A city trip to Maastricht is highly recommended. There is so much to see in this beautiful city in the south of The Netherlands! These are the best things to do in Maastricht.
Maastricht: an introduction
Maastricht is the capital of the province of Limburg and has approximately 120,000 inhabitants. The river Maas flows right through the city. Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and is said to have originated in the first century BC. At the beginning of the first century AD, the city was occupied by the Romans. The city did not immediately receive city rights but was named a city officially in 1284.
Due to the long history of Maastricht, there are many beautiful historic buildings to see in the city. There are also multiple interesting museums, in which you can learn more about the history of Maastricht. Maastricht seems a bit foreign city to many Dutch people because it is located in a hilly area (most of The Netherlands is flat), near the border of Belgium.
This makes Maastricht a unique city in The Netherlands and a great place to explore.
The best things to do in Maastricht
Great, you’ve decided to visit Maastricht. The best things to do in Maastricht These are some of the best sights in Maastricht:
The Vrijthof is the largest square in the center of Maastricht and is known as the location of André Rieu’s summer concerts. Even if there are no concerts, it is a very nice place to visit. There are a lot of restaurants with terraces on the square and here you can taste the delicious Limburg pie (“Limburgse vlaai”). There are also several beautiful historic buildings to see that surround the square. The two churches on the west side of the square are gorgeous. They are called the Basilica of Saint Servatius and the Church of Saint John and are definitely worth a visit.
The Bonnefantenmuseum is the most important art museum in the province of Limburg and is beautifully situated on the banks of the river Maas. It has several various collections, from medieval sculptures to Southern Netherlandish paintings. You can also admire some beautiful contemporary art in the museum.
Climb to the top of the Pietersberg
Maastricht is located in a hilly area and the famous Sint-Pietersberg is located south of the city. This is a 171-meter high mountain. When you arrive at Sint-Pietersberg, you immediately see the imposing Fort Sint-Pieter. This is a fort from the eighteenth century which you can visit if you’d like.
In addition, there are several beautiful hiking trails on and around the mountain. If you decide to go hiking, you’ll have a beautiful view of the hilly landscape and the city of Maastricht. You can also take a look at the viewing platform at the ENCI quarry. Nice detail: this is also the endpoint of the Pieterpad, which is the most famous long-distance trail in The Netherlands.
Around Maastricht, you can still see many pieces of the medieval city wall and the Helpoort (the English translation is hell gate) is the only city gate that has been preserved. It is an impressive building from the thirteenth century and also the oldest (still existing) city gate in the Netherlands.
A number of caves and casemates can be found in and around Maastricht, the collective name for this is Maastricht Underground. You can visit these caves with a guide and in this way, you will learn even more interesting facts about the history of Maastricht. In addition, it is of course also quite exciting to walk through those dark caves!
The Saint Servatius Bridge
Since Maastricht is located on two sides of the river Maas, there are also several bridges that connect the two halves of the city. The most striking bridge is the Saint Servatius Bridge (Sint-Servaasbrug in Dutch), which is the oldest bridge in the Netherlands. The bridge was built in 1280. Fun fact: this bridge is depicted on a number of Dutch euro coins.
The town hall on the Markt
The most striking building on the Markt (a large square) is the city hall of Maastricht. The city has been governed since 1664 in this beautiful building from the 17th century. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to visit the town hall at the moment (this was always possible with a guided tour), but you can view the beautiful interior virtually on this website.
Bookstore Dominicanen is one of the most beautiful bookstores in The Netherlands. It is located in Dominicanenkerk, a beautiful building from the thirteenth century. It is a great place to visit because, in addition to many beautiful books, you can also view the impressive Saint Thomas painting here.
Walk on the city wall
In Maastricht you can still find many pieces of the old city wall and you can even walk over some parts! Follow the signs with “stadsomwalling”. Especially the part behind the Conservatory is wonderful to discover. There are several benches on the wall and you have a beautiful view of the City Park.
Discover the most beautiful hidden streets
Since Maastricht is a very old town, it has many narrow streets. It is wonderful to stroll through them and discover the most beautiful places. There are many beautiful streets, especially in the Jekerkwartier along the city wall. A fun way to get to know the city.
