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Utrecht

Culture & history

Our most recommended Utrecht Culture & History

Utrecht: City Canal Cruise

1. Utrecht: City Canal Cruise

See the highlights of Utrecht's medieval inner city during a cruise on the Oudegracht canal. Learn about the city's history as you pass centuries-old buildings, canal houses, wharf cellars, and the Dom Tower. Exchange your voucher at the ticket office and collect your audioguide. Then, descend the 21 steps to the waterside to board your boat. Once you are settled, the boat will set off along the Oudegrachtn (Old Canal). Admire the oldest part of the city, which dates back to Roman times. Then, pass the highest church tower in the Netherlands, the Dom Tower. Marvel at other significant historical buildings along the route. After half an hour, arrive at the city's outer moat, a former defensive structure. Learn about the old strongholds and casemates there. Take photos of the beautiful Zocherpark. See the Railway Museum or Hoog Catharijne, the largest mall in the Netherlands, from the water. Return to the Oudegracht canal and watch people enjoying themselves on the wharves. Try and spot the typical wharf cellars. Once back on dry land, you will have a good idea of what you want to visit next.

Utrecht: De Haar Castle and Park Entrance Ticket

2. Utrecht: De Haar Castle and Park Entrance Ticket

Immerse yourself in history at iconic De Haar Castle. Admire its picture book medieval architecture, see its opulent interior, learn about the famous guests who have stayed there, and explore its tranquil grounds. Encounter a medieval fortress with towers and ramparts, moats, gates, and drawbridges. Marvel at the setting as the fairytale-like castle rises majestically from parkland filled with impressive trees, old gardens, and ponds. Take a walk in its tranquil parklands. Visit the Rose Garden or Roman Garden. Discover its ponds and canals, as well as the many bridges, romantic vistas, and impressive avenues ideal for long walks or picnics.

Utrecht: The Monster Mystery Exploration Game

3. Utrecht: The Monster Mystery Exploration Game

Play a real-world quest in Utrecht as a monster hunter who is tasked to find an elusive beast that threatens the city. Solve the clues you receive on your smartphone and save the people of Utrecht. Along the way, you will find new locations and unlock amazing stories. After you buy the quest, you will receive an access code that you can use in the app. The quest will take you from 1 to 2-hours to complete, but there’s no time limit, you can finish it at your own pace. You won’t need a guide, just download the app, go to the starting point and you’re ready to go on a city exploration adventure. As you solve the clues, you'll discover new locations and stories. This game is one of the most unique ways to have fun whilst acquainting yourself with the marvelous city of Utrecht. It's a fantastic game for families and groups of friends. If you are a large group, one person can purchase access for the entire group by selecting the number of people in the group. All group members will be able to play the city game on their smartphone. Alternatively, each person can purchase their own ticket. You can play as a group and solve the clues together as you walk, or you can split into smaller groups/teams and compete against the others. Each person can also play on their own, separate from the group, and meet the group at the end.

Utrecht: City Highlights Exploration Game

4. Utrecht: City Highlights Exploration Game

Discover Utrecht’s fascinating history and attractions while solving clues around the old town. By solving this coming-of-age quest, you’ll fall in love with the city’s unique charming spirit. Each clue will lead you from one place to another by providing you with exact directions, so you won't need a map, GPS, or guide. As you solve the problems and guess the answer, the secret stories of Utrecht slowly become unlocked. The game will take you about 2 hours to complete, but there’s no time limit. You do not need a guide - just download the app, go to the starting point, and begin the adventure. If you are a large group, one person can purchase access for the entire group by selecting the number of people in the group. All group members will be able to play the city game on their smartphones. You can play as a group and solve the clues together as you walk, split into smaller groups and compete against each other, or each person can play on their own.

Utrecht: Silver Betrayal - City Exploration Game

5. Utrecht: Silver Betrayal - City Exploration Game

Silver Betrayal is one of the best-rated city games of Utrecht. Prepare to solve riddles, answer questions, and unlock hidden augmented and virtual reality elements. In just 1 hour, you'll get a peek into the history of this beautiful 900-year-old city. The story begins with you following a hard-working family man during a typical working day in the 17th century. But what starts out as a normal day, soon takes a turn for the worst. Help find out what's happening and who's responsible before it's too late. Choose to play with 1-3 players or in several smaller groups to compete against each other. You can stick together as a group because you'll walk the same route. You decide when to start and when to take a break. The mix of freedom and adventure makes this city game the perfect outing during your city trip.

Utrecht: City History Walking Tour

6. Utrecht: City History Walking Tour

Embark on a walking sightseeing tour and discover the highlights of Utrecht. Hear about when and why the city received its rights and other interesting facts about the area's history. Stop at significant locations with your guide. In 2022, Utrecht celebrates 900 years of city rights. In 1122, Utrecht officially became a city — one of the first in the country. During this city walk, your experienced guide will tell you all about how Utrecht obtained its city rights and more. Hear about why Utrecht received city rights and where they were signed. Learn everything about the influence this has had on the city of Utrecht and how it is still developing today. Make a series of stops together with your guide and get to know the origins of the city. Prepare to be surprised by the beautiful places in the city center while you uncover their history.

