Located in the province of North Holland lies Alkmaar. Alkmaar is a charming and historic city that perfectly embodies the essence of Dutch culture and heritage. Known for its famous cheese market, picturesque canals, and well-preserved architecture. Alkmaar offers a delightful blend of old-world charm and trendy attractions. So read on and uncover the top things to do and see on your visit to Alkmaar.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through & make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your supporting Mel’s Scene!
As you follow my Netherlands Road Trip, from Giethoorn drive to Alkmaar. I recommend driving north and taking the road that literally crosses the ocean! It is a cool site to see. Once you have arrived in Alkmaar, check into your hotel. We stayed in a wonderful townhome, RITCH located near the town center.
However, there are plenty of other options, check out my pre-filtered Alkmaar Hotel list here to book your perfect stay.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN ALKMAAR
Immerse Yourself in the Cheese Market Tradition:
No visit to Alkmaar would be complete without experiencing the world-renowned cheese market. Held on Fridays from April to September, this lively event showcases the city’s deep-rooted cheese-trading heritage. Watch as cheese carriers, dressed in traditional costumes, transport and weigh giant wheels of cheese, accompanied by the rhythmic clapping of wooden clogs. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, sample a variety of Dutch cheeses, and learn about the fascinating history of this centuries-old tradition.
Mel’s Tip: When planning your trip make sure you arrive early on Friday. Another option is to stay in Alkmaar on a Thursday night. That way you can wake up and see the traditional cheese market in full action. The cheese market is typically held on Fridays from 10 am to 1 pm. For up-to-date information visit the Alkmaar Cheese Market Website.
Wander Through the Historic City Center:
Take a leisurely stroll through Alkmaar’s well-preserved historic city center, which exudes a captivating medieval ambiance. Admire the beautiful facades of the traditional Dutch houses, explore quaint streets like Houttil and Fnidsen. You will also discover hidden courtyards and charming squares along the way. Don’t miss the iconic Waagplein, a picturesque square dominated by the imposing Waag (Weigh House), a symbol of Alkmaar’s trading heritage.
Visit the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar:
Delve into Alkmaar’s rich cultural heritage by paying a visit to the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar. This impressive museum houses an extensive collection of Dutch art and historical artifacts. Marvel at the works of renowned Golden Age painters like Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen and discover the city’s history through exhibitions that showcase archaeological finds, regional costumes, and intricate silverware. The museum also offers interactive displays, making it engaging for visitors of all ages.
Explore the Canals and Windmills:
Just like many Dutch cities, Alkmaar is adorned with picturesque canals and iconic windmills. Take a relaxing boat tour along the city’s waterways, passing by historic buildings and charming bridges. Enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings as you learn about Alkmaar’s water management systems and the vital role canals played in the city’s development. For a closer look at the windmills, head to the nearby Schermerhorn village, where you can visit the well-preserved Schermerhorn Windmill Museum.
Discover the Beatles Connection:
Alkmaar holds a unique connection to one of the most legendary bands in music history, The Beatles. In 1964, the band famously visited the city to film a television appearance. Follow in their footsteps by exploring landmarks like the Beatles Museum, which displays an extensive collection of Beatles memorabilia, and visit the Beatles Statue in the heart of the city. Enjoy a nostalgic journey back in time and pay homage to the iconic band that left their mark on Alkmaar.
“Sweets” Oudhollandse Museum Winkel
Step into the “Sweets” Oudhollandse Museum Winkel and be greeted by a nostalgic atmosphere. The shop showcases a wide range of traditional Dutch candies. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift, a tasty souvenir, or simply want to indulge your sweet tooth, the “Sweets” Oudhollandse Museum Winkel is a must-visit destination in Alkmaar. So take a stroll through this delightful shop, embrace the nostalgia, and treat yourself to some of the most beloved sweets from the Dutch heritage.
Kaan’s Kaashandel Cheese Shop
Pop into Kaan’s Kaashandel and prepare to be amazed by the extensive range of cheeses from all across the Netherlands and beyond. From traditional Gouda and Edam to unique artisanal cheeses, you’ll find a cheese for every palate and preference. The shop takes pride in offering high-quality cheeses that reflect the rich cheese-making traditions of the region.
Have High Tea with Alpacas
Share your lunch moment with alpacas at Alpaca Eco Farm! This place is insanely cute. You can enjoy your high tea right beside the sweetest alpacas, all while learning fun facts. If you do not wish to have high tea, you can also just visit to feed or walk the alpacas.
Enjoy a Tasty Meal
Alkmaar probably has some of the tastiest restaurants in the Netherlands. Whether you’re looking for local specialties, international cuisine, or a fusion of flavors, Alkmaar has something to suit every taste. Remember to make reservations in advance, especially during peak hours or weekends, to secure a table at your preferred restaurant.
These are just a few of the many excellent restaurants in Alkmaar we tried & loved:
- t Friethuys Greoneveld (famous fries)
- Mamma Peppino (Italian)
- De Koperen Pot (French)
- Khunchai Thai (Thai)
- De Koffiemolen Alkmaar (breakfast/cafe)
I hope this blog post helps you plan your perfect visit to Alkmaar and inspires you to add the Netherlands to your travel list! If you happen to use this itinerary, tag me on Instagram @Mels_Scene and I will happily share your trip on my stories!
If you need any help planning or have any questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. What did you think of the cave tour? Tell me in the comments below!