Utrecht might just be the most surprising city in the Netherlands. Stick with us to find why!
The city of Utrecht used to be a religious center that preserved its old and medieval symbols and harmonized them with the new. The churches, the buildings, the gardens and the spectacular gems you can discover are the main reasons to pay the city a visit.
To make your life easier, we gathered the top 10 Utrecht tourist attractions. These are the most important things to see in Utrecht and most of them can be visited by going on a unique Utrecht walking tour & city game that you can play on your smartphone). Here we go:
St. Martin’s Cathedral
The first Utrecht must see attraction has a unique story – it used to be the biggest cathedral in the Netherlands until the 17th century when a storm separated the building from its tower. You will notice that it’s very similar to the French gothic architecture. Here you will find the tombs of Emperor Conrad II and Emperor Henry V – historical figures that weigh a lot for the imposing cathedral.
One of the most imposing Utrecht sights, the tower of the cathedral holds extreme importance for the Dutch. There is an unspoken rule that doesn’t allow any other building to exceed its height. To better understand how mesmerizing it is, you can climb the 465 stairs and admire the view. It is said that during a sunny day you can see Amsterdam and Rotterdam from the top.
Cathedral Square and DOMUnder
Do you want to experience 2000 years of history in one visit? Then you came to the right place! The excitement of the visitors is expected as everything that surrounds you is pure history. It helps you get the feel of the culture and what it used to be. Also, the DOMUnder is reminiscent of Roman’s habitation underground that you can visit UNDER the ground.
St. Catherine’s Convent Museum
If you want to get a complete picture of the religious culture of the past, you don’t want to miss this attraction. It gathered artifacts from the museum of religious art of the Catholic Archbishopric of Utrecht. The most interesting aspect is that the museum is placed in the former St. Catherine’s Convent, so the atmosphere will complete the experience.
For a more artistic part of the city, the Speelklok Museum presents a collection of self-playing instruments. Because most of them are still functional, you can admire inventions both from a visual and an acoustic point of view.
Utrecht Centraal Museum
The most artistic element of your visit has to be the Centraal Museum, with its numerous works and forms of art. Currently, the collection covers pre-1850 art, modern art, applied art and fashion from various national and international artists. Also, for a more informed perspective of the city’s history, you can check the historical wing of the museum.
The Railway Museum of Utrecht
For train enthusiasts or for those who enjoy the vintage way of traveling, this museum is a must. The exhibition can be seen here as the former Maalieban station (train station) has been remodeled into the Railway Museum. Its history starts in the first part of the 20th century and continues after the 1950s. It now displays an old steam locomotive, documents, accessories and small objects filled with unbelievable stories. The Dutch invite you to visit it because it is representative of their national history.
Do you want to actually sense the pulse of the city? The Oudegracht is the canal that passes through the center of the city and it’s famous for the instagrammable landscapes it offers. If you are willing to remain on its sides and create a special moment, there are numerous restaurants and cafes that offer dinner with a view.
Utrecht Botanic Gardens
If you need to disconnect from the city’s buzz and learn a bit more about nature, this is the place you have to visit. The University of Utrecht created a space called the Botanical Gardens of Utrecht that allows special and rare plants to grow. This garden is the first place in which Ginkgo Biloba has been brought to Europe, and has a record of being one of the largest rock gardens in Europe.
The Letters of Utrecht
The most innovative and poetic attraction in the Netherlands is The Letters of Utrecht. A group of poets had a brilliant idea – to pave the streets with cobblestones that form a poem. Since the 1st of January, 2000, a letter is added every Sunday to complete the poem. It takes about a year to write an average sentence, and every few years a new poet continues the poem.
That’s all, folks. If you are planning to visit other cities in the Netherlands, make sure to check out these amazing walking tours in Amsterdam or Rotterdam that will take you to the major attractions while you are involved in a mission.