“The worst is when they are throwing up in our flowerpots”, “It became a second Venice, city stolen by tourists” – these are just a couple of headlines about issues with tourists in Amsterdam. I have been hearing about this problem for a couple of years. There is no way to hide from tourists in Amsterdam. Also for tourists. What should they do in order to see the Netherlands? Maybe go to Utrecht?:)
If I would be visiting Utrecht as a tourist, this would be my advice to myself:
- Leave the station and do not get stuck in the shops. Utrecht train station extended itself into a big shopping mall. High ceilings, popular brands, and chains.
- Visit Olivier Cafe. A secret and at the same time popular place. This is a Belgian bar in the premises which were a church previously (schuilkerk – a church that is situated in a normal house and does not look like a church from outside. Such types of churches existed in Europe for different branches of the Christian church. It is peculiar that though it is a very well-known place, it is still not overwhelmed by tourists, office workers still come here for drinks after work.
- Visit a museum: if you like architecture and design, then your choice is Rietveld museum, if you like music, then museum of street musical boxes, if you are a Japanese tourist or a child, then Miffy museum is a must, if you like history, then go either up (the tower) or down the Dom (the catacombs).
- Utrecht canals are also very special and different from the Amsterdam ones. You can walk following them or take about.
- Visit a district with the most expensive houses (Wittevrouwen) and check out how inconvenient the entrances and stairs can look like in the houses for such prices.
- Eat Mario sandwich (the most famous street sandwich in Utrecht) or Ben sandwich (street lunch place that has a selection of about 40 types of sandwiches).
And if you want to become part of the city life, you can join one of Utrecht festivals and events as there are plenty of those: theatre festival, student festival (students rooms become podiums for a day), medival music festival and many others.