Eco-friendly travel guide to Utrecht advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to explore the attractions in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Utrecht, Netherlands.
- Air quality: 4 / 5
- Exploring by foot: 3.5 / 5
- Exploring by bicycle: 3 / 5
- Public transportation: 3.5 / 5
- Parks: 4 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3 / 5
- Safety: 4 / 5
- Accommodation: US$60 - $250
- Budget per day: US$100 - $500
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 How to Get There
- 11 Moving Around
- 12 Sustainable Shopping
- 13 Recycling
- 14 Work and Study Abroad
- 15 See Also
Utrecht is famous for the many canals that run inside the city and the stunning architecture that sits along-side these canals. You will hardly face any trouble while exploring the city and can spend a memorable time exploring the various culturally and historically significant places that hold the potential to take you back in time. While traveling and exploring Utrecht, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind:
Shopping is essential for every tour, and it will help you get the best experience of the place. There are many local shops in the city that sell unique products. Make sure to visit these shops and buy them if you like, and it will help the local people very much.
Another thing that you need to try in the city is the local food. As a part of this city is dependent on tourism, it will help them very much if you buy street foods from the local food shops. It will help you to get a lifetime experience in the city.
When you are in the city, make sure to use local transportation services like buses, taxis, and others to help you move comfortably around the city and keep your travel eco-friendly. It will also help you to save a lot of transport expenses. You will find many green hotels in the city that are very eco-friendly and comfortable for your stay. You do not have to see many different places to find a green hotel. It will help you to stay healthy and keep the city pollution-free.
Air Quality and Pollution
If you find yourself in a busy city like Utrecht, it is not out of place to be curious and want to know about the air quality index or the city's pollution rate. After all, getting knowledge about these would help you develop or practice means to stay safe. The air quality of the city is right, making it adaptable for living. There are no severe health challenges that one would develop while there, which can be linked to air quality. Different things affect the air in the city of Utrecht, and we can trace them to human activities. However, there are efforts to curb and minimize them so that the air quality index would grow from moderate to high. It will be best not to entertain fear or worries about air quality when in Utrecht.
Respect the Culture
Most people always forget the essential thing while traveling, respecting the culture. Most travelers only focus on getting the most out of their trip and often not getting the best experience. While traveling, you can get the most out of your trip only if you respect the culture. You can pay your respects by following the rules, not indulging in illegal activities, prefer local businesses, and avoiding any action that harms the local environment. By paying respect to the culture, you can make your trip more meaningful and memorable.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- Dom Tower: Dom Tower is one of the famous monuments in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Domplein, Utrecht, Netherlands. It was established in the year 1382.
- Castle De Haar: Castle de Haar is one of the famous castles in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Kasteellaan, Utrecht, Netherlands. It was established in the year 1907.
- Museum Speelklok: Speelklok is one of the famous museums in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Steenweg, Utrecht, Netherlands. The museum was established in the year 1956.
- Railway Museum: The railway museum is famous in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Maliebaanstation, Utrecht, Netherlands. It was established in the year 1927. The type of museum is the Transport museum.
- St Martin's Cathedral: St Martin's Cathedral is the cathedral in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Achter de Dom, Utrecht, Netherlands. The type of church is Gothic.
- Centraal Museum: Centraal Museum is located in Agnietenstraat, Utrecht, Netherlands. This is the main museum in the city, founded in 1838.
- Rietveld Schroder House: Rietveld Schroder House is a building in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Prins Hendriklaan, Utrecht, Netherlands. It was founded in the year 1924.
- Loosdrechtse Plassen: Loosedrechtse Plassen is a lake in the city of Utrecht. It is one of the famous tourist places in the city.
- Nijntje Museum: Ninja Museum is a children's museum in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Agnietenstraat, Utrecht, Netherlands.
- Utrecht Botanic Gardens: Utrecht Botanic Gardens is one of the famous botanical gardens in the city of Utrecht. It is located in Budapestlaan, Utrecht, Netherlands. It was founded in the year 1639.
People say that all work and no play would make one dull. Utrecht ensures that it has places that play roles in calming and relaxing the mind. Thus, it is not surprising that people always want to visit this city. The city has many museums, and they give you a better idea of the history of the town and how it evolved to what it is today. There are also parks where you can relax and interact with people. The churches in the city have a gothic appearance, and one can tell that it dates years back. People who love archaeology are usually interested in this as the buildings are unique and outstanding. There is so much to do in the city, so tourists should have a schedule plan ready so that activities will not be jumbled.
