Looking for fun things to do in the Hague in the Netherlands? You have come to the right place for travel tips and recommendations to this uber stylish Dutch city.
The Dutch city of The Hague [Dutch: Den Haag], is known as the ‘Royal City by the Sea’. It’s the third largest city in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Here you’ll find Noordeinde Palace, one of the three official palaces of the Dutch royal family, hence its regal nickname.
There’s also galleries, restaurants, museums and the stunning beach of Scheveningen nearby. There really are plenty of things to do in the Hague. Read my bumper guide and learn more about what to see in the Hague.
Fun things to do in the Hague
Unusually, The Hague is the seat of the Netherlands’ parliament and home to the royal family, but it’s not actually the capital city.
If you are looking for a bustling city in the Netherlands though, then the Hague is the place for you. It’s a great alternative to Amsterdam for your European city break.
The Hague feels lively but not completely overwhelmed with tourists, cheese shops and walking tours. There’s a pleasant mix of business people bureaucrats and tourists, all milling around this stately city.
Disclaimer: Content created from a press trip with Visit Holland.
Visiting the Hague
You can easily do a day trip to the Hague from nearby cities such as Amsterdam or Utrecht. It’s easy to get the train on the extensive and reliable Dutch rail network. You can buy rail tickets and rail passes for the Netherlands in advance on Eurail.
If you undertaking a big trip to the Netherlands, then I would recommend getting a Holland Pass to save money. This pass will give you access to 100+ Attractions and Museums.
You can enjoy perks such as free entrance, skip-the-queue tickets, discounts of up to 50% and public transport with the Holland Pass.
I would really recommend spending a few days visiting the Hague though, to really get to know this regal city.
The best way to learn more about the Hague is to take a tour with a local guide. This way you can learn all the insider tips and tricks for navigating the city and learn its best-kept secret spots.
Spend a good few hours walking around the royal city, soaking up the historic streets and seeing the places where magnificent parties were held.
When you take a tour of the Hague you can take a peek into places that only locals know about. Our guide took us to ‘Rusthof Courtyard’, one of the most beautiful ‘hofjes’ in The Hague.
This ‘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, remember to respect the privacy of the residents. Don’t pose for pictures on the doorstep [For the gram] and keep the noise down.
The Hague points of interest
The best thing about having a tour of The Hague is that you can learn more about the history, the Royal Family and architecture hot spots of the city.
We learnt why most of the Hague’s historic canals were filled in during the 19th century. We were also shown beautiful Buitenhof square and discovered that it was used as a parking place of carriages of the court. We also got to see where the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands is located.
For world-class art, you need to head to the Mauritshuis museum. Here you’ll find many iconic paintings from the Dutch Golden Age. Marvel at the museum’s unique collection of stunning Rembrandt paintings and admire a huge range of Dutch artworks.
You can see some of Rembrandt’s most famous works at Mauritshuis museum, including ‘The Anatomy Lesson’. It is a perfect place for a cultural afternoon in the city.
Girl with a Pearl Earring
The main reason to visit the Mauritshuis museum is to see ‘the girl’. You can actually get up close and personal to the famous painting ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’ by Johannes Vermeer.
Unlike the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, you can actually get really close to the painting without struggling to catch a glimpse behind 4000 selfie sticks. It’s amazing how laissez-faire the Dutch are about the security of such a famous work.
Ticket prices at the Mauritshuis are € 15.50 for adults and under 19’s go in free. You can book tickets for the museum in advance online.
If you are really interested in art, you can book a private guided tour of Mauritshuis Museum with an Art Historian. This private tour gives art lovers the chance to discover the Royal Cabinet of Paintings with an art historian guide, offering additional insight into the famous works.
You might not think of sandy beaches’ when you try and picture the Netherlands. However, The Hague boasts 11 kilometres of beautiful sandy beach with its crown jewel, Scheveningen beach. The Hague is actually the only Dutch city with a beach.
This seaside resort can get surprisingly warm in the summer months and rather dramatic and blustery in the winter. It’s the perfect spot to sunbathe, relax, or go for a walk in moody Dutch weather.
Things to do Scheveningen Beach
Scheveningen Beach is easily reached by tram. A range of buses and trams run to Scheveningen from both train stations in The Hague. You can easily visit the beach in one day and see most of the major attractions.
There are lots of things to do at Scheveningen Beach, here are a few of the best activities on offer.
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. It has also recently undergone an extensive refurbishment.
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!
