Castle de Haar: European Elegance in the Netherlands

Castle de Haar, called Kasteel de Haar in Dutch, is the biggest castle in the Netherlands. Located near Utrecht, de Haar offers a deep insight into the flamboyant life of the Van Zuylen family. This luxurious castle is characterized by its extravagant history and the stories behind its walls. You can pay to explore the castle’s stunning interior, ornate decorations, medieval architecture, and striking gardens.

Luxury Travel Guide – Castle de Haar

This luxury travel guide includes insight into the Castle de Haar history and parks and information on visiting the iconic destination in the Netherlands.

History of Castle de Haar Park

The medieval house de Haar was founded in the 13th century and belonged to a member of the Van de Haar family. The Van Zuylen family received this castle in the 15th century through marriage with the de Haar family. The architectural marvel got its pentagonal shape when it was rebuilt in the 19th century. Earlier, most of the castle was destroyed during the 15th-century disputes between Utrecht and the bishop.

The Van Zuylen family hired Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers to reconstruct and restore Castle de Haar. He worked on the castle from 1892 to 1912, turning it into the masterpiece it is today. In the 1960s, the Van Zuylens used the castle to host international celebrities, including Gregory Peck, Roger Moore, Brigitte Bardot, and Michael Caine.

In 2000, the Van Zuylens passed the castle ownership to the Kasteel de Haar Foundation. However, the family continues to stay once a month at the castle as per their agreement.

What to Expect from Your Visit to Castle de Haar

The Castle de Haar is surrounded by 135 acres or over 55 hectares of landscaped gardens with striking scenery. It’s the ideal place for a picnic or a long walk. The outside of the castle features many medieval architectural wonders, including turrets, gates, towers, suspension bridges, and moats.

It’s the largest and most luxurious castle with outstandingly picturesque views. It features a visitor center, café, and gift shop. Here’s everything you can explore during your visit to Castle de Haar:

The Castle Park

The park that surrounds the Castle de Haar is over 55 hectares. It features winding routes and avenues that lead to different gardens. The parkland, former menagerie, and woodland offer an attractive private walkway. The park also features colorful flowers, scenic ponds, and a large deer park.

You can also explore the romantic covered bridge, maze, and picnic area by the pond. The geometric gardens, such as the rose garden, offer diverse and beautiful shapes, colors, and aromas.

The Castle Interior

If you buy a combo ticket from the castle’s visitor center, you can tour the impressive inside of the castle. The interior is exceptionally detailed and striking.

It features elaborate carvings, ornate sculptures, stunning paintings, and fancy furniture. You can also find luxurious bedrooms, stained glass windows, huge armor sets, and more. It is akin to visiting an art museum with splendid views.

Castle de Haar has 200 rooms, but you can only walk through a few of them. That said, the tour is comprehensive as it takes you through the historic establishment and offers insight into luxurious medieval lives.

You can explore the grand entrance hall, dining room, and library as well. The castle also boasts a vast collection of art, furniture, and other artifacts from the Van Zuylen family.

Additionally, you can choose an audio tour of the castle in English or Dutch. Alternatively, you can opt for a friendly multilingual guide in the castle rooms to learn about the building and its former resident’s history.

If you’re fond of capturing Instagram-worthy vacation pictures, you can photograph the castle interiors without turning on the flash. However, remember the castle staff does not allow tripods, backpacks, and drones inside the buildings.

Events at the Castle

Throughout the year, Castle de Haar hosts various exciting events. These include exhibitions, fairs, and concerts. If you visit the castle in December, you can attend the annual Christmas fair.

The fair features dozens of vendors that sell unique decorations and gifts. The castle also celebrates the Elfia Fantasy Fair.

Best Time to Visit the Castle

If you wish to see the park flowers in full bloom, you must visit Castle de Haar during the summer. The Rose Garden is a delight during spring, with over 79 different species of roses.

The best time of the day to visit the castle is around 9 am when the park first opens. This way, you can enjoy exploring the grounds without many people around. Make sure to spend at least 2 hours exploring the castle and park to enjoy this marvel’s beauty in the Netherlands.

You don’t need to book in advance to visit the castle. However, if you want to skip arranging your own transport, you can book a small group tour from Amsterdam.

How to Get to Castle de Haar

You can get to Castle de Haar by renting a car, taxi, public transport, or bicycle. Alternatively, you can book a day tour that includes hotel pickup and dropoff. The castle is merely a 30-minute drive from Utrecht or Amsterdam.

Opening Hours & Entrance Fees

The castle and park are open daily during the following hours:

Castle: 11 am – 5 pm

Park: 9 am – 5 pm

The castle door closes at 4:30 pm daily.

Here’s the ticket price for the parks:

  • Parking: 6 Euros
  • Adults: 7 Euros
  • Kids (4-12): 5 Euros
  • Kids (0-4): Free

If you want to explore the castle interior, you can get the combo ticket that includes the park and interior. Remember to keep your credit or debit card since the castle does not accept cash.

Explore Other Luxury Travel Guides

Did you enjoy this luxury travel guide? Vacation Venturer has other luxury holiday destinations and detailed luxury travel guides that you can explore here!

VacationVenturer: Elevate your journey with exclusive insights into the world’s 7-star hotels, best first-class international flights, and top luxury travel destinations. From the best luxury beach resorts in Colombia to cultural travel experiences in Europe, we guide you through the pinnacle of luxury travel.

Scroll to Top