way. Check if you are taking a train to the correct station.
How to plan your journey from Amsterdam to Haarlem by train?
You can plan your trip using the NS app on your phone (see link above) or the NS website to plan your journey. Both are available in English.
It’s as simple as entering your departure and arrival stations and clicking search to find the next departures. Of course, there are also options to change the date and time to look for future trips.
Dutch trains offer two travel classes, First and Second (standard). Since this journey is super quick, it’s not worth the extra money for First class. Pay with your contactless bank or credit card (tap at the gates) for the lowest price, and take a seat on one of the blue seats.
How To Get To Haarlem Safely?
Safe travel is mostly about gut feeling and awareness. Traveling on public transport in the Netherlands is generally very safe.
The most significant risk is theft. Often people are too occupied being in a foreign surrounding that they are not watching their belongings. Just act as you would in any big city at home, and you’ll be fine.
That means keeping your luggage with you. Refrain from letting strangers distract you, especially if you’ve put your luggage on the upper racks.
When you leave your luggage in the hallway (when it’s oversized), stay there throughout the trip, it’s only 15 minutes, after all. On the rare occasion you witness a crime, try to take a photo and call 112. Please don’t get personally involved.
On that note, if a nuisance is not life-threatening, DO NOT CALL 112 (The European version of 911). Instead, text Train Security via WhatsApp (+31 6 13 18 13 18). Mention the train you’re on (from/to), if you remember the departure time, and the compartment number (above the door). They’ll send the conductor or police if needed.
How to get from Amsterdam to Haarlem by Bus
There are no convenient bus services to take from Amsterdam Central Station. When leaving from there, the train is the best option. From other areas in the city, the RNET fast busses to Haarlem can be helpful. But most often, they’re not convenient for visitors.
One exception is the bus between Schiphol Airport and Haarlem (bus 300). This is quicker than the train, which requires a transfer if you’re traveling from the airport.
The RNET Fast Bus Service run by Connexxion (line 300) between the airport and Haarlem takes 35 minutes. You can quickly pay for your journey with your contactless debit bank card or credit card. Remember to tap in when you board the bus and tap again once you exit. Do not buy a ticket from the driver to avoid a steep surcharge.
Travel to Haarlem by Car
The distance is only 10 miles (17 km), but the journey takes 30-45 minutes by car via the most direct route (S103>N200>A200). Compare this to the mere 15 minutes the train takes to get there, and it quickly becomes apparent that for most people, it is best to travel by train.
Please note that Haarlem has (expensive) paid parking.
If you need a rental car, I advise Rentalcars.com. They most often have the best rates. With Rentalcars, you can rent from many different locations and most providers. And in addition, their interface is straightforward to use. I use them when I travel abroad. But a car is only helpful if you need to go outside the city. Public transportation is the way to go if you stay inside the center.
PS: Discover Cars is a good alternative. To ensure the best price, I recommend to price check both.
Travel to Haarlem by Taxi
Taking a taxi is also possible. But it’s far more costly. A one-way trip costs about €60 for a maximum of 4 people (similar to Uber) if you stop a taxi on the street. However, you can find better deals with local firms before booking. Google is your friend here. Expect at least a discount of 25% by booking in advance.
Hello To Haarlem
Now you’ve made it to Haarlem. It’s important to decide what to do and see. I wrote a post that will help you to create your itinerary: Discover The Best Things to Do In Haarlem, Netherlands 🖼️
Is it possible to travel from Amsterdam to Haarlem Direct?
Yes, traveling from Amsterdam Centraal to Haarlem
is possible without changing trains. There are six direct services to Haarlem from Amsterdam. Some services are Intercity services, while others are “Sprinter” services. While on long distances, this makes a difference in terms of comfort and speed of travel. It hardly makes a difference for this short distance, and you can take either. There is no difference in costs.
When does the first train run between Amsterdam And Haarlem?
The first train leaves around 5:30 am from Amsterdam on weekdays. On Sunday, that’s an hour later. There are hourly night trains over the weekend (Friday and Saturday), making trains run 24 hours. The last train back goes far after midnight. You don’t have to hurry to make it.
What is the Price of a Train Ticket between Amsterdam and Haarlem?
The price of tickets varies. It depends on whether you travel first class or second, and whether you can travel with a person with a discount card. Prices change regularly, but a one-way ticket between these cities in standard class costs approximately €5.
Are You Traveling Between Amsterdam and Haarlem Soon?
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Will you take the train to Haarlem or will you opt for another mode of transportation? Share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.
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