Visiting Alkmaar for a day (or more)

August 18, 2021| Travel, Netherlands|5 Minutes|By Mike Tesselaar

North of Amsterdam you’ll find the city Alkmaar. Although its scale is nothing compared with Amsterdam, you can have a great trip when visiting. Read about some of the city highlights below and be sure to include them in your itinerary. 

City Center & Cheese

Alkmaar is famously known for its cheese market, held weekly in the summer in the middle of the city. The market is described as “a particular spectacle which includes a market filled with cheese and hauling cheese carriers” (VVV Alkmaar). Not sure where to find the market? Just follow the church, it is located directly next to it!

The cheese market normally takes place in the morning and has several performances across the table. In the link mentioned above, you’ll find the most recent schedule.

Architecture

Alkmaar is built fairly low to the ground and has several typical Dutch buildings around the center. One of the most famous buildings of Alkmaar, besides the churches, is the all-green house called “Huis Met de Kogel” which translates to house with the cannonball. This building has a cannonball hanging on the side remembering the Spanish siege in 1573.

Another well-known building is the “Accijnstoren” located at the end of the center. This building was used a a tax-collecting building for goods coming into the city (mostly by boat).

Furthermore, you’ll find several bridges and small streets around the city. As well as a old windmill in the city park (Molen van Piet).

Park, Green Streets & Canals

The city center of Alkmaar is surrounded by a park and canal, and is overall very green for a city. A street like “Sint Jacobstraat” is completely filled with plants for example. Regularly you’ll find art in the city park too.

Much like Amsterdam, Alkmaar has a lot of canals. On sunny days you’ll see many boats and people paddling around. I would recommend fetching a boat for yourself too if you can. And, big plus, some restaurants/bars serve outside to boats!

Gardens, Bars & City Beach

Something very characteristic of Alkmaar are “hofjes”, or small shared gardens. These gardens are accessible and sometimes equipped with a restaurant or bar. The most known hofje is the “Hof van Sonoy”, recognizable by the small tower (in which you can climb too). Here you can have a drink on the terrace in the sun, or have a fabulous dinner at Heren van Sonoy.

The two go-to places to getting a drink are “Waagplein” and “Platte Stenenbrug”, both having a lot of restaurants and bars to find comfort. In the mood for special beers? You’ll find Alkmaar’s beermuseum and craft beer bar at “proeflokaal de boom”.

Last, but not least, Alkmaar offers a beachbar at the edge of the canal called “De Kade”. At this bar you’ll be able to enjoy some summer vibes whilst looking down on the waters. Maybe you can spot a transport ship cruising by during the day.

Hal 25, Vue and Victorie

Looking for the artistic and amusement side of the city? Close to central station you’ll find the Vue (City Cinema), Podium Victorie (live music, events) and Hal 25 (art, craft beers) all lined up for your pleasure at the “Pettemerstraat”.

Especially when the sun shines, be sure to pay a visit to Hal 25. It’s an open-air location with small pop-ups and a craft beer shop.

Alkmaar has a bit of all as you can see! If you’re planning a trip to Alkmaar, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. Best of luck.

Cheers, Mike