Welcome to Utrecht, the "small" Amsterdam!

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While being a student in the Netherlands I had the chance to visit multiple Dutch cities and to get into the Dutch culture for real! One of the cities that offered me probably one of the funniest experiences ever (I’ll get to that…wait) is Utrecht.

General info; Known also as the “Small Amsterdam”, Utrecht is one of the Netherlands' oldest cities, with a compact medieval centre set out around canals unique to the Netherlands: there's a lower level where warehouses were located in the 13th century, giving the canals a split-level character and meaning that diners and drinkers can nip off the street and enjoy a snack or a drink down at water level. While the canals form Utrecht's restful core, elsewhere the city is busy reinventing itself, and part of the excitement is witnessing this ongoing transformation. Roads such as Catharijnebaan are being turned back into the canals they once were and the spectacular new train station, nearing completion, adds a vital complement to the old town, adjoined by a greatly expanded concert hall that includes five venues. Utrecht's student population of 40,000 is the largest in the country, making the city a very vibrant place. From subterranean music cellars to movie houses-cum-pubs to a slew of special beer cafes, the range of social outlets ranks among the nation's broadest.

Things to do; Utrecht is absolutely chock-full of must-see attractions. If you stroll between the lively docks of the historical Oudegracht and the city centre, you come across countless national monuments and world heritage. And if you jump on your bike, you'll be at impressive citadels, forts and castles within a half hour. No idea where to start? Then here's a selection of attractions that you simply must see.

Personal experience/Fun Fact!; Below you’ll see me suggesting an “Incredible Canoe experience in Utrecht’s canals”. Beware; choose wisely the person you’ll share the canoe with and make sure that both of you can coordinate while paddling. Yes, exploring the city in a Canoe sounds really cool, BUT make sure you’re prepared for that. If not you’ll probably end up with an experience similar to mine; losing one of the two paddles, getting hit by a boat while not being able to turn the canoe, destroying a phone, saying goodbye to your favorite pair of sunglasses while watching them sinking into the endless dark canal bottom and walking all soaked in the city’s streets, but at least proud of your accomplishments. It was a miserable moment but yeah we’re still laughing out loud when we’re trying to describe what happened! (>>.The picture was taken while trying to dry ourselves, at least it was sunny!)

PS. You know who you are; thanks for the memories!

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The author

Chrisa Lepida

Chrisa Lepida

My name is Chrisa and I come from Greece. As nature lover, winter sports addict and Erasmus obsessed, I’m always writing about these topics.

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