The Utrecht Rundown
The city of Utrecht is the fourth largest in the Netherlands and has a history spanning back to 47 AD. It is an attractive tourist spot, with Gothic cathedrals and melodramatic fortresses standing tall throughout the city. St. Martin’s Cathedral, or Dom Church, was built during the 1500s, and its haunting Gothic architecture, antiquated wall paintings, and medieval square all speak of its history. Its famous church tower, Domtoren, is the tallest church tower in the country at a height of 112 metres (367.5 feet), as well as Utrecht’s main landmark. Climbing the 465 stairs up the tower is arguably justifiable, as the top offers a spectacular view of the city and its surrounding countryside.
The Oudegracht canal traverses the heart of Utrecht and is lined with shops and restaurants. There are terraces along the water where you can have a refreshing drink. There are many museums to enjoy in the city, from the Centraal Museum, which has rotating exhibits, to the Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum, which showcases railway-related items. The Hoog Catharjine, located at the Utrecht Central Station, is a large shopping centre with abundant shops. Renting a bike and riding around the canals is a popular activity for visitors.
When To Go
The city experiences a mild and pleasant climate during the summer months of June to August, whilst the winter months of November through March are chilly. On average, Utrecht faces about 615 mm (24.2 inches) of rain annually, with most rain falling during mid-summer. Humidity levels are on the higher range, making the summer feel warmer and the winter cooler. The city undergoes hibernation during the cold season, when most of the local activities slow or close.
- June to August (summer): Average 17°C (63°F)
- September/October (autumn): Average 12°C (54°F)
- November to March (winter): Average 4°C (39°F)
- April/May (spring): Average 11°C (52°F)
International travellers can fly into Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which is located about 36 km (22.4 miles) from the centre of Utrecht. Transport services from the airport include busses, taxis, car rentals and trains. The Utrecht Centraal Station is a hub of the Dutch rail network, which makes Utrecht very accessible by rail. Direct trains from Amsterdam reach Utrecht within 28 minutes, from The Hague in 37 minutes and Rotterdam in 38 minutes. There is also a high-speed tramline connecting Utrecht to southern suburbs. Walking or biking is the easiest way to get around Utrecht, where driving is discouraged.
- By air: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
- By train: Utrecht Centraal Station from major cities
- Get around via tram, walking or biking
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