Nestled in the southernmost part of the Netherlands lies Maastricht. The captivating city effortlessly combines rich history, and cultural diversity, with a vibrant modern atmosphere. With its bustling cobblestone streets, picturesque bridges, and impressive architecture, Maastricht is a must-visit destination while on your Ultimate Netherlands Road Trip. So read on and explore the enchanting charms of Maastricht, Netherlands!
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ARRIVE IN MAASTRICHT
After spending some time relaxing in the quaint town of Thorn, drive to Maastricht. Maastricht is a vibrant university town so it will be a nice change of pace!
We stayed in the beautiful Maison Haas Hustinx & Spa. However, Maastricht offers a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. Since you are most likely arriving by car, make sure to book a hotel that offers parking. Here are a few popular hotels to consider when looking for a place to stay in Maastricht.
After checking into your hotel and get ready to explore the streets of Maastricht!
EXPLORE MAASTRICHT, NETHERLANDS – DAY ONE
Stroll Through Historic Maastricht
Begin your journey by exploring the historic heart of Maastricht, Vrijthof Square. Luckily for you, if you are staying in Maison Haas Hustinx & Spa, you can see the square from your hotel room. You will spot the gothic-style church with an iconic red tower, Sint Janskerk. This expansive square also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, dine at one of the charming outdoor cafes, or simply relax on a bench and soak up the lively atmosphere.
As you wander through the maze of narrow streets, be sure to admire the beautifully preserved medieval buildings and visit the intriguing Boekhandel Dominicanen, a bookstore housed in a former Dominican church. This place is absolutely incredible!
The Square is home to Maastricht’s most popular local markets. In addition, the square features Maastricht’s city hall and numerous imposing mansions. There are lots of little bars and cafes making it a lovely place to sit and watch the madness go by. Of course, I had to try some of the famous fries!
Walk Across Sint Servaasbrug – Bridge
Sint Servaasbrug is an arched stone footbridge across the Meuse River. It is named after Saint Servatius, the first bishop of Maastricht, and it has been anointed the oldest bridge in the Netherlands.
Indulge in Culinary Delights
Maastricht is renowned for its culinary scene, offering a delectable array of flavors and tastes. Experience traditional Limburg cuisine by savoring a plate of zoervleis (sweet and sour meat stew) or enjoying a slice of vlaai (a regional fruit pie). Don’t forget to pair your meal with a locally brewed beer or a glass of refreshing, crisp Maastricht wine. Explore the charming Wyck district, known for its trendy restaurants and stylish cafes, or venture into the Jeker Quarter for a more authentic and intimate dining experience.
Visit the Bonnefanten Museum
Art enthusiasts should not miss a visit to the Bonnefanten Museum. This contemporary art museum, housed in a strikingly modern building, showcases an impressive collection of both old masters and contemporary art. From intricate sculptures to captivating paintings, the museum offers diverse artistic styles and periods. Take your time to explore the thought-provoking exhibitions and embrace the beauty of creative expression.
Admire Hell’s Gate
This former city gate dates back to 1229 and is the oldest surviving city gate in the Netherlands! It was originally used as a storage space, armory, and artist’s studio. Nowadays, it houses a museum with exhibitions on Maastricht’s history. The views from the top are also worth the visit!
Maastricht offers a lively nightlife scene with a variety of bars catering to different tastes and preferences. Here are some popular bars in the area that are known for their ambiance, drink selection, and overall experience:
- Mr. Smith: This is where I spent my evening! A luxurious speakeasy-style cocktail bar in the Wyck district. Enthusiastic bartenders shake and stir favorites, classics, and signature drinks. Overall a charming, fun ambiance.
- Café Sjiek: Located in the Jeker Quarter, Café Sjiek is a beloved local institution known for its cozy atmosphere and traditional Dutch cuisine. It also serves a wide selection of beers and has a great selection of jenevers (Dutch gin).
- Café Zondag: This hip café-bar is situated in Wyck and is popular among locals and visitors alike. It offers a relaxed ambiance with a large terrace and serves a range of craft beers, wines, and cocktails. They also serve delicious brunch options during the day.
- De Gouverneur: Situated in the heart of Maastricht’s city center, De Gouverneur is a beer lover’s paradise. It boasts an extensive menu featuring over 300 different types of beers, including local and international brews.
- Café de Bóbbel: Known for its lively atmosphere and wide range of drinks, Café de Bóbbel is a popular spot among students and locals. It features a large selection of beers, spirits, and cocktails, and often hosts live music events.
- Café Tribunal: This trendy bar in the city center offers a stylish setting with a mix of modern and vintage decor. It serves a diverse range of cocktails, spirits, and craft beers, and also has a menu with tasty bites to complement your drinks.
- Café In den Ouden Vogelstruys: Located on the Vrijthof square, this historic café has been operating since 1730 and exudes an old-world charm. It’s a great place to relax with a drink while enjoying the view of the bustling square.
These are just a few examples of the many fantastic bars you can explore in Maastricht. As you explore the city, you’ll stumble upon numerous bars!
EXPLORE MAASTRICHT, NETHERLANDS – DAY TWO
See Fort St. Pietersberg
Fort St. Pieter is indeed a significant historical landmark located right outside of Maastricht. It is a fortress that dates back to the 18th century and is situated on Mount St. Pieter, providing panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside.
The fort’s upper levels offer stunning views of Maastricht and the Meuse River. You can climb to the top of the fort and enjoy the picturesque landscapes that stretch out before you.
Discover the Caves of St. Pietersberg
Visiting Fort St. Pieter allows you to explore its underground tunnels, which were once used for defense purposes. Delve into the underground wonders of Maastricht by embarking on a guided tour of the Caves of St. Pietersberg. These limestone caves, carved out over centuries, provide a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. Learn about the cave’s historical significance and explore the intricate network of tunnels, caverns, and passageways. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes and bring a jacket, as the temperature inside remains cool throughout the year.
I hope this blog post helps you explore Maastricht and inspires you to add the Netherlands to your travel list! If you happen to use this itinerary, tag me on Instagram @Mels_Scene and I will happily share your trip on my stories!
If you need any help planning or have any questions, please comment below or message me on my contact page! I would love to hear about how your trip went as well. What did you think of the cave tour? Tell me in the comments below!