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.
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 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
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.
Seeing the town, you can walk, it is a great way to see the town. But You can rent a bike and cycle around, and you can get outside town too. There are some great short trips, like the Laage vuurse route, takes you throug nice small vilages and the woods. Most of the routes are sighposted.
An other way to see the city is rent water bike, they give you a route with description, and it is a great way to learn about the history. ( and it keeps you fit)
There some tourboats too, that will take along the canals and there some trips that will take you outside the town.
The botas can be found on de oude gracht, on the corner, near the central postoffice.
You can rent bikes, in the train station, or near the trainstation, just ask around.
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 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.
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.
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).
Utrecht is the national heart of the railways, so that'll be the best way to get there!See www.ns.nl for more information, also available in English.
Busses will take you anywhere you wanna go!
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
The main "transportation mean" in Utrecht is without the shadow of a doubt the bicycle, everyone uses it and if you don't you are out!
PEDESTRIANS WATCH OUT as you have no rights there! Always give the right to pass to bikers first or you'll be run over..
There is a huge shopping mall attached to Utrecht's main train station. It is pretty much a generic mall with nothing too extraordinary. The difficult thing about this place is to try to find your way out. There are main exits from the train station. To get to the center of the city, you must go through the mall. Follow the signs above you to Centrum. If you take the exits at the train station you will come out near the city bus stop (away from the city center).
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.
Utrecht is located in the centre of holland. That makes that you can go from here to evry corner of The Netherlands. The best way is to by train. Schiphol is only a 43 train ride away. Amsterdam is only 30 minutes and Rotterdam 45. The north like Leeuwarden is 2 hours, and on and and on I can go.
There are few nice hotels here, will telling you in the accomodation tips ( have to wait for this).
So Utrecht is a great city to stay, and not only to explore this town, but the rest of holland too.