The city is significant, and it has a big collection of parks and other such places. It has big open spaces and greeneries where you can spend time with your children and other family members. The views are one thing you cannot take away from parks.
Here are some famous city parks in the city:
- Park Transwijk
The country has always been famous for its beautiful and graceful natural resources, and so that this city has a beautiful collection of national parks and a zoo. We are listing down a few of them that may not exactly be located in and around the city but are not very far away from the city.
- Landgoed Haarzuilens
- Pandhof Sinte Marie
- Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park
- Hoge Veluwe National Park
Many people love the idea of soaking up the sun on the beach, enjoying the peacefulness and calm the water brings, and meeting people. If you buy this idea, it means you would want to hang out at the beach if you visit the city. Thankfully, there are many excellent beaches in the town.
- Soia – Beach Oog In Al
- Bbq Spot – Haarijnsplas
- Strandtent Esther Rosa
- Markus Pos
- Rietplas Beach
The city of Utrecht also has its share of memorable landmarks and monuments. You must try and visit as many as you possibly can. While the list is quite long, we mention a few of them for our readers' benefit.
- Zuylen Castle
- Dutch Water Line
- Slot Zeist
- Liberation Route Europe
Utrecht is home to several museums that commemorate and keep the local culture and history alive. Numerous museums are worth a visit to ensure that you leave the city has learned about its history, amongst other things. Below is a list of some of the most prominent museums in the city.
- Nationaal Militair Museum
- Museum Catharijneconvent
- Centraal Museum
- Railway Museum
- Museum Speelklok
- Nederlands Volksbuurt Museum
You will find that the locals prefer to eat healthy and nutritious food with lots of vegetables and meats. Apart from these traditional and modern cuisines, the local street food is a must-try one that will leave your mouth lingering with their flavors. You will find that vegetarian, and non-vegetarian dishes are popular, and you will not find much trouble conveying your food preferences. Here are some famous local restaurants, vegetarian and vegan, and street foods are given below.
Traditional Local Restaurants
The food journey in foreign places always starts from trying out the local dishes. There are specific dishes available in the city that you will not find in any other site. So, make sure to try the traditional dishes in the city to help you understand the culture. Before stepping into the city, make sure to know the best legal places to try out the best dishes. Here are some of the areas that you need to visit in the city.
- Stadskasteel Oudaen
- Graaf Floris Café Restaurant
- Restaurant Podium
- Menner Smakers
Vegetarian and Vegan
If you are a vegetarian, you do not need to worry when you are in Utrecht city as there are many restaurants to attend to your needs. With these places, you will get to enjoy traditional meals properly with your regular choices. Some of these vegan restaurants are:
- Soy Aziatisch Vegetarische Keuken
- Waku Waku
- De Werfkring
As mentioned earlier, street foods are the best things you need to get the best artistic touch. You will find street food stalls on every corner of the city. No matter which lane you visit, you will find many local street foods that you need to try once in your lifetime. You will find some of the cheapest street foods in these markets. Make sure to try the local food shops' foods to support them and earn some money. It will help you get good food at a low price and help the local shops keep providing good food to tourists.
- Roberto Gelato
- Champaneria Los Amigos Utrecht
- Dogma Hotdogbar
- Dapp Frietwinkel Utrecht
- Kimmade Vietnamese Street Food
- Kafe Belgie
- Meneer Nobelstraat
Drinks are an essential thing in travel as it helps to get refreshed between your journey to different places in the city. There are some of the places in the city that will provide you a wide range of drinks. From local drinks to international, you will find a lot of different beverages here. You can try some local beers from the shops, soft drinks, juices, and others. Before visiting the city, you need to know the best places in this city that can help you get refreshed. Make sure to try the local drinks to get the best experience and help out the local people. Many people are very much dependent on tourism and maintain their living based on it. Here are different sections given below that will give you an idea of drinks you can get in the city.
The tap water in the city is 100% safe to drink without any harm to your health. But most of the local people in the city drink it without boiling. The locals recommend it to drink. You can drink tap water without filtering, but the locals will give you some side-eye. Boiling or filtering is not necessary, but you can do it just like locals. One of the most common things tourists need to know before landing in the city is water quality. Knowing the quality of tap water will help you to see if you can drink it or not. As an eco-friendly traveler, try to avoid drinking packaged water. Instead, boil and filter the tap water and drink it. If you are staying in a green hotel, you will get the best drinking water. In most parts of the city, you will be able to get bottled mineral water that you can buy.
