18 Things to See, Do, Taste, and Experience in Utrecht

klmmapI’m always singing the praises of Utrecht and encouraging people to visit this beautiful, historic, and vibrant city, so it only seems right that I make a handy map of some of the places and things visitors should see. So here’s a map of 18 places in Utrecht that you should see, including museums, sculptures, parks, restaurants (which, of course, includes Vino Veritas), and historic points of interest. It is, by no means, a complete listing and hopefully I’ll be able to add on to it as the spirit moves me. Did I leave out one of your favorite must-see spots in Utrecht? Tell me what you think is a must-see.

Thanks to KLM for doing the technical creation of this map for me, while letting me use my own words and photos. They were kind enough to let me focus on Utrecht, instead of Amsterdam, after I pointed out how quick and easy it is to get to Utrecht from Amsterdam. Fly into Schipol Airport with KLM and hop on one of the many trains to Utrecht. You’ll be here in just half an hour!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today (in Utrecht)

Kabouter Bloemen
Today is a beautiful day in Utrecht. Perfect for celebrating the city’s 890th anniversary of its official city status. There are a variety of events going on around town and I visited some today and took a few pictures along the way. Here are a few of the highlights, although I’ll probably expand on some details in other posts.

To start the day off, I walked through the bloemenmarkt (flower market) at Janskerkhof, which is where I saw the flowers above. I’d seen someone else post a photo of them on Twitter earlier in the morning and couldn’t resist seeing them for myself. So pretty! They’re called kabouter something or other, which is fun, since kabouter is the Dutch word for gnomes. It’s a great name for them!

Rode Loper Dagen
I also walked a red carpet! One of the streets has lined its sidewalks with red carpets. I think there are a lot of sales on this particular street this weekend.

Buurkerk
Then it was over to the Buurkerk (kerk=church) to see the specially opened Buurtoren (toren=tower), with information on bell ringing. The tower is part of the bigger church, which is now a museum dedicated to musical organs, music boxes, and similar musical items.

Little Blue Auto

Then it was on to the Domplein, the historic center of the city where the cathedral now stands, and where the Romans first built a fort almost 2000 years ago. The city has been an official city for 890 years, but it’s been an important site for much longer! There in the Domplein (plein=square), I saw this cute little blue car. More to come about that in another post.

Pandhof

From there, I headed into the cathedral’s cloister garden to enjoy the view and take in the wonderful gothic architecture, as well as the flowers. It’s a wonderful spot to sit and relax. From there, I could also hear the bell concert coming from the Domtoren, which was decked out in the city’s official flag.
Celebrating 890 Years

To go along with the concert, there was also some dancing as a preview of the Cultural Sunday dance events taking place tomorrow. This group of dancers was dancing along to the bell concert, moving around the memorial statue.
Utrecht Danst

Finally, I decided to head down Zadelstraat to visit one of the local bakeries that has a special chocolate treat that seemed perfect for today. This bakery has been making a Domtorentje chocolate since the early 1900s. I’ve been wanting to try one since I first heard about it recently. In the shop, I was not the only buying the Domtorentjes! I’m sure they’re selling a lot today!
Domtorentje

Next door to the bakery is a furniture shop that I mentioned recently. They’re famous for their bulldogs who like to lounge on the chairs placed out front. I posted photos of one of them last week and couldn’t resist another shot of one of them today. He looks so happy on his throne with his tongue sticking out!
Shop Dog

I hope you enjoyed my photographic tour of what I saw today in Utrecht. It’s been a beautiful day and I’m glad I got to help celebrate the city’s anniversary.

Random Sunday Observations

Shady Oasis
Why is ok for street sweeper machines to be out working at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but god forbid a normal store be open?

Pippo and I took a little walk before breakfast this morning and wandered through Janskerkhof. Despite the torrential downpours we’ve had in the past 24 hours, the scent of yesterday’s flower market still hung heavy in the air.

The rain looks like it’s on its way back any minute now. We got the walk in just in time. Today is Culturele Zondag (Ga Groen!), but I’m not sure the weather will encourage me to leave the house again. Baking, on the other hand, seems like the perfect rainy-day activity. I think I’ll make a small batch of muffins with a little bit of chocolate and the handful of strawberries I have left.

Flowers in Bloem

Utrecht Bloemenmarkt
The gorgeous weather of this weekend has been replaced by rain today, so I didn’t get to work planting the bloemen (flowers) I bought Saturday at the bloemenmarkt (flower market). The Utrecht bloemenmarkt is held every Saturday at Janskerkhof, from 8 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon. There’s a wide variety of plants on offer, including seeds, herbs, potted trees, cut flowers, hanging plants and trays of potted plants you can then plant in your own garden. It’s fun just to wander through the whole market, admiring the pretty colors and arrangements.
Potted Plants

Row Upon Row

Bloomin' Bloemen

Kramen

There were some beautiful lupins, one of the few plants I tend to recognize, and that’s because of a Monty Python sketch.
More Lupins

Lupins

There were also two separate accordion players there, playing what seems to be the only two songs that are allowed to be played on the accordion.
Accordion

As with just about any flowers here in the Netherlands, the prices are amazingly cheap. As I mentioned the other day, I got 18 little pots of flowers for €10, and you can easily get cut flowers for ridiculously low prices. The more common the flowers — tulips, roses, gerbera daisies — the less they cost. It’s not unheard of to get 20 or more flowers for around €5-8.
Pink

Mooie kleuren
If you’re in Utrecht some Saturday, stop by the bloemenmarkt. It’s a beautiful display in a beautiful setting.
Janskerkhof