Utrecht is among the bigger and busier Dutch towns. The architecture of the central area around Oudegracht ♥♥ is quite delightful. You can spend marvelous time people-watching – or, rather, boat-watching – in a canal-side café; just that experience is worth some hearts.

We once rented a canal-bike ♥♥ and circled Utrecht’s canals, which surprisingly took an hour and a half. Because of Sunday, there was no other traffic on the sleepy canals; when the traffic is heavy, the experience may be slightly less tranquil.

If you go to significant length of planning your visit in advance and reserving tickets for a tour of Rietveld-Schröder house ♥♥♥, you will not be disappointed. Built in the early 20th century, the small house is an unusual take on city living accommodations, weirdly fascinating and delightful.

There are several museums and a couple of interesting churches in Utrecht, so it can certainly support a full day or more of exploration.

Places to Eat

I cannot say that I had a truly bad meal at La Senorita. It was all right. This is one of a couple of tapas places on Oudegracht; I tried the other place first, but it did not have free tables. This place did – and, in hindsight and after belatedly perusing TripAdvisor reviews, I could guess it was not accidental. There was sufficient clientele to suggest a level of popularity and sufficient traffic at the entrance; the draft from the door became annoying eventually. The selection of tapas was pretty extensive but none of my choices rose to my standards. The service started out pleasantly, but then somehow in the middle of the peak dinner period there was a shift change, some waiters left, and the service started suffering. The tranquillity of the meal was repeatedly disturbed by the strange behavior of the girl behind the bar who kept throwing away empty bottles with a loud clang. On balance, this was the type of experience that suggests I would not return. Last visit: Spring 2015.

The service at the pancake house De Oude Muntkelder ♥ was glacial, but we had nowhere to rush to and the pancakes themselves – we had exotic variations called Austrian and Hungarian – were very tasty. Last visit: Spring 2007.

Other notes for Netherlands