Utrecht Tourism Information
Utrecht owes its vibrant and inspiring atmosphere to its mix of modern concepts and historical buildings. Many of the historic city castles have been repurposed, now housing hotels, restaurants and shops. The old storage areas along the wharfs are now the place for cosy cafés, trendy retail shops and restaurants offering food from all over the world.
Upon exploring the city, you'll find that Utrecht is full of special places. For example, you can drink the best coffee in the city in the vibrant Voorstraat, find all your groceries in the multicultural Lombok and taste and feel the city's archaeological history at Castellum Hoge Woerd.
Utrecht climate is similar to Amsterdam, however it can get slightly colder during the Winter and hotter in the Summer, as its more inland. There are some occasional temperature extremes when the currents from the west of Europe or Russia bring in freezing cold winds or when there the up currents from Africa reaching the city bringing the thermometers to 30-35°C.
Spring and autumn can be particularly changeable but the coldest weather is usually in the months from December to March and clear frosty days can be frequent but snow is unlikely each year as global warming brings higher temperatures. It is a good idea to carry with you un umbrella if you are visiting any time of the year.
As for temperatures, Summers see the highest reaching well into 27-32°C during July and August. But the average would stay around 25°C. Winters can hit close to freezing but on average stay around 2°C to 6°C. The best time to visit is from April to June and from September to October.
The nearest airport to Utrecht is Schiphol Amsterdam. From Schiphol there is a direct connection to Utrecht, trains leave every 15 minutes. It takes approximately 30 minutes to get to Utrecht Central station.
You can also travel from, Rotterdam Airport. From this airport you need to travel by bus and train. It takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to Utrecht Central station.
The inner city of Utrecht is best reached by public transport. You simply take the tram, bus, (train) taxi or rent a bicycle at the station. City buses are entering the centre from all directions. From the area of Nieuwegein and IJsselstein, trams run frequently. An extensive network of city buses ensures that every district is easily accessible.
Below you can download the map for busses and trams in Utrecht:
Utrecht features many attractions that are related to its long history and contemporary cultural landscape. Its historic town centre is also relatively compact compared to Amsterdam or Rotterdam meaning that it is possible to visit several landmarks around the city within one day. You could also combine renting a bike and see all the landmarks whilst you pedal along!
Below you will find some of the highlights:
- Canals and shipyards: The Utrecht canals with their wharves and wharf cellars are unique in the world. Historical records confirm that the main canal that runs through Utrecht’s city centre is over 800 years old and may have been built upon a considerably older waterway. Over the years many subterranean warehouses have been constructed along the canal, a number of which now house cafés, stores and homes. The most famous canal is the Oudegracht, dating back to the 12th century.
- Centraal Museum: Utrecht's Centraal Museum manages several satellite institutes around the city and has its primary location on Agnietenstraat. The museum is renowned for its world-leading Northern Renaissance collection, but also preserves many other groundbreaking artworks from the last 10 centuries.
- The Dom Tower has stood in Utrecht’s centre since the 14th century and is likely the most recognisable buildings in the city. It was originally built to accompany a nearby church called St Martin’s Cathedral but became a freestanding bell tower after a catastrophic storm halted the building works.
- City castle Oudaen: A monumental building from 1276 with its own brewery and a number of conference rooms, among other things. The building was entirely made of bricks, turning it into some kind of defence house. In 1395, the building got into the hands of the Oudaen family who named it after themselves. From 1758 until 1965 it was used as an old people's' home. After that, it was briefly in the possession of a student association. Since 1986, Oudaen is being used as a catering establishment.
- Castellum Hoge Woerd: is situated in Utrecht’s Leidsche Rijn neighbourhood, is a modern interpretation of a centuries-old Roman fort. Behind the high walls you will find an archaeological museum, a theatre, a centre for nature and environmental education and a cafe-restaurant.
- De Haar Castle: This incredible neo-gothic castle in Utrecht’s northern periphery was designed by Pierre Cuypers. The castle was built upon a considerably older fortress that dates back to Middle Ages and is currently open to the public.
- TivoliVredenburg: Utrecht’s largest venue, contains six individual concert halls that were designed to accommodate specific musical genres and playing styles. The building is an absolute masterpiece and towers over Utrecht’s Centraal Station.
- Haarzuilens Estate: Come for a walk or a bike ride in a typically Dutch landscape, with flowery meadows, ditches and willow trees within a good distance of the city of Utrecht. The Haarzuilens Estate is a stunning natural area that is the perfect place for a day out. In a lower part of the Haarzuilens Estate, you will find wet peatland meadows with pastures full of flowers and ditches.
As with the rest of the Netherlands, Utrecht is still expensive despite its away from amsterdam, expect to pay around €60-80 per night for a city central hotel on the cheapest end.
But with many other options available now, like Airbnb and hostels, its possible to find cheaper accommodation options for a budget conscious traveller, around €25 per night. Staying out of the weekends and the Summer holidays will also bring the prices down.
The city is small enough to visit as a one day trip from Amsterdam, however, if you wish to visit some more of the sights and dig a bit deeper and learn from the history of the city, a more relaxing length of 2 to 3 nights would be suggested.
Utrecht Photo Slide 📷