The city has stood up to catering for all population segments, including those with a preference for organic foods. Since some people would prefer eating organic, it is not out of place to have organic cafes in different cities. While they are not as apparent as the mainstream restaurants, the town has several organic eateries:
- Space Cake
- Zeeuwse Bolus
- Haagse Bluf
If you love alcoholic drinks, you will have a swell time in the city as there are many fabulous options for you. Have a look at some of its breweries:
- Maximus Brewery
- Vande Streek Bier
- Brewpub De Kromme Haring
- Utrecht Craft Beer Tours
- De Brakkerji
- Oproer Brouwerij Biercafe
- The Sisters Brewery
You will find the city loaded with activities. First of all, make sure to visit all the famous attractions in the city. These attractions are the most popular activity among all the others for travelers. You will find these places very crowded. If you are looking for outdoor activities, then you can find many in the city. From fishing to hiking, be ready to get the best experience of outdoor activities in this city. Options are also available that will take you far from the crowd and help you to relax. Yoga and retreats are one of the best options to get back your energy and relax between exploring the city.
Yoga and Retreats
You will find that young people are the ones that like to participate in such fitness exercised. There are many yoga institutes in the city where you can train under a qualified and experienced yoga teacher. With increasing awareness of the need for a healthy and fit lifestyle, the local people are gaining interest in yoga, an ancient Indian practice for maintaining the mind and body's health.
Some of the renowned yoga centers are as follows:
- Trainmore Utrecht Janskerkhof
- Jouw Yoga En Mindfilness
- Park Yoga Utrecht
- Yoga Moves One
- Yoga Centrum Utrecht
- De Yogaschool Utrecht
- Fitness Factory
Accommodation is a big part of your stay in the city. When you are not roaming and exploring the city, you will need to rest in that place. So, knowing the different accommodation options before entering the town is very important. From green hotels to renting apartments, all the options are available to you to choose to enjoy your stay. It would be best to select the accommodation options based on the number of days you stay in the city. Along with the accommodation options, the services also change very much.
If you are an environmental enthusiast, we know that you would search for green hotels to ensure that you have an eco-friendly stay in the city. Many foreigners fail to realize that they have a role to play in protecting the environment, and it does not matter if it is your place of origin or not. You should play a role in any place you find yourself.
- Mary K Hotel
- Nh Utrecht
- Hotel Mitland Utrecht
- Hotel Nh Center Utrecht
- Star Lodge Hotels
- Mother Goose Hotel
- Ibis Utrecht
Hostels and Guest Houses
Here are some comfortable and affordable guesthouses as well as hostels in the city. They are given below:
- Stone Hotel And Hostel
- Stayokay Utrecht Center
- The Hostel B&B Utrecht City Center
- Strowis Hostel
- Borneman Buitenhof
- Bed And Breakfast Beijers
When you plan to stay even more than 2-3 weeks, choosing hotels, hostels, or guest houses might be a bit high on cost. So, if you plan an extended stay, then renting apartments is the best option for you. It will help you to save a lot of money and stay comfortably. You will find a lot of apartments in the city with different price ranges. All of them offer additional features like an air conditioner, TV, refrigerator, and others. You need to choose one depending on your needs and choices. Use online services to choose and book them before stepping into the city. It will save you time searching and help you to start exploring right after reaching.
There is an online community known as couchsurfing.com, and if you are a part of it, you will be able to come across dozens of CouchSurfing mates and companions. The perk of Couchsurfing is that it is free. As a foreigner, you do not need to pay your host. However, it is your responsibility to be respectful and abide by the laws of the city. It is a new concept but has taken off quite well in the town.
Compared to all the other accommodation options, this is one of the different ones that takes you very close to nature. You will get many campsites in the area that offer additional features and an online booking option. So, make sure to book the camp before visiting the city.
- Budget Camping Utrecht
- Camping Between Heaven And Earth
- Fort Aan De Klop
- Camping De Vliert
- Buitengoed De Boomgaard
- Van Oostveen
- Farm Hazenveld
How to Get There
Before planning your trip and what to buy there, you need to decide how to get to the city. Many different options are available that you can use to get to Utrecht city. The best way to travel to the city depends on your location or starting point. If you are traveling from foreign countries, then the best way to reach the town might be by air. But if you are traveling from another city in the country, then you will have many different options available that you can take.
The Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the airport which serves the city of Utrecht as well. Their planes are also safe and easy to travel. They have embassies in almost all countries. So you can visit the one in your country. Before booking a flight to the city, you have to visit different websites and figure out where you're going to get the best deal. If you're going to book a flight in advance, your fare will not be expensive. On the other hand, you might have to spend much.
