Earth > Europe > Western Europe > Netherlands > Utrecht > Utrecht
|<map lat='52.0845695959468' lng='5.1189422607421875' zoom='12' view='3'/>|
|Major roads:||A2, A12, A27, A28|
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Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands. It is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, dating back from Roman times. Today, it has a population of over 300,000. While being a nice travel destination on its own, boasting a very picturesque inner city and hosting many events throughout the year, it also serves as one of the major transport hubs of the Netherlands. The Ring Utrecht is composed of the A27 North/South, the start/end of the A28, the A12 West/East, the A2 North/South, and the N230 connecting the A27 and A2 motorways. While the motorway maze around Utrecht might seem complicated, it is generally easy to hitch in and out of the city, as long as you know where the good spots are.
The (arguably) best place to get a ride to Amsterdam is near the 24 Oktoberplein in Kanaleneiland, where the flyover comes down to the traffic lights. Taking any tram for Central Station, get out at "24 Oktoberplein", walk back to the traffic square, pass underneath the flyover and make an immediate left. Follow the road until the flyover comes down, and position yourself on the small shoulder between the two traffic lights. Absolutely awesome place. Also works well for going south!
South: Breda, Belgium, East: Amersfoort,Germany
There is a liftershalte - a special spot for hitchhiking - at the ramp of the Waterlinieweg near De Galgewaard stadium. It's good for going northwards on the A27 and A28 (on the right when coming from Galgewaard Stadium) or southwards on the A12, A2 and A27 (crossed the highway on the left when coming from Galgewaard Stadium, indicated by a Texaco gas station). Official hitching spot, indicated by a traffic sign with a thumb on it. To get there, take bus 12 from the Central Station and get off at bus stop 'Stadion Galgewaard'. Cross the road and you're at the sliproad!
Alternatively, you can take bus 55 in the direction Maartensdijk and get off at the stop Nieuwe wetering. From there you are able to walk to a petrol station directly on the A27. Beware though, you have to walk for about 1 kilometer next to the motorway and a hitchhiker once got a 90€ fine for that, but otherwise it's a great starting place to go south direction Paris (A27) as well as Luxembourg (A2) (Note: Looking at the satellite image on Google Maps, there seems to be some bushes between the A27 and the railway parallel to it, walking in this strip as far as possible from the A27 may just keep you out of view!)
If you want to go east, direction Arnhem and the south of Germany. the best thing to do is to take the train from central station to Bunnik (6 minutes), cross the footbridge across the highway, and walk to the petrol station 2km up the road witch you are able to see from the footbridge. This petrol station on the A12 is very effective. Within 10 minutes you usually find a ride at least to Arnhem. (From this place it is also possible to go to direction Berlin if you take the A50 north near Arnhem)
In addition, the abovementioned liftplaats at Stadion Galgewaard is also a viable place for hitchhiking east towards Arnhem/Germany.
Get down to Kanaleneiland in the southwest corner of Utrecht, for instance by taking any tram leaving from Utrecht Central Station. Get out at "Kanaleneiland Zuid". Walk towards the A12 highway. There's an entry lane leading up to the A12 on your right hand side where there's ample room for cars to stop on the hard shoulder.
Alternatively, try the spot near the 24 Oktoberplein as mentioned above. Although the road directly leads to the North/Southbound A2, you might get traffic heading west to the A12 as well here.
For wild camping, it's best to stay at the university area (De Uithof). Take bus 28 or 12 from the main train station in Utrecht (Utrecht Centraal Station) and you will know where to get out when you see the large school buildings. There are great spots to camp there and little to no guards. It's pretty far away from the city center, so you should be able to sleep pretty safe there.
Alternatively you can ask the friendly people at the local vegan café if they know anywhere you can stay for free: ACU, Voorstraat 71, cheap vegan food is served on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
Other useful info
The main Library in Utrecht has a computer that you can use without paying for the internet. It's on the second floor, and as you face the room, there is a row of three computers in front of you (but behind the desk of the person who works there). The one that works for free is at the end of the row on the right from the perspective of sitting at the computer.
The library in the university area (Uithof) also has some computers with free internet. Enter the area by the Heidelberglaan, this is the street with only buses on it. There are two buildings above the road. The second building (coming from the city centre) is connected to the library. The north of this building is connected to the computer rooms, which have a few computers with free internet, and don't require you to log in.
A pilot project until the end of 2013 offers free wifi at Vredenburg, Stadhuisplein and Domplein. Network name: 'Free Wifi Utrecht'.
As of Sep 2013 free wifi at central station on the KPN network as well as on 48 train stations in NL.
(Last checked: February 2010)