Fun things to do in the Hague, the Netherlands

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Looking for fun things to do in the Hague in the Netherlands? You have come to the right place for travel tips and recommendations for this chic Dutch destination, where the city meets the coast.

The Hague [Dutch: Den Haag], is also known as the ‘Royal City by the Sea’ thanks to its long, sandy coastline and plethora of regal palaces, including Noordeinde Palace – one of the three official palaces of the Dutch royal family.

As the seat of the Dutch government, a business hub and the residence of the Dutch royal family, The Hague has a unique blend of old-world charm and modern vibrancy.

There are plenty of fun things to do on a city break here, including biking, shopping and browsing boutique stores and I cover it all in this bumper guide.

Galleries, museums and restaurants are also plentiful in the Hague, along with swish hotels, spas and mid-range guesthouses by the sea.

The Hague City break

With KLM Royal Dutch Airlines flights departing from 17 airports across the United Kingdom to Schiphol Airport, it’s never been easier to experience it all! Especially as the Netherlands has excellent rail connections from Schiphol to Dutch cities, towns and villages.

Book your trip now and get ready to immerse yourself in charming Dutch destinations like the Hague, Eindhoven, Breda and many more.

Watch the video below to learn more and check out all my tips in this article to start planning your ultimate city break to the Hague.

Article created in partnership with Visit Netherlands.

Take a guided tour of The Hague

The best way to learn more about the Hague is to book a tour with a local guide and immerse yourself in insider knowledge and local expertise.

This way, you can learn all the local tips and tricks for navigating the city and find all the best-kept secret spots where your average tourist won’t venture.

Get a local guide and stroll around the royal city, soaking up the historic streets and getting a unique insight into where magnificent and often scandalous parties of the Dutch elite were once held.

Walking tour of the Hague

Our charming guide Remco took us to ‘Rusthof Courtyard’, one of the most beautiful ‘hofjes’ in The Hague. These ‘ladies only’ courtyard dwellings were founded in 1841 by wealthy benefactors.

They were designed to help women over a ‘certain age’ and with limited means to rent property in the city.

When visiting ‘hofjes’ in the Hague, respecting the residents’ privacy is important. Remember, this is a residential area, not your personal photoshoot area, so leave the tripod and twirly dress at the hotel.

The Hague points of interest

The best thing about going on a walking tour of The Hague is to learn more about the history, the Royal Family and architectural hot spots of the city.

We learnt about politics and culture and why most of the Hague’s historic canals were filled during the 19th century.

We were also shown impressive sights like Buitenhof Square and discovered through Remco’s storytelling that it was used as a parking place for the court carriages.

I’m a huge fan of city walking tours as a decent guide can share interesting snippets, stories, and anecdotes about the city’s past and present, helping you gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the destination.

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Discover Scheveningen Beach

things to do in the Hague

The Hague is the only big city with a beach directly on the North Sea coast and has 11 kilometres of beautiful sandy beaches to discover.

Its crown jewel, Scheveningen Beach, is just 2km north of central Den Haag and easily reached by bike or tram.

This seaside resort has been a wellness escape since the 1800s and can get surprisingly warm in the summer months and a tad dramatic and blustery in the winter.

The long esplanade is home to a wide variety of ‘strandclubs’ that line the sandy edge of the beach. These chic beach clubs offer dinner, dancing, carefully crafted cocktails and dreamy sunset views of Scheveningen on a balmy night by the coast.

Scheveningen Pier

Visit the historic Scheveningen Pier that extends 400m over the North Sea. This iconic pier has had a varied history, it was originally built around 1900 as a wooden promenade over the sea.

After it burned down in 1943, it was rebuilt and reopened and has been welcoming seaside visitors for decades. It’s also undergone a fairly recent refurbishment and now features a Ferris wheel, a bungee jump platform, and various restaurants and shops.

I am rather used to shabby-looking British seaside piers, fallen into disrepair and full of tacky, weathered stalls selling tat.

The Scheveningen Pier is incredibly modern by comparison with boutique shops and a lively food court. There’s even a zip line that will whizz you 350m over the pier at around 60 kilometres an hour!

