Have you ever had your assumptions turned upside-down? Maybe you think people are rude in one country and learn it couldn’t be farther for the truth. It could be that you’ve heard isn’t worth writing home about, and then you have one of the best meals in your life! Well, taking a day trip to The Hague from Amsterdam or Rotterdam is going to show you that even though you may have heard about, you will find another side to it. Here’s is my list of things to do in The Hague in one day.
You probably know that Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, but actually, most of the politics happen in The Hague since that’s where Parliament is and many of the decisions are made and the Royal Family lives closer to the Hague than Amsterdam.
So, when we traveled the hour-long train ride to The Hague, I didn’t want it to have anything to do with politics. We’ll be back to visit those important sites, but really, we wanted to explore The Hague in a different way. So this is how our day trip from Amsterdam to The Hague went!
Day tripping to The Hague
It could not be easier to get to the Hague by train from other Dutch cities. Whether in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or any other place with a central station, just hop on an NS train. It’s the national train system and you can check for times on the 9292.nl website. Then just buy your ticket from a big yellow machine, check-in, and hop on!
Unlike in some parts of Europe, everything is really well-marked so you shouldn’t have a problem getting to the right platform and the right train. And just remember, people here speak English, so don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Top thing to do in The Hague or any city: Visit the historical center
After hitting up the tourist office (VVV) — because you need a map and a booklet to tell you what’s cool and a day pass for the transit system. Personally, I love not having to think about paying for transit except at the beginning and that’s why I recommend day passes or city passes that include transportation.
After walking past the Nieuwe Kerk then through Chinatown we discovered beautiful side streets that looked like something right out of Paris! Obviously we aren’t the only ones who thought that since we passed two professional photographers doing shoots down those very streets. The were lined with plenty of shops I could have spend days looking through.
Go window shopping
One of the coolest shopping areas is De Passage! There’s an older neo-renaissance section and a newer section built in an expressionist style. It’s basically a covered, but open-air mall with a super cool vibe. Perfect spot to take a stroll and window shop…or actually shop! There’s some awesome places to browse and the people-watching is pretty good from one of the cafes inside!
Visit the beach and the Pier
In the Netherlands, when you’re near a beach, it should be a crime to not to visit. This beach area has De Pier— an indoor pier with shops, food, and a sit-down restaurant. There’s just something about the beach that makes me happy. No…joyful. Like, smiling from ear to ear.
Kids playing in the sand and dogs running around…but not too far from their owners. It’s just such a happy scene.
If you’re hungry when you visit, we love the barbecue place called The Rough Kitchen. Delicious stuff. They started in Amsterdam so we already knew about them and basically started drooling when we saw the shop. Yes, it’s that good. Meat lovers will be happy. Promise.
Wander through Escher in Het Paleis
Want a little glamour with your eye-testing art? Escher in Het Paleis is basically an old mini-palace that is now a gallery for Escher. You know the guy who morphs objects into other objects within the art and plays tricks on your mind. There was a piece that I couldn’t even look at because it hurt my eyes. But it’s SUCH a cool style. An interactive section lets you become part of the art and it was fun! Not sure the last time I had fun in a gallery.
Remember I said it was a palace? With this place, you get two museums in one with information of what each room used to be and how it was used. Pretend like you are royalty as you make your way down the stairs or head towards the balcony where you can wave to your adoring public after arriving home.
Tip: Don’t forget to look up! Those chandeliers are quite interesting to check out.
View The Hague from above
We had to top off our day right. So we headed to The Hague Tower which is topped by The Penthouse. This bar/restaurant is the perfect spot to end a day. Make a reservation or hope you time it right to pay the 8 euros to go up to the top and get an included drink. The biggest bonus is the SKY DECK!!! Yep, you can actually walk outside and around part of the building. It’s cold and windy, but the views are sooo worth it. Best 8 euros of the day!
It was only one day in The Hague, but it just means that we’ll be back to explore more another time since there’s a classic car museum that Sean just HAS to check out, the Madurodam (a mini Holland!), the current Palace, and some unique dining experiences we’re super interested in.
Seriously, I had no idea there was so much to do…or so much variety in The Hague. I’m so glad my perceptions were changed and we’re looking forward to heading back!