Spotlight on Utrecht

May 22, 2018

An antiquarian cityscape in central Holland, Utrecht offers all of Amsterdam’s charm, just in compact form. Utrecht is one of Holland’s oldest cities, with an ancient route of canals that lie much deeper than street height. On this subterranean level, establishments that once served as 13th century warehouses are now home to niche restaurants and music cellars. Though rich in historical integrity, the university culture ensures that the city remains at the forefront of continental modernity.


Things to do

  • An homage to Utrecht’s ancient Roman heritage, Trajectum Lumen Project appears in the hours of darkness. An artistic illumination of locations throughout the city, this permanent installation is one of a kind.
  • Residing in the Dutch countryside, a short drive from Utrecht, is De Haar Castle. The astounding fortress is as if the Grimm Brothers chose brick over pen, and created this architectural fairy tale masterpiece.
  • Dom Tower is an eternal icon of Utrecht. At 112m tall, the 14th century church boasts the tallest tower in Holland, with origins dating back 2 millennia. A guided tour is the only way to reach the summit, that and the 465 steps it takes to get there.
  • After ascending the Dom Tower, you might find the idea of resting your feet and having a bite to eat rather appealing. Dom Church’s garden, Pandhof, and is a lush green setting enclosed by the gothic walls of the church.
  • The only way to complete a break to Utrecht is with a canal cruise. The low-lying canals provide a view of the city that is impossible to get elsewhere and the trees that line the waterways are up to several hundred years old.


What to eat

  • If you’re lucky enough to be in Utrecht on a Wednesday, Friday or Saturday, you have to try some of the local delicacies at Market Vredenburg. Fresh fruit, as well as cheeses, fish and meats are on offer. You will even find the Dutch classic, herring and pickle sandwiches, plus liquorice and delicious treacle waffle.
  • Café Springhaver is where you will find all the locals. This brown café was first established in 1885. As if it couldn’t get any cooler, it’s attached to the indie cinema Springhaver Theatre.
  • Installed in the city’s water tower, WT Urban Café & Kitchen offers far more than a spectacular menu. Panoramic city views and the stripped back decor accompany every gourmet dish.
  • Vintage Utrecht is an adorable vintage wine and tapas bar that is perfect for anyone looking for something casual. Their terrace makes a perfect al fresco dining option in the summer, too.


What to drink

  • Between patterned tiled flooring, glass stained lamp shades, dark wood furnishing, oh, and a cellar full of Dutch beers, De Dried Dorstige Herten is exactly where you need to be if you think of yourself as a connoisseur of the craft.
  • Talud9 will be your first stop the morning after a visit to De Dried Dorstige Herten. Clear your head with a koffie verkeerd, or ‘wrong coffee’. The Dutch take on café au lait, its half coffee, half warm milk. Talud9 have mastered the art of the koffie verkeerd, so you’re in safe hands.
  • Café DeRat is a self-proclaimed ‘living room café’, making homeliness and customer comfort their ultimate priority. It’s here you can enjoy a tasting session of jenever, the Dutch sister to gin.


How to get there

Just an hours’ drive from our Dutch port, Utrecht is easily accessible from our Newcastle-Holland route. Alternatively, travel on our Dover-Dunkirk or Calais crossings and take the scenic 3½ hour drive through Belgium to Utrecht.


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