Utrecht is a central province of the Netherlands. With its 1359 square kilometers it's the smallest province in the country - it is, however, densely populated. The province consists mostly of municipalities forming the historically and presently important cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort and their urban areas, although it contains its share of green open landscapes in its part of the Groene Hart. Considered a part of the Randstad, it has convenient and fast links with major cities of South and North Holland, as well as other Dutch provinces, thanks to its central location.
- 1 Utrecht — the historic university town known for its canals, student life and left-wing politics
- 2 Amersfoort — the second-largest city in the province, with a large medieval town center
- 3 Bunnik — Fortresses of the famous Holland Water Line
- 4 Rhenen - Home of the Ouwehands Dierenpark zoo and the Grebbeberg Military War Cemetery.
- 5 Oudewater — famous for its witch's stool, where they issue certificates proving people aren't witches
- 6 Soest — with a history spanning a millennium, it now serves as a commuter town for Amersfoort
- 7 Veenendaal — quite a large town but mostly residential
- 8 Wijk bij Duurstede — the world's only drive-through windmill and some castles
- 9 Woerden — commuter town with a modern commercial cheese market
- 1 Utrecht Hill Ridge — mixed forests and moorlands on a hill ridge
- 2 Vechtstreek — castles, estates, buitenplaatsen, gardens, tea houses and other remnants from the Dutch Golden Age
- 3 Vijfheerenlanden
Utrecht was originally a bishopric that was often at war with its neighbors Gelderland, Holland (now the provinces of North-Holland and South-Holland) and Brabant (now North-Brabant and Flemish Brabant). It was one of the provinces in the Union of Utrecht that declared themselves independent of Spain in 1579, thus starting what would eventually become the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Since Utrecht is located in the center of the country, it is relatively easy to reach from anywhere in the Netherlands. There is no major airport, but there is a regular direct train between the city of Utrecht, which is the central railway hub of the country, and Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam.
Train travel on NS railways is usually more direct, frequent, and convenient where it is available, between towns and cities. Syntus Utrecht operates regional and rural bus routes, and, U-OV operates bus routes within the city as well as a few tram lines.
The most interesting part of the province Utrecht is the city with the same name.
In Spakenburg, a former fishing village in the north of the province lots of seafood can be eaten.
- 1 Hotel Abrona, Broeckerstraat 20, ☏ +31 348 567466. This cosy hotel is run by people with mental disabilities, offering them a chance to learn skills that might allow them to work in the regular hotel world. Rooms are simple but well-maintained and the staff is very friendly. The hotel has 24 double rooms, all with private bathrooms and free wifi. There's also an on-site restaurant and room rates include breakfast. €72/90 for a single/double.
- 2 Best Western Hotel, Utrechtsestraatweg 25, ☏ +31 348 412515. The only hotel in Woerden, 62 rooms. Situated on the bank of the Old Rhine river, less than 500 m from the city centre and 350 m from the train station. €87-103 for a standard double room, incl. breakfast.
- Groene Hart — an agricultural area in the heart of the Randstad
- Vechtstreek — castles, estates, buitenplaatsen, gardens, tea houses and other remnants from the Dutch Golden Age