Dreaming of a weekend in The Hague? Want to explore this often forgotten Dutch gem (forgotten, of course for its glamorous neighbor, Amsterdam).
The Hague, known in Dutch as Den Haag, is my favorite Netherlands day trip or overnight adventure because it offers all the best of big city culture AND a classic beach resort vibe just 10 minutes away in Scheveningen. If you want to relax on the boardwalk, surf, zip line over the ocean, or ride the Ferris wheel for unparalleled views of the city, Scheveningen is the place to be.
Then, you can rent a bike and ride about 20 minutes to a beautiful green space to be in the heart of an international cultural center. You can visit the International Peace Palace, see the famous Girl with the Pearl Earring and other classic works of heart, and visit a museum dedicated to MC Escher, a Den Haag native.
In this weekend guide, I’ll share my perfect weekend in The Hague with you. There is time for museums, shopping, beach time and down time.
A Weekend in The Hague: The Land of Peace, Beaches, Bikes and Culture
- 1 A Weekend in The Hague: Getting there
- 2 A Weekend in The Hague: Getting Around
- 3 A Weekend in The Hague: Where to stay
- 4 A Weekend in The Hague: Where to eat
- 5 Hortus
- 6 A Weekend in The Hague: What to do
- 7 A Weekend in The Hague: Sample Itinerary
- 8 Day 2
- 9 More ideas to explore in The Hague
A Weekend in The Hague: Getting there
The Hague can be reached in about an hour by train from Amsterdam International Airport. It is well connect by train and bus from all of the Netherlands, as well as other European capitals. You can see how to book train tickets here. I find that train is easiest, either directly from Amsterdam airport or from your other favorite European destinations.
A Weekend in The Hague: Getting Around
Once you are in The Hague, the easiest ways to get around are by bike or by tram. The tram system runs from the central station and throughout the city. You can hop on and hop off just like the train or bus, but you get to see the sights of the city at the same time.
Trams 1, 9, or 11, or bus 22 run to Scheveningen. You can purchase a 2 hour unlimited pass in the central station for the trams for 4 euro. For your trip, I recommend purchasing two, one for way to Scheveningen, and one for the return the next day. This will allow you to take the 15-minute ride to Scheveningen, and to explore a bit of the city.
The best way to get around in the Netherlands – and get exercise – is by bike. You can rent a bike by the station for about 8 euro per day. If you have a Dutch train pass, you can also use their bike rental service for about 3.95 euro per day. There are many bike rentals around the city, so if you have luggage, the easiest is to take the tram to your hotel and then rent a bike.
A Weekend in The Hague: Where to stay
There are fantastic 5 star hotels around The Hague, comfortable 3-star hotels, as well as budget accommodations and hostels.
If you can afford it, go for the classic old Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus The Hague Scheveningen. It will make you feel like you are in a grand old hotel of centuries past. There is an excellent selection of saunas included with the room. Try a dip in the cold ocean, and then run into the warm sauna!
For a slightly less expensive, but still luxurious option – try The Hague Marriott Hotel. With a modern feel and luxury pool, it is well situated about halfway between central The Hague and Scheveningen Beach. It offers comfortable Marriott standards with a Dutch flavor.
Andante Hotel Scheveningen offers simple rooms with balconies just steps from the beach. While the price is low for this 3-star hotel, the service is 5-star. From the fresh flavored water at reception, to the family-run friendly service, this hotel earns my top recommendation for the budget traveler. You can expect to pay 40-60 euro per night for a basic room with balcony.
There are many safe, clean hostels and 2-star hotels in The Hague, but since I find the Adante to basically be a 2-star price for 4-star value, I stick with that. However, if you budget is low, you can pick a hostel or an Airbnb, which have great values outside of the summer season.
A Weekend in The Hague: Where to eat
Delicious, healthy food abounds in The Hague. Even the train station offers roasted veggies sandwiches on fresh baguettes and salads with warm goat cheese. When I travel, I generally like my food to be delicious and healthy. Other than perhaps one special meal, I don’t like to linger over long meals and prefer to get out and see the city. Here are a few simple, healthy favorites in The Hague:
Giuliano’s offers incredible authentic Italian food with top-level service. It is Italian owned and run, and considered some of the best Italian food you will find in the Netherlands.
Baladi Manouche offers authentic, fresh, cheap Lebanese food. Delicious hummus, falafel, wraps with cheese and za’atar, and more. The friendly international staff is happy to help with recommendations. Just about everything on the menu is delicious, including lots of vegan and vegetarian options.
Love & Peas
This simple vegan restaurant serves up Mediterranean classics, vegan specialties, and a few Dutch classics as well. Portions are generous, service is friendly, and the prices are reasonable.
Hortus specializes in elegant vegan food, with small plates so that you can try many flavors. They recommend each guest get 3 courses – a started, a main, and a dessert. The portions are small, but the flavors are rich and you will come away totally satisfied.
This cute café is a part of the famous Mauritshuis, making it the perfect stop for lunch or an afternoon snack after visiting the Girl with the Pearl Earring.
They have an excellent selection of vegan and vegetarian options, including a warm quinoa salad, the daily smoothie, and a variety of desserts. Their coffee and tea are also excellent, as is the view of the museum entrance below.
