Fri. Jun 21st, 2024
Drive, or take the train, all the way to the most southern tip of The Netherlands and visit Maastricht. I don’t think a trip to The Netherlands is quite complete without having seen Maastricht. Take your time wandering through the ancient ruins from Roman and Spanish times, shopping in the most beautiful bookshop in the world and eating in the most sophisticated restaurants in the country. Check out the complete travel guide to Maastricht The Netherlands.

About Maastricht, The Netherlands

Maastricht, The Netherlands: top things to do in Maastricht | Your Dutch Guide

 

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, dating back to 50 BC. It was the first place in country where the Romans settled, as the proximity to the river Maas made it a interesting strategic location. The city as we know it today was founded by the French, in the 18th century when Louis XIV sieged the city and proclaimed it the capital of one of his provinces. Maastricht didn’t become Dutch until after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Until this day, many people from Maastricht carry French names, and design, hotels and restaurants are definitely have that French flair and style. The Dutch jokingly call Maastricht ‘the most foreign city in The Netherlands’ and it’s the perrfect destination for a city break.

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How to get to Maastricht

  • It’s easy enough to travel to Maastricht, The Netherlands. From Amsterdam central station, simply take the train to Maastricht. The journey takes about 2.5 hours.
  • You can also travel to Maastricht from Belgium (Liège or Brussels) and Germany (Aachen).
  • If you decide to trive to Maastricht, either with your own car or a rental car, do yourself a favour and choose a hotel with a parking space, this will save you lots of money as parking in Maastricht can get expensive.
  • If you’d rather stay in a holiday home Dormio Resort Maastricht is a stunning holiday park just outside the city centre of the city. Holiday park Hoog Vaals is also really lovely and just a 30 minute drive from Maastricht.

Hotels in Maastricht

Kaboom Hotel

Kaboom Hotel Maastricht

Kaboom Hotel is one of the most fun (and affforable!) design hotels in Maastricht. The rooms are are clean, light and beautifully designed with fun wallpaper and retro accessories that will put a smile on your face. The hotels offers spacious double rooms, but also great family rooms. The roof top is a great place to relax with a drink after a day of sightseeing.

The Social Hub

The Social Hub Maastricht | Your Dutch Guide

The Social Hub Maastricht is one of the most colourful hotels in Maastricht and is located in the hip and trendy Sphinx quarter, surrounded by cool restaurants and bars, and a couple of minutes walk from the heart of the city. The hotels offers colourful rooms of all sizes (and budgets) and the communal areas are a big plus. Find yourself a space to work quietly or hang out at the bar with a drink.

Hotel Monastère

Hotel Monastère Maastricht | Your Dutch Guide

Hotel Monastère Maastricht is set in a beautifol old building, just a stone’s throw away from a lot of the top sights in Maastricht. The hotel has airy, spacious rooms with a lot of old details left in them. For families or small groups, large family rooms are available. The lovely breakfast is served in on-site restaurant Café Louis where you can also enjoy a Paric-chic bistro dinner in the evening.

Top things to do in Maastricht

Sint Servaas Basilica

Top things to do in Maastricht: Vrijthof & Sint Servaas Basilica | Your Dutch Guide

When visiting Maastricht, you are simply drawn to the bustling main square Vrijthof, surrounded by many cafés. After having a coffee, or a beer, at one of them, cross the square to see the imposing Sint Servaas Basilica, which is built around the shrine of Saint Servatius, the first bishop of Maastricht, dating back to 1000. The cloister garden of the basilica is glorious and serene.

Maastricht underground

To do in Maastricht: Maastricht Underground (photo: Jonathan Vos)

Maastricht underground is probably just as fascinating as Maastricht above ground. If you take a tour you can explore kazemattes, tunnels, and caves under the city. A tour through the north caves is most popular.

