Hotel in the centre of town and next to the train station. Dead easy to find as the Jaarsbeursplein is even signposted from the station! But only five minutes away from the Oudge Gracht area with lots of bars and restaurants - again through the station.
Very friendly hostel in a former squat, with basic but clean rooms and a lovely cafe/bar and garden.
Our scruffy group of six was greeted with tea and a chat by the manager bloke, who also rents out bikes to explore the city.
Boothstraat 8, 3512 BW Utrecht
On a clear day you can see the vast city and that is Utrecht from the top of the tower. The guided tour takes roughly one hour (and is done in English by request) and you are taken up some 465 steps en route to the route, but don't worry, you are given ample rest time on each floor and you are briefed of the history of all aspects of the tower. From who used to live there to long living superstition and myths. As it is the tallest church tower in The Netherlands I would urge any archaeological enthusiasts and general sightseers to give it try.
3512 JC Utrecht
As its name suggests, this cafe specialises mainly in Belgian beers, but it also has a respectable number of Dutch ones for you to sample as well. If you can't find something you fancy in its list of 10 draught beers and nearly 200 bottled ones you probably don't like beer. Good food with imaginative vegetarian options in the dagschotel (daily menu). A great place to relax.
Oudegracht 196.Telephone 030 231 2666
A huge, excellent, cheap cafeteria-type restaurant on the fourth floor of Vroom & Dreesman's department store where fresh food is cooked in front of you. In the summer you can eat outside at the roof-restaurant with great views of Utrecht.
Vroom & Dreesman in Hoog Catherijne shopping mall, adjacent to Utrecht Central Station.
Stairways is a studenty, friendly rock club in the centre of Utrecht. The music can be an acquired taste but thats pretty much the same as in every club in the Netherlands. But its got a great atmosphere and a good layout with a huge bar and areas where you can talk, dance, or look out over the dancefloor. Always a good, studenty night out with continentals who all speak perfect english.
11-12 Mariaplaats, Utrecht;
Although now just a café, the Winkel van Sinkel was the first department store opened in the Netherlands. It's a striking building standing by the Oudegracht with its façade featuring four giant cast-iron statues which were fabricated in England, as nowhere else had the technology at the start of the 19th century to produce them.
They were so large that they had to be transported to the store by water but unfortunately they were so heavy that the crane off-loading them from the boat collapsed under their weight, earning the statues the nicknames "these fallen English women" and "the English whores."
The fame of Anton Sinkel's shop spread throughout the Netherlands, inspiring a song which (roughly translated) goes:
At the big shop of Sinkel's/All things can be bought/Sweeties and shandies/Undies for dandies/Needles for knitting/And tablets for shitting.
A fascinating showcase of over 360 years of the University of Utrecht, it has an amazing range of scientific instruments, human and animal specimens, geological curiosities, medical materials and archeological discoveries. It also has a pleasant botanical garden.
Lange Nieuwstraat 106; www.uu.nl/uupublish/4192main.html
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