utrecht travel
By:
Rottimmy

7 Unusual Things To Do In Utrecht: A Hidden Gem Uncovered

Belgium

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Belgium

Nestled in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbours. However, Utrecht boasts an array of unusual attractions that make it a must-visit destination. In this blog post, I will share my experiences of seven unique activities that will make your trip to Utrecht unforgettable.

1. Explore the Underground DomUnder

One of the most fascinating attractions in Utrecht is DomUnder. This underground adventure is located beneath Dom Square and reveals 2,000 years of history. As I descended into the depths, I was handed a torch, which I used to illuminate the ancient Roman ruins and mediaeval structures hidden beneath the city. The guided tour was incredibly insightful, shedding light on the historical significance of Utrecht from the Roman Empire to modern times.

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Best Time to Visit

DomUnder is open all year round, but I recommend visiting in the autumn or spring when the weather is mild. Transitioning from the bustling streets above to the incredible underground tunnels is quite comfortable.

How to Get There

DomUnder is easily accessible from the Utrecht Central Station by a leisurely 15-minute walk through the charming streets or a quick tram ride to the Domplein.

2. Wander Through the Utrecht Botanic Gardens

Tucked away within the Utrecht Science Park, the Utrecht Botanic Gardens offer a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. I felt a deep connection with nature as I wandered through the various themed gardens, from the vibrant rock garden to the serene tropical greenhouse. The diversity of plant life and the tranquil atmosphere made this a perfect spot for relaxation and reflection.

Best Time to Visit

The gardens are at their best when the flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. However, each season offers its unique beauty.

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How to Get There

A short bus ride from Utrecht Central Station will take you to Utrecht Science Park. The gardens are well-signposted and easy to find within the park.

3. Discover the Rietveld Schröder House

For architecture enthusiasts, the Rietveld Schröder House is a must-see. Designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1924, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a prime example of the De Stijl art movement. Walking through the house, I marvelled at the innovative use of space, colour, and light. The guided tour provided deep insights into the artistic vision behind the home, making it a truly enriching experience.

Best Time to Visit

Visiting on weekdays is ideal to avoid crowds during the weekend. The house is open all year round, but booking in advance is highly recommended.

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How to Get There

The house is located just outside the city centre. A quick bus ride from Utrecht Central Station will get you there in about 10 minutes.

4. Kayak Through the Canals of Utrecht

One of the most unique ways to experience Utrecht is by kayaking through its historic canals. I rented a kayak and set off on a serene journey, paddling past picturesque houses, quaint bridges, and lively terraces. This activity offers a fresh perspective on the city, allowing you to appreciate its beauty from the water.

Best Time to Visit

The summer months are perfect for kayaking, with warm weather and long daylight hours. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best times to avoid the heat and enjoy a peaceful ride.

How to Get There

Kayak rentals are available at several locations near the Oudegracht (Old Canal). It’s just a short walk from Utrecht Central Station to the canal, where you can begin your adventure.

5. Visit the Railway Museum (Spoorwegmuseum)

The Railway Museum in Utrecht is for more than train enthusiasts. I was transported back in time as I walked through the interactive exhibits and vintage train carriages. The museum combines history with hands-on activities, making it a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Best Time to Visit

Any time of year is suitable for visiting the Railway Museum, but weekdays are quieter, making for a more enjoyable experience.

How to Get There

The museum’s station, Utrecht Maliebaan, is a short train ride from Utrecht Central Station. Alternatively, you can take a bus or enjoy a pleasant 20-minute walk.

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6. Experience the Magic of the Miffy Museum (Nijntje Museum)

The Miffy Museum is a delightful attraction dedicated to Nijntje, the beloved rabbit character created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. I was charmed by the whimsical exhibits and interactive play areas as I explored the museum. It’s a fantastic place for families and anyone loving Miffy.

Best Time to Visit

The museum is busiest during weekends and school holidays, so a weekday visit is recommended for a quieter experience.

How to Get There

The Miffy Museum is conveniently located in the city centre, just a 15-minute walk from Utrecht Central Station.

7. Climb the Dom Tower

Every visit to Utrecht is complete with climbing the iconic Dom Tower. Standing at 112 metres, it is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The climb is quite an adventure, with 465 steps leading to breathtaking city views. As I ascended, the narrow, winding staircases and the ancient bells added to the sense of history and achievement.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to climb the Dom Tower is on a clear day, preferably in the morning when the light is perfect for panoramic photos — early autumn and late spring offer the best weather conditions.

How to Get There

The Dom Tower is located in the heart of Utrecht, easily reachable by foot from Utrecht Central Station.

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Local Foods to Try

Exploring Utrecht wouldn’t be complete without indulging in some local delicacies. Here are a few must-try foods:

  • Stroopwafels: These thin, waffle-like cookies filled with caramel syrup are a Dutch classic. You can find freshly made stroopwafels at the Stroopwafel Shop in the Vredenburg Market.
  • Utrechtse Spritsen: A local butter cookie that is simply delicious. They are widely available in bakeries throughout the city.
  • Bitterballen: A savoury snack of deep-fried meatballs, often enjoyed with a cold beer. Try them at Café Olivier, a popular local bar.
  • Poffertjes are mini pancakes served with powdered sugar and butter. They are a delightful treat, especially from the street vendors in the Janskerkhof Market.

Transportation in Utrecht

Utrecht boasts an efficient and user-friendly public transport system. The city is well-connected by buses, trams, and trains, making navigating easy. The Utrecht Central Station is a significant hub, providing access to local and international destinations. For a more eco-friendly option, consider renting a bike. Utrecht is a bike-friendly city with an extensive network of cycle paths, making it convenient and enjoyable to explore on two wheels.

Utrecht is a city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and modernity. Whether you’re delving into the ancient past at DomUnder, admiring the architectural marvel of the Rietveld Schröder House, or kayaking through its scenic canals, there’s always something unique to discover. These unusual activities offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of experiences Utrecht offers. So pack your bags, embark on this adventure, and uncover the hidden gems of Utrecht.

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