Close to Amsterdam is a hidden gem, Utrecht. I have been to this compact city several times. The city is 30 minutes by train from Amsterdam and the same amount of time from Schiphol. It is a lovely city with canals and ideal for walking. The centre of the city is a short walk from the station, just head for the bell tower. It is also like all Dutch towns well signposted.
Utrecht is an ideal day trip or alternative place to stay from busy Amsterdam. If hotels are full in Amsterdam and you want to be close then Utrecht is ideal. Similar to Amsterdam there are lots of canals, museums, parks and things to do. It is a short walk from Utrecht train station to the Dom Tower, Netherlands highest bell tower and the centre of town. To check out train times you can look up the train timetable
Where we stayedt
We pushed the boat out a bit and stayed at the Grand Hotel V Karel in Utrecht. It is a lovely hotel with an excellent breakfast and beautiful grounds. It is only a five or so minute walk to the centre of town and has some lovely gardens and fountain.
What to do in Utrecht?
A couple of things to do in Utrecht are to climb the 450 odd steps to the top of the Dom Tower to get a wonderful view of the city. It is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands around 112 metres high and on a clear day you can see Rotterdam. The second thing to do is take a relaxing canal ride. The circular route is worthwhile to get your bearings. There are also many museums to visit or you can just find a café beside a canal and watch the world go by.