Facts and information about Utrecht
Utrecht is a very touristic city with its famous wharves. It attracts visitors around the globe. Finding someone who speaks English is therefore no problem. The locals also speak a good amount of English and sometimes German, and maybe even French.
Utrecht is a city which is better accessible by public transport than by car. Therefore the city offers various P+R (Park and Ride) locations at the edge of the city center. P+R includes parking for €3.50 a day and the bus ride into the city. Parking in the city costs €3.85 per hour.
Best travel time
The climate in Utrecht is just like Dutch weather is known for – Cold and rainy. Throughout the year it rains a lot on average 75mm per month and most months have around 20 days of rain. The Temperatures are also very consistent; rising slowly from a cold winter of ~5°C to a mild summer of ~18°C. If you’re planning on visiting Utrecht be sure to take a raincoat with you, just in case.
Utrecht has a good cell network. You won’t find a place without reception very easily ;-) There may be some parts on the countryside where there is no signal. But since Utrecht is part of the Randstad even the region should be well connected.
Country and People
Traditions and Culture
Utrecht is a lively and attractive cultural city on the way to international fame. With its vibrant cultural climate, Utrecht is the most attractive of residences in the country. About 80% of the people from Utrecht are satisfied with the cultural offer. Venues, museums, festivals and historical heritage attract numerous visitors from town, the region, the country and other countries. Creators in the performing arts attract people of the country and some are also regular international travellers others present themselves to residents in the district. In 2013 Utrecht and Utrecht province celebrate in grand style the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Utrecht. This is the perfect preparation for Utrecht ambition of becoming the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2008. With its “Ontdeking van Utrecht. Actieplan cultuur 2008-2018” it hopes to make Utrecht a cultural highlight of the Netherlands and become the Cultural Capital of Europe. As in all parts of the Netherlands the national holiday of Koninginnedag is celebrate with vigour here. The celebrations are held all over the city on various plazas but also in restaurants or clubs etc. It is the biggest celebration in all of the Netherlands and Utrecht represents it very well. Utrecht is also a city that celebrates Koininginnenacht; a celebration held the night before. This is more for the younger population as it’s connected with many clubs and festivals.
Utrecht’s religion is represented by the Domkerk and the St. Augustinuskerk. It also has many institutions that allow Utrechs population to follow a religion. Also represented in Utrecht is the Islam by a Turkish Mosque.
Public transport in Utrecht is well represented by the railway lines and buses. The Utrecht railway connects locally by buses, regionally by trains and buses, nationally by intercity trains and internationally with the ICE from Germany. The bus terminal of Utrecht Centraal is the busiest in the Netherlands. The headquarters of two major Dutch railway companies Nederlandse Spoorwegen (most important train company) and RailPro (builds and maintains tracks) both have their Headquarters in Utrecht.
The airport for getting to Utrecht is Schiphol. Regular buses leave Schiphol Airport for transfer to Utrecht, and vice versa. The journey usually takes around 30min. Alternatively you can take the taxi, which of course is more expensive. Airport Schiphol is the busiest and largest airport in the Netherlands. It offers a lot of shopping opportunities, and adjoining it has the Sheraton Fitness & Spa which you can visit all day for €20. Schiphol has the offices of 6 major car rental companies on site i.e. Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National Car Rental and Sixt. All of them are near each other, so you may chose whichever you want. Of course you can rent it beforehand on the Schiphol Amsterdam Airport website.
Discover and Enjoy
• De Dom • Centraal Museum • Museum Catharijneconvent • Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum • Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement • Universiteitsmuseum • Geldmuseum • Aboriginal Art Museum • Moluks Historisch Museum • Waterleidingmuseum • Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh • Centrum Beeldende Kunst Utrecht • Volksbuurtmuseum Wijk C
• Jaarbeurs Utrecht • Nederlands Film Festival (September/October) • Holland Festival Oude Muziek (August/September) • Utrecht Uitfeest (September) at the opening of cultural season. • Spring Dance (dance festival in April) • Festival aan de Werf (theater festival in Mai) • Holland Animation Film Festival (Animation festival in November) • Utrechts Literatuur Festival (October)
Many of the restaurants are located on the Oude Gracht , there you can eat outside next to the water in summer. Some well-known restaurants are: • Manneke Pis near the Vredenburg, it is named the best fries stand in the Netherlands by the website Frietopia. • Mister Jack's in the Voorstraat offers a variety of Greek and Mediterranean meals. • Le Connaisseur in the Oude Gracht. It is near the Rembrandt cinema and has low prices. • Harbour Club is on the Veilinghavenkade 177. This restaurant near the Veilinghaven has a marvelous view. It offers mainly fish and many variations of it. It is pricy but a very good restaurant. A 3-course menu for 2 is around 80 Euros, it includes a bottle of wine.