Must-sees in Utrecht
Check out these hot Utrecht highlights
Dutch and English
Central European Time (CET)
Weather and when to go
Utrecht is packed with medieval charms and a range of museums. Sure, the weather isn’t always great but there’s still plenty to do! The best time to visit is in the summer months, when you can usually wander Utrecht’s outdoor attractions in the sunshine. The busiest month for tourists in Utrecht is December, followed by August and January. Hotel and flight prices are more expensive during these months, so remember to book early! Or come in the relative quiet of June or September.
Utrecht eats and drinks
You’ll find cosy brunch spots, traditional beer cellars, even places to picnic in Utrecht. Dutch colonial history makes The Netherlands a top spot for amazing Indonesian food, so don’t miss the delicious rijsttafel (rice tables) at BLAUW. Talud9, in an old converted canalside warehouse, is a popular coffee bar that transforms into a wine bar at night. For arthouse films, the Springhaver Theatre is fun, and its adjoining café bar, Café Springhaver, is a cosy locals’ favourite for beer and bitterballen.
Top tips for visiting Utrecht
Designed as a medieval fortified city, the heart of Utrecht is encircled by the city’s inner canal ring. Explore the medieval alleyways, and keep yourself oriented by looking at the Dom Tower. Visible everywhere, it’s the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, and its 465-step climb to the top is well worth it for the views! As an evening bonus, Utrecht has a thriving music scene, so look for gigs before you arrive!
Take to the water with a canal cruise
Get your sea legs ready, or should that be your canal legs? Board a comfy boat and see the best of the fourth biggest city in the Netherlands from the water. Taking a canal cruise in Utrecht guarantees you’ll see its beautiful parks, medieval churches and cute Dutch houses as you learn the city's medieval history from a guide. If the weather’s being typically ‘Dutch’ fear not, all boats are fully heated! If it’s warm out, the side windows will be flung wide-open for even more of those medieval viewing pleasures.
Stock up at a market
Shopping at markets is something you can do practically every day in Utrecht. If you feel like shopping outdoors or away from stores and malls, explore the vendors’ wares at several of the city’s street markets. Buy roses, gerberas and the Netherlands’ best flowers every Saturday at Janskerkhof. Also on Saturday’s the fabric market on Breedmarkt is the largest and oldest of its kind in the country. For foods and snacks from fish to cheese, head to the vibrant market on Vredenburg on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
All aboard the Railway Museum
Step out into a world of trains as it was in the 18th and early 19th-century! The impressive and fully interactive Railway Museum Utrecht is home to a collection of locomotives, carriages, steam engines and even train sets. Practice your royal wave in the carriage once used by the royal family. Ride Fire Test, a virtual journey through two whole centuries of track history and show the kids how trains work in the Techlab. The Railway Museum is the best place to educate yourself and the kids on the Netherlands' train history.
Smell the flowers at the Botanic Gardens
The whole family will find something blooming marvelous about the oldest university gardens in the Netherlands. The Botanic Gardens in Utrecht makes for a peaceful escape. See orchids, a birdhouse, the Bamboo Forest, Europe's biggest rock garden, and so much more. On a sunny day, pack a picnic and pretend you’re still in the 15th-century, back when this place was first created. Learn about unique flora and fauna, witness stunning succulents in the Central Hall, and see rare fruit and plants in the Tropical Greenhouses.