9 Standout memories of Utrecht, Netherlands

In En-Route, Europe, Featured, Netherlands, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

And one’s not cycling

We thought Amsterdam was the home of the cyclist, but the bustling city of Utrecht certainly comes a close 2nd.

Utrecht University, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Utrecht is only around 35 miles (56km) from Amsterdam, so it makes it an ideal place to visit for a day trip, with trains only taking around 25 minutes.

For us, though we chose Utrecht as our third & final destination on our ‘Tulips & Cheese’ road trip. We based ourselves here for a few nights so that we could explore not only Utrecht but also the picturesque windmills at the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Kinderdijk & the town of Gouda (more cheese).

Dominating skyline

Utrecht’s eye-catching Dom Tower & Cathedral stands proudly overseeing this cultural city.

The tower is Holland’s oldest and tallest, reaching 112 metres high and dates from 1321.

The Dom Tower at dusk, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Hopefully, you’ll get a clear day, as you’ll then be rewarded for climbing the 465 steps with a fantastic view across the city.

What is immediately unusual about the Dom and the Cathedral is that they are no longer connected. They sit opposite each other across the main square, showing very little trace that they were ever built as one.

St Martin's Cathedral, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

However, this wasn’t always the case, the two became damaged and separated during a tornado storm on 1st August 1674 and were never re-joined

Domkerk Pandhof

Just next to the Cathedral almost hidden is the entrance to the Pandhof of the Cathedral, this is a beautiful courtyard garden surrounded by a lovely cloister.

You feel like you have walked into an oasis, it is certainly not to be missed.

Originally built between 1390-1440 it was then later restored at the end of the 19th century.

A view into Domkerk Pandhof, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands
The Domkerk Pandhof, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Our Tip

Be sure not to miss the Domkerk Pandhof this hidden little garden is worth discovering.

Flora’s Hof

Another little hidden garden is Flora’s Hof, it’s only open a few hours each day, and you’re free to wander in and have a mosey around.

The entrance to Flora's Hof, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Neglected for years, in 2008 the garden was replanted and given a new lease of life, old photos are on display depicting its former glory days.

Floras Hof, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Waterways

One of the lovely things about Utrecht is the meandering Oudegracht canal that runs through this historic city.

The Oudegracht canal, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

What is unique about this busy waterway are the wharfs and wharf cellars that are all along the canal.

You can step down onto the lower terrace, which are public walkways & either just take a stroll or visit one of the many bars and cafes.

A tour boat on the canal, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

On the canal

As usual for me, I never turn down the opportunity of a boat trip. So we hopped on the 1-hour boat tour with Schuttevaer.

It gives you an insight into the city and how the waterways have developed over the years.

All aboard, the city canal tour, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Along part of the lower terrace, you can see under each street lamp is a little sculpture depicting a local craft or occupation.

Interesting little detail, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Take a stroll

As Utrecht is a university town, it can be quite bustling at times particularly in the city centre, but as with most towns and cities, just a short saunter back a few streets & lanes and the pace becomes more relaxed.

Lauwerhof Water tower, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

It’s around some of these corners that amazing architecture can be found along with some interesting statues and sculptures.

The quiet lanes of Utrecht, Holland, NetherlandsThinker on a Rock, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Gerrit Rietveld

One of Utrecht’s most notable residents was Gerrit Thomas Rietveld a Dutch designer and architect, who was a principle member of the artistic movement called De Stijl.

Not only can large replicas of his famous Red and Blue Chair be seen dotted around the town, his former residence ‘Rietveld Schröder House’, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.

The famous Red and Blue Chair, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands
The Rietveld Schröder House, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

For 2017, the chosen theme for the Keukenhof flower displays was “Dutch Design” and included inspiration from Rietveld and Mondriaan.

Did you know?

If you didn’t get a chance to go to Keukenhof, take a look at my “7 Million Blooming reasons to visit Keukenhof” & hopefully it will inspire to go in the future.

Take me to church

This appears to be a regular thing in the Netherlands (not that I am complaining) but we found another church that has been converted into a bar, Olivier Belgian Beer café. Well, why we were there we thought we would try their wares, it would have been rude not too.

Inside Café Olivier, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

The first one we came across was Jopenkerk in Haarlem.

Night Illuminations

If you are in Utrecht for an evening be sure to follow the Trajectum Lumen tour, here is a taster of a post come.

Illuminated Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands

Our Tip

Download a map to enjoy taking the self-guided walking tour of Tracjectum Lumen

Accommodation

Our accommodation while we were in Haarlem, was at the NH Centre Hotel, a relatively large hotel. Parking is available but at a secure offsite location.

The location was pretty good only a few minutes’ walk to the Old Town.

Inspired?

To visit Utrecht? Does the Traject Lumen tour tempt you? It makes a great base to visit the windmills if KinderDijk, as well as enjoying the city.

Why not check out the latest deals on Booking.Com?

Booking.com
A tour boat on the canal, Utrecht, Holland, Netherlands - Pinter

Have You

Visited Utrecht? Or did you study there? (You probably left you bike there – we swear there’s more bikes than people!)

About the Author

Janis

Janis, the co-founder of Our World for You, was born in London and raised in Kent and the Isle of Wight.Along with Gary her partner, they have been travelling part time since 1995. In 2016, they decided that enough was enough with the 9 to 5, so armed with the knowledge and experience that they had gained on their adventures, that they wanted to inspire others to travel the world near and far.

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