Holidays in the Utrecht Canals

The “old canal” or Oudegracht runs through the centre of Utrecht, starting from the city’s southeast side, reconnecting to the main stream of the Rhine to form a medieval moat around the old fortified town, then branching off into the centre of the city.

The water level of the Oudegracht is below street level, with many wharfs scattered around its tributaries. The Utrecht city centre is a nice place to stroll along on, offering views of old world architecture along the canals. The embankments are even used as pubs/restaurants during the summer, when the water level is even lower.

The Oudegracht and its branching waterways have pedestrian walkways on either side with plenty of cafes along the way, for pit stops. Good food and a relaxing atmosphere are available while watching boats row by.

Another adventure for Utrecht visitors is to rent a canal bike, or pedal boat, that typically holds four people. Cruise under brick bridges, peep into the windows of artist’s studios and birthday cake houses along the water’s edge. In some areas of the city, bars and restaurants abound along the sides of the canal, while shops, boutiques and houses occupy the higher street level.

Some enterprising artists and students hold their special events at wharfs along the Oudegracht. These outré gatherings range from J-rock conventions to Gothtronic festivals and whatever the Dutch youth and underground scene revel in.

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