Today’s blog post is all about how to spend a day out in The Hague. Our whole family loves this peaceful Dutch city so much that we’ve visited twice this year, and I’ve rounded the best things to do if you’re spending a day there. Click through to see!
10 AM: Rent bikes
The Hague is a very flat, bike-friendly city, and there’s no better way to cover a lot of ground in a day than to rent bikes. Du Nord has bikes of all shapes and sizes so that everyone in your family can cruise around the city with ease. Du Nord will even deliver your bikes and pick them up for a small fee so that you can maximize your exploring time. Alternatively, check out Fietsverhuur Scheveningen for beach-friendly cruisers and tandem bikes.
Bring your own bike helmets (and elbow/knee pads, if you’re inclined), however. The Dutch don’t wear helmets when biking around the city; it seems that when you’ve been biking as your main form of transportation since you were a toddler, it’s just not necessary. We stuck out like sore thumbs with our American helmets, but hey — safety first, right?
11 AM: Comb the Beach
Take advantage of a sunny day in The Hague by visiting Scheveningen Beach, a wide stretch of sandy beach just a 15-minute bike ride from the city center. The boardwalk is wide and dotted with cafes, so you don’t have to venture far for refreshment or entertainment. Roll up your pant legs and soaked up some salt air before heading over to Beachclub Copacabana for some tasty beverages or Simonis for a bite of famous Dutch seafood.
12 pm Pancake Break
Continue your day out in The Hague with a pancake break! The Dutch take pannenkoeken (pancakes) very seriously, and they’re available in every permutation imaginable. Pannenkoeken are denser than their American counterparts, and usually are as big as a medium-sized pizza. Every manner of savory and sweet is available to try at Oma Toos, a glass-encased pancake house located at Scheveningen Pier, just a few minutes’ bike ride away from the boardwalk. Don’t miss the Scheveningan pancake, a savory version smeared with herbed cream cheese and topped with whitefish salad, smoked salmon, arugula, baby shrimp and flaked halibut.
For dessert, poffertjes (mini-pancakes) are the name of the game. Try the nutella-drizzled version with a side of cherry compote for a truly heavenly finish to your meal.
1-4 pm Soak in the Dutch Masters
No day out in the Hague is complete without some culture. The Hague is home to two art museums of note: Escher en Het Paleis and Maurithuis. Escher en Het Paleis is a collection of the works of M.C. Escher, a Dutch mathematician and artist best known for his tessellations and optical illusions. The third floor is a child-centric exhibit devoted entirely to giving kids the opportunity to create their own tessellations and explore the world of optical illusions, making it an ideal stop for an hour or so.
The other can’t-miss museum is Mauritshuis, a small but impressive collection of art and ceramics by the Dutch Masters, from Hans Holbein II to Jan Vermeer. If you’re visiting with little ones, be sure to check in at the front desk and pay €3 to get a tote bag filled with children’s activities to be completed throughout the Mauritshuis’s elaborately decorated rooms. The bag includes a sketchbook and some stickers for kids to keep.
5 pm: Tour the City, Eat Some Fries
Bicycling through the center of The Hague is like moving through a series of picturesque postcards. Pass by the lovely Binnenhof, the Dutch parliament, which borders a serene pond and take in the adorable storefronts whizzing by en route to the relatively modest Noordeinde Palace. There’s no shortage of ways to be charmed during your day out in The Hague.
If you’re feeling peckish after your bike tour, stop by Friet District for some serious Dutch fries. The curry sauce, a sweet and heady concoction, is the perfect way to restore one’s sensibilities after a good hearty ride.
7pm: Indonesian Rijsttafel Time
Thanks to the Dutch colonization of Indonesia, Dutch cuisine has a healthy dose of rendang infused into its food culture. The best way to sample all the Indonesian delights that have made their way to The Hague is by ordering a rijstaffel (rice table), which is a tray of small, tapas-sized dishes containing all sorts of curries, salads, rice and snacks. One great, affordable option in the city center is at Istana, nestled inside the Hague’s Chinatown. Alternatively, Keraton Damai has a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in town; their rijstaffel is no exception.
Daily flights are available to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport from the U.S., and direct trains from Amsterdam’s Centraal station run throughout the day to The Hague. Alternatively, if traveling from London, check out the Eurostar’s direct trains to Amsterdam here.
For more in my “Day Out” Series, check out these posts:
- A Day Out in Antwerp, Belgium
- A Day Out in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
- A Day Out in Windsor, England
- A Day Out in Prague, Czech Republic