What to do in Utrecht
Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and it is a popular tourist destination. Located just about 30 min from Amsterdam, Utrecht is a perfect destination for one day trip.
Traces of the city date back as far as 50 CE with Roman occupation and during the years it has developed into an important centre of the economy for the Netherlands.
In the old town, you can explore numerous historical buildings surrounded by a network of beautiful canals and a collection of high-quality museums which attract large numbers of visitors year-round.
In this post, you can learn everything about what to do and see in Utrecht in one day or two.
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What to do in Utrecht
1. Rietveld Schröder House
The Rietveld Schröder House was built in 1924 by leading Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder and her family.
It is considered as an architectural masterpiece of the modern art movement De Stijl and UNESCO has deemed it a World Heritage Site.
The house contains many unique design features with several adjustable walls that create additional space when moved.
The house is now a museum which is a must-see for any design or architecture lovers. When you buy your entrance ticket you can also get an audio tour in different languages which is part of a guided tour.
2. The Dom Tower
When you visit Utrecht you should not miss the Dom Tower, which is the highest and oldest church tower in the Netherlands.
The Dom Tower (Dom Toren) was built between 1321 and 1382 and is 112 meters high. If you want to enjoy the amazing view, you will have to climb 465 stairs. I promise it is worth it!
The Dom Tower is one of the Utrecht´s most iconic landmarks and if you are lucky you can even see as far as Rotterdam and Amsterdam from it.
3. St Martin’s Cathedral
St Martin´s Cathedral is located just in the heart of the Utrecht city on the Cathedral Square.
Sometimes referred to as the Dom Church, this building is considered to be one of the most important churches in The Netherlands.
This Cathedral was once connected to the Dom Tower, however since the nave collapsed, the two buildings have been separated.
Visiting St Martin´s Cathedral is one of the top things to do in Utrecht and it should be on your list of must-see attractions in this city.
4. The Padhof Garden
The Pandhof Garden is part of the Dom Church and it has one of the most stunning courtyards in the Netherlands.
It was originally built in the 14th-century as a monastery garden and it is a perfect place for a short break.
DOMunder is a popular family attraction as the self-guided tour take places underneath Dom Tower inside an ancient basement that reveals the remains of the city’s rich 2,000-plus-year history.
If you want to discover the underground world of Utrecht, you should not miss this fascinating attraction.
6. Museum Speelklok (Musical Clock Museum)
Museum Speelklok is a magic place which preserves an enormous menagerie of self-playing instruments.
Many of these clockwork treasures are still in working condition and the highlights include examples of musical clocks, pianolas, and a turret clock with a Carillo.
I would recommend taking a guided tour which is available every hour so you can learn the history of these amazing musical instruments.
7. Centraal Museum
Centraal Museum is the main museum in Utrecht which features an impressive collection of artwork such as Northern Renaissance collection.
It was originally established in 1838 and it preserves many artworks from the last 10 centuries mainly from well-known local artists such as Joachim Wtewael and Gerard Van Honthorst.
Utrecht has an extensive system of canals and two kilometres long Oudegracht is the most famous canal in the city.
One of the most popular things to do in Utrecht is to take a boat on a canal cruise so you can see the city from a different perspective.
If you decide to walk among canals you will be able to find countless pleasant restaurants and cafés with a water-side terrace where you can take a break and have a drink.
9. The Railway Museum
One of the popular family attractions is visiting the Railway Museum in Utrecht.
The Museum is housed in one of the Utrecht´s old railway station and you will go on a journey through the history of the railway network in the Netherlands.
The exhibition offers the view to the early years of railways, it presents the museum’s impressive collection of locomotives, model railway and playground.
10. Janskerkhof Flower Market
If you plan your visit on a Saturday, you have a unique chance to visit the flower market in Utrecht.
The market takes places near the Janskerkhof church which is a short walk from the Dom Tower and main square.
The flower market is the perfect place to buy some Dutch tulips, bulbs or other variety of flowers.
How to get there
Utrecht is located about 30min from Amsterdam (which makes it a perfect day trip.
Intercity services run-up to every 10 minutes from Amsterdam Central to Utrecht Central and one-way tickets cost 8.10 EUR.
If you are coming from the Schiphol Airport, there is also a regular Intercity rail service to Utrecht Central station.
From Rotterdam, there is 4x hourly service which goes to Utrecht via Rotterdam Alexander and Gouda. This trip takes about 40 minutes and the ticket cost 11 EUR.
Where to eat
Anna´s Pancakes is the perfect place for breakfast or brunch in Utrecht.
You can find here a great variety of both savoury and sweet pancakes, desserts and amazing coffee.
If you fancy Asian food, Utrecht host a great Vietnamese restaurant Kimmade.
It is a very tiny place with about 4 tables which offers delicious Vietnamese food like Pho Bo or Banh Mi sandwich.
Humphrey’s is one of the cellar restaurants by the side of the Utrecht canals and it is a unique place for a dining experience.
Where to Stay
Stayokay Utrecht Centrum is located in the city centre and it is a perfect place for backpackers or when you travel in budget.
The budget double room starts at 60 EUR and you can get additional breakfast for 7.50 EUR per person.
Mother Goose Hotel is an ideal boutique hotel located about 300m from the Dom Tower. The price for a double room starts at 144 EUR without breakfast.
For a luxury stay, I recommend the Grand Hotel Karel V which offers an excellent restaurant, spa with a sauna and hot tub, indoor pool, and a fitness centre.
The price for one night in a superior double rooms starts at 200 EUR including breakfast.
Utrecht is located about 30min from Amsterdam so you can easily take a train and enjoy a weekend escape in the capital city.
If you are wondering what to do in Amsterdam in 2 days, check this travel itinerary to find out.
You can also visit Rotterdam which is equally accessible by train and it is a perfect place for a one day trip from Utrecht.
Got any activities you’d add to what to do in Utrecht? Let me know in the comments and I might add them to the list.
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