The heart of the Dutch Railway System
Utrecht is the heart of the Dutch Railway system. The NS headquarters is located just East of the Utrecht Central Station.
The station is big and integrated with the Hoog Catharijne shopping center at the North.
To the South is the exit to the Jaarbeurs exhibition complex.
In the central hall of the station is the meeting point TREFPUNT (see picture). From here you have a view on the main departure information board.
The Meeting Point has becoming electronic. Two big screens display messages you can enter with a cell-phone at: 0800-2028.
In the coming years the complete station area will be transformed; see More information
Real time Public Transportation info on the Utrecht map.
- Adventure Travel
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The Utrecht trams serve the Southern suburbs of town.
Through 2013 the Utrecht Centraal Station is the departure- and arrival location, due to the reconstruction of the area.
From December 2013 the QBuzz company has taken over the tram service under the name U-OV (Utrecht Public Transportation).
There are 3 tram lines:
-60 to Nieuwegein-Zuid
-61 to IJsselstein-Zuid
-260 Rush hour service to Nieuwegein-Zuid
- Budget Travel
Utrecht buses (Public Transportation)
From December 2013 the QBuzz company has taken over the bus service (formerly provided by the GVU company) at and around Utrecht under the name U-OV (Utrecht Public Transportation).
Utrecht bus map.
From Utrecht Centraal the following buses are available:
North Bus station:
-1 - Hoograven and Overvecht
-2 - Museum quarter ring line
-3 - Zuilen North
-5 - Cartesiusweg and Voordorp via Tuindorp
- 6 - Overvecht
- 7 - Kanaleneiland South
- 8 - Lunetten Station & Sterrenwijk
- 9 - Overvecht North
-16 - Overvecht
-19 - Leidsche Rijn (not on Sundays)
-25 - Lombok, Cartesiusweg
-26 - Terwijde, Vleuten
-28 - Vleuten station and De Uithof
-34 - Maarssen station (limited service)
-36 - Maarssen station (limited service)
-211 - Rijnsweerd North
South Bus Station:
-12 - De Uithof AZU
-24 - Papendorp, Busstation De Meern Oost
-29 - Bedrijventerrein Papendorp (not on Sa/Su)
-37 - Maarssen station
-38 - Maarssen station via Lage Weide
-39 - Terwijde, Maarssen
-41 - Wijk bij Duurstede
-47 - Houten
-50 - Amerongen, Wageningen
-53 - De Bilt, Zeist
-55 - Maartensdijk
-63 - Vianen
-65 - Nieuwegein, Vianen
-66 - Laagraven, Nieuwegein
-251 - De Bilt, Zeist (peak hours only)
-447 - Houten (Nightbus)
-452 - De Bilt, Zeist, Soesterberg, Amersfoort (Nightbus)
-474 - Vianen (Nightbus)
-477 - De Bilt, Bilthoven (Nightbus)
-495 - Nieuwegein, IJsselstein (Nightbus)
West Bus Station:
-81 - Vianen, Lexmond, Meerkerk, Arkel, Gorinchem
-85 - Vianen, Leerdam
-90 - Vianen, Lexmond, Ameide, Tienhoven, Langerak, Groot-Ammers, Streefkerk, Nieuw-Lekkerland, Kinderdijk, Alblasserdam, Ridderkerk, Rotterdam
-181 Vianen, Lexmend, Meerkerk, Arkel, Gorinchem
-195 - IJsselstein, Benschop, Lopik, Schoonhoven, Bergambacht, Krimpen a/d IJssel, Rotterdam
-295 - IJsselstein, Benschop, Lopik, Schoonhoven, Bergambacht, Krimpen a/d IJssel, Rotterdam
Veolia Interliner bus:
-400 - Breda (from the South bus station
-401 - Breda (from the South bus station
Eurolines buses (from the South bus station).
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Travelling with (young) kids.
Are you nervous about taking your baby or child on a plane trip? You aren't alone, most parents are nervous about it. We have moved with the kids to Alkmaar by car this holiday and drove some distances by car on when we were there and we learned a few things that hopefully will help you.
Bring books, old favourite toys and new surprise toys. Do remember that balls are not a good idea as they can end up anywhere! Our best buys were definitely books, especially sticker books are great! They can peel the stickers off, are glossy, have thick pages to turn easy, have bright colours and come in endless subjects. They're a nice break from the other books your child might be tired of, too. Put aside fears of setting poor eating habits, and bring on the snacks! We told Iris: “Welcome to the world of boredom eating."
Toy bars meant for stroller use are a big help in the car, as they often feature toys plus a snack cup, and are big and easy for you to grab from the front seat for refills. During the car trip it’s always a good idea to play a game and sing some songs. It sounds rather easy, but it does work!
