Alkmaar, a great town in the heart of North Holland
Although Alkmaar is most famous for its cheese market this beautiful old town has a lot more to offer than just cheese. Make sure you spend some time exploring the old city centre with it's beautiful old buildings and canals, great shops and good restaurants and bars.
Did you know that Alkmaar has been in the top ten of best shopping cities of Holland for years? In the main streets you will find the bigger and well-known store chains and in the old city there are many beautiful small shops and boutiques. Every Saturday there is a large market in the city centre.
Food and drinks
Alkmaar has lots of squares with lovely bars and restaurants, usually with a nice terrace. Go to the Platte Stenenbrug, the Kerkplein next to the Saint Lawrence's Church or to the Waagplein when the Cheese Market has finished for a wide range of good options.
Alkmaar from the water
From the water you experience a city quite differently. You can go on a canal cruise that departs every 20 minutes on Fridays and every hour on other days from De Mient. You can also hire a boat to explore the city and it’s lovely canals yourself. Bring a picnic basket and relax with some food and drinks somewhere in the grass along the canals.
By the old canals and beautiful facades of the merchant’s houses you can tell that Alkmaar was a prosperous place for trading in the early centuries. The city has lots of wonderful historical buildings and around 400 monuments, most of them within a short walking distance from each other. Some of the most beautiful ones are the 'Waag' building where the weighing of the cheese takes place, the Town Hall and Saint Lawrence’s Church. At the Tourist Information office you can buy a city guide for a self guided city walk through the city centre.
Theatres and museums
Canadaplein (Canada square) is the cultural heart of Alkmaar. You can visit a concert or performance at the theatre. In the summer you can enjoy performances outside on the square. Or go and see the exhibitions in the Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar where you also learn more about Alkmaars rich history. Other museums worth visiting are the Dutch Cheese Museum which has a special tour for children, the Beer Museum and the Beatles Museum.
Picturesque villages like De Rijp, Graft and Grootschermer are also part of Alkmaar. Here you can really experience the typical Dutch countryside. You will also find different art galleries, unique museums and some excellent restaurants. Do you like windmills and tulip fields? Then it is definitely the area to visit! At the Windmill museum in Schermerhorn you can see a windmill from inside. The miller will tell you everything about how it works and the history of this part of Holland.
There is always something going on in Alkmaar. Especially in the summer lots of events are being organised like markets, live music at the Canada Square, a Blues festival and a Whiskey festival. Download the free Alkmaar App or check the agenda at www.evenementen-alkmaar.nl to find out what is happening when you are in town.
Alkmaar has many good large hotels in and close to the old City Centre. There are also many smaller hotels, luxury apartments, hostels and B&B's. You will find all accommodations at www.alkmaarprachtstad.nl at 'bezoek de stad' or go to www.vvvalkmaar.nl.
The North Sea beaches are only 10 kilometres away from Alkmaar. You can catch a bus from Alkmaar central station or easily cycle to nice seaside towns like Bergen aan Zee and Egmond aan Zee.