UTRECHT CITY GUIDE
Nestled between Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Utrecht is regarded as one of the most beautiful canal-lined cities in Europe. Offering visitors an authentically Dutch experience, this lively university city is an undiscovered gem.
Whether you fancy relaxing on the canalside wharf cellars in a cosy café or riding a bike along cobbled stone pavements in the car free city centre, you'll find the city rich with history and life.
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Full of heritage sites and museums, Utrecht is like a mini-Amsterdam. For a slice of history, the Museum Catharijneconvent is a wonderfully presented look at Christianity housed in a converted Gothic convent.
For art enthusiasts the Centraal Museum is a cultural magnet, where the work of past masters in the city are displayed as well as a large collection of work by local architect Gerrit Rietveld. A key player in the De Stijl movement, the architect's home is another top attraction, with its unusual yet pioneering design granted UNESCO Heritage status.
For the young, or young at heart, the Railway Museum is one of the city's favourite places to visit. With interactive exhibits, retro locomotives and theme park rides the museum is a great experience for all ages.
Heritage and history in Utrecht
High above Utrecht, the Gothic Dom Tower is one of the most popular attractions in the area and dominates the city's skyline. The tallest church tower in The Netherlands, a climb up the 465 steps is rewarded with panoramic views of the city and beyond - on a clear day you can see as far as Amsterdam.
For a dose of Dutch magic, pay a visit to the fairytale De Haar Castle - the largest and most extravagant castle in the Netherlands. Located just 16km west of Utrecht, this medieval fortress with its deep moat, enormous gates and suspension bridges will transport you back to the 15th century. Don't forget to spend some time walking around the castle's beautifully manicured parks and gardens.
The historic tree lined canals make this city one of the best places to explore on the water. Hire a canoe for a romantic private excursion, or join a tour and be guided around the best sights the city has to offer.
When the sun sets, a great way to see a different perspective of the city is by following the Trajectum Lumen light art trail. Across the historical city centre you can follow this route as it leads you past streets, canals, historical buildings and installations created by international light artists.
Fine Dutch foods
Taking the crown for serving some of the tastiest frites in Utrecht is Frietwinkel. This small grew business from one man on a tricycle to a full shop serving delicious organic fries with a range of sauces for dipping. For those looking to splash out, Podium is a Michelin Guide featured restaurant serving impeccable three-six course menu.
Those looking to explore the fantastic array of Belgian beerwhile they eat should head to Café Olivier; a quaint eatery is located in the former Church of Maria Minor, where diners can tuck into a range of Flemish meals like the creamy Ghent chicken stew. The best part is each dish has a beer pairing.
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