Scheveningen Pier is open daily from 10:00 am and admission to the Pier is free of charge.
The Skyview Ferris Wheel is Scheveningen Pier’s latest attraction. The wheel is 40m high and provides you with a fabulous, panoramic view of the sea, the beach and the pier.
The Ferris wheel has 36 closed gondolas that thankfully have air conditioning for those muggy days. There’s even one luxury VIP gondola with a glass bottom if you are looking 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. You can guarantee they would get into a punch up or vomit over themselves by the time they did one rotation.
SkyView Pier Prices are:
- 9 Euros per adult
- 7 Euro for children under twelve
- 24 Euros for families
SEA LIFE Scheveningen
Get a glimpse into life underwater at SEA LIFE Scheveningen. There are 45 aquariums that are filled with an array of marine animals. There’s an interactive touch pool, underwater tunnel and coral exhibits.
It’s a brilliant activity for children in the Hague, especially if it’s a rainy day.
There’s also a varied programme of daily feeding sessions with different animals at SEA LIFE Scheveningen. We personally loved seeing the otters and penguins splashing and playing around in the water.
Book your SEA LIFE Scheveningen Admission Ticket online, prices start from £13.13!
Scheveningen is the best place for surfing in the Netherlands. Ride the waves in the brisk North Sea and enjoy the scenic surroundings.
If you are new to surfing, why not book a 2-hour beginner’s surf lesson in Scheveningen with a professional surf instructor? Learn the basics of surfing and catch your first wave in a small group setting of 6 students or less.
You can also so paddle boarding in the Hague if you don’t fancy surfing. You can rent SUP’s in Scheveningen for around € 10 for an hour from Aloha Surf.
Cycling in the Hague
The best way to explore the Hague is by bike. Like all Dutch cities, the Hague is built for biking. Almost every street has a dedicated bike path and there are plenty of places to hire bikes at a reasonable cost.
Follow the bike paths and pass by historic buildings, busy shopping streets and modern skylines. You can rent a classic Dutch bike for as little as € 10.00 per day from companies such as ‘Rent a bike The Hague‘.
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 of the 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 you’re 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, other cyclists and keep an eye out for oncoming trams. Why not be guided around by an expert biking guide and book a bike tour of the Hague?
When you bike around with a guide you’ll also get a quick orientation on the use of the bikes, cycle safty and get to see all the best parts of the city.
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.
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 1:25 scale including miniature cars, boats and trains that actually move around. Ticket prices are around £15 per adult.
The Panorama Mesdag in the Hague is quite a unique tourist attraction. It’s home to the largest circular canvas in Europe and gives you a 360º panorama of Scheveningen in the 19th century. The painting is an impressive 14 meters high and 120 meters deep.
It was painted by H.W. Mesdag and it first went on display way back in 1881. It’s a pretty and historic vista of the North Sea, old fishermen’s village and the sand dunes.
It’s quite a niche activity and might not be for everyone in all honesty. If you are a bit of an art and culture fan then this unique monument is likely to capture your imagination.
Tickets for Panorama Mesdag are priced at €10,50.
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.
Over 150 of his works are now housed in the former Royal Palace, ‘Het Paleis’, that is now a museum dedicated to his work.
Tickets for Escher in The Palace Museum can be bought online at a discounted price.
The Hague Shopping
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.
Boutique shops in the Hague
If you are serious about shopping then 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, a travel bookstore located on Schoolstraat 21.
This highly instagrammable store is packed with h travel guides, phrasebooks, travel journals, maps and atlases. It is a heavenly place for travel lovers.
The Passage is the only remaining covered shopping street in the Netherlands. It is split into two parts, the old passage and a new extension, ‘Nieuwe Haagse Passage’.
You’ll find all sorts of upmarket goods and gits in the passage including high-quality tea, coffee, cookware and designer gifts.
Dinner by the sea
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’, as well as a range of fish dishes including smoked salmon fillet. Its got a gorgeous view of the North Sea and is the perfect place for a romantic meal in The Hague.
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.
Binnenhof is a gothic castle that was built along the lake Hofvijver in the 13th century. It’s now used as the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. It also houses several other government offices and administrations.
There is a lot of architectural significance wrapped up in these buildings, as well as Dutch heritage.
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.
If you are a bit of a history boffin, why not take a guided tour of the interior? You can make a reservation for a small fee.
