Hidden Gem Utrecht | Netherlands’ prime destination for international tourists is Amsterdam. But channels, bicycles and flower markets are not just limited to the Capital. You find them elsewhere too, for example in Utrecht. For us Utrecht became the runner-up on our own list of highlights in the Netherlands. And here is why: Because of De Haar Castle, Dom Tower and Cathedral of Saint Martin, the Railway Museum, the Utrecht canals and the Speelklok Museum. Let’s start with
De Haar Castle
A first historical record of a castle at this location dates to 1391. But real fame only kicked in after 1892’s grande reconstruction, only made possible by the marriage of castle owner Etienne van Zuylen van Nijevelt with Hélène de Rothschild. In just 20 years (and fully financed by the Rotschilds), the couple oversaw the rebuilding of a truly impressive Castle de Haar from its ruins. We were checking in this year in April. It did cost us 16 Euros per person – money well spent. We entered a very stylish and richly decorated estate and surrounding gardens. If you want a fancy wedding: book one in Castle de Haar. Marco van Basten did it, why not you :D
Since the amount, width and depth of Utrecht’s canals cannot compete with Amsterdam, there are only small boat tours available. Still it was veeery nice taking Utrecht by boat. Most channels are lined with traditional houses and provide a beautiful area not just to ride but to walk through. Many typically narrow houses in varying colors line the water, some of which have doors opening right at canal level.
Dom Tower and Cathedral of Saint Martin
Utrecht’s Dom Tower is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands at 112.5 metres in height. From up there you’ll probably have a great view of the city. We didn’t climb up. In the year 1674 the central portion of the Cathedral of Saint Martin collapsed in a storm, splitting the structure in two: Dom Tower and Cathedral. It has never been reconnected.
Hidden Gem Utrecht: Railway Museum
The National Railway Museum as we found it was opened in 1950s at Maliebaan station, an old unused train station that closed in 1939. The building was remodeled, and in 1954 the museum opened there. Choose a day with good weather for your trip to the Railway Museum, because many exhibits are outdoors.
Fans of mechanical toys might love this one. The Speelklok Museum has a collection of automatically playing musical instruments, most of which still can play their music or do their stuff. Among the instruments on display are musical clocks of course, but also music boxes and pianolas, large street organs and even a turret clock with carillon.
Where to stay in Utrecht
We did choose a location 20 minutes west of the city – and did not regret it. We enjoyed a cosy stylish house in the B&B Stadslogement Oudewater. Two bedrooms upstairs, each including an own bathroom, a kitchen and living room on the ground level, a quiet neighborhood, awesome breakfast, all rooms very tastefully furnished … This B&B did tick all the buttons! Simply outstanding and without a doubt one of the best B&Bs we have ever been to. Read more about -> B&B Stadslogement Oudewater
Hidden Gem Utrecht. By Chili & Chirp | Hugging horizons since 2004 | Visit our Travel Alphabet.