Amazing architecture, beautiful beaches and loads of independent restaurants and shops, this is the ultimate list of things to do in the Hague!
Surprising. That’s just one way to describe the Hague. And when I say surprising I mean that in a good way, a very very good way. There is just so many amazing things to do in the Hague!
When I posted pictures of the Hague on Facebook and Instagram, almost everyone said the same thing – “wow, I did not expect the Hague to look like that!” Well it really does.
The thing is, the Hague is almost like two completely different places in one – you’ve got the beach and you’ve got the city. The means you can have two types of holiday, a beach break and a city break.
Everyone is always surprised that the Netherlands has such a beautiful beach, but it really does. Golden sand for as far as the eye can see that stretches on and on. In fact, this is one of the best places in the world for kite surfing and sand boarding.
Also, there are so many bars and clubs along the beach offering everything from bbqs to sunset cocktails. This really is a proper beach holiday destination. I might even throw this one out there – the sunsets were some of the best I’ve seen in such a long time.
What to do in the Hague
As for the city itself, the Hague is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. And with buildings like the Peace Palace and Parliament, it is one of the most beautiful too. And that’s before we mention the other Hague attractions.
Also, the Hague has pretty much shunned chain restaurants and shops. There is a real emphasis on independent boutiques meaning if you’re a foodie or a shopaholic then you’ll just love it here. There is a real sense of a local feel which makes it much more welcoming than Amsterdam.
If you’re wondering what to do in the city, here are some of my favourite things to do in the Hague. I really hope you enjoy this place as much as I did!
If you really want to get to know the Hague then I’d recommend a private tour with a local. Then you get to see everything this city has to offer from a local’s perspective!
Fun Things to do in the Hague, Netherlands
1. Wander around all the buildings at Parliament
One of the most famous complex of buildings in the Hague is the Binnehof. This is the home of Dutch Parliament and the building is completely open to the public.
There are two main buildings at Parliament. One is modern and covered by glass everywhere (this is to represent that the Dutch parliament are completely transparent with everything they do). The other building is the ornate old castle that dates back to the 15th century.
Parliamentary members are always walking around here in a busy rush and I think it’s cool that you can see them go about their daily business. This is a great place to kick off your Hague itinerary!
2. Marvel at the beauty of the Peace Palace
Another building I love in the Hague is the Peace Palace. This is the International Court of Justice, and even though it looks like another old castle it is a working building. It was definitely one of my favourite photo spots in the city.
The only way you can access the International Court is on a guided tour. A guide will tell you about the building and about the institutions housed in it. A tour through the Great and Small Hall of Justice, the corridors and the Japanese Room will give you an impression of the most beautiful rooms of the Palace.
Tickets cost €11 per person are the guided tours are in Dutch, German and in English. The tour takes around 45 minutes.
3. Immerse yourself in the mind of Escher at the Escher Museum
The Escher Museum is home to the works of Maurits Cornelis Escher, a Dutch graphic artist who made mathematically inspired art. Even in today’s modern society Escher’s drawings are mind-boggling. If you want an insight into Escher’s mind, then the Escher Museum is an absolute must.
Based over three floors, the Escher Museum houses some of his most famous works such as ‘Drawing Hands’ and ‘Ascending and Descending’. I found it really fascinating learning where Escher got his inspiration from and how he came up with some of his designs. Pretty trippy I can tell you that – what a mind!
Here is an example of his art:
In my opinion, this is without a doubt one of the most fun things to do in the Hague.
Tickets to the Escher Museum in Het Paleis cost £9 per person.
4. Act like a big kid at Madurodam
Madurodam is a model village right in the heart of the Hague and it is a celebration of all things Dutch.
If you’ve got little ones they will absolutely love it here – not only do you get to learn more about the Netherlands it is really interactive too. Even big kids like me can have fun here! There’s a reason why this is one of the top attractions in the Hague.
Tickets to Madurodam cost £16 per person – I really recommend this activity!
5. Eat crockets and bitterballen
I can’t leave the Netherlands without having crockets and bitterballen – they are my favourite snack here. For those of you who don’t know, they are mashed potato stuffed with meat like pancetta and then deep fried. They are absolutely perfect as an afternoon snack with a beer to hand.
While in the Hague I tried out a few places and my favourite were from Walter Benedict. This is a cute café/restaurant near to the Escher Museum and perfect for lunch. Give it a go and you won’t regret it.
6. Walk down the palisade at Haagsche Passage
This looks like somewhere in Italy, doesn’t it!? Europe’s famous palisades were first built in Belgium and the Netherlands before moving onto Italy. Even though this palisade is quite small, there are still a few lovely shops along here and it is like stepping back to a forgotten era.
If you’re a shopaholic then this is one of the best places to visit in the Hague. Oh, and a top tip for you. Some of the chocolate shops here are to die for.
