48 hours in Utrecht

With its beautiful gothic architecture, quaint cobbled streets, picturesque canal walks and a huge selection of tasty food spots to try out, Utrecht remains one of Europe’s most undiscovered destinations for a quick weekend break. This historic university town won’t disappoint as it’s jam-packed full of quirky spots to discover. For a short trip that won’t slack on culture, be sure to add Utrecht to the top of your list when visiting the Netherlands.

Dom Tower, Oudegracht, Utrecht, Netherlands

Dom Tower
If you’re willing to take on the 465 steps to the top for views of the city, the Dom Tower, or DomToren as it’s known by locals, is well worth a visit. For the €10 entry fee you’ll get an insight into the city’s history at certain stops along the many steps of the tower. Equipped with its renowned bells, the tower gives you an unrivalled view of the city and, if you make it to the top and the weather is clear, you can even take in views of nearby Amsterdam and Rotterdam too!

Canal Cruises
Like many of the Netherlands’ cities, Utrecht is known for its picturesque canals that lie alongside the city’s streets. There are few better ways to explore the city than by stepping below street-level onto the water. With a variety of options to choose from, you can venture through the city’s waterways for under €10 on a pedal boat and take in the scenery. If you’re interested in a more guided experience then you can take a cruise along the canal for around €13, where you’ll be led through the city’s historic landscape, soaking up the Dutch architecture in the comfort of a larger boat.

Bridge Over Canal Amidst Buildings

Bike Tour
If water isn’t for you, then why not take in Utrecht by bike? You’ll fit in with the locals and it’s a great way to explore the city. You have a few options for touring the city this way so if you’re more of an independent sightseer then you can rent a bike for €7.50 for the whole day and travel around the city at your own pace. If you’d prefer a guided tour then you can take a 2.5-hour bike tour across Utrecht, getting an insight into the city’s history and culture from an expert. A tour that will show you all the hotspots and take you off the beaten track will only set you back €25.

Dom Tower Utrecht Netherlands

As a university town, Utrecht offers a wide range of fascinating museums. With historic artefacts, famous artworks and other interesting cultural tokens, Museum Speelklok is the self-professed happiest museum in the Netherlands. Once you visit you’ll understand why. This musical museum boasts an array of self-playing instruments from organs to music boxes with cheerful music to lift your mood. Entrance to the museum is only €13 for an adult. The museum also offers a free musical tour all year round which lasts 30 minutes. A visit to Museum Speelklok won’t take up a huge part of your visit, but it’ll leave you feeling like you’ve experienced a cultural gem of Utrecht not to mention the spring in your step!

If you’re interested in the art, design and fashion of Utrecht then be sure to check out the Centraal Museum in the city’s centre. Entry to the museum is €14 for adults and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11am-5pm. Current collections on show include designs from Gerrit Rietveld, Caravaggio-inspired paintings from Dirck van Baburen, Hendrick ter Brugghen and Gerard van Honthorst and the studio of Dick Bruna. This museum has something to offer everyone who visits and is a perfect way to take in Utrecht’s cultural work.

Utrecht veal stew

Food and Drink
Utrecht is bursting with delicious places to eat and drink on your trip. A favourite of locals and tourists is the Indonesian restaurant Blauw. It offers a variety of dishes for meat-eaters and vegetarians and won’t cost an arm and a leg. From braised beef to pan-fried eggplant this restaurant has something for all diners. Be sure to try their four tastes of Indonesian streetfood starter – it won’t disappoint!

If you want somewhere to spend your evening eating and enjoying a beer in a cool atmosphere then check out Belgisch Biercafé Olivier. From veal stews to cheese fondues this large restaurant serves up hearty plates of food that is best enjoyed alongside their extensive beer menu. The restaurant also offers beer tastings if you want to try out a variety of beers in one sitting.

Getting There
From Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, you’re only 30 minutes away from Utrecht by train and only 25 minutes from Amsterdam city centre.

We fly to Amsterdam up to three times a day from Dublin and twice a day from Cork.

Ready to explore Utrecht? Find great value flight deals.

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