Haarlem, just 20 minutes train from Amsterdam, is the perfect day trip city in The Netherlands. And to fully enjoy a day trip, you’ll need a great ice cream in your hand as you wander the pretty brick alleyways of Haarlem, admire the gothic architecture, and watch local boats ply the lazy waters of the Spaarne.
So, the question remains – where should I buy the perfect ice cream cone?
The contenders for best Haarlem ice cream
There are many ice cream options, but for this breakdown, I’ll focus on some of the most popular spots near the city centre. Get your spoons ready – let’s take a look at what ice cream Haarlem has to offer!
Garrone Ice Cream
Arguably, the most popular ice cream spot in Haarlem is Garrone Ice Cream, situated at the tail end of Grote Houtstraat, Haarlem’s wonderfully walkable shopping street. Visit on a sunny day, and you may find an epic queue of people lining up out the door, eager for an icy cold Italian ice cream.
There’s a huge selection of flavours, including some unusual picks such as ginger and rhubarb, while modern favourites such as tiramisu, crazy cherry and oreo are also worth trying. Want something that’s pretty uniquely Dutch? You’re in luck, because they have bitterkoekjes (a kind of Dutch almond cookie) and Haarlemse Kus (Haarlem Kiss)!
Chances are, one of the first things you’ll do in Haarlem is visit the incredible Gothic masterpiece, the Grote Kerk. Good news! That means you’re already close to Gelateria Bartoli, an ice cream shop which is located in one of the gallery shops built right up against the cathedral!
The selection isn’t as extensive as Garrone, but at the same time, you have the novelty of ordering great ice cream from the foot of a Gothic cathedral. Gelateria Bartoli sells macarons and waffles in addition to their ice creams. It’s the perfect place to visit once you’ve finished dining in one of the great restaurants that surround the Grote Markt on a warm summer’s evening.
Ijscafe Da Benito
If you’re willing to venture further up north, Ijscafe Da Benito is a friendly local ice cream parlour, with friendly service and very cheap scoops. In summer, after dinnertime, it gets just as busy as some of the bigger shops, so there’s still a sense of excitement to line up!
My personal pick for the best ice cream in Haarlem
After trying those ice creams listed, I have a personal favourite; one which I kept coming back to again and again. So, which one is it? Drumroll, please!
Chocolaterie Pierre is technically a chocolate shop first, and an ice cream parlour second. But at the end of the day, it’s the ice cream that counts! There’s usually quite a small selection of ice creams to choose from, but the flavours change regularly.
The gelatos here are wonderful, from the cinnamon apple, caramelised banana, salted caramel, cafe mocha, and praline truffle. There is, of course, awesome chocolate ice cream. They’re served with a nice wedge of pure milk chocolate on top.
The location is right on Kleine Houtstraat, one of Haarlem’s most charming and fun restaurant streets, a crookback street for pedestrians only and all kinds of tempting meal options. It’s a stone’s throw from the cathedral, and right next to the Spaarne.
Next time you’re in Haarlem, I hope you’ll enjoy a great local ice cream, because Haarlem has some real contenders to choose from. And hey, why not try all of them and see which one you prefer the most?