Utrecht audio tour: Castles, canals and good folk in Utrecht

Castles, canals and good folk in Utrecht

Walking Tour

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60 mins
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1mi

About the Tour

Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, having started out in the 1st century as a Roman frontier fort. It has always been important, and has the scars and the achievements to prove it. Join me on a wander along canals and down laneways that have witnessed the passing of Knights, Emperors and Beguines. We will explore the less familiar northern quarters of the old city, to castles, a war time bunker, poetry on high, lofty mansions and little cottages. Utrecht is located in the centre of the country, and easy to get to from anywhere. You will come to understand the vitality of today's Utrecht more clearly through the layers of its near and distant past. There are also plenty of places to stop on the way to pull up a chair, order a coffee and watch the world walk, drift, or cycle by.

Tour Producer

avatar

Annette Welkamp

I am the Director of Culture Counsel, specialising in the development, implementation and management of art, museum and heritage projects internationally. My life has been filled with travelling and exploring since I was little, but sadly, I don’t remember the first big trip since I was only three. It must have been a fabulous round-the-world ship journey, which included passing through both the Suez and Panama Canals. Having been born in Australia, I am also lucky enough to have dual citizenship, thanks to my parents who migrated there from the Netherlands. I’m told that I speak Dutch with an Australian accent and use strange old-fashioned words that emanate from Twente in the east of the Netherlands (my parent’s original base) – but I don’t believe it. It all sounds perfectly fine to me. Judge for yourself on my walking tours of Hattem and Utrecht in the Netherlands. Creating walking tours in interesting places is a great way of enabling others to see and experience the fascinating world that we all live in. Please join me on a tour.

Major Landmarks

  • Oudaen City Castle

  • University of Utrecht

  • inner city harbours

  • 330 little stone sculptures hidden in plain view

  • and markets depending on your day

Directions to Starting Point

By public transport
If you are travelling by public transport, please check the Travel Planner on the NS website at https://www.ns.nl/en/travel-information. The nearest major rail station is Utrecht Centraal, which can be easily reached from any place in the Netherlands.

Once you have exited the station, walk through the Hoog Catharijne shopping centre and I will be waiting for you outside the exit on the Vredenburg square

By car
If you choose to travel by car, there are a number of options for parking nearby so please refer to the https://www.visit-utrecht.com/plan-your-trip/how-to-get-to-utrecht/by-car to find one that suits you.

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Tips

Places to stop along the way

Nederlands Volksbuurtmuseum, cafés down on the quays of the Oudegracht, bookshops near the University. Food and drinks to test on the way: croquettes, bitterballen, pea soup, pancakes, herring, smoked eel, appeltaart, coffee, genever and beer.

Best time of day

Many highlights on this tour can be experienced at any time of the day or year, but it will be easier to spot some details during daylight hours.

Most shops in the historic city centre are open daily from 09:30 to 18:00. On Mondays shops open slightly later, between 11:00 and 13:00. Most shops remain open until 21:00 on Thursday evenings.

If you would like to visit any of the museums or churches we pass on the route, please check their websites first.

Cafés and restaurants are generally open till later.

Precautions

Most of the time we will be exploring the quiet backstreets, where the pace is a little more leisurely but Utrecht is a major city, and we will pass through some busy streets, so please be careful of cars, trams, buses, and of course, since it is the Netherlands, do keep an eye out for bikes.

When in doubt, wait before you cross a busy road, and it is usually best to go with everyone else.

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Castles, canals and good folk in Utrecht