The Hague (in Dutch it’s Den Haag) is home to many of the Netherland’s judicial and administrative buildings as well as the International Criminal Court. As such, this is a very government oriented town, and many residents work for either the Dutch government or the ICC. While that can make it a “stuffy” place to visit, the city has fascinating architecture, an amazing array of parks, museums, and even a beach that is hugely popular in the summer (head there for some great seafood restaurants on the boardwalk any time of the year). The Hague may be more “stuffy” than youthful Amsterdam, but it is no less interesting.
Hostel prices – A 6-bed dorm in The Hague will cost you about 19 EUR per night. There aren’t a lot of options for private rooms in hostels in the city though so it’s best to book in advance, especially during peak months. A private rooms costs about 55-65 EUR. Hostels typically offer free linens and free WiFi.
Budget hotel prices – You can find a room at 2-star hotel that’s centrally located starting at 50 EUR. They will include free WiFi, private bathrooms, and air-conditioning. On Airbnb, you can find shared rooms between 15-28 EUR and entire homes around 40-55 EUR per night. Because this is a government city and many people visit here for business, hotel prices tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum. That being said, if you have extra money to spend, there are a lot of beautiful Bed and Breakfasts in this city!
Average cost of food – You can buy cheap meals such as pizza, gyros, and sandwiches for about 5 EUR. For a meal in a restaurant, you’ll spend about 20 EUR for a main dish and drink. Cheap meals at fast food joints or places like Maoz or Walk to Wok cost around 10 EUR. Fast food like Febo, cheap Dutch food, is around 5-10 EUR. If you cook your meals, expect to pay 50 EUR per week for groceries that will include pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other basic foodstuffs.
Transportation – The Hague has a reliable public transit system known as the Randstadrail. You can buy a day ticket for 6.50 EUR or single tickets for 3.50 EUR. Taxis cost a minimum of 3.20 EUR and fares are 2.05 EUR per km. The city is also pretty bikeable and full-day rentals start at 7.50 EUR per day. If you’re traveling between The Hague and Rotterdam, consider the tourist day ticket (see money saving tips).
Suggested daily budget – 50 EUR / 52 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)
Money Saving Tips
- Skip the restaurants – Eating out in this city can be pretty expensive. All those European officials drive up prices. Save yourself some money and eat at little sandwich shops or buy your own food.
- Rent a bicycle – Bikes are a big part of Dutch culture and most people use them to get around. You can rent a bike starting at 7.50 EUR for a full-day. Dutch cities are also very small and easily walkable.
- Get the Museumkaart (Museum Card) – Good for one year, this card gets you into museums in the Netherlands for only 60 EUR. With the Museum Card, you get access to more than 400 throughout the Netherlands. It’s also good for repeat visits as well!
- Use Couchsurfing — It’s a service that lets travelers stay at a locals’ homes with them for free. Since a lot of travelers use this service, make your requests for hosts early.
- Cook – Dutch food isn’t going to win any awards. Try a few places but cook often (or at least make lots of sandwiches). Eating out in the city isn’t cheap and if you’re paying a lot for your accommodation, your daily costs can shoot through the roof. Head to the supermarket and get some food to cook! You’re not missing out on anything.
- Take a free walking/bicycle tour – If you want an overview of the city, take one of the free walking tours via The Hague Greeters. This is a network of local volunteers who want to show you around their city. You can request a walking or bike tour, just be sure to plan one at least two weeks in advance through their site. You’ll get paired with a local that will show you the hidden gems of The Hague.
Top Things to See and Do in The Hague
- Walk around the Plein – This square occupies the center of town and is filled with historical medieval buildings. The north side of the square is hopping during the summer months and lined with restaurants and bars.
- Take a tour of the Mauritshuis – Although the tour of this museum won’t take more than an hour, it contains a royal picture gallery of William V, Johannes Vermeer, and Andy Warhol. Pay 14 EUR for the audio tour.
- Shop along Denneweg – Although some of the restaurants in this area are pretty upscale, you can walk down the main street here, window shop and stop off at a pub for lunch.
- Relax in Westbroekpark – If you want to get away from the touristy parts of the city, come to this serene park, which has over 20,000 types of roses that bloom from June through November.
- Visit the Hague Municipal Museum – If you’re an art lover, don’t miss this museum. It contains some of the early works of Picasso, Monet, and van Gogh. Admission is 13.50 EUR. The museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 11am-5pm.
- Head to the beach – The Hague is right near the water and during the summer months, it’s a popular destination for people to visit. There are also a lot of good restaurants on the beach too.
- Visit the Binnenhof – Learn about the country’s history as you visit the Binnenhof. It looks like a palace and is where the Dutch government resides, where the Dutch throne is located and where the Queen delivers her speech to parliament every year. Whether you’re a history buff or not, it’s a fascinating place to spend the afternoon. It’s open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm.
- Visit the Museum de Gevangenpoort – The Gevangenpoort has an extensive history. In the 1400s it was a prison but for the past two centuries has been a museum. It’s interesting to walk through and learn about medieval torture. Admission is 7.50 EUR. The museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 10am-5pm on weekdays and 12pm-5pm on weekends.
- Check out the Escher Museum – M. C. Escher was a Dutch graphic artist whose work is famous all over the world. This museum is dedicated entirely to him and gives an interesting overlook of his life’s work. For about 9 EUR, you get to wander 2 floors worth of exhibits and make some art of your own. Admission is 9.50 EUR. The museum is open daily (except Mondays) from 11am-5pm.
- Walk through the Japanese garden – Originally designed and constructed during the 1870’s, this garden is a beautiful alternative to the Dutch culture that is predominate throughout The Hague. It is complete with a tea-house, beautiful rocks laid out in manicured areas, Japanese lanterns and statues, and plenty of idyllic pathways lined by flowers. Admission is free.
- Visit the Ridderzaal Knights Hall – Originally built between the 13th and 14th centuries, this castle once belonged to the Earls of Holland. The building is visually striking and the interior is filled with famous wood carvings. It’s open Monday-Saturday from 10am-4pm.
- See Mini Holland at Madurodam – This miniature version of Holland contains a selection of Dutch architecture, ranging from Amsterdam’s canals and church spires from Utrecht and Den Bosch, to modern architecture from Rotterdam and the enormous Delta works that protect the country from the sea. Madurodam also has an airport, a seaport, beaches, and little cars and trains running through the entire town. Admission is 16.50 EUR (12.50 EUR if you book online). It has hours that fluctuate but tends to be open from at the minimum from 11am-5pm.