SkyView Pier

The Skyview Ferris Wheel is Scheveningen Pier’s latest attraction. The towering wheel is 40m high and provides a fabulous, panoramic view of the sea, the beach and the pier.

The Ferris wheel has 36 closed gondolas with air conditioning for those muggy days.

There’s even one luxury VIP gondola with a glass bottom if you want to treat yourself.

The best part of the Ferris wheel is that you can purchase small bottles of wine to take up in the air with you.

This is one of the many reasons I love the Netherlands. You could never let British people have wine on a UK Ferris wheel; there would be carnage!

Experience Coastal Gym

Have a brisk workout by the sea that also incorporates a spot of beach cleaning. Coastal Gym is the first beach-based gym in the Netherlands and can be hugely beneficial for your wellness.

Along the coast of The Hague, the good people of Coastal Gym have developed two worldwide new outdoor sports: PULLKA and Seahiking, designed to get you moving in natural surroundings.

These outdoor sports can help you improve your strength, endurance, agility, stability and flexibility as you get your blood pumping and help clean the rubbish beach.

It’s definitely one of the more unique things to do in the Hague and I was thoroughly invigorated after a sandy workout.

Go Surfing in Scheveningen

Scheveningen is the best place for surfing in the Netherlands. Ride the waves in the brisk North Sea and enjoy the scenic surroundings.

The waves in Scheveningen are generally suitable for all levels of surfers, from beginners to pro riders.

Several surf spots along the beach cater to different skill levels. For beginners, the northern part of the beach, known as ‘De Zuid’ or ‘De Pijp’, is popular, as it offers smaller waves and a more sheltered environment.

More experienced surfers tend to head towards the southern part of the beach, known as ‘De Pier’, which offers larger, more challenging waves.

If you’re new to surfing, why not book a beginner surf lesson and learn the basics with an experienced instructor?

In a small group, you can learn how to time your surf take-off and how to catch your first wave. 

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Standup paddleboarding is also popular at Scheveningen and Aloha offers both board rentals and lessons for those looking to balance on the waves.

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Try cycling in the Hague

The best way to explore the Hague is by bike; like all Dutch cities, the Hague is a brilliant place to discover on two wheels.

Almost every street has a dedicated bike path and plenty of places to hire bikes at a reasonable cost.

Follow the bike paths and whizz by historic buildings, busy shopping streets and modern skylines and into forested and coastal trails.

Cycle routes in the Hague

There are more than 370 kilometres of cycle paths and 70 kilometres of bicycle lanes in the Hague.

There are lots of scenic cycle routes in the Hague as well. Some popular ones include biking to the historic water tower in the dunes and towards Delft.

If you are wondering where bicycle parking in the Hague is? You are basically allowed to park your bicycle anywhere in the city.

This is providing that your bike is not in anyone’s way or in an area where bike parking isn’t allowed.

The Hague Bike tour

For new visitors to the city, biking can seem a little scary. You have to navigate traffic and other cyclists and watch for oncoming trams.

The best way to see the city by bike is to book a guided bike tour that features highlights of the Hague.

When you bike around with a guide you’ll also get a quick orientation on the use of the bikes, cycle safety and see all the city’s best parts.

Most bike tours of the Hague will take you past some of the most popular sites, including The Peace Palace, The Binnenhof (Dutch Parliament) and the Mauritshuis Museum.

Escher in The Palace Museum

The Escher in The Palace Museum is where you’ll find the quirky and mathematical works of prominent Dutch artist M.C. Escher.

The museum showcases the unique and mind-bending art of Escher, who is known for his intricate and imaginative prints that often feature optical illusions, mathematical concepts, and surreal perspectives

Escher is famed for using symmetry, geometry and maths in his graphic art and creating iconic pieces such as ‘Relativity‘, which appear to defy the normal laws of gravity.

The museum is housed inside a regal palace once used as a residence for members of the Dutch royal family, including Queen Emma and Queen Mother Emma, until the early 20th century.

