One of our favorite cities in Europe has got to be Utrecht, Netherlands. Located centrally in the Netherlands, the history of the city dates back to Roman times and the Middle Ages.
Utrecht, Netherlands is characterized by it’s medieval old town intersected by it’s historic canals, some of which are over 200 years old.
During our visit, we felt that Utrecht was a more family friendly destination compared to Amsterdam.
It’s a much more compact city, and you can easily see most of the Utrecht’s main sights on foot. We spent a weekend in Utrecht Netherlands and totally fell in love with this amazing city!
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How to get to Utrecht
You can easily get to Utrecht from Amsterdam by train. Make a stop at the Utrecht Centraal station, which is located just a short walk away from the city center.
If you’re coming in by car, there are a few parking garages in Utrecht, just watch out for all the bicyclers.
Top things to do in Utrecht Netherlands
Domtoren: Dom Tower of Utrecht
One of the the top things to do in Utrecht, Netherlands is a visit to the 14th century Dom Tower. The Dom Tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, standing tall over the Domplein square.
The tower was part of the St. Martin’s Cathedral, also known as Dom Church, but was destroyed by a storm and was never rebuilt. It now stands separate from the cathedral at the exact spot it was built.
You can go on a guided tour of the tower up some 465 steps to the top, and get the most amazing views of the city.
St. Martin’s Cathedral
Just opposite the Dom Tower is St. Martin’s Cathedral. This church is another must see in Utrecht. The Cathedral is a Gothic church dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, which was the cathedral of the Diocese of Utrecht during the Middle Ages.
It was once the Netherlands’ largest church, but the nave collapsed in a storm in 1674 and has never been rebuilt.
Today the Domplein square now sits where the Nave used to be, and you will find stones in various colours in the pavement that shows the original outlines of the church.
Visit the Florahof
Situated near the Dom Tower is a little oasis in the medieval city. Here you will find a beautiful little green space, which sits in the site of a former Episcopal Palace.
This beautifully landscaped garden was a perfect place to relax and recharge after a long day of sightseeing. It is open from 12-4:30 and is free to enter.
Go on the DomUnder tour
One of the main attractions in Utrecht is the DomUnder Tour. Take an underground tour and discover 2000 years of Utrecht’s history underneath the Dom square.
Explore the archaeological finds, that date back to the Roman Castellum ‘Trajectum’, with an interactive flashlight. The tour was quite impressive and was so much fun, especially for the kiddos.
They get their own little interactive flashlight and get to learn more about the cities past Roman life with an audio guide as well. It was so much fun, and I highly recommend it when visiting Utrecht with kids.
Admire the Utrecht canals
The Netherlands is known for it’s canals. Here in Utrecht you will find a few medieval canals, some of which dates back to the 12th century.
One in particular is the Oudegracht canal which runs through the center of Utrecht. Take a stroll along the canal and just take in the amazing views of the historic city.
There are two levels along the canals, the top street levels are lined with shops, cafes and restaurants, and the bottom level are lined with terraces and restaurants.
From here you can go on a boat cruise and admire the city views from a different perspective. It was one of the most picturesque places in the city!
Janskerkhof flower market
The Netherlands are known for their tulips and cheeses. On your visit to Utrecht, make sure to visit the flower and cheese markets that usually happens on weekends.
One in particular is the Janskerkhof flower market which is held every Saturday, and sells a large variety of flowers and seeds to buy. The flower market was just absolutely beautiful, just a sea of colorful tulips in every color.
Stroll along the historic streets of Utrecht
A sightseeing walking tour of Utrecht, Netherlands is the perfect itinerary for the day. In the city centre, you walk among medieval structures and remarkable monuments, as well as some of the most beautiful architecture mixed with the more modern.
Visit one of the many cool and unique cafes lining the streets and enjoy a cup of coffee or some yummy Dutch deserts. We found a unique book cafe, where you can have some tea and peruse through the many books and just relax.
Don’t forget to rent a bicycle in the city and do as the locals do. Here you will find everyone riding a bicycle and they are everywhere, It’s the best way to see the city!
Best places to eat in Utrecht
During our sightseeing tour of Utrecht, we worked up an appetite and was so happy to stumble upon a Poke eatery. We loved the Sriracha spicy tuna bowl, and the Original one as well. Eating at Poke Perfect reminded me of the poke bowls in Hawaii, so yummy!
El Olivo Tapas and Grill
We loved all the Tapas dishes at El Olivo, especially the figs stuffed with goat cheese and honey, and their signature Sangrias. We were in food heaven here! Advance reservations are a must as the wait times were quite long.
Lewis book cafe
Lewis book cafe was one of our favorite cafes in Utrecht. We had afternoon tea here and it was delicious. The ambience is so cozy with the comfy chairs, and warm lighting. There’s even a library downstairs, so you can read a book while your sipping on some coffee or tea.
We had an amazing Mother’s day weekend in Utrecht Netherlands. You can easily spend one day in Utrecht, and it’s the perfect day trip from Amsterdam.
If you’re planning a trip to the Netherlands, make sure to add Utrecht to your itinerary, and explore this beautiful city in Holland.
The architecture in Utrecht is just so beautiful, and every street was just so picturesque.
Where to stay in Utrecht
During our weekend in Utrecht, we stayed at the Park Plaza Utrecht, which is just a short walk away from the train station and the city center. It was the perfect stay during our spring visit to Utrecht.