Last updated 6 months ago by Michael Darmanin
Staying at home in Utrecht, or going on holiday?
For most people, summertime is also holiday time. Unfortunately, with Covid-19 looming, you may not be willing to go abroad on holiday or visit your family. Luckily, nowadays summers in the Netherlands aren’t that bad either. Last year we had a really hot time during July and August, with temperatures rising above 40 degrees in the shade. So, if you are planning to stay at home, Utrecht has some nice places where you can have a swim to cool down. If you don’t like swimming, Utrecht has plenty of other beautiful spots, where you can really take a break. Be it either in real nature or enjoying life while doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps you can have it both: staying at home and having a splendid holiday in Utrecht.
Looking for shade?
There is no better way to escape the heat than finding some shade under some majestic trees. Go to one of the Utrecht green parks or visit the Botanic Garden where you can stroll along a big rock garden. Visit the bee hotel and see exotic trees and shrubs while absorbing the many scents in the tropical green house. This is one of the oldest University gardens in the Netherlands and definitely worth paying a visit.
Where in Utrecht can you swim safely?
As long as you visit controlled beaches and keep your social distance at 1.5 meter, swimming is relatively safe. Of course there are many swimming pools in which you can take a dive. Apart from that you can find some more natural places, where water quality is good enough that swimming is no problem. At first you have to understand that in the Netherlands, water quality can change from time to time and from location to location. Official swimming spots are frequently monitored. Make sure you use this tool here to check the water quality before you go: https://www.zwemwater.nl/
“Beaches” in Utrecht City
Urban beaches become more and more popular as a place to take a sunbath, socialize and have a drink. However, swimming is not recommended at these locations. Try Strand oog in al or De Munt (Leidsekade, Lombok).
Kromme Rijn: a favourite spot in Utrecht
In the neighbourhood of Amelisweerd you find some good spots to cool down! If you would like to go there yourself, you surely will find the pop up museum on the map. If not, come and join the walks with the New Neighbours walking group, which can be found on Facebook.
Utrechtse Vecht: plenty of holiday feeling in Utrecht
The Vecht is a very natural, meandering river and if you have time, take your bike and stroll along. At the end you find the Breukeleveense plassen, a nice and far less touristic end of the Loosdrechtse plassen, both small lakes. At Scheendijk, you can hire all types of boats, from a one person- canoe, to smaller and bigger motor- or rowing boats. Go head for the island, bring your BBQ to use in areas where permitted, and experience this real Dutch paradise for loosening up! A kiosk provides for drinks and some snacks but you can also bring your own.
Official Swimming places and beaches in Utrecht
If you like some kind of beach, then visit Maarsseveense plassen. It is a fun place for children, but in the late afternoon a nice meeting place. If you are searching for crystal clear water comparable to the Dominican Republic, head for the Haarrijnseplas. This is close to Overvecht at the North West end of Utrecht. An absolutely safe place to swim and a fun place to be. The water is absolutely crystal clear due to controlled input water and several filter systems. In addition there is a really nice beachhouse where you can order some drinks . Another nice place to relax, swim or take a walk, just 500 meters West from the A2/Kanaleneiland, is Strijkviertel .
More than swimming in Utrecht?
Real water sport enthusiasts who are willing to water ski, wake board, or go wave surfing, should definitely visit “Downunder”. There’s plenty to do! You can book a wake board or try being an indoor wave surfer, relax on the beach, have a bite at the restaurant or just relax at the beach club, everything is wonderful and makes you feel like you’re abroad.
Other places (where you never knew you wanted to be) in Utrecht
When you are not that much a swimmer but love exotic places, go to the Copacabajes. The name of this place, where you can meet all kinds of people, is a mix of “Copacabana” and “Bajes”, the informal Dutch word for Prison. You find this nice mix of terrace, podium and performance in De lik which a party and event location nearby.
Airplanes and nature
The last place you should pay a visit this summer, is the new Military Airforce Museum in Soesterberg. If you think this is just for airplane and WWII lovers, you are wrong. The museum is located at the former Airbase, and is surrounded by beautiful scenery, where you can take a walk or go hiking. Natuurpark Utrechtse Heuvelrug is the name of this new nature and it is directly adjacent to Landgoed the Paltz. This a beautiful forest you can enter freely. Here you find the home of the artist Herman van Veen, who is also the driving force behind the Herman van Veen arts centre, a place where you can normally attend various musical or theatrical productions for low prices or even without paying. Currently, due to the corona virus, you now pay a little entrance fee.
Holiday in Utrecht, nothing boring about that!
As you can see, there are a lot of places to visit this summer. Even if it is going to be a Dutch one, with a lot of rain, you don’t have to be bored. Tickets for the canal cruise Utrecht are also available when the sun refuses to shine. Museums are open again, so you can visit the Spoorwegmuseum, and learn all about steamtrains and even step into the royal carriage. If you are a true lover of the Dutch Street Organs, you should pay a visit to De Speelklok.
Of course there will be restrictions due to corona, but the good news is: you are never far away from home and you can always try again.