Alkmaar is a beautiful city with plenty to do for young and old! It is a city with a special atmosphere, partly due to the characteristic canals and historic buildings. It has many ancient traditions and is known as the City of Cheese. In Alkmaar, you can go for lovely walks, go shopping, or enjoy a meal or a drink in one of the many restaurants and pubs in the Waagplein square. There is also plenty to do in the evenings, as Alkmaar has the best nightlife in the area so it is always vivacious!
Alkmaar lies in Noord-Holland and is easy to get to by car. It has two train stations, one of them just outside the city centre, and just a ten-minute walk back to the centre. Alkmaar is near the seaside resort of Bergen aan Zee, where you can enjoy an invigorating beach walk or, in nice weather, relax at one of the atmospheric beach restaurants or cafés. You can hire a bicycle at Fietspoint Stoop next to the station.
You may certainly not miss the famous cheese market held in Alkmaar on the Waagplein, dating back four centuries, where a sale of cheese is still traditionally clinched with a handshake. The cheese porters are easy to recognize, with their white uniforms and straw hats. The Alkmaar cheese market attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year. An interesting trivia is that people have also nicknamed the inhabitants of Alkmaar as ‘cheese heads’.
Especially for children there is a children’s cheese market, where a guide gives them a tour and does fun activities with them. The children’s cheese market is only held on Fridays in the months of July and August.
You can visit the cheese market every Friday morning from 10 am, from April to
Alkmaar has more than 400 monuments, such as De Waag weigh house, the Stadhuis town hall and the Grote St. Laurenskerk church. If you would like to take in the most beautiful places in Alkmaar, go on the city tour mapped out in the Freebee Map in the brochure that you can order via this website using an SMS service. By doing this tour, you can be sure that you have seen everything there is to see in Alkmaar.
Alkmaar has everything to offer in the area of art and culture, with its many museums. These are the most well-known of the museums:
The Beatles Museum – discover all there is to know about this famous pop group from the seventies;
The Hollands Kaasmuseum – cheese museum showing the history of dairy produce;
The Nationaal Biermuseum De Boom – beer museum housed in a former 17th century brewery, with a traditional pub serving a wide variety of special beers;
The Nederlands Kachelmuseum – museum exhibiting all kinds of stoves from 1900 to the present day;
The Stedelijk Museum – national museum about the history of Alkmaar and the surrounding area.
In the old centre of Alkmaar, you can look round the many different and original shops.
The Langestraat is the largest shopping street in Alkmaar, but don’t forget the smaller shopping streets! The Achterstraat is a lovely street where you can take your time to browse. The Fnidsen is home to art galleries, interior design shops and authentic traditional shops. The beautiful intricate gables give an added touch of luxury to these many types of shops.
Ritsevoort lies on the edge of the city centre, near the De Singel car park. This area has all kinds of shops, from clothes shops to interior design shops, as well as the hairdressers and the florists. The indoor shopping centre Noorder Arcade is the place to go to for the larger shops with a wide variety of toys, Hifi equipment, clothes and sports equipment.
Alkmaar is an excellent place to enjoy a lunch, a delicious dinner or a drink. Ritsevoort is not just a good area for shopping, but also for relaxing with a refreshing cup of coffee, and has a wide variety of pubs and restaurants. The Waagplein is also a superb place for dining out or for a drink; and in the summer you can enjoy a drink or a bite to eat at a pavement café and take in the lively atmosphere.
Alkmaar also has a lot to offer in the way of nightlife. There are many pubs and bars where you can spend a pleasant evening; most of them are on the Waagplein. A few canals further from the Waagplein, the Verdronkenoord offers even more things to do at night, with places open to the early hours of the morning.
Alkmaar organizes many events, such as the Culinair Plaza culinary festival, the Jazz & Muziekweekend, a weekend of jazz and music, and the Alkmaars Ontzet two-day festival commemorating the end of the Spanish occupation. Alkmaar has two cinemas - the Minerva Bioscoop and the Filmhuis; two theatres - theater Provadje and theater de Vest, and for concerts the (Pop)podium Victorie.
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