Discover the canals, the tower and the rabbits of Utrecht

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One of the nicest things of Utrecht is the lively buzz of its canals.
As soon as you arrive on the main road (Nieuwegracht), street signs and stairs invite you constantly to go down towards the water, on the docks, where you can relax or have lunch. Unlike other cities, where you can just look at the canals from the top of a railing, in Utrecht you can chill out at the water’s edge.
The docks are packed with bars, restaurants, design shops. While boats, pedal boats and canoes pass by, you can have a beer or try a Dutch meatball (bitterballen) under thick trees and surrounded by hydrangeas.

canals of utrecht

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In Utrecht you have the impression it is always Saturday afternoon. In the air there's that feeling of celebration, with bicycles piled at the roadside and outdoor tables. In the residential areas, at the first ray of sunshine, people put some chairs on the sidewalk outside the house and chat with the neighbours.
The city is facing a huge transformation, many construction sites surround the train station area, but the old town remains a gem.

university utrecht

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In the heart of Utrecht stands the Cathedral of San Martino, that in 1674 was beheaded and split in two by a tornado. Today it is still fractured, but its 112-meter high bell tower dominates the whole country anyway.

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cathedral utrecht

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Climbing its 465 steps, on clear days you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the Netherlands. The stairs take you through two rather impressive bell rooms: the first hosts the 14 traditional bells that play every Sunday morning; in the second there are those of the Hemony electronic carillon, which since 1664 comes into action several times a day filling Utrecht with music.
All the 50 bells play together only twice a year (on 25th and 31st December), but every Sunday the municipal bell ringer celebrates the day of the Lord with a joyful melody played by hand, hitting Adriana (280 kg, the lightest) and all her sisters with a hammer.
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The Pandhof, the Cathedral’s cloister, is worth a visit too: it is a charming monastic garden nested between the cathedral and the university.
On the other side, if you prefer the underworld, you can visit the cathedral foundations and discover the history of the city from underneath (guided tours in English and German, see note below).

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Utrecht is also famous for two rabbits. One is called Miffy, and it is the bunny designed by the Dutch artist Dick Bruna for the first time in 1955 and of which you will find gadgets everywhere (there is even a statue dedicated to Miffy in Nijntjepleintje): a kind of heroin that different generations of Dutch went mad about and that became the unauthorized mascot of different environmental movements.
The second is "The Thinker", a statue created by Berry Flanagan - a Welsh artist - that mocks the famous Rodin's Thinker. It is located in front of the Neude square, a very popular meeting point of the city.

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visit utrecht

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VISIT THE CATHEDRAL BELL TOWER (guided tour only)
Tickets on sale at the VVV Tourist Centre, in Domplein.
Duration: about an hour.
Ticket: € 9

UTRECHT UNDERGROUND
Adults / Children Ticket: € 11 / € 8.5
Duration: 75 minutes
Guide: English and German

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