A romantic visit to De Haar Castle

The endless narrow roads take us on an infinity of twists and turns through sleepy villages. I love driving on roads that seemingly lead nowhere. It’s a lazy, sunny Sunday morning and we are the only people approaching De Haar Castle. Located in Haarzuilens, a small village in the Dutch province of Utrecht, De Haar Castle is meant to be one of those romantic buildings straight out of a Disney movie. A place of myths and legends, fantasy and fables.

It’s around 10 am when we reach the castle gates. And so, as we enter the castle grounds, we step back in time, to the 13th century, Netherlands.

Discover De Haar Castle

The history of De Haar Castle is full of mysteries. It is assumed that De Haar Castle was built in the 13th century as that’s when it was first mentioned in writing but how the original building looked like, nobody knows for sure. The castle as it is today was rebuilt in the 19th century at the desires of Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt. Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt decided to employ the renowned Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, who built the Central Station in Amsterdam who agreed to restore De Haar Castle according to its original contours.

Utrecht De Haar Castle

Although the castle itself has a neo-gothic architecture with strong elements from the Middle Ages, the interior of the castle is far from medieval. Baron Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt and his baroness had a decadent modern comfort, with hot and cold running water, central heating, electricity and an incredibly modern kitchen for the era.

Utrecht De Haar Castle Grounds

Beyond the luxurious interior of the castle, you will immediately fall in love with the castle park. And endless area of green landscape, dotted with trees, flowers and rose shrubs. The park features a lake with swans, which makes De Haar the ultimate romantic escapade for couples.

De Haar Castle Utrecht

Visiting De Haar Castle

The moment you enter the castle grounds, you leave reality behind. A fairy tale unravels with every single step you take. You’ll be welcomed by the English garden, a magical place full of English roses, then continue towards the French landscape with perfectly arranged flowers, grasslands and romantic paths.

Utrecht De Haar Castle

One quick search and you will notice De Haar Castle is one of the most popular castles in the Netherlands. This, of course, makes it difficult to take those ethereal pictures of just you and your loved ones. A little wit and a bit of planning, and you can avoid all crowds and have De Haar all for yourself.

Utrecht De Haar Castle Side

We visited first thing on Sunday morning. The park opens at 9 am whereas the castle only opens at 11 am. Since the castle itself is the main attractions, tourists and travellers usually arrive at around 11 am. But if you want romantic pictures, we advise that you get there for 9 am and start by exploring the park and gardens first. You will have 2 hours of solitude during which you can photograph the castle from all angles and explore the beautiful park alone. We know crowds can really ruin a place, so we wanted to visit De Haar Castle and experience it as the Baron and his Baroness used to back in their days. We walked hand in hand for a couple of hours and got the chance to feel like royalty together.

Beautiful De Haar Castle

Accommodation Near De Haar Castle

Situated 10km East-West from Utrecht centre, the castle is about 10 mins drive or an hour bus ride away. Below, we have collected the closest hotels which you can stay in when you drive. If you are planning on taking public transport, we recommend picking a hotel in Utrecht city centre.

Logement aan de Vecht
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Offering a terrace and views of the river, Logement aan de Vecht is located in Breukelen in the Utrecht Province Region, 4.6 km from De Haar Castle. Private parking is available on site.Rooms come with a flat-screen TV with cable channels. Some units include a seating area where you can relax. You will find a coffee machine in the room. Rooms are equipped with a private bathroom equipped with a shower. Logement aan de Vecht features free WiFi throughout the property.

Click here for prices and book Logement aan de Vecht

Carlton President
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

Only 3.6 km from De Haar Castle, Carlton President, on the edge of Utrecht, offers a free shuttle service to De Wetering, Papendorp, Oudenrijn and Maarssen Railway Station. This 4-star hotel also offers free use of both its business centre and leisure centre which includes a sauna, spa bath and steam bath.

Click here for prices and book Carlton President

Het Wapen van Harmelen
Mid-range Hotel 8.8

This hotel is located between Utrecht and Woerden along the Oude Rijn river, only 3.6 km from De Haar Castle. There is a terrace for sunny weather and parking is free of charge. Guests benefit from free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, spacious rooms with a private bathroom. A breakfast buffet is available in the breakfast area.

Click here for prices and book Het Wapen van Harmelen

Practical Information

You can visit the castle every single day, between 9 am – 5 pm. Remember, the park and shop open at 9 am whereas the castle itself opens at 11 am. Between 20 – 25 November you should visit for the Country & Christmas Fair. On December 31st, the castle closes at 4 pm and on the 1st of January, the castle and park are both closed.

Opening Times (Mon-Sun)

FacilityOpening times
Ticket desk9 am – 4.30 pm
Castle Park9 am – 5 pm
Caste (last entry, 4.15pm)11 am – 5 pm
Caste Shop11 am – 5 pm

Special dates

December 24thCastle Closes at 4 pm
December 31stCastle Closes at 4 pm
January 1stCastle and park closed
June 30thSpecial Event. Check opening times.
Fountain Utrecht De Haar Castle

The entry fee to the Castle and Park is 17 EUR for adults. You can explore the castle park only, which case the entry fee is only 6 EUR.

Ticket Prices – Park only

VisitorPrice (2019)
Adult6 EUR
Child 4-12 years4 EUR
Child up to 4 yearsFree
with Museum cardFree

Ticket Prices – Castle & Park

VisitorPrice (2019)
Adult17 EUR
Child 4-12 years11 EUR
Child up to 4 yearsFree
with Museum cardFree

Ticket Prices – Car Park

ParkingPrice (2019)
Car6 EUR

We hope you will love De Haar Castle just as much as we did. It was the highlight of our Utrecht visit and for good reason: we both love a bit of dreamy travelling romance.

Utrecht De Haar Castle Front

Thank you Visit Utrecht for organising our trip to your beautiful city. Utrecht was a dream come true and a destination worth visiting over and over again. Thank you for your tips and for organising our entrance to De Haar Castle. We had an amazing time and we hope to see it again, soon. As always, all opinions are our own and ever since we returned from our trip to Utrecht, we can’t stop telling our friends and family how incredible this place is.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory is a published travel writer and award-winning photographer. She travels full time with her husband and is passionate about creating in-depth travel guides. Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan. She has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries. Cory is multilingual and an alumna from The University of Manchester.


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