24 hours in Utrecht | The Netherland’s other capital city

Amsterdam is a wonderful city that packs a mighty cultural punch as the capital of the relatively tiny Netherlands. But did you know that just 20 minutes south by train you can find a city that is just as cool, possibly even cooler?

Utrecht is a city that is both quintessentially Dutch and impressively modern and cosmopolitan. Thanks to its combination of architecture, heritage and culture, Utrecht has been one of The Netherlands most popular cities with Dutch nationals and adventurous tourists for centuries. Here’s our pick of what to do with 24 hours in Utrecht.

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Coffee

There are few things the Dutch take more seriously than good coffee and this is evident in all corners of Utrecht. Coffee is served small and mighty, often with a little sweet treat on the side. Coffee culture is nothing new to Utrecht where Koffiehuizen have been on the scene since the early 17th century. Now it’s the perfect way to spend time watching the city unfurl first thing in the morning and count the fietsen (bikes) as they go by, Just a warning, you’ll be counting for a while! 

Check out The Village Coffee on Voorstraat for a taste of Utrecht hipster culture as well as coffee guaranteed to kick-start your day. Plus, there is a wonderful record shop called Plato worth checking out just opposite!  Alternatively, stop by at Lucas just up the road for a relaxed start to the day. 

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Canal Walks

Utrecht, like Amsterdam, is a beautiful city to explore on foot (or if you’re feeling brave, bike!). It’s big enough to keep you occupied but small enough to stroll around in good time. There are plenty of canal walks crisscrossing the city and beautiful parks and gardens such as Wilhelminapark. The city centre is a feast for those passionate about architecture and the artistic indie shops are the perfect way to find quirky and stylish souvenirs of your visit. 

Snacks

Utrecht does not disappoint on the food front either. Whether you’re looking for something inspiringly fresh and healthy or a real taste of Dutch culture with Frites met Mayo, Utrecht will sate your appetite! Our favourite breakfast spot has to be Yoghurt Barn where you can build your ultimate breakfast with dairy, soy, coconut or almond yoghurt and a vast array of toppings. Also, check out Stach if your fancy some gourmet nibbles and gorgeous brand inspiration on your city adventure. Repeat after us: “Lekker!”.

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Domtoren

 At the centre of Utrecht you’ll find the Domtoren and, if you’re feeling brave, 465 steps up to the best view in all of Holland. 

The Domtoren looks out over the Utrecht Provence and on a clear day, you can see for miles across the flat Dutch landscape. The tower is also home to 13 bells that weigh between 880 and 18,000 pounds and can often be heard ringing out across the city. If you’re especially lucky and visit on a Saturday, you may also hear some interesting musical renditions ringing out across the city as there are live Carillion concerts of popular music. A personal favourite was hearing ‘The Bear Necessities’ whilst feeling the effects of the morning after…

 

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Central Square

Round of your visit to Utrecht in one of its many central bars and pubs. Being so close to Belgium, there is always an impressive array of beers to sample and explore. As a university town, there is always something going on in Utrecht but it’s cultural offerings also mean that whatever your tipple you’ll find a bar to your taste. Best of all, you can do all this in close proximity to Utrecht Centraal so you can still make your last train back to Amsterdam too. 

 

Photograhy: Claire Graham | The Future Positive

A designer and writer who loves helping businesses and entrepreneurs tell their story creatively. 

Terri specialises in creating content which inspires connection; whether that is blog copy, social media graphics or building websites and brands. She helps small business owners identify themselves with a range of consultancy services and helps put their plans into action and share their purpose with their audience. 

Having travelled extensively, Terri is a keen digital nomad who hunts out the best coffee and wifi connection any area has to offer. She adores the people, places and connections that she encounters when travelling and is grateful her freelance marketing biz gives her the chance to travel and work indefinitely. Having worked in Bali, Portugal and the Netherlands, Terri is currently based in the UK but has more than a few travel plans on the horizon. 

Often found in or by the sea, Terri is infinitely inspired by the rugged grey oceans, stormy waves and cold water surfing culture. She curates a cold water surf website SeafoxCreative and loves nothing more than getting out and experiencing grey skies and green waves.