Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands, founded in the middle of the first century. It served as a defense point on the border of the Roman Empire. A little later, representatives of Germanic tribes settled here, whose descendants still live in modern Netherlands.
Utrecht is located in the central part of the country. Its area reaches 100 km2, and the number of inhabitants is 300,000. Today it plays the role of the main railway junction of the Netherlands, and its main attractions are ancient architectural buildings, museums and gardens.
Historical fact! In 1579, a union was signed in Utrecht, uniting the Dutch provinces into a single state.
What to see in Utrecht? How to spend your vacation in one of the largest cities in the Netherlands, what interesting places are worth a look? The answers to all your questions are in this article.
Attractions Utrecht (Netherlands)
Utrecht is a very colorful and diverse city. There are almost 20 museums and 12 parks here, they go boating and visit ancient castles. For those who stayed in the city for a short while, we picked up 8 attractions of Utrecht that can be viewed in one day.
Utrecht is divided up and down by the water straits connecting the city with the capital and other provinces of the Netherlands. Unlike Amsterdam, the canals in Utrecht are two-tiered – they are deepened into the ground and seem to divide the city into two parts, one of which is on the embankment, and the second is one level higher, on the streets we are familiar with.
Many tourists, having arrived in the city, immediately go on a ring cruise, while others enjoy walking along the promenade and relaxing in coastal cafes. For those who want to independently manage their movements and experience the charm of water adventures at the same time, there are catamaran, boat and canoe rental zones throughout the city.
In 1924, there was no time machine, but Schroeder’s house already existed. Unique, from the point of view of that era, the building today can deservedly be called the most unusual house of all time.
Mr. Schroeder was one of the few people who manage to satisfy the strange desires of his wife. At her request, the Dutch designer and architect managed to create a house without walls, which later became a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All the furniture invented by Gerrit Rietveld folds compactly after use, the doors in the rooms are opened using levers and mechanical buttons, and there is a lift for serving food between the first and second floors.
Schroeder’s house is located on the outskirts of the city at Prins Hendriklaan 50. The cost of visiting is 16.5 €, for children from 13 to 17 years old – 8.5 €, from 3 to 12 – 3 €.
- Tue-Thu, Sat-Sun from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Friday from 11 to 21.
Important! You can only enter the House with a ticket purchased in advance on the website of the Central Utrecht Museum – centraalmuseum.nl. Please note that the entrance to the attraction opens every hour for visiting by no more than 12 tourists.
The oldest botanical gardens in the Netherlands were opened in 1639. Initially, this place was a pharmacy town for students and teachers of the University of Utrecht, but in the 18th century the garden became not just a scientific corner, but also a great place to relax.
Over almost 400 years of its existence, the Botanical Gardens have repeatedly changed and expanded to eventually become home to almost 18,000 plants from more than 10,000 species. Today you can see unique specimens from all over the world, many of which are stored in specially equipped greenhouses.
Interesting to know! To account for the number and types of plants in the Botanical Gardens, a special computer program was developed.
In addition to collections with unique flora, on the territory of the attraction there is a large theme garden, opened in 1995. This is a favorite place for young travelers, because it is here that they can study the features of plant life with a good example, as well as get to know them better thanks to innovative equipment.
On the territory of the gardens there are many shops, a pond and cafes. A visit to this attraction should be moved to the first half of the day in order to have time to admire its beauties before closing. Exact address: Budapestlaan 17, working hours: from 10 to 16:30. Entrance price: 7.5 € for adults, children under 12 free.
The Dome Cathedral, built in the 13th century, is Utrecht’s main religious attraction. Despite the fact that this is one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the Netherlands, this is not what attracts tourists to it, but a huge tower with a panoramic view of the city.
To climb to the observation deck, you need a lot of strength and courage. Basically, more than 400 steps, a 95-meter height and a long climb up the dark spiral staircases do not scare travelers, but some prefer to admire the surrounding beauties from the benches or at the cafe tables located in the “bishop’s garden” – the courtyard of the cathedral.
The doors of the temple are open from dawn to dusk, you can enter there completely free of charge. You have to pay only for a long climb – 9 € for travelers without benefits, 5 € – for children aged 4-12 years, 7.5 € – for older students and schoolchildren. You can buy tickets in advance on the official website www.domtoren.nl.
Note! Ascent to the observation deck of the tower is carried out in groups every hour. If you want to take beautiful photos of Utrecht, and not its tourists, go here an hour or two after the opening.
The exact location of the attraction is Domplein 21. The tower is open daily: from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 17, on Sunday and Monday from 12 to 17.