If you love road trips and witness the natural beauty on the way, then you can choose this option. Having a trip to the city on a bus is the best way to get there if you are traveling from a town in the Netherlands. The bus is widespread and well-used transportation that will help you to get to the city smoothly. You will reach your destination very fast at a very reasonable price. The buses are very frequent in this city, and you will find many bus terminals and hubs scattered throughout the city.
If you want to move away from the city, the train is the best mode of transport. There are train lines connected to the northern and southern parts of the country from the city.
While the locals are quite friendly and hospitable and hitchhiking is common in many parts of the world, it is not common to encounter hitchhikers in the city. Most drivers are naturally wary of picking up strangers, fearing carrying robbers and carjackers. While there are exceptional cases of drivers who would be okay with offering one a lift, most of them would not, especially when driving at night.
There are many other options available for hitchhiking to choose to reach Utrecht city from different places both in other countries and in the country. Many other countries are well connected to the town by roadway. You can take a car or bike to reach Utrecht city by road to have a unique experience. You will be able to get a perfect time on the road trip. Although it will take a lot of time to reach the city using the roadway, you will watch all the different places on your way and feel the different cultures.
These modes of transportations are efficient in helping you move around the city and discover the city's hidden gems. If you wish to travel, then the best option at your disposal is public transports such as subway trains, available buses, and electronic vehicles. Walking is an alternative mode of moving around but is the healthiest and cheapest mode.
Walking is one of the best ways of exploring the city and getting to different places. Some places in the city are only accessible to pedestrians. You will be able to get into the markets and take shortcuts by walking. While it takes a lot of time to reach your destination compared to other modes of transportations, walking is the best way to get close to the locals and their lifestyle. You will be able to see many cultural and traditional things up close in different places while walking. In many parts of the city, you will be able to walk without any complications as there are separate ways made for the people to walk safely at the side of the road.
The traffic is always much. So you can only drive on the main road if you're pretty good. As there are international riding competitions held in the city, they also organize local riding competitions. You can join them if you're good enough. If you win, you're going to become popular within your short time in the city. In case you can't bring your bicycle to the town, you can always rent. For instance, a company named Velobike rents out bicycles to natives and foreigners in the city. All you have to do is register on their website. All you need for the registration are a valid email address, an active phone number, and some of your bank details. When you're done with registration, you can visit their nearest station and get a bicycle. After doing that, the rent amount will be deducted from your bank account.
You can even find some charging stations outside the city and enjoy various amenities that the government provides the users of such vehicles. With the increasing popularity of environment-friendly practices, electronic cars have become one of the best ways of moving around the city. These cars, motorbikes, and bicycles operate using renewable resources, and their charging points are available all over the city. You can either opt for buying or renting out an electronic vehicle but prefer renting out to save your precious money as a tourist.
Public bus is one of the cheapest means of transport in the city. Unlike other places, you don't pay upon entry. You have to purchase tickets. You can either buy the tickets when you get there or in advance. Since the tickets sell out early in the morning, it is advisable to purchase them in advance. There are several modes of paying for public bus tickets in the city of Utrecht. One of them is the use of Troika cards. That same Troika card can also be used to book for electronic vehicles and other things. The amount of money you will pay depends on when you're going. There are different bus stops in the city. So you've to get down at the bus stop that is close to where you're going. If you miss a particular bus stop, you will have to wait until the driver reaches the next bus stop.
Tram, Train and Subway
You will be able to get more than one railway station in the range of this city. Trains are quite frequent, and you do not have to wait much for one to arrive. Taking trains will help you get the best experience traveling the city very comfortably without any interruptions. There are many subways available in the town, but they are not well connected to famous points.
So you can purchase almost everything that you want. To make it easy for everyone, you don't have to hold cash whenever you want to buy. You can make use of your card. If you're from another country, you will likely experience a change in the weather. To adapt quickly, you can purchase the local skincare products in the city. There are also several local boutiques in the city. Beautiful Utrecht clothes are sold there. When you start to put on such clothes, you will appear like the Netherlands. There are also flea markets in the city of Utrecht. From clothes to artifacts, a lot of vintage things are always sold there. Some flea markets open once a week while the others open every day. To help improve the economy, you should patronize the local Utrecht malls in the city of the Netherlands. All sorts of goods and services are available there.
