Please sign in to post.

Utrecht as base?

I posted before about being in Amsterdam for 10 days - 5 of which are for a conference, bringing our 13 year old. The conference is near Bijlmer Centrum. I originally booked a hotel right near the event, but have been looking at other options. Lodging in Amsterdam is pretty expensive in June, with few options for family rooms or apartments. However, I just reserved a family room at Inntel Utrecht, very close to the train station there.

We have been to Amsterdam before, twice staying in near Centrum and once in Haarlem. I enjoyed Haarlem quite a bit. Is Utrecht similar? The train from Utrecht to the conference takes about 20 minutes, so direct and reasonable amount of time. We added 2 days before the conference and 2 days after for exploring. If it were you, would you base in Southeast AMS (Zuidoost) or Utrecht?

Also, are there metro passes that would save money for commuting on the trains from Utrecht? Trying to weigh in additional transportation costs as factors. Thanks!

Posted by
2487 posts

Stay in Utrecht! Good lively historical university city, in total contrast to the Bijlmer and around.
Consider buying a so-called OV Chipkaart. It will cost you EUR 7,50 just for the card (without the balance for actually paying for your trips), but will make travelling a lot easier. This page on the NS website explains the workings. Manage to get your balance under EUR 30 at the end of your stay to get it easily refunded at a ticket window!

Posted by
950 posts

Utrecht is great. I would stay there for several reasons in your case, but two are that you've been to AMS before and Utrecht has more charm than Zuidoost AMS. When I was in my twenties, Utrecht was my favorite city in the Netherlands. Our friend who moved to the Netherlands several years ago prefers Utrecht to AMS. Plus, you could take the bus to the Kroller-Muller museum east of Utrecht! And ride bikes around the park there!

Posted by
20 posts

Thank you! That's what my gut feel was too, but it's nice to have it confirmed. I appreciate your replies!

Posted by
23403 posts

I like Utrecht very much. I don't know the Inntel - I usually stay at the Holiday Inn Express which is a bit further out and has good parking but needs a bus to the station - but if the construction work around the station is complete or doesn't affect your hotel I think being closer to the station in your case would be better.

Lots to do in Utrecht, lots to do in the vicinity too.

Posted by
11153 posts

Just adding to the chorus - Utrecht is a great place. The area around the train station, however, isn't so nice - spend as much time in the center and away from the station as you can. It's got unique bi-level canals, the Centraal Museum (everything from ancient ships to modern art, arranged so you're constantly shifting styles and periods as you go through and so are always stimulated with something new), the Railway Museum, and the Museum of Music Boxes and Fairground Organs (a rough translation of the real name - you see these music makers on a one hour tour where a docent demonstrates them).