The 20 best sights of Utrecht – descriptions and photos

Utrecht sights

Chateau de Haar University of Utrecht Castle Hemstede Castle Groenenwood Cathedral of St. Catherine in Utrecht Restaurant “Filemon en Baucis” Fort Fezzio House Schroeder

The site contains sights of Utrecht – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Utrecht, where to go, and where the popular and interesting places in Utrecht are.

Castle de Haar

Castle de Haar (photo)

The oldest and at the same time the most modern castle in Holland. It was built in the XIV century, but later rebuilt and demolished several times. By the end of XIX century for the restoration of the castle, which by then was a ruin, took the well-known architect Peter Kuipers.

Construction work lasted more than 20 years. Keipers not only fully restored the facade and interior, but also equipped the castle with an elevator, plumbing with hot and cold water, and central heating. And even created a dining set especially for de Haar.

The castle is surrounded by a garden, often called “little Versailles” for its beauty. The owners of the castle wanted the garden to look centuries-old, so the trees there were planted already large, older than 40 years. At night they were dug up in neighboring groves and carefully transferred to de Haar.

It is said that the castle even has its own ghost. It is the ghost of Knight Conrad, who owned the castle in the Middle Ages. He drowned at the walls of his own castle in a castle moat and has not been able to find peace since.

Coordinates: 52.12152700,4.98624200

University of Utrecht

University of Utrecht (photo)

The University of Utrecht is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. Founded in 1636, the university has developed into a leading institution with a growing international reputation.

The University of Utrecht ranks 12th in the academic ranking among European universities and 53rd among the world universities. The university is a research university, consisting of seven faculties, which together cover the entire spectrum of research and education. Traditionally, the university specializes in law, humanities and social sciences. Its motto is “Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos,” which means “Sun of Justice, shine on us.”

Coordinates : 52.09419600,5.12368400

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Chemstede Castle

Chemstede Castle (photo)

Hemstede Castle is a seventeenth-century palace building in the style of Dutch classicism. The castle is located in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, province of Utrecht, near the homonymous village of Hemstead.

The building of the castle was erected in 1645, its facade was characterized by symmetrical lines, there were towers in all four corners of the construction, and around the castle was dug a moat filled with water. Regardless of the fact that the building is called a castle, it was built as a luxurious and comfortable home.

In 1680, the castle grounds were surrounded by a beautiful garden with walkways, ponds and neatly trimmed hedges.

In the period from 1716 to 1723, the castle changed hands several times, which had a negative impact on its preservation. Its gardens were almost completely destroyed, after which they were restored by a new owner. In the late XVIII century, the castle went through yet another decline. The trees were cut down and the fountains were smashed. In 1919, the manor was purchased and reconstructed by the Heimedger Company.

In 1987, the castle was badly damaged by a fire, and in 2002 it was reconstructed by Fanos.

Today, the castle is on the List of Monuments of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Coordinates: 52.03299400,5.12510600

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Groenenwood Castle

Castle Groenenwood (photo)

Groenenwood is a former castle located in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, province of Utrecht, city of Woodenberg.

The castle was built in 1383, and was originally a fortified house, serving as protection against the raids of the Frisians. The castle was considered the residence of Marshal Imland. In the following years, when the military situation in the province subsided, a village began to revive around the castle, which soon grew into a town. Consequently, the defensive role of the castle became secondary.

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Throughout the Middle Ages, the castle was home to several aristocratic families. Beginning in 1859, the castle slowly began to crumble and was soon demolished. Today, the area around the former castle is on the List of Historic Monuments of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Coordinates: 52.08767500,5.42607900

St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Utrecht

St. Catherine's Cathedral in Utrecht (photo)

Catholic church, located in Utrecht. St. Catherine’s Cathedral is the cathedral of the archdiocese of Utrecht, the seat of the archbishop. The church was consecrated in the name of St. Catherine of Alexandria.