These places provide visitors with an authentic taste of the local food while promoting local businesses. The city of Utrecht's food markets is famous amongst the locals and the tourists as they are packed with fresh and high quality produce. Here are some of the popular food markets in the city of Utrecht:
- Market Vredenburg
- Guven Market
- New Macro Market
- Tila Utrecht Beheer B.V.I.O
- Lombok 2 Groente, Fruit En Levensmiddelen
Some of these markets operate daily, whereas some markets operate on special days or fixed days of the week. Flea markets are markets that sell low priced products by local traders. These markets often consist of used or second-hand items in good condition and can be used again.
- Brocante Veiling
- Zelgemaakte Market
- Breedstraat Lapjesmarket
- Emmaus Haarzuilens
- Mega Vlooienmarket
- Don Events Vlooienmarket
Second Hand Stores
Second-hand markets are now evolving all around the world. You will find most of the stores very crowded and filled with quality items. The city of Utrecht is no different, and second-hand markets have grown very well in the last few years. The local people have started to shop for these second-hand products and the tourists, which made these markets very crowded. Here are some of the best second-hand shops to visit in the city.
- Used Products Utrecht Noord
- Alternatieve Tuin – En Brocantemarket De A.R.M Zaligheid
- Terre Des Hommes Shop Utrecht
Eco-fashion is one of the best ways that you can use to contribute to nature. As an eco-friendly tourist, you will get the best fashion collection that produces zero pollution and helps the environment stay clean. Most of these fashions are made with eco-friendly materials and herbal ingredients. Local people have started to adopt these fashions tested in getting many branded and non-branded eco-fashion stores in the area. Many shops have developed over the years to provide the best eco-fashion to customers. However, you will need to know which are the best places to go for having a great shopping experience in this city.
When you are traveling to Utrecht city, you will see high tech orange color machines installed on the roads' side. These machines are established for the people to dump their food waste, which will be recycled instantly. You will find more than 2000 automatic recycling bins installed around the whole town. Apart from these, most of the steps they have taken to minimize waste, technology plays a massive role. The government and many private companies have come forward to help with the issue and started many different initiatives that helped the city very much. The government of this city has made a partnership with many companies to build a robust recycling infrastructure.
The waste management and recycling management was not that good in this city in the past. However, things have changed very much since they focused on it. The town has developed different things and started many initiatives to minimize waste production. They have installed many different waste bins that people can use to dump the food wastes to recycle them. Mostly the waste is divided into other things such as landfills, composting, recycling, and incineration. The city of Utrecht is one of the best cities in the country that has climbed the best in waste management. They have successfully recycled and used the waste to make the environment better. The destruction of this city has decreased very much. Local people have played a significant role in it by taking the responsibility to place the waste in specific bins and maintain waste management.
Work and Study Abroad
You will be happy to hear that it is quite possible. With one of the leading economies and quality educational institutes, career and educational opportunities are endless and the world's best ones. If you want to work in the Netherlands, you will need first to bag a job and then apply for a Work Visa to stay in Utrecht. By working in Utrecht, you can mold your personality into the best version of yourself. If you want to study in Utrecht, all you need to do is register for the student exchange program and wait for your calling. There are many quality education institutes in Utrecht that offer unique and useful courses.
The standard of education in the city of Utrecht is high; they only admit intelligent students. So you've to work and study hard if you want to enjoy the program. In some cases, exchange students will automatically start doing masters after the undergraduate program. So they are entitled to work and study there. After you're done with your master's, you can also enroll for your doctorate. Just know that you're going to sponsor yourself on that one. Many universities in the Netherlands and Utrecht partner with schools in other countries to exchange programs. Thus, you should check if your school partners with anyone in the city of Utrecht if you desire to visit the city. During the student exchange program, you can learn about the Netherlands thoroughly and is a plus as you also get to explore the city. Many students usually jump on this opportunity, and you can do so as well.
Au Pair is one of the best ways of getting your study done in a foreign city while earning money. It helps the students or foreigners to explore the city and help out local people. You will be shocked to know how many people in this city desperately need Au Pairs. This is a give-and-take process where you will be taking care of a child or older person for a limited time in exchange for shelter, food, and some money. Taking care of the baby or more senior people might not be comfortable because of the family members' busy schedules. They lookout for the Au Pair service to get the best service and focus on work. Most people who visit the city for a long time take this service to stay and explore the city. Many foreigners also accept this service after stepping into the city as an initial stage of earning money until they get a good full-time job.
The life of the Local people circles around eco-friendly practices and measures. You will find many volunteering organizations in the city that provide awareness and help for various societal problems like unemployment, drugs, social security, environment protection, etc. Utrecht organizations urge people to participate in volunteering organizations and let the language barrier be no longer a difference. It can be a wonderful experience to volunteer to help the needy on your trip to a foreign country.