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Exploring Utrecht – discovering the Dom quarter

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If you’ve only got one day in Utrecht, or if you’re giving visitors a tour, then the Dom quarter has to be on the itinerary. What visit of the Domstad could be complete without it?! Bursting with historical monuments, culture, and plenty of shopping and food, you’re sure to have a good time in this area.


In an area as historic as this one, you can’t turn your head without spotting something beautiful. Like the Paushuize: a magnificent home built along the canal in the 1500s for Pope Adrianus VI, who never ended up living there. Or Flora’s hof (square), the “secret” garden tucked away in the shadow of the Dom where you can sit on a nice day and, if you’re lucky, enjoy the company of the resident ginger cat! And the area surrounding Pieter’s church is simply lovely too, as are the grounds surrounding the Karel V hotel.


There are lots of cool stores to discover in the Dom quarter, and I love simply walking down Zadelstraat, ducking in and out of shops to see what I can find. Check out Keck & Lisa or It’s a Present for funny, cool, or just plain clever items you never knew you needed until that moment. Looking to freshen up your home? Rachmaninoff sells beautiful furniture and interior decoration. If you’re shopping for yourself, Nukuhiva offers a wide selection of sustainable clothing, accessories, and even sweet treats! And for all your cooking needs (besides food itself), check out Betsie’s Kookwinkel – you’ll recognize it from the unusually shaped cake pan hanging in the window. 😉

Food & drink

After all that culture-seeking and shopping, you deserve a break. For coffee, Blackbird, Bagels & Beans, and Anne & Max are always good options – and the latter two have good lunch too! If it’s a special occasion, you can’t go wrong with Simple. or the Karel V restaurant – but for more affordable and still delicious options, check out Le Jardin and the Karel V bistro. In the mood for drinks? Jozef has a super cozy feel, with hidden corners and comfy couches, and they serve up G&Ts and deep-fried goodies. Or if you’re looking for something sweet, why not celebrate our beautiful city with a “Domtorentje” from the Theo Blom bakery on Zadelstraat? A chocolate bonbon with a creamy, chocolate-y filling… I know I don’t have to tell you twice!


Of course, no post on the Dom quarter would be complete without mentioning its namesake: the Dom tower! Admire it, climb it, sit in the shade of its cloister, or get under it for DOMUnder – there’s plenty to enjoy about our favourite tower. The Utrecht archive is also cool to visit, displaying different parts of its collection for history fans to discover. And for lovers of music and whimsy, there’s the Speelklok museum, where you can view and listen to an impressive array of mechanical music instruments, including a massive mechanical organ that jams to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Pictures by Susanne Sterkenburg

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