Places We Love: Utrecht, Netherlands

During my time at university in Victoria, B.C., I felt the need for a change. I was enjoying my education, but being in the same classrooms, on the same campus, in the same city started to get repetitive, and I needed something to shake things up and renew my interest in what I was studying.


A popular choice for this is international exchange, so that’s exactly what I did. I had a huge list of different places to choose from, and for some reason the Netherlands drew me in. Amsterdam wasn’t an option to do my exchange in, but a smaller town just 30 minutes away from the city called Utrecht was an option. Cut to five months later, and I’m on a train headed towards my new home.


I’ll admit my entrance to Utrecht was a little bumpy. Wrecked by jet lag, I was introduced to heavy wind and rainstorms, people speaking a language that was almost impossible to decipher, and more importantly…. bikes. Literally everyone bikes in Utrecht (and most of the Netherlands) to get wherever they need to go. I wasn’t what you would call the most confident biker in the world, so this new change seemed daunting.

A month in, and biking was a breeze. And despite the rain, biking around Utrecht is an incredible experience. Surrounding the town is miles and miles of farmland and forests, with wide bike trails to coast along as you watch the sunset. Just behind my residence was a forest  that after a quick fifteen-minute ride, you’d end up at Theehuis Rhijnauwen, where you can eat some of the biggest and most delicious pancakes of your life.

Downtown Utrecht is a different story. Canals snake throughout the city, making little alcoves to explore and every road a perfect place for a selfie. Bars are everywhere you look, overflowing with dirt-cheap but delicious beers and bitterballen, an odd snack involving deep fried orbs of meat and gravy. Looking over everything is the Dom Tower, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands that was built in 1382.

I like living in giant cities, but there’s something so comforting and wonderful about staying in small towns, especially places with incredible architecture and surrounding wilderness like Utrecht. I was only there for six months, but it quickly became a home away from home, and a place I can’t wait to return to.


Need more tips for your trip to Utrecht? Check out this site!


Where’s a place that you love? Comment below!


Till next time,


- Fraser

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