Bursting with museums and heritage buildings and rich in cultural and political pedigree, The Hague is one of the Netherlands’ most important cities. Three days in town gives you enough time to enjoy the city’s world-renowned galleries, visit its top landmarks, and even go on a diverting day trip. Here’s how to plan the perfect stay.
Elegant, atmospheric, and packed with heritage architecture and major government buildings, The Hague’s city center is, happily, also very walkable. Begin your 3-day stay with an immersive walking tour to learn about the city’s history and see landmarks ranging from the Binnenhof government complex to the Peace Palace and the Noordeinde Palace. In the afternoon—after you’ve paused for a quick bite—do as the Dutch do and continue your explorations by bike. Set off from the city center, venture to the city’s North Sea beaches, and ride by the historical Windmill De Korenaer. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, return to the city center for a multi-stop tasting tour to top local restaurants.
The Hague has so many top museums that choosing between them can be a challenge. Spend your second day in town, then, with a wide-ranging cultural immersion. In the morning, head to one of the city’s most in-demand institutions, the Mauritshuis, and book a tour with an art historian to learn about the museum’s vast collection of masterpieces (including Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring ). Alternatively, head to Escher in Het Paleis, which celebrates illustrator M.C. Escher’s physics-bending compositions, or to the Madurodam, a family-friendly park with miniature models of Dutch landmarks. In the afternoon, see another side of the region’s artistic legacy by visiting Delft. Just a short journey away, the town’s workshops have been making traditional blue-and-white-painted pottery for centuries. In the evening, return to The Hague proper, and indulge with a meal at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants or enjoy a tasting of local beers.
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The Hague is within commuting distance of many of the Netherlands’ top destinations, so on your third day in town, head out to see more of the country’s sights. If you’re visiting in the spring, make sure to visit Keukenhof, which is one of the largest gardens in the world and is located less than an hour from the city. The garden is famed for its fields of rainbow-hued tulips; upwards of 7 million bulbs are planted each year.
Alternatively, if you have more of an urban sensibility, you can head to trendy Rotterdam, also a quick journey away. The historic port city is the second largest in the country and boasts contemporary architecture, a cutting-edge cultural scene, and adventurous dining. Head to the Markthal market for authentic Dutch foods, tour shops and galleries in the (fittingly named) Cool District, and visit Museumpark for a dose of education.