We only have one last statement! Just do it! Don’t be afraid that it might go wrong. We have learned this, because we have been travelling with Iris from the beginning. She was only 6 weeks young when we had our first short vacation and stayed in a hotel. Iris has been used to it rather fast and (maybe because of it) has always been an easy kid to get along with.
- Family Travel
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Take the train.
As readers of my other pages will know, I like to travel by train. This is especially true in the Low countries, where I find the trains to be clean, safe and, more importantly, reliable.
Utrecht is centrally located in Holland and is a major train hub. This makes for easy travelling to many other destinations. Schipol airport is only 50 minutes away and Amsterdam a mere 30 minutes by fast train. Trains also tend to run later at night than they do in Britain, which I find very useful.
The website provided is an English and is very informative, giving times, prices and everything else you might need to know.
If you decide to come to Utrecht by train, you will alight at Utrecht Centraal, shown in the picture. It is a sizeable station, with all the usual amenities. I made use of the left luggage locker which was ?3:60 for up to 24 hours for a locker big enough to hold a medium sized suitcase.
I must make mention of the extremely helpful staff, who all speak English and, in addition to selling you a ticket will print you an itinerary of your journey giving full details of platform numbers etc. at any interchange. Most useful if you've only got a few minutes to change trains.
Be aware though that the station is attached to a monstrous (and I use the word advisedly) shopping centre called Hoog Catherine. You can just see one of the signs on the right of the photo. If you go in there, you oculd be lost for days! Look carefully for the exit signs before you wander too far from the platforms. You have to go downstairs to get out.
The bus staion is located downstairs.
Utrecht is centrally located as a base to visit Holland. Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport are 30 minutes by train Rotterdam and The Hague are 45 mins. Paris is 3.5 hours Brussels 2 hours Cologne 2.5 hours
Utrecht by car
If you go by car to Utrecht I only have one advice: Park you car at one of the four P&R areas's and take public transportation to the center of town.
These parking locations are available:
A day ticket is 4 Euro's which includes public transportations to up to five persons to and from town.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Utrecht Centraal Station
Centraal Station - busy, bustling and inhabited by the ubiquitous local drunks and weirdos but they seemed pretty harmless. So... this station is attached to the biggest shopping centre in the Netherlands, Hoog Catherijne. If you miss the exit to the street you could be wandering around a 1970's carbuncle for your entire trip to Utrecht.... god help those who have important appointments... they are probably still wandering round H&M looking for a way out!!
Anyway, about the station... you can get frequent trains to Amsterdam from here and of course other destinations in the Netherlands. Check the web page for more train travel info. (It's in English too!) Oh and about the photo.... yes that's the top of Petra's head!
At the time of writing, a day return ticket cost 11.40E.
Utrecht from a Gondola
Utrecht can be explored in a most relaxing way from a Gondola.
Starting point is at Oude Gracht aan de werf 177.
Gondola for 30 minutes: € 50.00
Gondola for 60 minutes: € 95.00
Gondola for 90 minutes: € 125.00
Gondola for a day: from € 750,00
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- Sailing and Boating
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
For all inland travel you buy your train ticket at centraal station. You can either use the machine or alternatively go to the ticket office. At the ticket office you will pay an additional 50 eurocents per ticket issued.
Local bus station
The local bus station is behind centraal station, but it is very clearly marked which exit to use to get there. I found the bus drivers extremely helpful in guiding you to the correct bus, should you get onto the wrong one by mistake
Utrecht Central Station is a busy point for trains. A lot of tracks are going to or via this station. Because it is a large setup you will have a good view on which track you need. A big screen tells you which track you need to tack. The tracks are really easy to find.
The Easiest Place In The Country To Get To
Because of its central location Utrecht is the hub of the Dutch railway network and nowhere in The Netherlands is much more than a couple of hours away - there is also a direct connection to Schiphol Airport which takes just over half-an-hour.
Not only is the main rail station (Utrecht Centraal) the nexxus of the system but the city is also home to the headquarters of both the main train operator (Nederlands Spoorwegen - NS) and the infrastructure operator (Prorail).
Utrecht Centraal is located adjacent to the Hoog Catharijne shopping centre which is about half a kilometre to the west of the old city centre.
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Utrecht is home of the Railway Museum. I had quite an extensive visit there and think it should only be appropriate to put these tips under Transportation. Even though it is housed in an obsolete station that is only used for a special train coming from Utrecht Central Station to this museum.
For group outings, it is possible to rent an old train and have a ride out of town.
The website of the museum has a full English version.
- Theme Park Trips
- Family Travel
Utrecht is centrally located in The Netherlands and thus this is a station where you have many train changes to get to where you want to be.
The station is connected to a huge shopping mall called Hoog Catharijne. This again is on the edge of the center of Utrecht.
For train schedules, use the link below which is of the Dutch National Railway.