A medium-sized city situated in between Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Utrecht is at the heart of the Netherlands. Utrecht’s history dates back to 47AD and much of its medieval centre remains intact to this day. The city has a large student population which has helped to improve its nightlife, while it also has a lot of bars and restaurants where you can dine by the Rhine.
Utrecht, as the fourth-largest city in the country, has plenty of places to go shopping, despite its proximity to Amsterdam. It also has a number of places where you can learn about how the city acted as a major gateway to the coast as well as a few green spaces where you can get away from the general buzz of the medieval centre.
If you insist on driving in central Utrecht, then anything other than a small city car will almost be unworkable. It would at least be cheaper to drive and better for the one-way roads.
Utrecht is home to the Stadsschouwburg, the city’s largest theatre. Primarily, it stages plays and musicals, although the theatre also shows dance and music, mainly classical performances from travelling orchestras.
Centraal Museum is arguably the best place in Utrecht to learn about its long and rich history. The oldest municipal museum in the country, aside from a few local artefacts, there is an extensive art collection on display, featuring works by Dick Bruna and designs by Rietveld.
Between the end of August and beginning of September, the Festival Oude Muziek is held in a handful of venues including the iconic Dom Church. World-famous artists and local acts hoping for their big break play here every year.
The Dom Church is Utrecht’s most impressive landmark. As an example of Dutch Gothic architecture, it’s one of the finest around. What makes the church unique is that the main building and bell tower are separate, both partitioned by Dom Square.
As parts of the city centre are off-limits to cars, parking at one of the local park and ride sites on the edge of Utrecht is advised, as buses go from these sites regularly.
Some of the inner-city car parks are known for being on the costly side. Hourly rates tend to vary at different times of the day.
Utrecht is a city which has plenty of bus lanes. They tend to exacerbate road traffic, especially on the main roads.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Luchthaven Schiphol) is located 15 miles north northwest of the city centre. It is the busiest airport in the Netherlands, serving destinations throughout Europe as well as North America and parts of Africa.
The airport can be accessed via a junction between the A4 and A9. Going east on the A9, you then go south on the A2. Afterwards, go east on the Vleutenseweg and you‚Äôre there.