It’s now been converted into a museum dedicated to Escher and features a permanent exhibition of over 150 works by the artist, including his famous prints, drawings, and sketches.

 Climb the Grote Kerk tower

The best view of the Hague is from the very top of the Grote Kerk Tower, a 15th-century tower with a spectacular 360° view of the city.

Open to the public since 2017, this historic tower is a splendid example of Gothic architecture, characterized by its pointed arches, ribbed vaults, and flying buttresses.

Take a guided tour up 288 winding steps and learn more about this history, heritage and gigantic ringing bells as you slowly ascend.

Once you reach the top, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Hague and the seaside resorts of Scheveningen and Kijkduin.

Tours are available every weekend and tickets can be reserved online.

have a Jenever tasting session at Van Kleef Distillery

For a fun and boozy evening in the city, visit Van Kleef distillery, the oldest and only remaining Jenever and Liqueur brand of The Hague.

The distillery was established in 1842 by Herman Jansen Van Kleef and initially produced Genever, a traditional Dutch juniper-flavoured spirit, and other liqueurs.

Over the years, Van Kleef has expanded its product range and gained a reputation for its high-quality spirits and lively tasting sessions.

Here, you can taste traditional jenever or genever (old spelling), which started as a medicine in the Netherlands. Genever is made from alcohol distilled from grains, malt wine, herbs, and plants.

One of the ingredients is the juniper berry, in Dutch called “jenever bes”; therefore, the Dutch call the drink whenever. The original spelling Genever is derived from the French word Genievre, which means juniper.

Today, you can sample a selection of Dutch Liqueurs at a raucous Van Kleef tasting session where groups squeeze into the small space to sip genever and learn more about the distilling process.

Visit the Mauritshuis museum

For world-class art, you must head to the Mauritshuis Museum, a 17th-century city palace famous for its outstanding collection of Dutch and Flemish Golden Age paintings. Built for wealthy sugar trader Johan Maurits, it became a museum in 1822 and added a modern wing in 2012–14.

Here, you’ll find an impressive range of masterpieces by artists such as Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Jan Steen.

You can also see some of Rembrandt’s most famous works at the Mauritshuis Museum, including ‘The Anatomy Lesson’.

The Girl with a Pearl Earring

Fun things to do in the Hague, the Netherlands

The main reason to visit the Mauritshuis Museum is to see ‘the girl’. Unlike the locked-down Mona Lisa, You can actually get pretty close and personal with the famous painting ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Johannes Vermeer.

It’s honestly amazing how laissez-faire the Dutch are about the security of such a famous work; it’s literally within arms reach for the love of Thor!

The best way to learn more about the masterful works of art here is to book a private Day Tour in the Netherlands with Art Historian.

Art lovers can get expert insight into the Netherlands’ artistic heritage on this private tour led by a professional art historian.

Benefit from your guide’s insider knowledge to create a fully personalized itinerary and choose from various museums, galleries, and attractions.

Explore Madurodam Miniature Park

One of the more unusual things to do in the Hague is to visit the model village at Madurodam. The park contains 338 miniatures as well as beautiful flowers in bloom from April until October

You can spend a few hours taking some great snaps of the Netherlands in miniature.

It’s a really cutesy, tourist thing to do but is actually quite good fun, especially if you are into photography.

Everything is built to a 1:25 scale, including miniature cars, boats and trains that actually move around.

Panorama Mesdag

The Panorama Mesdag in The Hague is a unique tourist attraction worth visiting for arts and culture lovers.

The Panorama Mesdag was created by Hendrik Willem Mesdag, a Dutch marine painter, and his wife Sientje Mesdag-van Houten, along with a team of artists.

It’s home to the largest circular canvas in Europe and gives you a 360º panorama of Scheveningen in the 19th century. The seascape painting surrounds you at 14 meters in height and 120 meters in circumference, creating a three-dimensional effect.

The panoramic painting was completed in 1881 and was originally displayed in a purpose-built museum in The Hague, where it remains today.

It’s a pretty and historic vista of the North Sea, old fishermen’s village and the dunes and is incredibly detailed.

