Jelle Bakker cycling mayor of Utrecht around the center
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Category:Cycling Lifestyle

Cycle the Vuelta route through Utrecht

The Vuelta – Spain’s annual, multi-stage bicycle race ranks among internationally loved cycling events such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. The race has been held annually since 1955 and has extended beyond Spain to different locations across the globe. In 2022, the Netherlands hosted the Vuelta for no less than three days. The route meandered through the bustling city of Utrecht; taking in beautiful neighbourhoods, historic sites and inspiring green innovations. Though a cyclist in a hurry may not have time to stop and smell the tulips, the route is easily accessible for those who wish to hop on their bicycle and experience the attractions of Utrecht at a leisurely pace.

Cycle through Utrecht’s gems

Cyclists Moreelsebrug Utrecht

As one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, Utrecht is full of wonders to behold. Chock-full of historical monuments, ancient facades, and stunning vistas, one of the most exciting ways to discover Utrecht is by bike. From the car-free zone of the city center to the surrounding “green heart” with its fantastic landscape of lakes and castles, there is plenty of adventure for cyclists.   

From swamp to cycle route

Cyclists on Biltstraat Utrecht

Along your way, you will find yourself on one of the city’s most noteworthy streets – the Biltstraat. The Biltstraat dates back to the 13th century when it was built through the reclaimed swamps in the east of the city. Now it’s hard to imagine the area’s swampy roots! Where the bog once reigned, the Biltstraat and its surrounding district bustle with businesses, chic cafes and yoga studios amongst historic buildings and monuments from past eras. It is from here that you will begin to experience the true gezelligheid of Utrecht.

The future of green cities

Utrecht Leidsche Rijn bus terminal with ov bike cyclist

While the Biltstraat offers glimpses of the past amid the contemporary, the Leidsche
Rijn district is an inspiration for those interested in sustainable futures. As you cycle through, you’ll notice a multitude of solar panels – an initiative to make the district more energy efficient. Look, too, for nest boxes for swallows and bats built onto the facades of buildings. Cycling as a sustainable (and fun!) mode of transport goes hand-in-hand with this vision of a green city – could the answer to a utopian green future lie in this district in Utrecht?

Exploring the center of Utrecht by bike

People on terraces at Mariaplaats in Utrecht

There is no better way to explore the remarkably preserved medieval center of Utrecht than by bike. Not in the least because there are no cars to worry about! The accessible cycle route journeys right through the old town where you can find hidden gems to stop and enjoy a coffee or a vaasje. Or take in the breathtaking city views at the Dom Tower.

The oldest bicycle lane in the Netherlands

Utrecht Maliebaan walking with bicycle between the trees

And of course, no cycling trip through Utrecht is complete without experiencing the oldest bicycle lane in the Netherlands – the Maliebaan. History buffs will be
interested to know the turbulent past of this famous cycle route. In WWII, two
ideologies made their home behind the doors of the Maliebaan. During the German occupation, the NSB headquarters was here while members of the resistance as well as Jewish people in hiding occupied buildings nearby. Earlier than that, Napolean Bonaparte himself came to Utrecht and used the Maliebaan to inspect his troops. These days, the Maliebaan is a wide, tree-lined avenue that has recently been redesigned to be more accommodating to cyclists than cars.

More than the Vuelta

Cyclist looking at a map of the New Dutch Waterline - Fort Voordorp

Following the Vuelta route through Utrecht will do so much more than make you feel connected to the race. You will also discover a city that is not only bike-friendly but steeped in history. Don’t be afraid to stray from the path either - there are many amazing points in Utrecht to discover: all accessible by bicycle.

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