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Bustling with students, Utrecht is a classic Dutch city: ringed by canals, laced with narrow lanes, punctuated by grand old towers and textured by centuries-old gabled facades. It's a hub for the fast, frequent and efficient Dutch railways. If your journey takes you through here, by all means stop off for an hour or a day. The station and its surrounds are in the midst of a multi-year revamp that will purge some awful 1970s schemes while recreating a key canal and adding some spectacular public spaces. In the meantime, push through the maze-like Hoog Catherijne shopping mall and head right for the historic center of town. Much of what you ...

Bustling with students, Utrecht is a classic Dutch city: ringed by canals, laced with narrow lanes, punctuated by grand old towers and textured by centuries-old gabled facades. It's a hub for the fast, frequent and efficient Dutch railways. If your journey takes you through here, by all means stop off for an hour or a day. The station and its surrounds are in the midst of a multi-year revamp that will purge some awful 1970s schemes while recreating a key canal and adding some spectacular public spaces. In the meantime, push through the maze-like Hoog Catherijne shopping mall and head right for the historic center of town. Much of what you see dates to the 13th century, including the unique canals which have old wharves right at water level. Once busy with goods for the city's many traders and merchants, they now hum with dozens of cafes and pubs. Don't miss the climb up the Domtoren, where 465 steps lead to a 14th-century pinnacle with views across the countryside. Then stroll south along Oudegracht to the museum quarter and some fine waterside pubs.

Ryan Ver Berkmoes
About the Expert

Ryan Ver Berkmoes has written many books for Lonely Planet, including Bali & Lombok and the Southeastern Alaska and Western Canada sections for LP's Canada guide.

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Ryan Ver Berkmoes for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands.
  • Language: Dutch
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer brings out hordes to the myriad outdoor cafes, although like spring and fall it can be cold and wet at any time. Everybody hunkers down for the dank winters.