Europe’s Most Beautiful Canals Are in Utrecht

Paddling Down the OudegrachtAccording to the travel search engine, GoEuro, Utrecht’s canals are the most beautiful in Europe. Although Venice has long held the imagination and romance, it seems that the overwhelming tourism is causing the city to lose some of its lustre. (Though, personally, I think if you go in the off season, the stunning beauty of Venice is still quite evident.)TerraceBut I’m not going to argue with Utrecht taking top ranking. We’ve got some truly picturesque canals, and the long stretches of wharves running along the Oudegracht and Nieuwegracht really do set them apart from most other cities. Spring's Late ArrivalNo matter the size and no matter the season, there’s always something to enjoy about Utrecht’s canals. The city’s beautiful buildings are often reflected in the water, and at night, many of the canals and bridges and lit up as part of the Trajectum Lumen light show. But even the small, quiet neighborhood canals offer a tranquil spot to pause and simply enjoy the scenery.

So yes, I think Utrecht certainly earns top spot when it comes to beautiful canal cities!

ETA: GoEuro now has the article up on their site.

Boulevard Canal
ZwartewaterOpenThe BucketGolden DriftDrift at NightGolden ReflectionAlways the DomtorenAlong the CanalOudegracht/VismarktBotenAlong LucasbolwerkKromme Nieuwegracht Reflection  13|365

23 thoughts on “Europe’s Most Beautiful Canals Are in Utrecht

    • I have so many photos from which to choose and it killed me to leave out so many! As it is, it’s a bit more photo heavy than I usually like. But as with Venice, it’s kind of hard to take a bad photo of Utrecht’s canals. πŸ™‚ Glad you’re coming back soon!

  1. Looks as beautiful as the grachts (what’s the English word for gracht? :D) in Amsterdam without the crowds. the weed and the prostitutes πŸ˜€
    I would love to visit Utrecht and I can imagine living there must be marvellous!! πŸ™‚

    • It is nice to be able to enjoy the canals throughout the city without the worst of the tourist traps. The Oudegracht gets pretty busy, but even then, only in certain sections so it’s still possible to enjoy the view.

  2. I agree that the Utrecht canals are stunning … but I don’t want everyone to know!! Selfish as it may be, I don’t want it to get too much more touristy hehe

    • I know what you mean. On one hand, it would be nice to see other cities, including Utrecht, get more attention. On the other hand, I don’t want it to become overcrowded with tourists.

  3. Utrecht canals are very beautiful and it’s always good to post some nice pictures. But this ranking made by GoEuro smells like bullshit to me. First of all: who are GoEuro and why would they be able to judge where the most beautiful canals are? and secondly and most importantly: why can’t I find anything on their website related to this ranking of canals? Seems like some factless journalism/Utrecht promotion πŸ˜›

    • Well, of course it’s meaningless and completely subjective and likely just promotion — I didn’t find anything on the website, either — but ultimately it’s pretty harmless and a nice reminder that Utrecht exists and Amsterdam isn’t the only place in the country with canals (as some people mistakenly believe).

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  5. Kind of agree that these surveys are rather bogus. But I would definitely agree that Utrecht looks its best from the canals. I personally think they spoiled Utrecht with the awful shopping mall which they never properly maintained. But now with major reconstruction of the station and other parts of the city, there’s a chance of making it a lot better again. I’m guessing that the city will never be over-run with tourists like Amsterdam. Where would they stay?

    Congrats on these photos. You should sell them to the expat centre. Always wondered why they didn’t build one for utrecht.

    • The Hoog Catharijne didn’t stand up to time, visually, but at least it’s on the outer edge of the city. For me, it’s been possible to ignore it as a general rule. Still, I do hope the renovation of that whole area will turn out well when it’s all completed. Completing the ring canal should be a nice element.

      As for an Utrecht expat center, there was a private attempt a couple of years ago, but there was also push back from the government side that wanted to do its own. Sadly, nothing got done by anyone.

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  7. Pingback: 5 Reasons Why Utrecht Is Better Than Amsterdam - The Expat Magazine

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