The church of St. Catherine was built in 1456 as part of a Carmelite monastery for men. From 1580 to 1815 the church was a Calvinist temple. In 1815 it was returned to the Catholic Church: initially as a garrison church, then (from 1842) as a parish church. Since 1853, after the reestablishment of the Archdiocese of Utrecht, the Church of St. Catherine became the cathedral church of that diocese.

The Cathedral of St. Catherine in the main altar contains the relics of St. Willibrord, the patron saint of the Netherlands. The cathedral itself is also a museum and is open to tourists.

Coordinates : 52.08750000,5.12416700

Filemon en Baucis” restaurant

Restaurant Filemon en Baucis (photo)

Filemon en Baucis is a magnificent restaurant that attracts many locals and visitors of the city with its elegant art deco interior, high level of service and delicious European dishes. It is a very comfortable and cozy facility that is perfect for business meetings or festive occasions. Bright contrasting colors – purple, red, yellow and black – prevail in its interior decoration. Several dozens of stylish tables, decorated with snow-white tablecloths, fresh flowers and gorgeous handmade candlesticks are set in the room. Facility’s menu offers such dishes as sturgeon in wine sauce, salad with chicken, apples and nuts, and magnificent vegetable casserole with cauliflower.

The restaurant’s infrastructure includes a huge dance floor equipped with the latest equipment, a billiard room and a karaoke club. “Filemon en Baucis” is open Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 21:00, and Saturday to Sunday from 12:00 to 05:00.

Coordinates : 52.09376100,5.12057800

Fort Fezzio

Fort Fezzio (photo)

Fort Fezzio is a Roman defensive fortress located in the former German province of Lower Germany, now the Kingdom of the Netherlands, province of Utrecht, town of Bannick. The fort was built, presumably in the fourth or fifth century, at the point where the river Wecht branches off from the Rhine and leads to Lake Flevo.

During the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius, Fort Fezzio was part of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, the eastern frontier of the empire, which was about 550 kilometers long.

Archaeological excavations were conducted in the area where the fort stands, revealing the ruins of other fortresses, civil settlements, and cemeteries.

The fort was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and is currently on the tentative list of the organization protecting the cultural monuments of human history.

Coordinates: 52.05631400,5.16564000

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Schröder House.

Schroeder House (photo)

This building was the only and most famous building in the Neoplasticist style. The owner lived in it until 1985 – until her death. The house was then restored and turned into a museum. Aware of the architectural value of her home, Mrs. Schroeder established a foundation for this purpose in advance. Ten years before her death, the house was listed as a listed building and became a World Heritage Site in 2000.

The area of this two-story building is 125 m&#178 . The second floor was not divided into traditional rooms, the walls were built in the format of partitions, the furniture could be folded, and the doors opened with levers and buttons. The house also lacked the usual stove and central heating system, as they were replaced by hot water pipes and a burzhuyka. Instead of curtains, there are colored plywood panels.

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The building was deliberately built so that the windows did not face the street itself, but the back side, with the hope that there would always be a wonderful view. In 1964, however, a freeway was built.

Coordinates: 52.08527800,5.14722200

The most popular attractions in Utrecht with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Utrecht on our website.

More sights in Utrecht

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Utrecht travel guide for the Netherlands

Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands founded in the middle of the first century. It served as a defensive point on the border of the Roman Empire. The Roman Emperor Claudius commissioned his general Corbulonus to build a line of forts along the Rhine in A.D. 47. One of these forts or “castles” was the source of the later city of Utrecht. It was built at a ford across the Rhine and hence was called Traiectum, which means “crossing. In the local language it became Trecht, Uut-trecht (= lower crossing) and finally Utrecht. A little later, Germanic tribes settled here, whose descendants still live in what is now the Netherlands.

City of Utrecht

General information

Utrecht is located in the central part of the country. It has an area of 99.2 km² and a population of 359,000. Today Utrecht is a key railway hub of the Netherlands, and its main attractions are ancient architecture, museums and gardens.

A historical fact! In 1579 Utrecht was the site of the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht, which united the Dutch provinces into a single state.

