One of the largest cities in the Netherlands, Utrecht offers travelers a lot of activities and attractions. Much like Amsterdam, it features a number of canals but fewer tourists, making this a great destination for those who want to steer away from the crowds. There are also several historical attractions in the region besides the canals, and it has a great food scene as well for those who are looking to have a gastronomic adventure. Because it’s located in the heart of the Netherlands, it also serves as a good jump-off point for other great destinations in and outside the country. Take a look at the top day trips from Utrecht, the Netherlands, if you want to do more exploring.
We can’t talk about travel destinations in the Netherlands without including Amsterdam in the discussion. It has grown a reputation as a city where you can find just about anything - and with good reason. It features a lot of historical structures and attractions, cute boutiques and cafes, and quaint cobbled streets. Its unique lifestyle is also worth checking out. Like Utrecht, its canals play an integral role in the workings of the city, and these well-preserved waterways have earned it the title “Venice of the North”.
Did you know that you can visit another country on a day trip from Utrecht? Bruges, which is in Belgium, is one such place you can go to from the city. Considered one of the most picturesque places in Europe, complete with postcard-perfect neighborhoods and squares, this is a great destination to choose if you haven’t had your fill of medieval architecture and charming, cobbled streets. Of course, a visit to Belgium won’t be complete without dropping by one or two of their breweries and chocolatiers and tasting their offerings.
The main attraction of Muiden is Muiderslot, a fairytale-like castle built in the 13th century. Believe it or not, this picturesque destination, which is right by the River Vecht and surrounded by beautiful, well-maintained gardens, once served a crucial role in the defense of the area. The artificial island Pampus also served as a fortress and helped in the defense and is also a place worth visiting while in Muiden. If you want to visit a quirky attraction, head over to Melkdrive, the world’s only known milk drive-in.
Like other cities in the Netherlands, Eindhoven was established in the 13th century, but a large portion was destroyed during World War II. This, however, paved the way for it to re-create itself. Today, it stands out from other places in the country and is recognized as a technology and design hub. Eindhoven also transforms into the world’s design capital during Dutch Design Week.
Nijmegen, also spelled as Nimeguen, is the oldest city in the Netherlands, originally established as a Roman military camp during 1 BC. These days, some traces of the Roman lifestyle can still be observed, and some of them you can even practice. For instance, you can try going to a local sauna or spa to rest and relax. You may also want to check out Grote Markt, the local market square that features a number of ancient architecture, restaurants, cafes, and shops. Visit the National Liberation Museum to find out more about the history of the city.
Antwerp has a lot going for it: it’s known as the diamond capital of the world, it’s the second-largest city of Belgium, and has the biggest port in the country. It also features the perfect blend of traditional and modern, having medieval and Gothic landmarks such as Antwerp Central Station, the Cathedral of Our Lady, and Ruben’s House, alongside the shops on Meier Street and the unique MAS Museum. .
7. The Hague
The Hague, also known as Den Haag, is recognized as the world’s seat of justice, being home to the International Court of Justice. It’s also the seat of the Dutch government. These may make it seem like the city is a dry, boring place, but the reality is that it actually features a lot of attractions and activities for everyone. Madurodam, for instance, is a park that gives visitors a glimpse of the beauty of the Netherlands through miniature windmills, tulip fields, and picturesque cobblestone streets. Clingendael Park, meanwhile, is a Japanese garden you can visit if you’re looking to find inner peace. Mauritshuis, meanwhile, is a must-visit for art lovers, housing paintings from renowned artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer.
The Hague gives visitors a glimpse of the attractions in the Netherlands, but Brussels has Bruparck, a place that features a Mini-Europe attraction. Besides giving tourists the chance to see the best of what the continent has to offer in a day, it is also home to Grote Markt, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a central market square framed by ornate Gothic and Baroque-style buildings. Mont des Arts, which features a gorgeous garden and provides a view overlooking Brussels, is also worth a visit.
Located in the southern part of the Netherlands, Rotterdam is home to the largest seaport in Europe. It’s been recognized as one of the must-visit attractions, and it’s easy to see why. Unlike many of the other places on this list that feature Gothic and medieval attractions, this place features eye-catching modern architecture such as the Cube House, the Markthal, Rotterdam Central Station, and Euromast Tower. Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk, the only surviving medieval structure in Rotterdam, is also worth a visit.
Ghent may not be the most popular tourist attraction in Belgium, but this underrated country has plenty to offer its visitors. Besides featuring medieval structures such as Gravensteen, St. Bavo’s Cathedral, and the belfry of Ghent, it also has a gorgeous waterfront in Graslei and Korenlei. Make sure to drop by St. Michael’s Bridge, which will give you a fantastic panoramic view of the landmarks of Ghent. If you’re a fan of good food, be sure to visit Patershol. Huis van Alijn, meanwhile, is worth a visit if you wish to know more about this gorgeous city.
Have an adventure of a lifetime
Utrecht is a popular tourist attraction because of its amazing history, architecture, great food, and a wide variety of shops. However, it’s far from being the only fantastic destination worth visiting in this region. Use this list to help you figure out your itinerary for a European holiday to remember.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.