"Utrecht 2002" Utrecht by isolina_it
Utrecht Travel Guide: 636 reviews and 1,551 photos
Utrecht, founded by the Romans in 48 A.D., is situated in the heart of [*the Netherlands*] and is one of the oldest Dutch cities. Bustling cafés, restaurants and chic shops thrive in converted cellars and wharves along its romantic 14th century sunken canals. The skyline of the city is dominated by the ‘Domtoren’, built between 1321 and 1382. From its enormous height, 122 meters, the Domtoren offers an excellent view over the city and its surroundings. Around the ‘Dom’ the old town centre is relatively compact; everything can be explored on foot. Alongside the Oudegracht (old canal) you can descend to the old wharves, where waterside footpaths give access to the cellars belonging to the canal houses, many of which now have been turned into restaurants, boutiques and craft shops. One can sit on the waterside terraces, several metres below road level, watching the boats go by on the canals.
A 45 minute train ride from Amsterdam, Utrecht is known for the amazingly tall spire on the cathedral there, as well as it's university. The train station is also a huge indoor mall, which is a new concept for the Dutch. Malls in the States are dying, but just getting popular in Europe.
The Centrum of Utrecht is just a few blocks from the train station, and a lovely canal winds its way through town. The canal is interestingly constructed with two levels alongside the banks. The lower level has iron doors lining a narrow walkway alongside the canal. The barrel-vaulted low-ceilinged rooms are filled with small shops, restaurants, cafes and store rooms. Above is the street level with buildings crammed into every spare inch of canal frontage.
Typically Dutch, narrow houses and shops line every street. There are a number of interesting restaurants situated at the water level. Every year in June, Utrecht hosts a Blues Festival with bands playing outdoor venues around the town - for free!
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