The modern Utrecht is a youth city with a large number of students, because only Utrecht University has more than 33 thousand students, while a total of 6 universities in the city. As in some other settlements of the Netherlands in the city there are a lot of water channels, which are so loved by foreign tourists. There are music and film festivals, exhibitions and fairs, as well as other festive and fun events like the Elf Festival.

What to see in Utrecht? What are the best places to see and things to do in one of the Netherlands’ biggest cities? Answers to all of your questions are in this article.

sights in Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht is a very colorful and diverse city. There are almost 20 museums and 12 parks, sail boats and visit ancient castles. For a short stay in the city, we’ve chosen 8 sights to see in a day.

Utrecht is divided up and down by water straits, connecting the city with the capital and other provinces of the Netherlands. Unlike Amsterdam, the canals in Utrecht are two-tiered – they are deepened into the ground and as if dividing the city into two parts, one of which is on the waterfront, and the second – on the level above, on the streets we are used to.

Canals of Utrecht

Many tourists, arriving in the city, immediately go on a circular cruise, others – enjoy walking along the waterfront and relaxing in seaside cafes. For those who want to manage their own movements and experience the beauty of water adventures at the same time, there are rental areas for catamarans, boats and canoes throughout the city.

In 1924 there was no time machine, but the Schroeder House already existed. Unique from the point of view of that era, the building can still be deservedly called the most unusual house of all time today.

Schröder House

A recently widowed mother of three, she wanted a home that fit her and her unconventional ideas of what a home should be. Schroeder was instrumental in the design process. She knew exactly what she wanted: simplicity and space that liberated rather than constrained her.

Interior of the Schroeder House

Mr. Schroeder turned out to be one of the few people who managed to satisfy his wife’s strange desires. At her request, the Dutch designer and architect succeeded in creating a house without walls, which later became a museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All the furniture designed by Gerrit Rietveld folds up compactly after use, the doors of the rooms open with levers and mechanical buttons, and an elevator runs between the first and second floors to serve food.

  • The Schroeder House is located on the outskirts of the city at Prins Hendriklaan 50.
  • The cost of a visit is 19 €, for children from 13 to 17 years old – 10,5 €, from 3 to 12 – 3 €.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, Saturday to Sunday from 11 to 17, Friday from 11 to 21.
  • Official website: www.rietveldschroderhuis.nl.

Important: you can enter the House only with a ticket purchased in advance on the website of the Central Museum of Utrecht – centraalmuseum.nl. Please note that the entrance to the attraction is open every hour for no more than 12 tourists.

The oldest botanical gardens in the Netherlands were opened in 1639. Originally the site was an apothecary campus for students and professors at the University of Utrecht, but in the 18th century the garden became not just a scientific corner, but also a great place to relax.

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Botanical Garden

Over the nearly 400 years of its existence the Botanical Gardens have changed and expanded many times to eventually become home to nearly 18,000 plants of more than 10,000 species. Today you can see unique specimens from all over the world, many of which are kept in specially equipped greenhouses.

Interesting to know! A special computer program has been developed to keep track of the number and species of plants in the Botanical Gardens.

In addition to collections with unique flora, there is a large thematic garden, opened in 1995. This is a favorite place of the little travelers, because here they can visually learn the peculiarities of plant life and get to know them better thanks to the innovative equipment.

Pond in the Botanical Gardens

There are many benches, a pond and a cafe in the gardens. It is better to visit this attraction in the morning to have time to admire its beauty before closing time.

  • Exact address: Budapestlaan 17, Utrecht.
  • Opening hours: 10 to 16:30.
  • Entry fee: 8,5 € for adults, 3,5 € for children 13-18 years old, free for children under 12.
  • Web site: https://www.uu.nl/en/utrecht-university-botanic-gardens.

The Dome Cathedral, built in the 13th century, is the main religious landmark of Utrecht. Construction of the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral was officially begun in 1254, but actually began in 1284 and was completed in 1520. When Utrecht was struck by a tornado in 1674, the nave of the cathedral collapsed. It was not until 1826 that the last debris was cleared away. At the time, the option of demolishing the entire church was even considered.

