In the center of the Netherlands in the province of Utrecht lies the metropolis of the same name, which offers a lot of historical charm and a lot of cultural attractions. Utrecht, with its picturesque streets and historic canal system, is the seat of the Dutch Railways. Due to its central location in the country, the city is an important transportation hub for the railroads. The medieval city center and the canals invite to stroll and boat trips.
One can find many restaurants, cafes and shopping opportunities in the metropolis. Boat trips through the canals of the old town are especially popular with visitors and show the beautiful city in a romantic way. Utrecht offers many relaxing green spaces and many cultural institutions such as renowned museums. Among others, the Dutch Railway Museum is located in the city. A cultural monument of the Netherlands is the Utrecht Cathedral, one of the historical sights of Utrecht. The cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in Holland and has the highest church tower in the country. Due to the university, the city is also a young city with a fashionable lifestyle.
Tip 1: Utrecht Cathedral
The most famous sight of Utrecht is the Cathedral Tower. It is with 112 m height, the highest church tower in the Netherlands. You should not miss a climb to the top of the cathedral tower. From the top you have a great view of the city and its canals. During the ascent, which is only possible within a guided tour, you will learn all kinds of interesting facts about the cathedral and its tower.
In Utrecht, you can not only go high up, but also deep down. Underground, you can literally discover the history of the cathedral and the Roman fort that used to stand on this square. With a lamp you go in search underground and discover interesting and worth seeing at DOMunder. Greatly done and highly recommended.
The Gothic cathedral itself can of course also be visited, by the way free of charge Particularly interesting on a Saturday afternoon, because at 15:30 there is then often a concert, which is also accessible free of charge.
You should definitely also take a look at the cathedral’s monastery garden. The courtyard, planted with herbs and hedges, is surrounded by a beautiful Gothic cloister. The courtyard is freely accessible during the day and is an ideal place to take a rest from sightseeing.
Tip 2: De Haar Castle
De Haar Castle (Kasteel de Haar) is located about 15 kilometers outside the city of Utrecht, next to the village of Haarzuilens and only 36 kilometers from Amsterdam. When you visit the castle, be sure to make a detour to the village of Haarzuilens.
The village is built in the same style as the castle, with red and white stripes at every turn, and is in itself one of Holland’s sights. De Haar Castle is considered the most beautiful castle in the Netherlands. It is also the largest and most luxurious castle in the Netherlands. It was once the private residence of the Van Zuylen family, whose descendants still stay here every year.
In the 1960s, it became a place where the Van Zuylen van Nijevelt family hosted celebrities, from Brigitte Bardot and Coco Chanel to Maria Callas and Roger Moore. Next to the castle there is a romantic chapel and beautiful parks and gardens.
Tip 3: Canals Area
The canals of Utrecht are a true natural paradise in the middle of the pulsating metropolis. Flowering trees along the water, historic house facades and a unique atmosphere: the life of the locals takes place directly on, in and on the water of the canals, especially during the warm summer months of the year, as the canals are an important part of the culture there. Here you can splash around, swim, paddle and ride in various small boats. Families and friends alike gather along the canals and often end the day quite comfortably by the water. The cozy cafes and restaurants along the water invite you to linger and relax. From here you can find your way to the most diverse sights in Utrecht.
The most famous canal is the so-called Oudegracht, which runs once across the picturesque old town. This canal can also be optimally explored from the water – just rent a kayak or a pedal boat and explore the city from a very special perspective. A round trip boat is also worthwhile: a canal tour informs tourists about the history of the Dutch city and the origin of these canals in Holland.
Tip 4: Utrecht Lumen walk
Discover the most beautiful corners of Utrecht by night? That is also possible. Because every day at nightfall the light installations of Utrecht Lumen shine. Internationally renowned artists and students have used light art to highlight objects, buildings, streets and canals from the darkness in a special way. The whole is connected by a route that is projected on the ground with the help of light drops and can be walked in 1.5 hours.
Utrecht Lumen is on daily from nightfall until 24:00. Starting point of the route is in front of the Apollo Hotel near the Vredenburg. On this english website you can find the exact route and background information about the artworks/locations.
Tip 5: Flower Market at Janskerhof
In Utrecht, you can visit different markets just about every day to buy fresh food and flowers. On weekends, however, you should definitely not miss the flower market at the Janskerhof. The market takes place on Saturdays from 07:00 to 17:00 and promises pure Dutch culture. Everyone knows how much the Dutch love their wonderful, colorful flowers.
Lovers of these plants will get their money’s worth here: whether cut flowers, elaborate flower arrangements or delicious vegetable plants – all this is available at the flower market at Janskerhof.