Where to stay in Utrecht

What is the best area to stay in Utrecht?

Utrecht, a vibrant university city and the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands. Within only a 30-minute train ride from the main capital, you will find yourself in this cozy city ubicated in the center of the country. Because of the stunning medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and lovely canal views, Utrecht is often compared to its close neighbor, Amsterdam. If you are looking for a little less tourism and a walk amongst locals along the peaceful canals, this might be your ideal Dutch travel destination.


The city center of Utrecht is the best place to stay. Its small medieval center and its enchanting tree-line canals make you feel like you are in a cozy fairytale. There is always something exciting to discover, modern buildings between the quirky long but small dutch houses, a quiet church, a hidden bar in a church, vibrant squares, and a shopping area with small boutiques give the city a dynamic appeal. You can discover the lively student area, the art neighborhood, the shopping area, and the historic center all within two or three days by foot, or the Dutch way, by bike. Just a ten-minute bike ride away you will find several green parks, or you might consider canoeing along the canals from the city center to Utrechts’ forest.

Hotel   Avg price
Boutique Hotel ZIES
158€ - 169$
Logement Petit Beijers
162€ - 173$
Hotel   Avg price
MUZE Hotel Utrecht
176€ - 188$
The Nox Hotel
179€ - 192$
Mother Goose Hotel
194€ - 208$
Hotel   Avg price
Grand Hotel Karel V
230€ - 246$


On the map, which shows the most convenient area to stay in Utrecht, you can see a selection of some of the best located hotels.



If you are interested in where to stay in Utrecht, you can also be interested in where to stay in Amsterdam.


 Utrecht City Centre Areas


1. Oudegracht, the Old Canal


Architecture lovers, drinking & dining, shopping




The two kilometres long Oudegracht (the old canal) is the most famous canal of Utrecht. It curves through the centre and is typical because of its double dock canal-side houses, some over 200 years old.


On the street level, you will find stores ranging from small boutiques to larger chains. Along the canal, you will find restaurants and cafés with a water-side terrace in the typical wharf-side houses, ‘werf-kelders’.


The cobblestone streets might make it hard to ride a bike, but strolling along the canal you will discover countless picturesque corners and appreciate the narrow and wonky canal houses. Canoeing or taking a boat tour along the canal make it possible to appreciate this unique architecture from the water. If you are looking for a unique experience in a typical Dutch wharf basement or in the attic of a canal house, then this is your area to stay.





2. Medieval centre close to the Dom Tower


History lovers, peace in the middle of the city



Dom Tower

Just behind the Oudegracht, you will find the Dom Tower area. This hotspot is famous for the 14th-century Dom Tower, the tallest church in the Netherlands. The medieval centre is built around this cultural heritage, which makes the tower the heart of the centre.


In the area, you will find a beautiful church garden and one of the city’s oldest university buildings. Despite its popularity amongst tourists, locals and international students enjoy a beer all week round in quirky bars like Lebowski or Mick O’Connells.


Challenge yourself to climb the 465 steps towards the top of the Dom Tower, or go underground during a ‘Dom Under’ guided tour. Everywhere you go in the city you will see this 112-meter-high church. The area becomes quite peaceful in the evening as the day tourists leave and nightlife moves to the student areas.





3. The Arty neighbourhood, Catharijneconvent


Museum & art lovers, vintage seekers, speciality coffee and craft beer




Walking east on the Oudegracht you will find the area of the Catherijneconvent. The centrepiece of the museum quarter is the Museum Catherijneconvent, with the finest religious art collection in the Netherlands.


Across from this museum is the Dick Bruna House, home to the famous cartoon rabbit Miffy. Since the play museum is built for toddlers, adults that visit the close by Central Museum of Utrecht get free admission to this celebration of Miffy.


Just around the corner from this area, you will find the local hotpot Ledig Erf square. Its art film houses with craft beer, cosy world cuisine, vintage shops and bookshops, coffee roasteries, and traditional-style barber shops give the area an arty vibe loved by ‘the Utrechter’. When you are in need of a break, you can get a coffee and a cake to-go and stroll along the outside city canal, while you enjoy the surrounding trees.





4. Squares Neude and Janskerkhof


Drinks & economic dinner, student life, nightlife




This is the best area to discover Utrecht’s thriving bar scene or if you’re looking for a student-price-friendly meal. Neude is the most famous square of Utrecht, Dutch cosy traditional bars ‘brown cafes’, such as Luifel or ‘t Neutje surround the large terraces in the middle of the square, with some rays of sunshine you will find the atmosphere already bustling. Just a few meters away, at the square Janskerkhof bars turn into small dance cafés at night.


With the squares located just behind the shopping area, it is the perfect place to have a quick sandwich for lunch, to stop for a drink in the afternoon, or to immerse yourself in the vibrant student nightlife from Thursday to Saturday night.


The area is certainly not peaceful, but if nightlife is what you’re looking for, then this is your area to stay!





5. Utrechts’ forest, Amelisweerd


Nature and sports lovers, families




Amelisweerd, Utrechts’ forest, is located just a 20-minute bike ride away from the city centre. While enjoying the fresh smell of den trees, you will find two former knight courts, Old and New Amelisweerd. It has a children’s playground, with a typical Dutch pancake house along the Kromme Rijn, the river that is the source of Utrecht’s canals.


You might consider parking your bike and canoeing yourself all the way back to the city centre. From spring on, you can pick your own flowers in the organic garden and enjoy freshly cultivated veggies in the local organic farmers market.


The forest borders both the nicer suburbs of the city and the University Campus, where you can enjoy the University Botanical Garden. There is one hotel and one hostel, so if you are looking to enjoy some quality family time then this might be the best area to stay.





6. Neighbourhood Wittevrouwen


Business, quiet, families



Neighbourhood Wittevrouwen

On your way to the forest, you will pass the neighbourhood Wittevrouwen. This area is located on the other side of the former defence canal and is only reachable by crossing the Wittevrouwenbrug, a 19th-century bridge that used to serve as a city gate.


The area is considered one of the nicer neighbourhoods, with both typical Dutch cottages and manor houses surrounding two green parks, Griftpark and Wilhelminapark. Especially in the spring and summer, you will find outdoor sports classes in the mornings and locals enjoying a beer or even a bbq in the afternoons.


The area has its own up-and-coming shopping streets, de Biltstraat and the Nachtegaalstraat where you can find mostly organic and delicacy stores and coffee and brunch bars. If you are looking for a family-friendly area close to the city, this is your place to stay!




Hotels in Utrecht City Centre