A Day Trip to De Haar Castle in the Netherlands!

48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust
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During my time in the Netherlands I had one wish: to see a castle. Whether it be from a train or a plane above, I was sure I would see a castle of two through my travels. Nope. Nada. So when I researched where to find the castles in the Netherlands I came across De Haar Castle, said to be the prettiest castle in the entire country and only a short drive away from a city I was visiting: Utrecht.

I had only two nights in Utrecht so I first made sure I saw everything I wanted to see in the city, then made plans to visit the castle. Given that the public bus to and from the castle took one hour each way and Google maps suggested bike riding would be slightly less than that (47 minutes), I rented a bike for €8 and went on my merry way to the castle.

48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust

Visit the Village of Haarzuilens

As it would turn out, the 47 minutes soon turned in to 90 as I mistakenly made wrong turns, was led to locked gates, and finally found a local village person to ask for directions. The castle closes at 5:00pm and I arrived at 4:15pm, so I was somewhat unsurprised to learn that I could no longer enter the castle itself, only being allowed access to the grounds (which was still so worth it!)

On my way to the castle I got lost inside the Village of Haarzuilens, built at the turn of the 19th century after a fire swept through the castle. The village itself is enough of an attraction – built in the same style of the castle with red and white stripes at every turn. I would highly recommend visiting the village after the castle (there’s a great pub / eatery in the centre of “town”).

48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust 48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust

The Castle Grounds

Given that my entry was restricted to the gardens and I was still on a time limit, I found myself prancing around the grounds in a half-sprint, half-dance, too happy to care that it was raining with gloomy skies. I know, I know, castles aren’t that exciting to Europeans, but for an Australian who lives on an island, I was in heaven!

48 Hours in Utrecht | World of Wanderlust

Inside the Castle

If you’re smarter than me (not difficult) and arrive prior to the closing time, be sure to buy a ticket to enter the castle and learn about its history. Entrance to the gardens was €5 versus entry to the castle and gardens for €10. I’d allow at least 2 hours to enjoy the castle and grounds, as well as another hour to explore the nearby village. Bike riding was by no means a bad idea (it took me precisely 47 minutes to cycle back to Utrecht), but may not be the best idea I’ve ever had when it starts pouring down with rain. The alternative would be the public bus or to drive – both options that will keep you dry (and prevent getting lost – which isn’t as good a story now, is it?)


De Haar Castle | World of Wanderlust

Thanks to Visit Utrecht for welcoming me to the city!

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    June 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    This is often a huge help since me and my family will be going to castle Netherlands third week of October to have fun our daughter’s tenth birthday. Hope you can also give me some more information on how also we can save money throughout our trip.

    June 1, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Is it bad to say that I had no idea The Netherlands even had castles??? It looks dreamy! I want to go visit if ever in The Netherlands 🙂

    May 30, 2017 at 7:21 am

    It’s a beautiful castle indeed, but have you read that this is not an authentic castle at all? This version of the castle was built in 1892-1912, on the ruins of the old castle. It wasn’t built as a permanent residence, but meant to be able to receive large amounts of important guests. The family only lived there in September, the rest of the year they lived in France.

    Christa L Sagmoe
    May 26, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Looks like an absolutely magical time. ~ Christa

    Scribbling Geek
    May 25, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Your posts are often the perfect balance of text and lovely pictures. I enjoy reading them.

    the travelogue (by Anna & Vanessa)
    May 24, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Well, we’re always SO amazed by all the things you discover when you’re in Europe 😀 I mean.. we live in Germany, have loooots of castles (we’re spoiled to be honest) but never heard of this one in our neighboring country! So that might be a perfect getaway on a sunny sunday.
    Thanks for sharing Brooke 🙂
    xo Anna & Vanessa

    • Brooke Saward
      May 24, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      A sunny day would have made it absolutely perfect – you will love it!! x

    Danielle Theriault
    May 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! WOW! Would love to go there! |

    May 24, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Love this post!
    It really is a wonderful write up

    Om Prakash
    May 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    Its really amazing blog with very much helpful information, thank you so much for writing this great blog here for us.

    arun kumar
    May 23, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    really super blog all post are very nice love it

    May 23, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Such a beautiful place. I think castles are exciting too. We only have ruined castles in Greece. Glad you enjoyed your time there despite the rain!

    May 23, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Here in South America we barely have castles at all, if they can be called that, so I’m envious you got to experience such a pretty view! A bummer you couldn’t get inside, but it serves as an excuse to come back sometime, huh?

    • Brooke Saward
      May 23, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Same in Australia so I was like a kid in a fairytale!! Will definitely go back sometime 🙂

    Ticket for Adventure
    May 23, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    These castles are so cute! I’m surprised you had a hard time, and actually had to do research to find them. Thanks for doing the research! lol.

    natascha cox
    May 23, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Love this post! Thanks for sharing and please take
    a minute to check out my latest post too if you can, I would love
    to hear your thoughts.
    Looking forward to your next one 🙂 xxx

    May 22, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    *really close (autocorrect)

    May 22, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    I live realtime close to Haarzuilens! It’s one of our favorite places to visit close to home!! So cool that you came here

    • Brooke Saward
      May 23, 2017 at 12:28 am

      It was so beautiful – like a little fairytale village!

    Michael @ Mile in my Glasses
    May 22, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Gorgeous photos Brooke! You’ve given me some serious wanderlust for this place, I’m going to have to make sure I check it out next time I’m in The Netherlands!

    I hope you have a lovely week,

    • Brooke Saward
      May 23, 2017 at 12:29 am

      Thanks Michael – make sure you visit Delft, too!

    May 22, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    There aren’t enough heart emojis for this post!

    I love visiting old castles! In my hometown in South Africa, we have one that was built back in the day as a gift to his wife. Unfortunately, legend has it the ship she sailed on crashed and she passed away before she ever saw it.

    As kids, we would try climb the walls to sneak in :p

    I can’t wait to go to Europe and see some of these beauty’s IRL.

    • Brooke Saward
      May 23, 2017 at 12:30 am

      Hey Lauren, wooooah that’s so cool! You have so many beautiful buildings in SA too – I’m so jealous! I’m a sucker for a pretty castle 🙂 🙂