If you’re looking to stay in a city that is charming, vibrant and isn’t being trampled by swarms of tourists then Utrecht might be the city for you. The city has all the quaint architecture and canals like Amsterdam but offers a more laid-back experience.
In the city centre, known as the ‘Binnenstad’ you’ll find most of the sightseeing spots, canals, and shopping venues. While this part of the city is quite compact, it’s still divided in little squares and streets with distinct characteristics.
Neude is one of those spots. This square is filled with terraces of the restaurants that surround it, making it a lively affair in the warmer months. The square also faces the historic Neude library that also hosts art exhibitions that highlight artists from the Utrecht province. Just behind Nuede you’ll find the “Oudegracht”, which is the canal street where all the popular apparel shops are located.
The Oudegracht street splits into the Ganzemarkt, which similar to Neude and the Oudkerkhof street. This street is filled with upscale clothing stores and furniture stores that will entice you to window shop till you drop. Whilst being next to the main shopping street its surprisingly calmer than on the other end of the canal, which makes it an ideal place to stay if you want to remain close to the centre. If you’re here for sightseeing, you only have to take one turn to the right at the end of the street and you’re facing the Dom Tower, the city’s main attraction!
Another interesting location is the Stationsplein. Like the name states this neighbourhood is the plaza in front of the station. It’s the busiest area in the city as many people are coming in and out of the station at all times. The nice thing about the station is that its connected to a large and modernized shopping mall called Hoog Catharijne. The mall has a food court with amazing restaurants and shops that sell anything you can imagine. On the station plaza itself, there are regular market days where you can purchase fresh produce, cheeses etc. Staying in this neighbourhood means that you’ll always be in a lively environment and can easily travel in and out of the city. Amsterdam, The Hague, and Rotterdam are all just a 25–35-minute train ride away.
Outside of the Binnenstad there are also some noteworthy places. This street name might sound like a mouth-full, but you’ll learn to remember it fondly in time. While this street is situated in a more residential part of the city, it isn’t any less lively. It is filled with great restaurants, Spagetteria being a personal favourite and has everything you need within walking distance. Two spas, a vet for your furry friend and even a hair salon, are all located in this street. Just a short walk away you’ll also find Wilhelmina park, which is the perfect place to unwind after a long day or have a picnic in your free time.
To conclude there are plenty of nice spots in the city that are worth enjoying during a short stay so all you need to do is decide which neighbourhood suits your taste and book accordingly!