7. Get lost in the Hague’s side streets
The centre of the city is completely pedestrianised so it’s easy walking around browsing at all the independent shops and cafes. One of the best things you can do in the Hague is just have a wander around and see where it takes you! I really recommend stopping into a few shops or cafes to get a real feel for the place too.
8. Grab a bite to eat at Jamey Bennett
A restaurant that came very highly recommend to us was Jamey Bennett. This is a tapas/small plate style restaurant and it didn’t disappoint.
We ate our way through the menu but the scallops with a mango salsa and burnt butter sauce were just delicious. Also, the wine was spot on. We arrived just as the sun was setting so sat outside and watched the world go by.
9. Check out the Sculpture by the Sea Museum
When it comes to what to do in the Hague there are plenty of galleries and museums to choose from. Very close to Scheveningen is the Sculpture by the Sea museum.
This is home to some very alternative and avant garde sculptures all with the sea in the background. There’s a really nice café here too. If you’re looking for another fantastic museum then I also recommend Gemeentemuseum Den Haag!
10. Hit the beach at Scheveningen
If you’re in the Hague for a few days then I’d definitely recommend spending a day at the beach. As I’ve already said, the beach is just gorgeous, definitely one of the best in Europe.
There are two main beaches here – Scheveningen and Kijkduin. Scheveningen is much more popular with loads of beach clubs to choose from and other activities too. If you’re looking for some fun things to do in the Hague then head to the pier at hit those arcades!
11. Ride the ferris wheel at Scheveningen Pier
At the end of Scheveningen Pier is a big ferris wheel. Tickets cost €9 and you really do get some of the best views of the beach from the top of the wheel. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, next to the ferris wheel is a little bungee jump and zipline tower. I’m not going to lie, both looked so much fun and I wish I gave it a go!
12. Stay in the cutest beach houses you’ll ever find
How cute are these beach houses!? We stayed in Haagse Strandhuisjes at Kijkduin beach, a little south of the Hague. These beach houses are completely kitted out with two bedrooms (one double and one with bunkbeds), a bathroom and a fully fitted kitchen. In my eyes waking up and being right on the beach is what holidays are all about!
I genuinely loved stay here and it was the perfect spot for me. As I’ve already said, you can have two types of holidays in Hague. For me, being so close to the beach was amazing. Then, when we wanted something to eat, we hit the beach bars or headed into the city centre. Just perfect.
13. Watch incredible sunset after incredible sunset
I always have these belief that there’s no such thing as a bad sunset – even if there’s cloud cover it can still look magical. However, the sunsets at the Hague were just next level. We had two in a row where there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky and watching the sunset from our beach house was one of my favourite moments while in the Hague.
14. Take home some delicious Dutch cheese
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make a tourist attraction in the Hague. Like cheese!
Edam, emmental, gouda – the Dutch certainly know how to make cheese. There are loads of little cheese shops all over the city but if you want some of the best cheeses then head to the market just outside Parliament. Just don’t forget to taste test! I picked up a wedge of gouda that very nearly didn’t make it home it was that delicious.
15. Immerse yourself in the amazing architecture in the Hague
It doesn’t matter where you are in the Hague, you’re never far from a beautiful building. I really enjoy architecture so one of the best things you can do in the Hague is immerse yourself in the colourful and unique buildings here. For example, the H&M is in an old 1800s shop – all very grand!
16. Take a peek inside the Grand Hotel at Scheveningen
The Grand Hotel at Scheveningen is one of the oldest hotels in the Netherlands. And as the name would suggest, it is one of the most impressive too. The Grand Hotel looks like it’s out of the Great Gatsby and it is somewhat of an institution at the Hague.
Even though it is very expensive to stay here, it is worth popping inside and having a sneak peek of how beautiful it is. When it comes to what to do in the Hague, I’d say popping for head into this place is a must.
17. Have a couple of cocktails at Bleyenberg
If you’re looking for one of the best cocktail bars in the city then head on up to Bleyenberg. Up on the 7th floor you’ll have some lovely views of the city below and the cocktails are quality too – make sure you try their limoncello spritz for something a little different! What better place to finish up your amazing weekend in the Hague!
18. Visit the Prison Gate Museum
The Prisoner’s Gate (Gevangenpoort) is a former medieval prison on the Buitenhof. As the Hague has been the political heart of the Netherlands for centuries, this is where they locked up all the political prisoners. Between 1428 and 1828, the gatehouse was a prison to many famous regents.
If you visit the Prison Gate Museum you’ll hear all about the political conspiracies and the punishments of prisoners. It can be pretty gruesome at times but that’s history for you.
You can take a guided tour here but unfortunately tours in English are only held on Sundays
This post was in association with This Is The Hague promoting some of the best things to do in the Hague during the summer! As always, views are entirely my own and without bias.
Are you planning a trip to the Hague? If so, what are you looking forward to doing there? Let me know in the comments below!
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