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What is in the Panorama Mesdag?

In addition to the panoramic painting, the Panorama Mesdag also features a collection of 19th-century art and cultural artefacts that provide insights into the history and culture of the Netherlands during this period.

The museum showcases works by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and other artists of his time, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Visiting the Panorama Mesdag: The Panorama Mesdag is open to the public and can be visited by purchasing tickets at the museum.

Audio guides and guided tours are available in multiple languages to give visitors insights into the painting, its history, and the art displayed in the museum.

Go Shopping in The Hague

Shopping in the Hague is a pleasure due to the number of cute boutique stores and car-free streets.

You’ll find a range of well-known department stores like Bijenkorf, independent fashion stores and even some concept stores around the royal palaces.

If you’re serious about shopping, head to Noordeinde, one of the best-known shopping areas in the old centre of The Hague. Here you’ll find uber-chic fashion stores and art galleries.

If you are a fan of travel books, then I recommend you head to Stanley & Livingstone, an old-fashioned and well-stocked travel bookstore located on Schoolstraat 21.

This photogenic store has travel guides, phrasebooks, travel journals, maps and atlases. It is a heavenly place for travel lovers where you can pick up quality travel guides.

The Passage

The Passage is the only remaining covered shopping street in the Netherlands, built in 1882 and designed by architect Bernardus Johannes Ouëndag.

It was one of the first covered shopping arcades in the Netherlands and was initially intended to house high-end shops and boutiques. The Passage quickly became a popular shopping destination in The Hague, and over the years, it has retained its charm and allure as a historic shopping arcade.

Here, you’ll find all sorts of upmarket goods and gits in the passage including high-quality tea, coffee, cookware, clothes and designer gifts.

Explore the Binnenhof complex

Take some time to explore the Gothic government buildings of Binnenhof. Now normally, Government buildings aren’t exactly the most riveting of places but there is a definite historic charm here.

The Binnenhof is a historic complex of buildings located in the centre of The Hague and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the country and serves as the seat of the Dutch government.

You can get a better view of the buildings by taking a boat ride on the lake to get a waterfront view of these gorgeous buildings.

The Binnenhof has a rich history of over 800 years and is known for its distinctive architectural style and significance in Dutch politics.

It originated in the 13th century when it was initially built as a castle for the Counts of Holland. Over the centuries, it has evolved into the political heart of the Netherlands, serving as the official residence and workplace of the Dutch royal family and the Dutch parliament

Want to know more? Book an Old City Private Walking Tour and get expert insight into the royal palaces and handsome administrative buildings.

On this excellent tour, you’ll get loads of historical facts and stories, including how Emperor Charles V gave the command to plant 4 rows of lime trees in the Voorhout and learn about the dramatic decapitation of Van Oldenbarnevelt, as well as the assassination of the De Witt brothers.

Try traditional Dutch fries

You can’t visit the Netherlands and not try one of the most famous snacks – Dutch fries. Known as “patat” or “friet” in Dutch are a beloved part of Dutch culinary culture and can be found in many places in the Hague and the Netherlands.

Feast on piping hot crispy fries served in a rather ingenious cardboard cone contraption, making them easy to eat on the go.

Dutch fries are usually served with a wide variety of sauces and toppings, which are an essential part of the Dutch fry culture.

Popular sauces include mayonnaise, ketchup, curry ketchup, peanut sauce (known as “satésaus” in Dutch), and “speciaal” sauce, which is a combination of mayonnaise, ketchup, and onions.

Some of the best places for Dutch fries in the Hague include:

Frites Flamandes
Friterie Par Hasard
Frites Atelier
De Jong Snacks

Have dinner by the Dutch coast

For incredible fish dishes with an ocean view, you need to dine at De Waterreus [translation: the water giant].

It’s one of only 4 beach bars that stay open throughout the year at Scheveningen Beach.

You can order a la carte or choose from their delicious 3-course menus. They have a ‘Catch of the day’ and a range of fish dishes, including smoked salmon fillet.

