11 Best Things To Do in Utrecht 11 Best Things To Do in Utrecht

11 Best Things To Do in Utrecht

Utrecht is an incredibly beautiful university city in the Netherlands. Some say it is a better version of its neighbor Amsterdam, with peaceful canals with quays to relax at and stunning architecture. Get to know why one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands is so popular, however not popular with tourists but with locals! You can easily do most things to do in Utrecht within a day because the city is very walkable. 

Things To Do in Utrecht

Plan to spend at least one full day in the city, but to really experience Utrecht at its best, two nights would be ideal!

utrecht city guide

1. Wander the Beautiful Streets of Utrecht

Utrecht has arguably one of the most beautiful city centers in the Netherlands. It’s got countless picturesque corners with cobblestone streets that make you want to grab your camera.

If you follow the canal and street ‘Oudegracht’ all the way from top to bottom, you’ll already find so many stunning places. Even better, you can walk around the entire old city center in under an hour, making it an incredible thing to do in Utrecht.

2. The Street Food Club

The best-decorated restaurant in the entire city of Utrecht is without a doubt ‘The Street Food Club’. Set foot in the crazy colorful but perfectly decorated pink room or tropical green room with a stunning stained-glass ceiling!

utrecht things to do best restaurant

The street food style dishes are delicious, and they have vegetarian and vegan options available! 

Although it has quite a lot of seats, due to its popularity, it is recommended to book in advance.

3. Relax at Oude Gracht

The 2-kilometer-long ‘Oude Gracht’ (Old Canal) of Utrecht, with a lower-level quay and warehouses, is unique in the Netherlands. Many of these warehouses have been transformed into restaurants and bars with a terrace along the waterside. Either grab a terrace seat or simply sit down at the water where there are no restaurants. (Plenty of spots available!)

utrecht oude gracht

Hire a canoe or electric boat to discover the serene canal waters just as if you are in Venice, Italy. Bring some drinks and snacks for your trip, but never leave trash behind! All companies offer a map and route instructions for even better explorations! 

Expect to pay around €30 per hour for an electric boat in Utrecht.

No time to read now?
No worries! Save on Pinterest to read it later.
Save to Pinterest
11 Best Things To Do in Utrecht

4. Shopping and Vintage Shopping

Utrecht’s old city center is the place to go shopping. Throughout the entire center are small boutiques and great vintage stores. And don’t skip the Hoog Catharijne Mall, one of the biggest indoor shopping centers in the Netherlands.

Our favorite stores in Utrecht are: 

  • Rood en Bloem (beautiful plant shop)
  • Hip voor de Heb (cute fashion store)
  • Episode (vintage clothing & accessories)
  • Minre (trendy boutique shop)
  • Vintage Island (vintage clothing & accessories)
utrecht city

5. Visit Utrecht’s Dom Tower

The Dom is a 14th-century Gothic church with the tallest church tower (112 meters) in the Netherlands. Challenge yourself and walk the 465 steps towards the top of the Dom tower, where you’re rewarded with a panoramic view of Utrecht. 

Tours of the tower are in Dutch and English, and admission is €9 for adults and €5 for kids aged 4-12.

Utrecht Dom Tower

Pandhof Garden

Additionally, visit the Pandhof at the Dom Church. The old monastery garden is a beautiful courtyard, and the architecture is like no other! Pandhof Garden is included when buying a ticket to the Dom Church. 

6. Best Places to Eat in Utrecht

When visiting Utrecht, you won’t be disappointed when it comes down to the food. The city is, just like Rotterdam, filled with fantastic food hot spots and trendy cafes with something for everyone. Three days will not be enough to try them all, really! These are some of our favorite spots:

  • O’Panuozzo Neapolitan Pizzeria
  • Ruby Rose
  • Rabarber
  • Karibu Cafe
  • The Street Food Club
utrecht best cafe

7. Miffy (Nijntje)

Dick Bruna is a famous children’s book author born in Utrecht. His books of the white rabbit named Miffy (Nijntje in Dutch) are known all over the world. For that reason, you can find Miffy throughout the entire city with a statue at Miffy Square, a Miffy Museum, and possibly the coolest feature: a Miffy traffic light.

8. Cruise the Canals

The incredibly scenic canals of Utrecht are the city’s absolute highlight. The Dutch architecture with houses along the canals gives you this iconic experience of the Netherlands.

Different from Amsterdam, the bridges over the canals in Utrecht are much higher, allowing larger boats to cruise through the city center. Additionally, the canals have quays and old quay warehouses. Cellars that nowadays host great restaurants.

utrecht guide canals

9. Castle de Haar, Utrecht

Fairytales come to life at Castle de Haar, located just outside of Utrecht. De Haar is the largest castle in the Netherlands, featuring beautiful gardens and a truly stunning castle that you can explore on the inside, too! An admission ticket is needed in order to visit the castle, which you can buy on location or online in advance.

Getting there:
The castle is a 20 to 30-minute drive from Utrecht by car and a little less than an hour by public transport from Utrecht Central Station. It is, however, definitely worth the journey! 


10. Day Trip to Amsterdam

Utrecht is a fantastic alternative to Amsterdam. Plus, from Utrecht, you can easily visit Amsterdam on a day trip because the journey is only 30 minutes by train! Another advantage is that hotels in Utrecht are slightly more affordable. Rent a bike for the day in Amsterdam and explore the city at its best.

best things to do amsterdam netherlands

11. Oude Hortus

Oude Hortus is the former botanical garden of Utrecht. Inside the garden, you will find a wide variety of medicinal herbs, centuries-old trees, and greenhouses full of exotic plants and flowers. Oude Hortus in Utrecht is part of the University Museum and has a wonderful garden cafe on site. 

things to do utrecht Oude Hortus

Where to Stay in Utrecht? 

Utrecht has a good selection of accommodations throughout the entire city. It is recommended to stay near to the old city center where most of the things to do in Utrecht are located.

How to Get to Utrecht

Visiting Utrecht from Amsterdam couldn’t be easier. The train from Amsterdam Central Station or Schiphol International Airport only takes about 30 minutes and it runs throughout the entire day.

utrecht canals

Getting Around

Utrecht has a small city center and is very easy to get around on foot. This is also the only way recommended since there is no tram or metro available in the old city center. 

Costs of traveling in Utrecht

Utrecht is slightly cheaper compared to Amsterdam when it comes down to accommodation and restaurants.

Costs of Traveling in Utrecht

Travel on a budget in Utrecht, from $440 − $880 USD weekly per person, mid-range $840 − $1950 USD, and high-end from $1870 − $2900 USD. However, costs depend on factors like accommodation, transportation, and activities. We did not include flights. Check flight prices here

* Average daily costs
Budget tip!
Traveling to a country with a different currency? Avoid ATM transaction fees and pay in local currency with a Wise Card. Having used it for over 5 years, we've saved loads on fees.
Get a Wise Card

Best Time to Visit

April to September is the best time to visit Utrecht weather-wise. Spring in the Netherlands is usually the ideal timing with rays of spring sunshine, fewer tourists, and temperatures between 10 – 20 degrees.

16/10/2023 https://www.saltinourhair.com/netherlands/utrecht/
Blog comments

Looking for more travel information? Plan a chat with us for personalised travel advice or get an answer from the Salt in our Hair Travel Community on Facebook.

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    Last updated: