July 19, 2024

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Castle De Haar (Kasteel) Day Trip From Amsterdam Netherlands

Castle De Haar (Kasteel) Day Trip From Amsterdam Netherlands

The Kasteel / Castle De Haar is the biggest castle in the Netherlands, and it’s fairly easy to visit on a day trip from Amsterdam to Castle De Haar, since it’s located near Utrecht!

Also known as Kasteel De Haar in the Dutch language, this castle was never meant for war, but it was (and still is) used as a luxury home of sorts.

You can pay extra to go inside the castle, and the interior is stunning and very worthwhile. If you only have time to visit one castle in Holland, it should be this one!

This travel guide will explain how to get to Castle De Haar, current hours and ticket prices, day tour options, and everything else you need to know before you go!

 

Visiting Castle De Haar: What To Expect

First things first — the De Haar Castle is surrounded by 135 acres of landscaped gardens with colorful flowers, ponds, deer, and nice scenery, so you’ll want to explore that first. It’s the perfect place for a long walk or picnic.

The outside of Castle De Haar is impressive and photogenic, with all the usual features you’d expect from a medieval castle, like towers, turrets, moats, gates, and suspension bridges.

You can take great pictures of the castle from almost any side!

Castle De Haar Kasteel Utrecht Amsterdam Netherlands Garden Flowers
Kasteel De Haar
Castle De Haar Kasteel Utrecht Amsterdam Netherlands Canal Reflections
Morning reflections in the canal

In my mind I never really associated castles with Holland before, but this one is truly spectacular, like a fairytale castle.

It’s the largest castle in the Netherlands, and you could definitely say it’s the nicest too. The castle has a gift shop, cafe, and visitor center where you can buy tickets.

The park grounds also have a deer park where you can see friendly deer walking around and eating grass.

Concrete Gargoyle Griffin Gryphon Statue
Griffin statue at the entrance

If you visit De Haar at the right time of year, there are even some special seasonal events held here, like the Elfia Fantasy Fair and Christmas Market.

No advance booking or reservation is needed for Kasteel De Haar, although you can book a small group day tour from Amsterdam if you want to skip the hassle of arranging your own transportation (I’ll explain more on that later).

In any case, Kasteel De Haar is well worth a visit, especially if you’re from the US or another country where castles aren’t very common!

Castle De Haar Kasteel Utrecht Amsterdam Netherlands Garden Flowers    Chandelier
 
 

Inside De Haar Castle (Interior)

The inside of De Haar Castle is just as impressive as the outside! If you buy a combo ticket, you can tour the inside at your own leisure.

The interior of Castle De Haar is extremely detailed and beautiful, with luxurious bedrooms, carvings and sculptures, paintings, fancy furniture, stained glass windows, sets of armor, and much more. It feels like you’re touring an art museum.

The castle has a whopping 200 rooms! Even though they only let you walk through less than a dozen of these, the inside tour was very thorough and worthwhile.

I’d highly recommend it! The combo ticket is easily worth the extra price you pay to go inside.

Castle De Haar Kasteel Utrecht Amsterdam Netherlands Inside Interior
Interior of Castle De Haar — the inside is just as nice as the outside!
Stone Carving Sculpture Inside Interior
Amazing sculptures

You can do an audio tour in Dutch or English, and there are also some friendly multilingual guides available in almost every room of the castle to explain some of the history of the building and the people who lived in it.

Photography is allowed inside the castle, including cameras (without flash), so we took lots of pictures. It was fascinating, and we easily could have stayed longer touring each room.

They don’t allow backpacks, tripods, drones, and other such things inside De Haar Castle, but there are some handy lockers where you can store things while you tour the interior.

Bedroom Interior Inside
A comfy bedroom inside the castle

 

Opening Hours

  • Park: 9 AM – 5 PM daily
  • Castle: 11 AM – 5 PM daily

Even though you can’t go inside the castle itself before 11 AM, you can walk all over the grounds starting at 9 AM, so morning is a great time to visit.

The castle is open daily. Exceptions for holidays can be found here.
 

Entrance Fees

These are the current ticket prices to visit all of the park grounds that surround the castle, but not go inside the building.

  • Adults: 7 Euros
  • Kids (4-12): 5 Euros
  • Kids (0-4): Free
  • Parking: 6 Euros

If you want to go inside the castle, there’s a more pricey combo ticket that also includes the park. You can buy that when you arrive, or book it in advance here.

Cash isn’t accepted at the castle, only credit or bank cards.

Castle De Haar Kasteel Utrecht Amsterdam Netherlands Garden
A view from the garden

 

How To Get To Castle De Haar

Castle De Haar is located in Haarzuilens, which is just outside of the city in Utrecht, Netherlands.

You can get there with a bicycle, car rental (self drive), taxi, or public transportation, or you can book a day tour package that includes hotel pickup and drop-off from Amsterdam. The castle is a 30 minute drive by car from Amsterdam or Utrecht.

For public transportation to the castle from Amsterdam Centraal, you’ll want to budget more time. You first have to take the train to Utrecht Centraal, and then take the train from Utrecht with route Den Haag Centraal (4x per hour) to Vleuten train station.

Once you arrive in Vleuten, take Bus 111 to Kasteel de Haar, with a 2 minute walk (only available summer weekends). Otherwise, you can take Bus 127 from Vleuten to Breukelen (stop at Brink in Haarzuilens), which is a 15 minute walk to the castle.

You can use the map below for navigation directly to the castle, which is about 20 kilometers from central Utretcht or 33 kilometers from Amsterdam.


 

History Of Kasteel De Haar

The De Haar Castle looks medieval, but most of it was actually built in the 19th century, replacing some old castle ruins that had previously been there since as early as 1391.

The property was owned by the De Haar family until 1440, and then it was passed to the Van Zuylen family by marriage. Between 1892 and 1912, the Van Zuylens commissioned Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers to completely rebuild and renovate the castle, turning it into the masterpiece seen today.

In the 1960s, the castle became a popular place for the Van Zuylen family to host international celebrities, including Brigitte Bardot, Gregory Peck, Joan Collins, Roger Moore, and Michael Caine.

In 2000, the Van Zuylen family passed ownership of the castle and gardens to the Kasteel de Haar foundation, but the family reserved the right to stay one month a year in the castle, which they continue to do every year. Lucky!

Castle De Haar Kasteel Utrecht Amsterdam Netherlands Canal Reflections
De Haar Castle

 

Best Time To Visit

Any time of year is nice to visit De Haar Castle, although summer is best because you can see the flowers in full bloom. The Rose Garden is really nice, with over 1,200 roses and 79 different species.

My wife was pretty sad we missed the famous tulip season in the Netherlands on this trip, but the flowers in August were still spectacular at De Haar Castle.

The best time of day to visit is in the morning when the park first opens (9 AM), that way you can enjoy the whole grounds with less people. We went on a summer morning, and for one or two hours it felt like we had the place all to ourselves!

I’d recommend spending 2 to 3 hours to explore the castle and park grounds, depending on your pace and whether the gardens are in full bloom when you visit. Most people will probably finish touring everything in about 2 hours.

Flowers Garden
Summer flowers

 

Best Amsterdam Tours

We recommend GetYourGuide for day tours of Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands!

They have small group day tours of Castle De Haar with pickup and drop-off from Amsterdam, plus other famous sights and activities like canal cruises, the Van Gogh Museum, and day trips to Keukenhof.

We’ve used this company for lots of day tours and activities around the world, and they’re great. Highly recommended!

 

More Travel Guides

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed this travel guide for visiting Castle / Kasteel De Haar on a day trip from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my travel blog for more tips, info, and travel photos!