It’s got a gorgeous view of the North Sea and is the perfect place for a romantic meal in The Hague.

Where to stay in the Hague

The Hague has a fantastic selection of hotels to suit all tastes and budgets.

You can find a good selection of luxury, boutique, and budget hotels on sites such as TripAdvisor and

Some of the best hotels in the Hague include:

voco the Hague

Right in the heart of the centre, you’ll find the extremely chic hotel – voco the Hague. This conveniently located 4-star hotel has contemporary design features and is housed inside a former bank building.

Rooms are stylishly appointed and feature a range of amenities including quality bedding, free toiletries, streaming services and tea and coffee facilities.

Along with a fitness centre and bike hire, voco the Hague also has an excellent restaurant and bar – Botanica Kitchen & Bar.

Local ingredients are used in a seasonal menu that features Dutch inspired dishes, utilising a sustainable supply chain from product to plate.

Staybridge Suites The Hague – Parliament

We stayed in the stunning Staybridge Suites The Hague – Parliament. This lovely boutique hotel is in the Hague’s centre, opposite the historical Binnenhof.

Whilst the outside of the building has a rather historical and grand facade, the inside is uber chic, with a contemporary design. They have a  beautiful indoor courtyard lobby that is so striking.

There is a really warm and relaxed atmosphere in the hotel’s ‘living room’ area.

There is free WiFi and also complimentary tea and coffee on offer. It’s perfect if you want to unwind or catch up on some work.

Boutique hotel the Hague

The guest suites at Staybridge Suites certainly have the wow factor. The size and unique décor of our room totally blew us away.

We actually had our own mini library and ladder in our room. Perfect for reenacting scenes from Beauty and the Beast!

The Hague transport

It’s super easy to get around the Hague by public transport. You can travel on many buses and trams or rent a bike for the day.

You can also travel from The Hague on the many trains arriving and departing at the main station.

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The buses and trams in The Hague are paid for by using the OV-chipcard. These are plastic cards about the size of a credit card that you have to “validate” at the beginning and end of every journey.

You can purchase a card at public transport counters, stations, newsagents, or supermarkets.

HTM day ticket

If you want to save money on the Hague public transport, I would recommend getting an HTM day ticket.

The HTM (Haagse Tramweg Maatschappij) day ticket is a public transportation ticket that allows unlimited travel on trams and buses operated by HTM in The Hague, for a single day, including the RandstadRail lines (lines 2, 3, 4) and the bus lines (including night buses) within The Hague city limits.

You can buy an HTM ticket at:

  • Ticket vending machines in stations
  • Online
  • The Hague Tourist information centres
  • Some hotels and campsites

Getting to the Hague

If you’re travelling from the UK, you can fly into Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and then travel onwards to the Hague, with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

KLM operates multiple daily flights to the Netherlands from 17 UK departure airports and travelling in the Netherlands is super easy thanks to its compact size and excellent rail connections.

You can also easily do a day trip to the Hague from nearby cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Utrecht.

Getting the train on the extensive and reliable Dutch rail network is easy. You can buy reasonably priced rail tickets and rail passes for the Netherlands in advance on Eurail, or at rail stations across the Netherlands.

Is Hague Netherlands worth visiting?

There are so many attractions, sights and things to see in the Hague. It’s home to palaces, incredible museums, embassies and Grand Streets.

It differs from other popular Dutch cities in that it doesn’t have an extensive canal network to stroll along, though there are small sections of the city with canals to explore.

It more than makes up for this with Baroque architecture, regal houses and pretty outdoor cafes.

It’s definitely worth a visit to the royal city. There are many connections from Amsterdam to the Hague, and it can easily be reached from other cities such as Utrecht and Rotterdam.

Airport Parking and lounges

Save money on your Netherlands trip by booking your airport parking in advance. You can find great airport parking deals online with Holiday Extras.

Get up to 70% off airport parking when you book in advance online. Keep your car secure and safe whilst you are on your holidays in an official airport car park.

Save money on your Slovenia trip by booking your airport parking in advance

Why not spoil yourself with airport lounge access before your flight? Lounges don’t have to be super expensive; book online with Holiday Extras to save money on your lounge splurge.

