The public transport infrastructure in the Netherlands is superb; buses and trains run on time, and the major cities are all well-connected. However in Utrecht city itself, there’s very little need for public transport other than your bicycle. It’s a pretty small city, but even including the suburban areas, one third of all journeys are made by bike. Car journeys only make up 30%, and with Utrecht’s determination to build the world’s largest bicycle parking station, these numbers seem set to diverge even further.
Utrecht does not have its own airport, and the vast majority of internationals arrive through Schipol Airport in Amsterdam since it has connections to virtually every country in the world. There is an Intercity rail service which cost €8.70 and lasts only 30 minutes - this stops at Utrecht Central station, which is ideal. You can also get here by taxi, but that will cost close to €100.
It’s also possible to fly to Düsseldorf international, Rotterdam Airport or Eindhoven Airport, since, though these are all further away, they are also popular with a good number of budget European airlines. Try to strike a balance between overall price and convenience, but any of these airports will see you safely into the city.
In terms of national inter-connectivity via public transport, the Netherlands is second to none. You can get fast, inexpensive trains from all over the country straight into Utrecht Centraal Station.
It’s common across the Netherlands, and it’s particularly true here in Utrecht - cycling is by far the most popular way to get around. 90,000 people use bikes for commuting every day in Utrecht, so I’ll say this: if you don’t really like cycling, it might be an idea to take up the hobby before you move!
The city boasts a huge number of dedicated cycle paths and cycle lanes long busy roads - it’s just part of their infrastructure, and the way of life here. You can traverse the entire city pretty quickly, and many people use their bikes to navigate the suburban areas too. You can pay €40-50 for a potentially unreliable bike, or closer to €100 for a good quality build which will last your exchange and which you can sell on when you leave.
In the city centre, you’ll definitely want to cycle or walk. To get around the suburban area and navigate between neighbouring cities, then there are plenty of buses, trams and trains which make this easy in the Netherlands. To use this motorized transport you should get an OV-Chipkaart. This is essentially a national transport card which you can use for all public transport in the Netherlands.
You can top up your OV-Chipkaart at a bunch of locations around the cities, but easily at the Centraal Station in Utrecht. You need to have a minimum balance of €20 on your card, since journeys are charged at the end of your journey and are based on the time taken and distance travelled.
Taxis are pretty reliable around Utrecht, though since they’re quite expensive you should only use them in a pinch. If you order by phone you’ll get a better deal than hailing one in the street, especially over longer distances. To be certain you have a licensed taxi, check the licence plate: it should be blue with black text, whereas normal cars have yellow plates.