When you travel around Europe, you hop from once capital to another busy city. You probably visit Unesco World Heritage sites and top famous museums. It can be tiring but what can you do? How about a visit to the relaxing and beautiful Botanic Gardens in Utrecht? Only a half hour train ride from Amsterdam, the city of Utrecht has a lot to offer international tourists. Canals, old buildings and that typical Dutch vibe. Are you looking to find a piece of tranquil nature in the Netherlands? But within a stone’s throw of the bustling city centre? How about a visit to the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht?
What to see at the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht?
The Botanic Gardens in Utrecht are part of the complex of the University of Utrecht. Built in 1639, these gardens are a gardener’s dream! You can find all different types of plants and gardens, carefully planned out and plants are grouped together depending on their theme. They have rock gardens, flower gardens, bee gardens, American prairie gardens and system gardens (they explain the root and evolution of plant groups).
They have a massive green house with tropical gardens and from April to September you can find the tropical butterfly exhibition.
Walking around among hundreds of butterflies is a feast for your eyes. Colorful wings, odd shaped tales and some silver shiny pops waiting to turn into butterflies.
You can bring your own picnic lunch, or order some organic sandwiches from the shop at the entrance. You can just pop in for a few hours or spend the whole day at the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht.
How to get there?
The Botanic Gardens are located 5 km from the centre of Utrecht. You can reach Utrecht by train from all major cities in the Netherlands as it is the mean hub for trains. For example, the train from Amsterdam takes less than 30 minutes and runs direct 4x per hour.
Once at Utrecht Central Station you can reach the Botanic Gardens at the Utrecht Science park by bus. Check the website 9292.nl and schedule your arrival to either “Padualaan” or “Botanische Tuinen”.
You can also rent a bike from the train station and cycle to the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht. With all the bike lanes and sign posts, this is completely safe.
If you arrive by car, you can best park your car at the nearby Park + Ride parking lot. You buy a ticket for €5 and can continue by bus. During the weekends, you can park near the Botanic Gardens at no extra costs.
What does it costs to visit?
The entrance fee for the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht is €7,50 per adult. Children up to 12 years can visit for free (when accompanied by an adult). You can visit the Botanic gardens from March 1st till December 1st from 10 am till 4.30 pm
Check the calendar for specific activities and times. The Botanic Gardens are easily accessible for people in a wheelchair (except parts of the rock gardens) and there are toilets that can be accessed by wheelchair users. Check the website for discounts and activities.
Is there anything particular to see or do for children?
I visited the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht with my boyfriend. Although we don’t have children or brought any nephews with us, I could easily see why it is fun for families with children to visit.
In the Botanic Gardens you can learn a lot about plants, trees and how nature works. There is a special treasure hunt route set out for children. For only €2,50 per entree, children can follow the treasure hunt and learn a lot by touching, sniffing and discovering. There is a small present at the end of the hunt. It seemed like a lot of fun and even for adults it can be fun to participate!
There is also a science lab, where children can play and learn. Each year, a new program is set up with guided walks, interesting talks and specific activities for children. Make sure to check out the schedule to see if you like anything particular.
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Anything else you need to know about the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht?
Rain or shine, the gardens are open every day between March 1st and December 1st. Bring an umbrella to protect you from the unpredictable Dutch weather.
We visited the Botanic Gardens on a full day trip and wanted to eat something at the little restaurant. This place is really popular and in high demand during lunch time. Unfortunately, it seemed the staff couldn’t cope with all the hungry people and it took forever to place an order. This was the only downside during our day at the Botanic Gardens. The food (when it eventually came) was absolutely delicious, so in the end worth the wait.
You are allowed to bring food and drinks into the gardens, so feel free to bring your own picnic.
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Why I think you should visit the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht
As I live in the Netherlands, I can easily go on day trips like this. I hear many international travelers, only interested in visiting Amsterdam. Via my blog, I’d like to show international travelers to the Netherlands that there is more to explore in and around Amsterdam. With only half an hour from Amsterdam, Utrecht is a great alternative to the overcrowded and overpriced capital.
If you need some quiet nature time, or if you’re looking for a fun day to explore with kids in the Netherlands, then the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht might be the right fit for you. You can wander around beautiful flowers, learn about botany and be outside all day at a stone’s throw from the bustling city centre of Utrecht. What more do you want? Have you visited Utrecht? Are you planning to visit the Netherlands? Would you consider the Botanic Gardens in Utrecht? Let me know in the comment section below.