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Jan 30, 2015

Utrecht, Netherlands: Castle De Haar

Back in early spring of last year, D and I took a trip through various parts of Belgium and the Netherlands with another couple. We did a handful of beer tours/tastings (more on those to come), wandered around some gorgeous Dutch towns (Utrecht & Tilburg, to be exact), and experienced one of Europe's best-kept castles…Castle De Haar. If you've ever Google searched fairytale castles in Europe, you'll likely come across and aerial view of Castle De Haar, the Netherlands largest and most famous castle. It's…in one word…marvelous. Aside from the outside of Germany's famed Neuschwanstein Castle, I'd say it's the 2nd most impressive castle I've seen through all my European travels.

The castle itself was entirely restored and partially rebuilt in the 19th century, but historical records of a building at this location date all the way back to 1391. Castle De Haar is special because it's one of the only few castle across Europe with the same paramount image of a medieval fortress--towers, canals, ramparts, and drawbridges, just to name a few charming qualities. It's literally the exact image I had in my head of what a true castle would look like, if I were living a few centuries back in time. There were even swans swimming in the ponds. Total fairytale castle if I ever saw one.

The only way to see the inside of the castle is to purchase a guided tour, but we were short on time and, honestly, with as many castle interiors we'd seen over the years, we were fine skipping the tour. The real star of the show is always the castle façade, for me at least. I would also recommend wandering around the gardens surrounding the castle. The smell of blooming flowers was unbelievably strong and made our walk even more pleasant.

If you ever find yourself with an hour to spare around Utrecht, don't hesitate to hunt down this beautiful reminder of Netherlands history!

Castle De Haar- Kasteellaan 1, 3455 RR Haarzuilens
Castle open daily 11am-5pm (guided tour required for entry)
Guided Tour: €14
Entrance to park/gardens: €4
Parking fee: €4
Tours start on the hour with 2 English tours daily. 
English audio tours available as well.


  1. It's pretty isn't it?! I worked there last year on a winter/christmas fair for a couple of days and really enjoyed it! Also the small town itself, Haarzuilens, is nice to stroll around for a bit :)

  2. I understand the feeling of having seen enough tour castles for a lifetime! ;) I never knew about this tough, and it's amazing! I really have to try and go see it, looks amazing. Thanks for the virtual tour!

    Eithne on the Moon | Lifestyle, books and travels!

  3. I tried to get Nick to spontaneously go to Utrecht when we were in Amsterdam and he talked me out of it :) since we really didn't have time anyways, but I really would like to visit when we're in the area in the future!

  4. What an amazing castle. I haven't made it to the Netherlands yet.

  5. Wow what an amazing placing I would love to visit a castle one day

  6. Wow so pretty! www.eatallovertheworld.com

  7. Love the spires! I can never get sick of Europe's extensive castle collection!

  8. OMG!! You were like 10 minutes for where I live!! Ooooh, if only I'd known!!

  9. We are planning a trip to this region for summer 2016 because my mother was born near Tilburg. We are taking the whole family and plan on spending a week in the region. This castle is now top of our list! Thanks for sharing!

  10. So funny: I've been to this castle like a million times when I was a kid, but I couldn't remember the name anymore. This is the first time since a lot of years I've seen it again! Great that you've mentioned it on your blog!


  11. This looks amazing! I wish I had gone there when I lived in the Netherlands - I had no idea! Oh well, next time.

  12. Netherlands is famous for its autonomous structures and building occupancy; I got my Netherlands visa last year and traveled there with my friend I was very much amused by the different designs and architecture in Netherlands.


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