Utrecht: De Haar Castle Gardens Entrance Ticket

7. Utrecht: De Haar Castle Gardens Entrance Ticket

Visit the tranquil landscaped parklands of the famous De Haar Castle. Discover its ponds and canals, as well as the many bridges, romantic vistas, and impressive avenues ideal for long walks or picnics. Explore castle grounds which are over 55 hectares in size. Encounter calming areas like the park forest and the former menagerie, ideal for an attractive private walk. Explore features like the maze, the large deer park, the romantic covered bridge, and the picnic meadow. Walk amongst some 7,000 trees, some of which are up to 140 years old. Visit areas like the Roman Garden, with its Ha Ha rampart, or see the Rose Garden, containing over 1,200 roses in 79 different varieties which bloom beautifully every summer.

Utrecht: Private or Public Off-The-Beaten Path Walking Tour

8. Utrecht: Private or Public Off-The-Beaten Path Walking Tour

Join a walking tour of Utrecht and its iconic Dom Tower, churchyards, the medieval city center, and more. Explore some of the most beautiful tree-lined canals of Europe with a local guide from a multiple award-winning tour operator. Meet your guide at Domplein, the city's main square in the heart of the city center. Embark on a walking tour through the old city center with your private party or, a maximum of 5 other travelers if you choose the small-group public walking tour. Learn about the city’s history that started around 2,000 years ago when Utrecht was part of the Limes, the Roman Empire’s northern border. Follow cobbled streets and churchyards, all leading to what has been the city’s main artery for centuries, the 1.5-mile-long old canal or Oudegracht. See the string of cafes and restaurants nearby. Make way to the Gothic Dom Church that with its dominating tower that is Utrecht's pride and joy and the last stop of your tour. Listen to interesting stories about the gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral before saying goodbye to your guide. After the tour, you can climb up the 495 steps or take the lift to the tower's top to experience an amazing bird’s eye view of the city. Click 'book' now to see both the private and public option!

Utrecht: National Railway Museum Admission Ticket

9. Utrecht: National Railway Museum Admission Ticket

The Dutch Railway Museum, also known as the Het Spoorwegmuseum, is your chance to explore the wonderful world of trains. Explore the museum's extensive collection of locomotives, carriages, scale models, steam engines, paintings, and railway material and objects. Visitors to the Railway Museum enter through the fully restored historic Maliebaan Station built-in 1874. While in the museum, you can see the impressive SS 13, also known as De Bril. While you're at the Railway Museum, visit its 3 saloon coaches and the authentic Royal waiting room. Take a behind-the-scenes look at a railway yard throughout the age of steam. Walk along with the Maliebaan Station platform and visit the Model Stockroom, which is filled with a collection of railway models. Take a ride on the Steel Monster and explore under, between, and above steam engines. Visit the Techlab while at the Railway Museum and learn everything there is to know about electric trains.

Utrecht: Customizable Tour & Optional Train from Amsterdam

10. Utrecht: Customizable Tour & Optional Train from Amsterdam

Join a friendly local guide to get an authentic experience of Utrecht on a personalized private tour. Explore this quintessentially Dutch city’s history, culture, and fantastic food scene as you’re led down its quaint, canal-flanked streets (and those off the well-trodden tourist trail). Your itinerary will be personalized according to your preferences. Once you’ve booked, someone from the local supplier's team will be in touch, so let then know if you have any special requirements. You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Meet your host at Amsterdam Station, and take the train 30 minutes to the university town of Utrecht, an enchanting hub of subterranean wharves and canalside haunts. You could visit the central Domplein square in the shadow of the Domtoren (a 14th-century bell tower that’s the tallest in the country) and the Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin. Alternatively, see the city’s natural beauty at the sprawling Utrecht Botanic Gardens, and peer into pocket-sized shops and restaurants along the Oudegracht – the most-central of the city’s famous canals. Stroll down the bustling Amsterdamsestraatweg, a hive of university students, and see the wide selection of local brews at the beer specialty store. Savor the floral fragrance at the colorful Bloemenmarkt of Utrecht, and browse through stalls selling fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, cheese, and meat at the typical Dutch market on the Vredenburg. Experience a modern-day village vibe in Twijnstraat, one of the coolest streets in Utrecht, and join locals popping into small independent shops, then admire the hofjes (concealed courtyards surrounded by almshouses) that have existed in the city since the Middle Ages. If you’re up for some fun, end your day at one of the city’s many game cafes for a bite and board game before boarding the train back to Amsterdam!

Frequently asked questions about Utrecht Culture & History

What are other things to do than Culture & History that are worth visiting in Utrecht?

The other unmissable things to do in Utrecht are:

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Other Sightseeing Options in Utrecht

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What people are saying about Utrecht

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 58 reviews

It was a beautiful day around the castle and great to see how well it is preserved!

It was a fabulous castle. Well worth the day trip. The history was fascinating

Lucy was the perfect guide - knowledgable and friendly. Book this tour!

Highly recommended .. a lovely place is a wonderful castle

It is beautiful there, my family enjoyed the time.