Drinks in a former bank
Treat yourself to cocktails in a former bank turned boutique hotel and bar. You can sip drinks in ‘the Gold bar’ at the hip Hotel Indigo. This former national bank safe has been transformed into an uber trendy bar that serves a range of signature cocktails as well as wines and beers.
The Hague International Court of Justice
The Hague has many points of interest and it is probably best known as an epicentre of justice.
The Hague is well known as the home of international law and justice. The International Court of Justice, which is the presiding judicial arm of the United Nations, is located in the Hague.
The main government seat is located here and you will also find the International Criminal Court, Europol, the Court of Arbitration, and around 200 other international governmental organisations. It really is a city of justice and peacekeeping.
If you want to visit the International Court of Justice, it is open to members of the public whenever its activities allow. It’s actually possible for individuals and groups to attend hearings. You can find all the details on their website.
The Hague hotels
There is a fantastic selection of hotels in the Hague to suit all tastes and budgets. You can find a good selection of luxury hotels, boutique hotels and budget hotels.
For one of the most iconic, luxury hotels in the Hague, you definitely want to stay in the Hotel des Indes. This opulent hotel was formerly a Palace. It has rather grand rooms, a spa and a rather fabulous afternoon tea. It is pure ‘spoil yourself’ territory.
Staybridge Suites The Hague – Parliament
We stayed in the stunning Staybridge Suites The Hague – Parliament. This lovely boutique hotel is located in the right in the centre of the Hague 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 hotels ‘living room’ area. There is free WiFi and also complimentary tea and coffee on offer. It’s perfect if you are looking to unwind or catch up on a bit of work.
Boutique hotel the Hague
The guest suites at Staybridge Suites certainly have the wow factor. We were totally blown away by the size and unique décor of our room. We actually had our own mini library and ladder in our room. Perfect for reenacting scenes from Beauty and the Beast!
There was also a huge range of room amenities including:
- Microwave Oven
- Refrigerator (Full)
- Pots/Pans/Serving Dishes
- Dining Table
The Hague transport
It’s super easy to get around the Hague by public transport. You can travel around on a huge range of buses and trams. You can also travel onwards from The Hague on the many trains that arrive and depart into the main station.
The buses and trams in The Hague are paid for by using the OV-chipcard. These are a plastic card 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, at stations, at a newsagent, or at a supermarket.
HTM day ticket
If you want to save money on the Hague public transport, I would recommend getting an HTM day ticket. It costs 7.70 euros for one day’s travel on buses, trams and the RandstadRail line. You can buy an HTM ticket at:
- Ticket vending machines in stations
- The Hague Tourist information centres
- Some hotels and campsites
Tourist Day Ticket
The Tourist Day Ticket is perfect for visitors to the Netherlands. It’s valid for travel throughout the province of Zuid-Holland for all bus, tram and metro carriers.
A Tourist Day Ticket costs just €14.50. It allows you to travel to the Hague, Rotterdam, Delft, Kinderdijk and Keukenhof. You need to remember to check in and out with your ticker for each journey. If you aren’t sure how to do this, speak to a member of the transport staff.
The Tourist Day Ticket can be bought at the HTM Service Points at the Den Haag Centraal, Den Haag HS and Zoetermeer Centrum-West stations. You can also get it in selected shops and hotels.
The Hague night bus
If you don’t want to spend money on a taxi, you can always catch the night bus on Friday and Saturday nights in the Hague. The night buses start at the centre of The Hague at stop ‘Binnenhof’.
The bus operates every hour from 01:00 till 05:00 o’clock. So there is plenty of options for party animals to get themselves safely back to their hotel.
There are 6 bus routes available, running to Scheveningen, Leidschendam, Rijswijk, Ypenburg, Leidschenveen, Nootdorp and Delft. Tickets are just €5 and you can buy them from the driver.
The Hague attractions
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. It more than makes up for this with Baroque architecture, regal houses and pretty outdoor cafes though.
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.
Would you visit the Hague? What would you most like to see? Let me know in the comments below.
Planning your trip to the Hague
Ready to book your trip to the Hague? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:
- Search for the best flight deals with Skyscanner
- Search for the best hotel deals on HotelsCombined
- Get the best Hague travel tips with a travel guidebook
- Book an Airbnb and have £25 towards your first booking
- Get the best destination recommendations from TripAdvisor
Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!
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Disclaimer: This content was created from a press trip with Visit Holland. They did not review or approve the content and all views remain my own. This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no additional cost to you. By clicking these links you are supporting Pip and the City and helping to keep the content free. Massive thanks for your ongoing support.