Day trips from Maastricht
Are you planning to spend a decent amount of time in Maastricht and would you like to see some beautiful places outside the city? These are some recommendations:
Valkenburg is a cozy little town on the river Geul and is located about thirteen kilometers from Maastricht. It is quite a popular place with tourists, that’s why it has many hotels, restaurants, and bars. Make sure to explore the old town, visit caves or the coal mine, or relax in the famous spa town of Thermae 2000.
The Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten
The Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten is a very impressive place. It is a military cemetery and a memorial to the American soldiers who fought in the Second World War in the area of South Limburg, the Ardennes, and the Ruhr area. More than 8,300 Americans are buried there, and on the walls are still 1,700 names of men whose bodies have never been found.
Three-Country Point (Drielandenpunt)
The three-country point is located about 40 kilometers from Maastricht near Vaals, on the Vaalserberg. This is the highest mountain in the Netherlands (322 meters). The mountain is the connection of the border of three countries: The Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. It is quite touristy, but also a very fun place to visit.
Explore the vineyards
Maastricht is located in South Limburg and did you know that you can find the best vineyards and wineries of The Netherlands in this region? If you’re a wine lover, make sure to some of the best vineyards and wineries in South Limburg like the Fromberg Winery or the St. Martinus Wine Estate.
Hiking in South Limburg
Maastricht is a great base to discover more places in South Limburg. This region is bursting with beautiful hiking trails and the views are incredible. I myself explored many hiking trails in the vicinity of Mechelen and Gulpen. You will see many beautiful half-timbered houses in this area and there are many nice villages with cozy cafes.
From Maastricht, it is very easy to travel to a different country. It only takes you half an hour (by car or train) to travel from Maastricht to the Belgian city of Liège. This is a pleasant city where you can stroll around for a day. Enjoy some delicious Belgian beers, visit the museums or relax in one of the lovely parks. There are many beautiful hidden streets in the historic city center.
Would you rather take a trip to Germany? Then you can visit the lovely city of Aachen, which is about 40 kilometers from Maastricht (right next to the three-country point). Aachen has a city center full of historic buildings which makes it really fun to explore this city. Aachen Cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in Europe and for that reason alone the city is worth a visit.
Practical information for a city trip to Maastricht
You now know everything about the best things to do in Maastricht. Do you still need some practical tips? Then read on quickly.
How do you get to Maastricht?
Maastricht is very easily accessible, both by car and public transport. Are traveling to Maastricht by car? You can park cheaply at one of the Park + Ride or Park + Walk parking lots. If you park here you can easily get to the city center by public transport or on foot. More information about parking in Maastricht can be found on this page.
Maastricht has a large train station and a bus station and is therefore easily accessible from all over The Netherlands by public transport. Visit 9292.nl to plan your trip.
Where to stay in Maastricht
Where do you sleep during your city trip to Maastricht? Here are some recommendations:
- The Student Hotel Maastricht: this is one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever slept in. Nicely decorated with lots of funny details.
- Landgoed Kasteel de Hoogenweerth: around Maastricht, you can find some castles. How much fun would it be to stay the night in a castle? This castle is located on the Maas and is a picture to see.
- Het Harlekijntje: would you rather sleep in a cozy B&B? Then Het Harlekijntje is a very good option. Comfortable rooms within walking distance of the city center.
Would you like a complete overview of all the beautiful places to spend the night? Check Booking.com.
Where to eat in Maastricht?
Where will you eat during your city trip to Maastricht? Here are a few nice places to drink, eat or get take away:
- Holy Bowly: healthy and tasty poke bowls. Perfect for taking out and eat in one of the parks or on a square.
- Witloof (from Belgium): a little piece of Belgium in Maastricht. No fancy cuisine, but tasty (organic) Belgian dishes.
- With Love Burrito: mouthwatering Mexican and Texan burritos.
- Café Sjiek: a household name in Maastricht and the menu features various typical Limburg dishes.
- Patisserie Royale: this is the place to get the most delicious Limburg pie!
Explore more beautiful cities in The Netherlands
Would you like to explore more beautiful cities in The Netherlands? These Dutch cities are also very suitable for a short city trip:
- 10 fun things to do in The Hague
- City trip in Southwest Friesland (The Netherlands)
- Fun things to do in Groningen, The Netherlands
In addition, these are a few great books full of inspiration for a vacation in The Netherlands:
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