Visit Santpoort (near Haarlem)

At first glance, sleepy Santpoort (Sandport) may not seem to offer much to visititors and tourists to Haarlem. but anyone interested in medieval history will be delighted with the Ruins of Brederode Castle, families with kids under 7 will love the super playground in Santpoort-Noord. And nature-lovers will be in heaven, with foodies being very well-served in the excellent  restaurants.

Getting to Santpoort Noord and Santpoort Zuid

People often confuse Santpoort with Zandvoort, but they are worlds apart. Zandvoort is a sea villsaga, but gentle, historic Santpoort is more inland. And about 25 minutes from more brash than the sea-side village of Zandvoort. Santpoort is actually composed of two separate villages – Santpoort-Noord – with a lovely cobble-stoned shopping street lined with boutiques and foody-focussed shops. And leafy Santpoort-Zuid, with it’s lovely residential streets. Both of the villages have their own train station (the second and third stations from Haarlem on the train from Amsterdam or Haarlem in the direction of Uitgeest).

Ruine van Brederode

The Brederode castle ruins are stunning and very much intact. The castle was founded in the second half of the 13th century by William I van Brederode (1215–1285). In the 19th century this was one of the first structures to be restored, making it the first national monument of the Netherlands. You can walk around the ruins freely while revelling in the surrounding pastural landscape. There are also several species of bats to be found in the ruins.

Brederode Castle Ruins in Santpoort near Haarlem

Eating & Drinking in Santpoort

Stepping of the train in Santpoort-Zuid, you’ll find a lovely bistro/brasserie called Klein Centraal for a relaxed drink or meal. Another great dining experience  is to be had in the romantic Boschbeek restaurant, where Keizerin Sissi was a guest in the past.

Santpoort with kids

Most of the inhabitants of Santpoort are former city-goers with young children. This means that there is plenty to do with kids. Stepping off the train from Santpoort-Noord and crossing the road, you’ll find the lovely Santpoort playground (called Tante Eef locally), which is a sure-winner with both parents and kids under 7. For a nominal entrance fee (currently EUR 0,75 per person) the whole family can find some peace. Parents can relax on a sunny bench, while the kids play in a relaxed fenced-off environment. Older – or wilder kids – can blow off some steam in the skateboard park across the road, where all the tweens are very friendly (although they do their best to be cool).

Playground Santpoort (Tante Eef)