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!

An Evening Look at Utrecht

Zadelstraat

Yesterday evening — or more appropriate, yesterday afternoon — we took a walk through part of the city to see some of the holiday lights. As has been the case for weeks now, it drizzled off and on throughout our walk, but that didn’t stop me from taking a few quick snaps. The streets were relatively quiet, as the day is officially a holiday here and many of the shops remained closed. This post is just a chance to share some of the photos I took so you can see what Utrecht looks like during the holiday season. Damp but festively lit!

5:20 PM
The Domtoren as seen from next to the Buurkerk (now home to the Speelklok Museum). You can see that it was 5:20 pm when I took this photo.

Oudegracht/Vismarkt
The Oudegracht, with blue lights that are part of the Trajectum Lumen art light installation. The Stadhuis, in the background, is usually lit, but the lights didn’t come on until later.

Domstraat Lights
The lights of Domstraat, heading toward the cathedral.

Kerstbomen
Two of the handful of Christmas trees throughout the city. These stand across from Janskerkhof.

Under the Domtoren
A view through the archway of the Domtoren, looking toward the lights of the Oudegracht and Zadelstraat.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and Far

Vet Hé
We took a walk over to the Griftpark this morning to enjoy the weather and take a quick look around De Utrechtse Fabriek, a bi-annual small indie vendor market. We also wanted to finally try some of Roberto’s ice cream, since there was a small cart set up at the market. Lekker!

I love that the Griftpark is technically right outside the old city center of Utrecht, but it’s easily reached from where we live. A short walk along part of the canal that rings the city center, and we’re there! There’s a skatepark in the front of the park, along with basketball courts and open fields for other sports. There’s another canal that crosses through the park, separating the sports fields from a pond, nature trail, playground, and general areas to enjoy.

I took this photo from the bridge over the cross canal. Nearby is the view of the skate bowl. In the far distance is the Domtoren, the 14th century bell tower. It’s the tallest bell tower in the Netherlands, and its huge height — 112.5 metres (368 feet) — is one reason why it looks much closer than it actually is. According to Google maps, it’s 1.5 kilometers from the restaurant in the Griftpark (which is next to the bridge where I took the photo) and the Domtoren. It’s roughly a 20-minute walk, to help put it in perspective.

Besides being a great illustration of atmospheric perspective, I love the fact that the kid who was skating was stopped for a moment so that it looks like the thought bubble in the wall painting behind him is coming from his own head! It looks like he’s thinking, “Vet hé”, which ultimately translates to mean, “Cool, huh”. It could refer to the trick he just did on his board, or to the way the Domtoren rises up over the city center. Vet hé.

Atmospheric Perspective

See other people’s interpretations of the weekly photo challenge here.