In 1811, Emperor Napoleon abolished the capitulars and separated the tower from the church by right of ownership: the tower was given to the civil authorities, the church remained in the possession of the church congregation. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the church and tower were restored several times.

The Dome Tower

Although it is one of the most beautiful Gothic churches in the Netherlands, it is not this that attracts tourists, but the huge tower, 112 meters high, which offers a panoramic view of the city.

It takes a lot of strength and courage to climb the observation deck. Mostly 495 steps and a long climb up the dark spiral staircases do not scare travelers, but some prefer to admire the surrounding beauty from benches or café tables located in the “bishops’ garden” – the inner courtyard of the cathedral.

  • The doors of the temple are open weekdays from 10 to 17 in May to September and 11 to 16 in October to April; on weekends, the cathedral opens an hour later and closes an hour earlier.
  • Cost to visit the tower: 12,5 € for travelers without benefits, 7,5 € for students children aged 4-12.
  • You can buy tickets in advance on the official website www.domtoren.nl.

Please note! Climbing to the observation deck of the tower is carried out in groups every hour. If you want to take beautiful pictures of Utrecht and not its tourists, go here an hour or two after opening.

  • The location of the attraction is Domplein 21.
  • The tower is open daily: Tuesday to Saturday from 10 to 17, Sunday and Monday from 12 to 17.
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Built in 1838, the museum has evolved from a small collection of old paintings into a huge complex on five floors of several interconnected buildings. Here you can find everything you need to know about Utrecht, a modern city with a very rich cultural heritage. This attraction, in fact, consists of several, smaller ones:

  1. The Picture Gallery, which houses masterpieces by Morelse, Skorel, Bokoven, Neumann, Maris and other Dutch artists;
  2. The Museum of the Utrecht Archaeological Society, where you can find ancient elements of Dutch culture and rarities dating back more than a thousand years;
  3. The Central Museum, which tells all about Utrecht and the people of the city;
  4. The Archbishop’s Museum with unique religious exhibits.
  • The attraction is located at Nicolaaskerkhof 10, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
  • The entire complex is open daily, except Mondays, from 11 to 17.
  • Full admission is 13,50 €, for children 13-17 years old it is 6,5 €, for children under 12 years old inclusive admission is free.
  • Website: www.centraalmuseum.nl.

Also note! Read about Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam in this article with photos.

Going to this attraction, have patience and do not take all your money with you. At this flower market, even those who are not very fond of these beautiful representatives of the plant world lose their heads. Huge roses, beautiful tulips, sunflowers, asters and hundreds of hundreds of flowers in pots – all this wealth is sold here every Saturday morning for ridiculous prices.

Flower market

The price for bouquets at the market starts at 2 euros, and, for example, for 50 gorgeous fresh tulips you can pay only 6-8 €. Also on Bloemenmarkt sell lemon and orange trees, palm trees and many other plants. Indulge your soul with a portion of pleasant aromas and extraordinary beauty can be found on the square Janskerkhof.

Another museum, for which the city of Utrecht is famous, has the largest collection of jukeboxes in the Netherlands. Music boxes and clocks, organ, organ chimes and many other exhibits will sound to you despite their venerable age.

Museum of Automated Musical Instruments

This interactive museum is very interesting for both adults and children. You will be able to turn the magical mechanism yourself to hear its tune, or literally touch the art by scrolling the handle of one of the exhibits. Many travelers highly recommend taking a paid tour, as some instruments can only be turned on by a guide.

  • The attraction is located at Steenweg 6.
  • This fabulous place is open daily from 10 to 17.
  • Cost of admission: full ticket – 14 €, student ticket – 10,5 €, children (4-12 years) – 7 €.
  • Website: www.museumspeelklok.nl.

A gift! You can pay the admission to the museum on the spot, but by ordering tickets online on the official website of the attraction, you can get an additional gift, such as a glass of lemonade from the cafeteria.