De Bijenkorf combines shopping and delicious food! On the third floor of the large and elegant old department store called De Bijenkorf is a café. They have nearly everything: fresh soups, stir-fry, sushi, lasagna, salads, smoothies, coffee, cake, and more. Most items are made to order, although the soups are prepared and available daily.
They are also very good about helping with food allergies and intolerances, and have detailed ingredient lists.
This large supermarket offer organic and natural foods is the perfect place to pick up a fast meal. They have a large variety of prepared salads, smoothies, and juices. If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, there are also many soups, and ready to heat dishes.
Hop and Stork
This chocolate shop and café is the perfect stop while shopping for a sweet treat or a pick-me-up. The handmade chocolates in creative flavors are absolutely luscious and not to be missed.
A Weekend in The Hague: What to do
With an extensive collection of art, including the Dutch painters Rembrandt and Vermeer, Mauritshuis is best know for the famous “Girl with the Pearl Earring” by Vermeer. The museum markets itself as showcasing the best of the Dutch Golden Age. Be sure to download the museum app and follow the free audio tour to gain insight into the many other Dutch painters and pieces on display.
Escher in Het Paleis
Set in a (converted) palace of the Dutch Queen, this palace is a two for one experience. You will see some of the furniture, decorations, photos and memorabilia of the palace days, as well as the works of M.C. Escher.
Escher is the world-famous Dutch artist and mathematician who played with the concepts of infinity and eternity through his work. He used mathematical principals such as tessellations to create the illusions of infinity or eternity. For this reason, he is much beloved by mathematicians and artists alike.
Scheveningen Beach is THE beach destination of the Netherlands. There is a wide-open beach, mild rolling waves, a long pier, Ferris wheel and more. There is a boardwalk with many restaurants to sit out and eat while looking at the sea. The pier features more restaurants and shopping, as well as the Ferris wheel and zip line over the ocean.
On windy days you will see many wind surfers our practicing in the surf, and even a few brave surfers in wet suits. My favorite activity is just to walk along the beach and splash in the surf. But there are also excellent bike paths all along the ocean in both directions, and you can ride as far as your heart desires. This is Holland, after all.
When you’ve had enough outside activity, or if it is cold and rainy, Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus has a restaurant with large bay windows, ideal for watching the sea and the boardwalk while warming up.
The Peace Palace in The Hague is a monument to peace and justice through education, law, and dialog. It is the home of the International Court of Justice and the International Court of Arbitration.
You can visit the visitor’s center for free. You can also take a guided tour, and in the spring and summertime you have the option to take a garden tour as well to see the opulent gardens.
If you have an hour or two extra and want to get an overview of the Netherlands, Madurodam is a 1:25 scale model of the Netherlands with all its famous landmarks. This is especially fun with kids. Tickets can be bought for just a few euros more in combination with the Sealife aquarium tickets.
Noordeinde Shopping Area
This web of walking streets and larger streets encompasses The Hague’s main shopping district or “high street”. You will find De Bijenkorf department store here as well as many large international brands mixed in with some small local shops.
There is always a lot to see and do. The passage is also a walking mall within the Noordeinde district. This is a fun stop for a few hours, or a full day of shopping and exploring.
A Weekend in The Hague: Sample Itinerary
Assuming you arrive by train, let’s start your itinerary from the central station. I like to include no more than one museum per day, to really enjoy the experience without being overwhelmed. If you have luggage, you can either put it in the storage lockers at the train station, or take it to your hotel before starting the itinerary.
While you can mix and match the items to do and places to eat in many ways, here is a sample itinerary to get you started:
1. Arrive and visit Mauritshuis then stop for lunch in the Brasserie Mauritshuis.
2. After lunch, walk around the Noordeinde shopping district, being sure to stop for chocolates and your favorite warm drink at Hop and Stork.
3. Later in the afternoon, head to Scheveningen for your first breath of North Sea air.
4. After a rest in the hotel, head to Hortus for a simple and elegant dinner experience.
- Start your second day with an invigorating bike or walk along Scheveningen beach. Dip your toes in the water if you are brave!
- If you want a luxury experience, get the spa access at the Grand Hotel Amrath and warm up in their luxury saunas.
- Head to breakfast in your hotel, or at any of the local cafes, or at the Grand Hotel Amrath.
- After a late breakfast, ride bikes to visit the Escher en Het Palais museum. Spend a coupld hours wandering around, including taking in the interactive exhibits on the top floor.
- Stop at the Giuliano’s Italian for an Italian feast.
- Finish your day in The Hague with a visit to the Peace Palace, and explore the gardens even in winter!
- As you head out to your train, pickup some food at Baladi Manouche for the trip home, and then stop at Marqt for some organic treats that you can enjoy over the coming days.
More ideas to explore in The Hague
With so many unique and quirky neighborhoods, delicious restaurants and the ever-entertaining beach, The Hague is one of my favorite destinations to explore. One weekend can easily become a regular weekend excursion – with new discoveries each time!
Here are a few more ideas: China town is fun for authentic Asian cuisine. De Haagse Markt is a large traditional market featuring produce, fish, clothing and more. You can find specialty produce from countries around the world, as well as fish caught fresh that morning. For that, come with cash!
Finally, At The Plein near Mauritshuis, there are often cultural events and fairs. Throughout the winter there is a “French inspired” market called Le Marie Marche the first weekend of each month.
With so many cultural attractions, delicious food that is reasonably priced, fun bike paths and those big wide open beaches, a weekend in The Hague will offer something for everyone.
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