Built in 1838, the museum from a small collection of ancient paintings turned into a huge complex, located on five floors of several united buildings. It has everything you can and should know about Utrecht – a modern city with a very rich cultural heritage. This attraction, in essence, consists of several smaller ones:
- The art gallery, which contains the masterpieces of Morelse, Skorel, Bokoven, Neumann, Maris and other artists of the Netherlands;
- Museum of the Utrecht Archaeological Society, in which you can find ancient elements of Dutch culture and rarities, over a thousand years old;
- The Central Museum, which tells all about Utrecht and the inhabitants of the city;
- Archbishop’s Museum with unique religious exhibits.
The whole complex is open daily, except Mondays, from 11 to 17. The total entrance fee is 13.50 €, for children 13-17 years old – 5.5 €, for young children and preschoolers – for free. The attraction is located at Nicolaaskerkhof 10.
Going to this attraction, be patient and do not take all your money with you. In this flower market, even those who do not really like these wonderful representatives of the plant world lose their heads. Huge roses, beautiful tulips, sunflowers, asters and hundreds of hundreds of potted flowers – all this wealth is sold here every Saturday morning at ridiculous prices.
The cost of bouquets on the market starts from 1-2 euros, and, for example, for 50 chic fresh tulips you can give only 5-7 €. Bloemenmarkt also sells lemons and oranges, indoor palm trees and many other plants. You can delight your soul with a portion of pleasant aromas and extraordinary beauty on Janskerkhof Square.
Another museum, which is famous for the city of Utrecht, has collected the largest collection of jukeboxes in all the Netherlands. Music boxes and watches, barrel organ, self-playing pianos, chimes, organs and many other exhibits will sound for you, despite your venerable age.
This interactive museum is very interesting for both adults and children. You can independently turn the magic mechanism to hear its melody, or literally touch the art by scrolling the handle of one of the exhibits. Many travelers strongly recommend taking a paid tour, as some tools may include only a guide.
The attraction is located on Steenweg 6. This fabulous place is open daily from 10 to 17. Entrance fee – 13 €, visitors 4-12 years old are entitled to a 50% discount.
Present! You can pay for the entrance to the museum on site, but ordering tickets online on the official site of the attraction, you can get an additional gift, for example, a glass of lemonade from the cafeteria.
Another amazing attraction of Utrecht and the Netherlands is the railway museum. It is located on the site of the old Maliebaanstation, which belonged to the Utrecht-Amsterdam line, but was closed in 1921 due to high competition. In the early 2000s, this place was completely reconstructed: most of the territory was filled with cars and locomotives of different eras, and one platform was assigned to fulfill its natural role – a train comes from the central station of the city.
According to travelers, visiting a railway museum can take half a day, especially if you are with children. Het Spoorwegmuseum is divided into two halves:
- The first is the old station and many old exhibits. This part is free, anyone can go here and walk on wagons unusual for our time;
- The second part contains the most interesting exhibits, a children’s interactive zone, additional show rooms (for example, a trip in an old train), a laboratory where you can conduct physical experiments, a theme store and a cafe. Her visit costs 17.5 euros, for children under three years old admission is free.
You’ll like it! The Het Spoorwegmuseum houses many unique exhibits, one of which is the Wilson, the hero of the famous cartoon “Chuggington Train”.
The museum is open daily, except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can buy tickets on this website www.spoorwegmuseum.nl.
Prices for accommodation in Utrecht do not stand out among other cities in the Netherlands. There are only a few dozen hotels in the city, the minimum price per night starts from 25 € per person (in a hostel). A more comfortable stay in a three-star hotel will cost at least 60 € for two, in a four-star hotel – 80 €.
A more economical option is to rent apartments directly from residents of the Netherlands. Renting a one-room apartment with a personal kitchen and bathroom will cost at least 40 €, but travelers with a limited budget can also rent a room with the owners for only 20-25 €.
Cafes and restaurants
Utrecht has a lot of catering establishments, most of them are located in the area of the most popular attractions, on the banks of canals and in the city center. Food prices in this region of the Netherlands are as follows:
- Lunch in an inexpensive three-course cafe – 15 € per person;
- Complete dinner in an average restaurant for two – from 65 €.
Most establishments offer Italian, French and Mediterranean dishes.
How to get to Utrecht (Holland)
It is impossible to get to the city directly by plane, since there is no airport in it, and most often travelers have to fly to the capital of the Netherlands, and from there go to their destination. To cover the 53-kilometer distance between Utrecht and the Netherlands, you can use:
- By train. Intercity Intercity departs from Amsterdam Centraal station every half hour from 00:25 to 23:55, they only take 27 minutes to the Utrecht Centraal stop. You can buy tickets for 6-12 euros on the Dutch railway website;
- Taxi. Such a trip will take about an hour and will cost at least 100 euros. This option may be beneficial for a group of travelers with a lot of luggage.
Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands that can be called one of the most unusual in the country. Visit it and see for yourself. Have a nice trip!