It’s so easy to fall in love with a place you haven’t been to before. Especially if you like what you see. Utrecht is one of the cities I experience this in, with its canals like Amsterdam and sweet little streets and side streets. The atmosphere is different and all in all Utrecht has a certain ‘everything has settled in’ vibe around it. And that is how I feel in this beautiful city as well. An old city too! Its history dates back to Roman times and the city centre is crowned by buildings remaining of the Middle Ages. Simply. Beautiful.
If you ask a tourist or even locals, they will say you should see the Dom (Domkerk), or the Dom tower (Domtoren). So why not? Yes, it’s probably what everyone goes to see but still. Tourist-y places are busy and known for a reason and yes, why not see those spots as well. You’ll read of less busy places later in this post. So the Domkerk (kerk=church), also called the St. Martin’s Cathedral, has been a Protestant church since 1580. Both the tall tower and the cathedral were supposed to be one and you may wonder why they look so seperate. The reason is a tornado that ripped out the part that connected the two, making it collapse. Today there’s a square with trees. Nevertheless, its age makes it a very medieval experience when entering and looking around. For art/architecture students or anyone interested in architecture, obviously the gothic structure gives away it’s approximate time when it was built and the interior is beautiful.
By the way: There are many, many, many churches in Utrecht. Some say it’s the city of a hundred churches. I haven’t started counting though!
Next there are a couple little but in my opinion meaningful or cool things to see. I’ve marked those in the map and circled the central train station for orientation. The red lines indicate the old and new canals of which both are nice to have seen but I would especially advise to walk along the old canals. Perhaps you’d like to eat at one of the restaurants right by the water if you walk down? Or maybe you’ll stumble upon some good streetfood or nice shops and stores in the street and side streets like I have.
The green route is one I have walked a lot when walking back to the house I stayed in and it actually goes further north than the map can show. But certainly there are at least three or four things to see. Like a statue of Anne Frank in front of, guess what – yes, a church. If you keep walking up the street turning right before the old canals, you’ll cross the Van Asch van Wijckbrug (brug=bridge) and see a nice little narrow building, a house. It starts narrow and get wider, right by another small canal, and you can peek inside and see that there’s a kitchen (okay – you shouldn’t really peek into houses and such but walking past, you just notice these things). I thought the house is not occupied but another day I saw someone work in the kitchen, so…yes, even if so narrow, there is at least one person living in the house. Cute.
Next, you’ll just walk up the street (or down, however you want to call it) full of houses, apartments and buildings of that sort. Maybe it seems boring, but it was just a nice local experience. Anyway, at the end of that street, you’ll see the Korenmolen Rijn en Zon, the mill. You’ll not miss it, I promise.
And if you want and if you like Irish Pubs, theres O’Leary’s vis-á-vis. The drinks are for a reasonable price, just like their food. Many locals seem to go there and also native english speaking people. If you enter, you almost bump into the bar and people sitting on the barstools but to the left there’s enough space for sitting at tables if that is what you prefer. As usual, games on television are being shown and that’s when it’s the busiest. The staff is friendly and maybe it’s best to order things at the bar.
Something I forgot in the map, and which isn’t visible on this one, is the Keizersgracht. But if you are at the Mill or the Pub, you can ask for directions and it’s really just down the street by the mill and then left. It’s something I’ve been enamoured with. Such a beautiful little street with a sweet little canal with lovely little houses. So idyllic, romantic and likely old. It’s been so nice to walk through there on the way back in the evening or on the way to the city in daylight. Don’t miss it! 🙂
Other than these, you can find the Japanese Restaurant Kyushu on the map. If you are a Sushi-Lover like me, you’ll have to eat at this place. For the Netherlands, it’s prices are quite good and the quality of their food is really good as well. But on that, keep your eyes open for the next post!
More that might be interesting: The Rietveld Schröder House, Aboriginal art museum
Is there anything else beautiful and interesting you’ve seen in Utrecht?
Which of the mentiones places would you most likely visit?
Comment below! 🙂