Another amazing attraction in Utrecht and the Netherlands is a railway museum. It is located on the site of the old Maliebaanstation station, which belonged to the line Utrecht-Amsterdam, but due to high competition was closed in 1921. In the early 2000s this place was completely reconstructed: most of the territory was filled with cars and locomotives from different eras, and one platform was given to perform its natural role – here the train comes from the central station of the city.

Railway Museum

As travelers say, a visit to the railway museum can take half a day, especially if you are with children. Het Spoorwegmuseum is divided into two halves:

  • The first contains the old train station and many antique exhibits. This part is free and anyone can come here and walk around the unusual for our time wagons;
  • The second part contains the most interesting exhibits, an interactive area for children, additional show-rooms (for example, “a ride in an old train”), a laboratory where you can conduct physics experiments, a theme store and a cafe.

You’ll love it! The Het Spoorwegmuseum has many unique exhibits, one of them being Wilson, the hero of the famous Chuggington Steamers cartoon.

  • The museum is open daily except Mondays, from 10 am to 5 pm.
  • Cost of admission: 17,5 €, for children under 3 years old free admission.
  • The official website of the attraction is: www.spoorwegmuseum.nl.
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Accommodation:

Stay in the NH Centre Utrecht Hotel - 3 stars

NH Centre Utrecht Hotel

The price of accommodation in Utrecht does not stand out among other cities in the Netherlands. There are only a few dozen hotels in the city and the minimum nightly rate starts at 65 € for a private room in a hostel. A more comfortable stay in a three-star hotel will cost at least 85 € for two people, in a four-star – 100 €.

A more economical variant is apartments rented directly from Dutch people. A studio apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom will cost at least 50 € but travelers on a tight budget can also rent a room from a landlord for only 30-40 €.

Cafes and restaurants

Lunch in a cheap cafe in Utrecht

Utrecht has an abundance of eating establishments, most of them located around the most popular attractions, on the banks of canals and in the city center. Food prices in this region of the Netherlands are as follows:

  • Lunch at an inexpensive cafe – 18 € per person,
  • A dinner for two in an average restaurant – 65 €,
  • A snack at a fast-food place – 9-10 €,
  • A cappuccino – 3,5 €,
  • A glass of local beer 0,5 – 5 €.

Most establishments offer Italian, French and Mediterranean cuisine. Click here for a list of local specialties to try.

How to get to Utrecht

To get to the city directly by plane is not possible, as it has no airport, and most travelers have to fly to the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam, and then go to your destination. To overcome the distance of 53 miles between Utrecht and Amsterdam you can use the following modes of transport

  • Train. Intercity and SPR Sprinter leave from Amsterdam Centraal station every 15-30 minutes from 00:25 to 23:55, at night trains leave once an hour. It takes only 29 minutes to the Utrecht Centraal stop. You can buy tickets for 68-12 euros on the Dutch railroads website – www.ns.nl.
  • Cab. Such a trip will take about an hour and will cost at least 100 euros. This option can be advantageous for a group of travelers with a lot of luggage.

All prices on the page are for August 2022.

Interesting facts

  1. A graduate of the University of Utrecht was Willem Einthoven, winner of the 1924 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
  2. The unique two-tiered canals are a calling card of Utrecht, you will not see them in other cities in the Netherlands. On the lower level, there are usually terraced cafes, while the upper level is a pedestrian area.
  3. Ethnic Dutch make up 68% of the city’s population, the remaining 32% are foreigners.
  4. The most convenient way to get around Utrecht is by bicycle. It is preferred by locals and tourists alike.
  5. The total weight of the bells of the Dome Cathedral is 32 tons, and the largest of them has a personal name – “Savior.

Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands, which can be called one of the most unusual in the country. Visit it and see for yourself. Have a great trip!

Video: walk around the city, overview of Utrecht sights and useful information for travelers. Take a look at it for sure!

Author: Elena Lunina

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