From Amsterdam: A Day Trip to Utrecht

day trip to Utrecht
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Utrecht is a charming university town located just 25+ miles southeast from Amsterdam.  It’s is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and 20% of its population is made up of students.  In fact, Utrecht is home to the largest and most prestigious university in the Netherlands!

But aside from the university, Utrecht is an idyllic getaway.  With tree-lined canals and cobbled streets, Utrecht feels like a smaller, more beautiful, and less crowded Amsterdam.  Which is why if you’re visiting Amsterdam, you should definitely consider taking a day trip to Utrecht.

 

How to Have the Perfect Day Trip to Utrecht

 

If you’re traveling to Utrecht from Amsterdam, don’t miss:

 

How to Get to Utrecht from Amsterdam

Getting to Utrecht from Amsterdam is a breeze!  (And a main reason you should consider visiting Utrecht). The easiest way is to hop on a train at Amsterdam Centraal and hop off at Utrecht Centraal, and you’re there.  While this can vary depending on time and date, trains generally travel between the two cities every 30 minutes.  And the train ride only lasts about 20-30 minutes.  You can purchase a ticket ahead of time (I prefer to use Omio), or you can show up to the station and purchase at the ticket machine.  The cost is about $20 round-trip.

  • Note:  If you’re traveling by train to Utrecht, once you arrive you can easily walk to the city center!

If you’re doing a road-trip through the Netherlands, you can also drive to Utrecht which will take about 50-minutes.  I would not suggest driving as you don’t need a car once you arrive and parking is hard to find within the city.  However, it is doable if you’re set on the idea of a road trip.  (If you are renting a car, I prefer to use Discover Cars to compare prices amongst many rental companies).

A third option when traveling between Amsterdam and Utrecht is to bike.  Biking is huge in the Netherlands, the country is extremely bike-friendly, and they have the most cyclists per capita.  If you are up for the adventure, it will take you a little over two-hours to bike between the cities.

 

Where to Eat & Drink in Utrecht

For such a small town, Utrecht has some pretty great restaurant options!  Below you’ll find some of my favorite dining choices from when I traveled to Utrecht.

 

FICO – Fine Dining

Dining at Fico was an incredible experience.  With a multi-course tasting menu, you get a chance to sample many different types of food.  Plus it’s a bit outside of the medieval center or town so you get more of a local feel here.

 

KOENRAAD UTRECHT – European

Koenraad Utrecht is a cozy and intimate spot with brick walls and a fireplace.  The food was well executed and delicious.  Koenraad Utrecht is a great dinner spot in the heart of Utrecht.

 

TEDS – Brunch

Teds is the perfect stop once you get off the train from Amsterdam.  With an expansive brunch menu, and a great outdoor patio, Teds is where you’ll want to fuel up before exploring Utrecht for the day.

 

WIJNBAR VINVIN – Wine Bar

If you’re looking for before/after dinner drinks, I urge you to stop in at Wijnbar VinVin.  They have an expansive wine list and a cozy atmosphere.  It’s a bit more tucked away so the street is nice and quiet giving you a more local feel to the city.

 

The Best Things to See and Do in Utrecht

Being quite small, there isn’t really *too* much to do in Utrecht.  And truthfully, the most joy that I found in visiting Utrecht was just strolling along the river and stopping in the parks.  You can also take a boat tour through the canals, and visit the Dom Tower as well as take an underground tour (DOMunder).  Lastly, there’s a surprisingly large amount of kitsch museums in Utrecht.  I popped into Museum Voor Het Kruideniersbedrijf, an old grocery store museum, and it was nice!  It was free to enter so if you’re in the area, you might as well check it out.

If you want to get out of the medieval center and explore the rest of Utrecht, I suggest renting a bike to see the city.

 

Should You Spend the Night in Utrecht?

To See Utrecht, you certainly do not need to spend the night.  However, if you want to experience the city at a more relaxed pace or get up and walk around before all of the tourists arrive, then I would suggest spending the night.

When I visited Utrecht, I stayed at The Hunfeld Hotel and would recommend it.

 

Overall, I adored my stay in Utrecht.  It was the perfect getaway from the craziness of Amsterdam, and just as charming.  If you’re planning to visit Amsterdam, I highly recommend at least a day trip to Utrecht.

 


For a more visual look at Utrecht, and more ideas on what to see and do, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel and search “ppinnetherlands” or look for my “Netherlands” highlight


 

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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.

 


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Kylee is a NICU nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee has been a NICU nurse for 9 years and a travel nurse for 7 years. Since starting her career in travel nursing, she’s worked in six different states, 10 different hospitals, volunteered as a nurse in North Macedonia, worked as a nurse in Saudi Arabia, and has traveled to 45+ countries. Her favorite travel nurse assignment was in Seattle and her favorite destination is Georgia (the country). Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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