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Gouda vs. Utercht

My husband and I are trying to decide between a day trip to Utercht or a day trip to Gouda. We were originally planning on going to Utercht but heard from a colleague that Gouda is a better option. Has anyone visited one (or both)? What would you recommend?
Our schedule is still a bit in flux so we're not worried about the distances, we can work either of them in without a disruption to our the trip's flow. Thank you!

Posted by
155 posts

Day trip from where? Amsterdam I assume. Delft is the prettiest town in the Netherlands in my opinion. I suggest you visit Delft and if you somehow run out of things to do or get tired of looking at beautiful canals with flowers you could easily add a visit to Gouda by train. We did a day trip to Utercht and found it nice but disappointing. Too big a city. Only half a dozen blocks along the double decker canal are charming. The cathedral is covered in scaffolding also.

Posted by
2487 posts

The historical centre of Utrecht (mind the spelling!) is indeed quite small, but that of Gouda isn't much larger. So, it depends on what you want to do.
Utrecht has the fine Centraal Museum for the visual arts, the Spoorwegmuseum (Railway Museum) and, loved by many overseas visitors, the Museum Speelklok for mechanical musical instruments.
Gouda is best known for its Markt with the gothic City Hall and the Sint Jan cathedral, famous for its stained glass windows.
Both won't keep you busy for the whole day, but can easily be combined with other attractions. From Utrecht the historical city of Amersfoort is only 20 mins away by frequent trains. From Gouda you shouldn't miss the nearby small gem of Oudewater, easily reached by a half-hourly direct bus leaving from the railway station.

Posted by
3923 posts

We only visited Gouda - and on Easter Sunday of all silly things - so pretty much everything was closed...BUT - we visited the 'cheese hall' by the city hall and picked up a walking guide for a few euro and followed that along - we skipped one section, and the big church was under renos at the time (this was 2 yrs ago now, so I can't recall names). I think it took 90 min or so and was quite interesting - I imagine had other things been open we would have stayed longer. (There was also track work going on - we were daytripping from Dordrecht and had to take a bus/train combo to get there, which added so much time to getting there).

If you do go, I'd recommend picking up the walking tour book.

Posted by
5393 posts

Both are nice, but Utrecht has more attractions than you can do in a day. I would say (and I don’t mean this contemptuously) that Gouda is better for people who want to take some pictures of a historic country and Utrecht is better for people who want to DO things. Museums are not “all the same” in two cities or in two countries. I also mean that real people live and work everywhere in a busy city like Utrecht. Gouda has more of a tourism district.

Posted by
11280 posts

I agree with Tim - if you want to see Utrecht's museums, you can definitely spend a full day or more there. I loved all of the "big three" - the Centraal Museum, the Railway Museum, and the Museum Speelklok. I also liked the unique bi-level canals.

Delft, on the other hand, did little for me. So, you see, it really is different for each person. I haven't been to Gouda, so I can't compare it to the other two.