Set sail along the Utrecht canals and explore your own slice of Holland’s unique waterways. Home to one of the only inner-city canals that feature wharfs and wharf cellars, a Utrecht boat tour combines history, culture and stunning vistas into one idyllic canal holiday.
The Utrecht Canals are made up of three main waterways; Oudegracht, Stadsbuitengract and Nieuwegracht. Two kilometres in length and over 1,000 years old, Oudegracht tends to be the most popular choice for Utrecht canal cruises , thanks to its historic walls, quaint restaurant and tree-lined routes, complete with 200-year-old trees.
Here are some of the top things to look out for along the way no matter where you may find yourself along the much-loved Utrecht canals
Must-see sights along the Utrecht canals
Admire the historic buildings
With thousands of years of history behind them, it’s no surprise that canal boat holidays in Utrecht come packed full of rich landmarks and must-see sights. When the Utrecht Canals were built during the 12th and 13th centuries, large city castles and upper-class residences were built alongside the waterways.
To this day, the historic facades of these fascinating buildings can be seen from the water, offering up a perspective that only boatmen and sea dwellers enjoyed nearly one thousand years ago.
Stop off at the unique wharfs and wharf cellars
Other than its quieter streets, what sets Utrecht apart from Amsterdam, and canals in the rest of the world, is its wharfs and wharf cellars. Once a spot for boats to dock, unload and reload their booty, these historic spaces have been transformed into spaces for the public to enjoy, while still retaining their historic roots.
While some are private residences and eateries, others are left untouched, allowing you to understand what the canals may have looked like during the Middle Ages. Navigating your Utrecht canal boat rental to one of these untouched wharfs is one of the most fascinating things to do in this part of the Netherlands; just don’t forget to look out for the iconic double docks.
Grab a coffee at a riverside cafe
If you’re looking for a hint of authentic Dutch cafe culture, you can’t go wrong with boating holidays in the Netherlands. Lined with locally-run cafes, bars and restaurants, it doesn’t take long to dock your Utrecht boat rental and jump into the nearest alfresco spot. Many of the unique wharf terraces that were mentioned above have been transformed into fantastic eateries, perfect for grabbing a bite to eat en route.
If you happen to be enjoying a Utrecht canal cruise during the rainier months, many of the deep cellars, that once served as storage spaces for the shipyard, have been converted into cozy cafes and much-loved restaurants too.
Continuing beyond the Utrecht Canals
Once you’ve soaked up the sites, smells and tastes of the Utrecht canals , why not extend your trip to explore even more of the Netherland’s waterways.
Whether you’d like to take your boat on a longer adventure from Utrecht to Amsterdam or to head just a little outside of the city with a Loosdrecht boat hire to discover a maze of lakes just an hour away, the choice is yours.
One thing that is for sure, with its stunning surroundings, and plenty of things to see and do, Utrecht canals are a fantastic starting place for your next boating holiday in the Netherlands.