Utrecht city has everything you are looking for to have an awesome citytrip. In this blog 10 reasons why you should visit this city. In no particular order 🙂 Plenty of things to do: climb Dom Tower, visit one of the museums, go for a walk through historic downtown or one of the surrounding neighbourhoords, or go shopping.
More Utrecht tips or travel inspiration? Check the Utrecht Cityguide or follow me
1. Dom Tower & Dom Church
Since 1382, the icon of Utrecht is the Dom Tower. With its 112 meters it’s the largest church tower in the Netherlands and visible from (almost) wherever you are in the city. Climb the 465 steps for a marvellous view all over Utrecht and surroundings, whilst listening to interesting stories about the tower and the neighbouring Dom Church. Dom Church is – though the nave of the cathedral was destroyed by a tornado in 1674 – a big, gothic building and definitely worth a visit when in Utrecht.
Read further for more about Dom Tower & Dom Church
2. The Romans in Utrecht (Traiectum)
The historic city center of Utrecht is in itself a good reason to visit Utrecht. But did you know that the history goes all the way back to the Romans? DomUnder is the place to be to learn more about this history. During an enthusiastic tour through the archaeological excavations you see remainders of the Roman Castellum Traiectum, which were found underneath Domplein.
Museum Castellum Hoge Woerd, in new- build neighbourhood Leidsche Rijn, even exhibits a well preserved Roman ship (picture).
Read further for more about the Romans in Utrecht
3. Wharf cellars and canals
The wharfs that make the banks of both Oudegracht and Nieuwegracht two-tiered give the city not only its unique look, it also brings a lot of liveliness to the city as lots of the quayside warehouses have been turned into eateries or bars and have terraces at water level. These wharf cellars, together with the many canals, make Utrecht a beautiful, characteristic and photogenetic city.
The wharf cellars originate from the end of the 12th century to get the commodities in the storage cellars in a simpler way. Originally the goods were lifted from the boats to street level, to be carried down to the basements again once in the warehouses. The wharf cellars, with the opening at canal level, made this process far more efficient. Around 1500, both sides of Oudegracht were filled with wharfs.
* Also Nieuwegracht is beautiful – and far more peaceful than Oudegracht
* Rent a boat, sup or canoe and have a unique view on the city and the wharf cellars
* Also outside of city center, Utrecht is a city full of canals – with many restaurants, terraces, city beaches, walking and biking routes right at the canal. Check these tips for canalside terraces
4. Young & lively city
Utrecht is a young and lively city. The large university and its location right at the heart of the country make it a popular city for students and newbies. Never a dull moment in the city: the weekend offers a festival, live music or a newly opened restaurant. And, Utrecht is full of restaurants and terraces - not only in city center, also the surrounding neighbourhoods offer plenty of nice eateries and beautiful terraces.
On this page you'll find all my tips for a visit to one of Utrechts beer breweries, nice terraces and good restaurants
5. City parks
One of the things I like in Utrecht is that it’s a city with quite some green. Each neighbourhood, for example, has its own beautiful city park. Máximapark in Leidsche Rijn is big an nice enough to walk for hours, in Park Oog in Al you can enjoy food & drinks in peace underneath the big trees, Griftpark hosts festivals on a regular basis and Wilhelminapark is simply gorgeous.
Also Zocherpark around the edges of city center is worth a visit. Follow Singel while walking through a green scenery and passing remains of the former city walls, see tip.
Check out check out this route that gives more information about the monuments you pass during this ‘Rondje Singel’.
Also culturally Utrecht has a lot to offer. Go for a walk through museum quarter (close to Oudegracht) and while enjoying the peaceful streets with their beautiful brick townhouses and historic buildings you’ll pass a variety of museums.
Visit Nijntje or watch automatically playing musical instruments, after learning lots about the (history of the) city of Utrecht. Or leave city center for a unique visit to the Railway museum or Rietveld-Schröderhuis.
Read further for more information on Utrecht museums
7. Historic city center full of monuments and modern architecture
Utrecht is a city full of history, next to more modern architecture. It’s wonderful to just wander through the streets. Downtown Utrecht is inhabited for a long time already – city rights were provided in 1122 and even the Romans settled down here – what you can see in the many medieval houses and hundreds of monuments. With the renovation of Utrecht Central Station and surroundings in recent years, Utrecht gains more and more urban feel with a modern train station, fully renewed shopping center Hoog Catharijne and unique contemporary music complex TivoliVredenburg.
Utrecht is a good city for shopping. Renewed Hoog Catharijne is a fine indoor shopping mall, with all mainstream shops and a nice food court. Though, do reserve sufficient time to stroll over Oudegracht, the nice shopping streets Zadelstraat, Lijnmarkt and Twijnstraat, and to go boutique shopping in the smaller side streets.
Read further for more on my favourite shopping streets in Utrecht
9. Like a village
Utrecht has everything you expect in a big city, though for me it feels I’m living in a big village. It’s recommended to explore city center by foot and if you bike 15 minutes, most of Utrecht is within reach. Also, the beautiful and historic neighbourhoods surrounding city center are villages on their own.
Go for a city walk through multicultural Lombok, passing canals and monuments, or through the intimate and dignified neighbourhoods Vogelenbuurt & Wittevrouwen to also get to know the historic neighbourhoods surrounding downtown Utrecht
10. Fine nature reserves
The city of Utrecht is surrounded with some fine nature reserves, even op biking distance. Within 30 minutes biking you’re in the middle of river forest Amelisweerd – a nature reserve with plenty of walking and biking routes close to river Krommerijn. Or bike the other way, a beautiful route following river Vecht, to Maarsseveense and Loosdrechtse Plassen.
Save this post directly in Pinterest?