11 October 2014

#SundayTraveler: The Canals of Haarlem



Fall just recently crept up on us, but we were enjoying a nice long summer which let us get out easily on the weekends. During the lovely weather, a friend of ours invited us to meet him in Haarlem to rent a little boat and cruise along the canals for the afternoon.

Not our boat, but some lovely buildings along the canal with a view of the Grotekerk in the distance.


Haarlem is a wonderful city with a rich history. We've visited the city a few times before, each time just enjoying the atmosphere and architecture as we walked around. What we didn't really think about until now is that with all the canals around the city, it's easy to rent a small boat and cruise around, getting some great views of the city and some of the gorgeous landscape as you leave the city at head into the more suburban areas. A quick Google search will help you find the best option for you, but our friend made arrangements based on his own experience and the availability (read as: I didn't pay attention, but believe me that there are plenty of options). The rental company provided a boat, a quick explanation of how to operate the motor, a life jacket for the Little Man (complete with "emergency whistle" - which was used several times despite the lack of emergencies), and a map, though we mainly used the miracle of GPS programs installed on mobile phones to keep track of where we were going. We provided the drinks and snacks and were off for a leisurely cruise. 

Since we've walked through Haarlem before, I found afterward that most of the pictures I took were of the amazing natural space that surrounds the canals as you head out of the city. Beautiful houseboats, amazing canal side homes, quaint old windmills, and lots of green space line the canals. If tulips had been in bloom, it would be exactly as most tourists imagine Holland to look like. 







This type of weekend ride is a relaxing activity, and with good weather on your side, you can be quite comfortable.



When booking your boat rental, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • With a lot of canals, rental agencies are located all over the city. You have a lot of options, but there's no single location to go to
  • If you visit during peak tourist/vacation season you need to book in advance and will likely pay higher rates
  • Check that life jackets are available for the kids and adults that may need one
  • The canals can get busy, so keep your wits about you and look out for other vessels

Today's post is part of the Sunday Traveler link up hosted by Chasing the Donkey and friends. Please be sure to check out the other interesting travel posts! I'm happy to be participating again after a hectic summer!

5 comments:

  1. I agree! I love walking around the canals of Utrecht, especially. Don't get me wrong, the canals in Amsterdam are nice, and definitely worth seeing for those that don't have any experience with canals. But like you say, they are underestimated.

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  2. Looks like a great historical place that I'd love to visit, great photos!

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  3. Ohhh! So lovely, lovely, beautiful!
    I was about to visit Haarlem last year during my trip to Amsterdam but finally I didn't make it. Now I regret it so much!

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  4. I somehow never thought of canals as looking natural - but some of those blend into the landscape perfectly! It looks beautiful and calm.

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  5. Awesome! Haarlem is an area of Netherlands I really want to explore.

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