Easy to reach from Rotterdam or Amsterdam, the Hague is a brilliant day trip to add to your Netherlands itinerary. Famous for being home to Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring, the International Court of Justice, the Dutch Parliament, the monarch's workplace and the International Criminal Court, the Hague also has 2 fabulous art galleries AND a beach! So what are you waiting for? Hop on the train and enjoy this fun one day itinerary for the Hague.
Top tip- a few of the things on this one day itinerary for the Hague are closed on Mondays, so if at all possible choose one of the other 6 days in the week to visit!
Start your Hague day trip at the Mauritshuis, a compact art gallery with a collection of 17th century Dutch and Flemish art, and home to one of Vermeer's most famous paintings: The Girl with a Pearl Earring. An easy walk from Den Haag HS train station, this used to be the grand home of John Maurice of Nassau, the Governor of Dutch Brazil and cousin of the Stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.
NB from early February - April 1st 2023 the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is borrowing the Girl with a Pearl Earring
Open 10am-6pm Tuesday - Sunday, opens at 1pm on Mondays.
Next door is the Medieval Binnenhof. Once a Gothic castle, the Netherlands' parliament building is one of the oldest in the world- parts of this grand complex date from the 13th century! There are currently some renovations taking place which means you can't walk all the way through the main courtyard, so come in to have a look and then retrace your steps and walk around the outside the Binnenhof to find...
Take a stroll through the Passage, an elegant 19th century shopping arcade over the road from the Binnenhof. Dating from 1885, the Passage, with its beautiful glass roof, is the oldest covered shopping arcade in the Netherlands.
Buitenhof Herring Stall
For a quick traditional lunch, stop at the red white and blue stand next to the Binnenhof. We ordered a Broodje Haring (salt cured fish served raw with white onions) and Kibbeling (chunky pieces of deep fried fish, served with garlic sauce), both delicious!
Top tip: to eat inside the stand leaning on one of the side counters, as gulls are waiting outside to snatch your snack.
On the way to your next stop, pause outside the grand gates of Noordeinde Palace, the King's working palace. Noordeinde has belonged to the Royal family since since 1609 when the State gifted it to William of Orange’s widow.
Feast your eyes on Hendrik Willem Mesdag's incredible 360 degrees wrap around painting from 1881. The gallery cleverly places you on top of a high sand dune (complete with sand), looking out at Scheveningen Beach, giving you the same view point as the artist. The enormous panorama measures 120m in circumference and 14m high.
We'd recommend booking a ticket in advance, to fit with your day we'd suggest between 1:30pm and 2pm.
Closed on Mondays, open 10am - 5pm Tuesday - Sunday
Peace Palace visitor centre
Built as an international symbol of World Peace, the Peace Palace was completed in 1913 to act as a home for the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the hope to end all wars. Sadly just one year later, WWI began, and we are still a long way off from solving international conflicts without physical fighting.
Today the Peace Palace houses not only the PCA but also the United Nations International Court of Justice, the Peace Palace Library and the Hague Academy of International Law. Guided tours are rare and hard to book onto, but the free visitor centre has an excellent audio guide and a small exhibition about the history of the Peace Palace and its courts. You can also tour the Peace Palace virtually.
Closed Mondays and Tuesdays, currently open 12pm - 4pm Wednesday - Sunday.
Finish your day in the Hague with a trip to the seaside! Catch tram 1 from outside the Peace Palace and ride 10 minutes to the stop called Kurhaus. From here it's a short walk through a shopping centre to Scheveningen Beach, the one featured in the panorama painting.
If the weather is nice, spend some time on the wide sandy beach, stroll the promenade and play in the arcades.
Scheveningen Pier dates from 1959 and has an enclosed lower level, an upper walkway open to the elements and a giant ferris wheel over the sea. On chilly days, head to the restaurant at the end for hot chocolate and apple pie, and be sure to pop underneath the pier to take a photograph with its multicoloured pillars.
How to get to the Hague using public transport:
Travelling from Rotterdam to the Hague:
From Rotterdam you have two options, train or metro.
To get to the Hague by train, you can either take the fast train from Rotterdam Centraal which only stops at Delft and will get you into Den Haag HS in 18 minutes, or the slightly slower train calling at 6 stations which takes about 24 minutes. Trains from Rotterdam go to the Hague very frequently, more than 10 per hour so you can just turn up and jump on the first one available.
Alternatively, head to Rotterdam metro station Beurs and take metro line E to Den Haag Centraal. The metro trains run about every 10 minutes, and call at 16 stations on the way, arriving into the Hague in 34 minutes.
Amsterdam to the Hague:
Take the Intercity train from Amsterdam Centraal towards Vlissingenfor 6 stops and get off at Den Haag HS. There are 2 trains per hour and the journey takes 52 minutes.