What do you think of my Hague Guide? Are you planning to visit? Let me know in the comments below!

Visiting the Hague, Netherlands faqs

Q. What are some must-visit attractions in The Hague?

  • The Mauritshuis: Renowned art museum housing masterpieces by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and other Dutch masters.
  • Madurodam: Miniature park showcasing the highlights of the Netherlands.
  • Peace Palace: Iconic building housing the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
  • The Hague Beach: Picturesque coastline with vibrant beach clubs and water sports activities.
  • Binnenhof: Historic complex featuring the Dutch Parliament and other governmental buildings.

Q. Are there any unique experiences in The Hague?

  • Visit the Escher in Het Paleis museum: Explore the mind-bending works of the Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher.
  • Take a boat tour through the city’s canals and waterways.
  • Discover the city’s street art scene in the trendy neighbourhood of Zeeheldenkwartier.
  • Experience the Panorama Mesdag: Step into a 19th-century circular painting depicting the Scheveningen village and beach.

Q. What are some family-friendly activities in The Hague?

  • Explore the interactive exhibits at Museon: A museum focused on science, culture, and the environment.
  • Enjoy a day at Duinrell amusement park, featuring thrilling rides and a water park.
  • Visit the Sea Life Scheveningen aquarium, home to various marine species.
  • Have fun at Drievliet Family Park, offering a range of attractions for all ages.

Q. What are the best places for shopping in The Hague?

  • The Hague’s city centre is ideal for shopping, with popular streets like Grote Marktstraat and Spuistraat.
  • The Passage: A beautiful shopping arcade with a blend of high-end boutiques and speciality stores.
  • Haagsche Bluf: An open-air shopping area with many shops and restaurants.
  • Denneweg: A charming street known for its antique shops, art galleries, and trendy boutiques.

Q. Are there any free attractions in The Hague?

  • Stroll through the beautiful Scheveningen Pier and enjoy the sea views.
  • Visit the beautiful Japanese Garden located in Clingendael Park.
  • Explore the Haagse Bos forest, perfect for a relaxing walk or picnic.
  • When it is open to the public, tour the Ridderzaal (Hall of Knights).

Q. What is the best time to visit The Hague?

  • The Hague can be visited year-round, but April to September offers the best weather for outdoor activities.
  • The city also hosts various events and festivals during the summer months.
  • Keep in mind that spring and summer months can be busier with tourists.

Q. How can I get around The Hague?

  • The Hague has an extensive public transportation network, including trams and buses, making it easy to navigate the city.
  • Bicycles are a popular mode of transport, and the city has well-maintained cycling paths.
  • Taxis and ride-sharing services are also available.

Are there any day trips from The Hague?

  • Delft: Known for its charming canals, historic sites, and iconic blue pottery.
  • Rotterdam: A modern city with impressive architecture, vibrant markets, and a bustling cultural scene.
  • Leiden: A picturesque university town with charming canals, museums, and botanical gardens.
  • Keukenhof: Famous for its stunning flower displays, especially tulips, during the spring season.
Pip and the City Travel Resources

Recommended travel resources

Flights: To search for flight deals, check out sites such as Skyscanner and Google Flights to compare the costs of flights and to book.

Accommodation: I use for most of my hotel bookings as they have fantastic flexibility and cancellation.

Airport Parking and Lounges: Save money on airport & travel extras, including; airport parking, airport hotels, and airport lounges with Holiday Extras.

Travel Insurance: I highly recommend you always get travel insurance – I use the Post Office Travel Insurance for single trip coverage and Safety Wing for comprehensive travel medical insurance.

Car Hire: I use Discover Cars to hire cars abroad as they have free cancellation, free mileage and no card fees.

Travel Money: I recommend Post Office Travel Money as you can get competitive rates and 0% commission for your holiday cash.

E-sim Cards: Use Airalo’s eSIM app to buy an eSIM for 200+ countries and stay connected when you travel abroad.

For more travel tools, head to my bumper travel resources page now!

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