What to do in Alkmaar
Alkmaar is located in the Dutch province of North Holland and about 35min by train from Amsterdam. The city centre preserves the 17th-century pattern of canals and typical Dutch streets with many historic buildings.
From April and September, Alkmaar is visited by many tourists who are interested in the cheese market with a unique spectacle. Alkmaar also offers a range of interesting museums including the Stedelijk Museum, Beer Museum and Beatles Museum.
In this post you can learn all about what to do in Alkmaar in one day and discover the hidden gems of this amazing city.
What to do in Alkmaar
Alkmaar Cheese Market
Alkmaar is known as the Cheese city which becomes full of visitors from April to September. The cheese market is held on Friday morning and I would suggest you come early to have a good view to enjoy the traditional spectacle.
The year in which the Cheese market was considered as an official market was in 1593. Since then the Alkmaar Cheese market has always taken place on the Waagplein square.
In the 17th century, cheese was traded on Friday and Saturdays, however, nowadays there is no real trade conducted at the market.
During the cheese market, you can watch the Kaaszetters loading the cheese into the main market square and admire the special walk of the carriers who haul huge loads of cheese on barrows.
You can still buy cheese around the main square as there are plenty of market stands selling souvenirs and traditional cheese from Alkmaar.
If you’re wanting to do a tour any way you can get a combined one with a trip to the cheese market here.
The Cheese Museum
If you are already visiting the famous Alkmaar Cheese Market you should not miss the cheese museum which is located on the main square in Waaggebouw.
From here you have an amazing view over the whole cheese market so if you visit the museum in the morning you will be able to see the traditional spectacle from a different perspective.
The Cheese Museum explains the history of the cheese in the Netherlands, how it is produced and the difference between the products on the farm and in the factory.
Hofje van Splinter
Hofje van Splinter should be on your list of things to do in Alkmaar. This hidden gem is a perfect place to enjoy a bit of tranquillity away from the noisy city centre.
This historic courtyard was built in 1646 with a legacy from Margaretha Splinter and it was intended to help unmarried ladies without children.
There were strict rules and no male visitors were allowed. Nowadays, single ladies still live there however it requires approval from a commission.
One of the things you should do in Alkmaar is to visit the main church of the city, the Grote Kerk church.
The church was created in 1470 and it was dedicated to Saint Lawrence. It also contains several tombs of important Dutch figures.
The beautiful interior is used for regular exhibitions, conventions and concerts.
The Stedelijk Museum
In this museum, you will be able to learn the history and culture of Alkmaar and the surrounding region.
The Stedelijk Museum is home of historical photo collections, sculptures, paintings and modern art.
It was established in 1875 and it is one of the oldest museum in the Netherlands. In addition, you can see here the top works from the Bergen School collection from 1915 -1925.
The Beatles Museum
Probably everyone knows one of the most successful bands in the world, the Beatles.
The Beatles museum is located just outside of the main canal ring in Alkmaar and it is an amazing tribute to this legendary music group.
The first guitar of John Lennon was actually made in Alkmaar and you can also find here the original record contract signed by the Beatles in 1967.
If you are a real Beatles fan you should not miss out on this museum.
Alkmaar Canal Tour
One of the things you should do in Alkmaar is a canal tour. Alkmaar, like many old cities in the Netherlands, has many canals which were used as waterways in the past.
Now, there are perfect for a nice boat tour so you can discover the city from a different perspective.
You can also explore the canals on your own and rent a small boat to go by yourself.
National Beer Museum
If you are a beer lover, visiting the national beer museum should be on your list of things to do in Alkmaar.
The museum tells you all about the tools, equipment, and machines which were used to brew beer over the years.
If you fancy a beer after the tour, there is a bar that serves 86 kinds of beers and there is a small discount if have the museum ticket.
Although Alkmaar is not very famous for having windmills, there is one that you cannot miss.
The windmill is Korenmolen ‘t Roode Hert which is open for public and you can even get a nice cup of coffee inside.
You can also purchase freshly milled organic flour together with other delicious products.
How to get there
It takes about 35 min to get to Alkmaar from Amsterdam by train.
There are normally 90 trains per day traveling from Amsterdam Central station and tickets for this journey start from €9.20 when you book in advance.
You can also easily travel from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport or any other Dutch city like Rotterdam, The Hague or Utrecht.
Where to eat
For eating breakfast in Alkmaar, I would recommend Echt. They use organic and local products so you can enjoy a delicious breakfast in the middle of the city center.
For lunch, walk for about 15min from the main Alkmaar cheese market and you will get to the Rotisserie IJkgebouw.
You will find here a tasty lunch menu with some classics like club sandwiches.
Enjoy dinner in Alkmaar at De BinnenKomer. It is one of the top restaurants in Alkmaar with a cozy environment, tasty food and nice staff.
Where to stay
Kings Inn City Hostel Alkmaar offers mixed dorm rooms from 23 EUR per person and double rooms are available from 55 EUR per night.
This hostel is located right in the city center so it‘s a perfect place to explore Alkmaar and beyond.
SOEPP the B&B offers a great breakfast, excellent wi-fi and the perfect location in the city center. Deluxe double rooms start from 90 EUR per night including breakfast.
The Fallon Hotel Alkmaar offers luxury accommodation with a restaurant, fitness center and bar. Deluxe double rooms start at 155 EUR per night including breakfast.
Amsterdam is located just 35min from Alkmaar so if you are staying in Alkmaar, check out this 2-day itinerary in Amsterdam and enjoy a weekend escape.
Got any activities you’d add to what to do in Alkmaar? Let me know in the comments and I might add them to the list.
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