Utrecht City Tour
Utrecht City Tour by Dennis Callan
Utrecht's history dates back to the Romans. There is still some evidence of this. The name Utrecht comes from the Latin Traiectum and refers to a place where the river Rhine was fordable or crossed in Roman times.
Nowadays Utrecht, the Netherlands' fourth city, is a very pleasant and lively city with a new station, an excellent university and very friendly residents. Dennis Callan will tell you more about it in the film below.
Terraces at the level of the water
Utrecht in the Netherlands is one of the most beautiful places you'll ever see, famous for its dining terraces that are right at the level of the water in the main canal, with the city streets and shops up above.
Of course there are lots of bicycles and historic brick buildings in that typical Dutch style. At the same time it's a modern city with a very high standard of living, one of the largest universities in the country and plenty of up-to-date shops set in this marvelous historical atmosphere.
There are wonderful canals that go through the middle of town like you find in many Dutch cities and here the canals are especially interesting because they're split-level, you have the street level up above and the terrace and water level down below with the sidewalk restaurants and the cellar barrel-vaulted basement, so it is really quite an interesting combination.
We are very fortunate to be taking a walk through the old town with one of the very best of the local guides, Jitte Roosendaal, and he's going to take us on a walking tour describing the setting, the people, the buildings and some of the history. And at the end of the program will have a look at Utrecht by night, with their special lighting and lively restaurants by the canal.
You'll discover that Utrecht is a magical place that you're going to love. We will also take you on a boat ride through the canals of the historic center and we will look inside several of the important museums, covering history, art and culture with some interactive hands-on activities, at Centraal Museum, Utrecht University Museum and Museum Catharijneconvent.
The historic center is small enough that you could just wander around on your own without any particular plan but it does help to have some information, especially from a guide like Jitte who's a graduate of the local University specializing in cultural geography.
Not that big
It’s a goo city to live in because it's not that big, and it has a nice atmosphere a lot of history and when you need something well you can buy it, it's everywhere. And Utrecht is also the heart of the country so it’s important it's, it's lots of connections motorways, train stations and so on. So from here, it's easy to reach every part of the country.
Consider how to handle your visit to Utrecht. Do you come here as a day trip from someplace else, or do you come and spend at least one night, maybe two at a hotel in Utrecht? It's up to you, but as you see, there is much to enjoy in this wonderful city, and it could be done, either way.
Let's consider the possibilities. If you come as a daytrip you really want to spend the day and the evening, as you see here with this beautiful lighting, and have dinner at one of these outdoor restaurants. It looks so nice. And then you could take a late train back to your home city, perhaps Amsterdam, it's just 1/2 an hour away on the fast train schedule.
Or better yet, stay a night or two in Utrecht. That way after dinner you can just take a leisurely stroll, you're relaxing, back to your hotel, spend the night. The trade-off is you have to deal with your suitcases, moving from one city to the next is never a lot of fun. But it's easy enough here, the distances are short and it's an easy walk from the train station into the Old Town with many hotels available.
So do yourself a favor and give Utrecht a couple of days. One of the Netherland's best destinations.