Utrecht has a history reaching back to the Roman Empire, and like many Dutch cities, features a medieval center and scenic canals. The city center is relatively compact and has a lot of pedestrian streets, making Utrecht a great city to explore on foot. Visitors can begin at the city’s most recognizable structure: the Dom Tower. The Dom is a 14th-century Gothic tower nearly 370 feet tall, with a stunning view of the city from the observation level. Back outside of the tower, follow the Oudegracht (old canal) through the center of Utrecht, crossing bridges and stopping into shops as you go. Make your way to café Olivier for a refreshing Belgian beer and a plate of delicious Dutch croquettes, a specialty in Utrecht.

A short bus ride northwest of Utrecht will bring you to De Haar Castle, a massive Neo-Gothic castle near Haarzuilens. With an intricate interior, imposing towers, and lush green gardens, everything about De Haar looks like something from a children’s storybook. If you’re looking for elegance in the Dutch countryside, this is definitely the place to find it.

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