Fortifications and Helpoort

Top things to do in Maastricht: Fortifications of Maastricht | Your Dutch Guide

The fortifications of Maastricht are the oldest city walls remaining in The Netherlands, dating back to the 13th century. If you follow the Maas river from the city centre you will automatically bump into them. Take notice of the oldest surviving town gate at the end of the Sint Bernadusstraat, named Helpoort (gate of hell).

Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek

Top things to do in Maastricht: visit Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek (photo: eighty8things) | Your Dutch Guide

The Onze Lieve Vrouwebasiliek (Basilica of Our Lady) is one of the top things to see in Maastricht. In the 5th century a small chapel was built on top of a Roman temple. It is still a deeply religious place with church goers and pilgrims kneeling in front of the alter of Maria Star of the Sea to light a candle and say a prayer. Visit the treasuty, with it’s relics and church silver and don’t skip the small cloister.

Bookshop in the Dominican church

Top things to do in Maastricht: visit the bookshop in the Dominican church | Your Dutch Guide

One of the top things to do in Maastricht is to visit the Libris bookshop in the old Dominican church. It was voted the most beautiful bookshop in the world more than once and there is no question why. Enjoy the perfect combination of browsing books whilst gasping at the 13th-century frescos. The café in the old church choir must be one of the best places in town to have a coffee.

Bonnefanten Museum

Photo courtesy of Bonnefanten Museum

The Bonnefanten Museum is one of the best museums in The Netherlands and an absolute top thing to do in Maastricht, as well as an excellent excuse to discover the adjacent Ceramiqie neighbourhood. The museum was designed by Aldo Rossi to enjoy contemporary expositions by southern Dutch artists on the second floor, and early European art on the first floor. Don’t skip the dome, to see the always cutting edge installations on display.

Centre Ceramique

Top things to do in Maastricht: Centre Ceramique | Your Dutch Guide

Multicultural hub Centre Ceramique is at the heart of contemporary neighbourhood Ceramique and houses the large city library, a café, a museum, some residential houses, offices and exhibition space. The centre is built on the grounds of the ceramics factory Sphinx, with the groundbreaking architecture as a nice contrast.

Kruisheren cloister and hotel

Kruisheren hotel Maastricht (photo: Sarah Leonora)

 

Award winning Kruisheren hotel is one of the most stunning hotels and restaurants in The Netherlands, set in a 15th century church and cloister. Even if you’re not staying the night there, it’s definitely worth a visit. The cloister was built in the 15th century and confiscated by the French army in the 18th century. The gabled façades with red shuttered windows, gothic arched halls inside and landscaped gardens are just exquisite. Pop in for some lunch at the restaurant, so you can take it all in.

Wyck

Things to do in Maastricht, The Netherlands: discover neighbourhood Wyck | Your Dutch Guide

If you arrive in Maastricht by train, you’ll have to cross the Wyck neighbourhood to get to the city centre. Personally, this is my favourite neighbourhood in Maastricht: full of lovely cafés and restaurants and filled with independent shops. I highly recommend staying in a hotel in Wyck, such as Kaboom Hotel. Visit Wyck bazaar to buy the best local produce.

‘t Bassin

Things to do in Maastricht, The Netherlands: discover neighbourhood Wyck | Your Dutch Guide

The old Maastricht marina ‘t Bassin has been completely renovated over the last couple of years, turning it into one of the most popular hotspots in town. It’s surrounded by excellent restaurant and the waterside cafés are completely packed whenever the sun shines.

Sphinx quarter

Top things to do in Maastricht: Sphinx Kwartier (photo: eighty8things) | Your Dutch Guide

Maastricht used to house the largest ceramics factory in Western Europe: Sphinx, employing a large chunk of the population. The construction of this factory basically started the industrial revolution in The Netherlands. Decades ago production lines were moved to less expensive countries and this piece of industrial heritage was left empty, until a few years ago. Slowly, but steadily, Sphinx quarter is hosting cinemas, cafés and creative workspaces, still honouring the industrial background.

Jezuïetenberg

Top things to do in Maastricht: visit Jezuïetenberg | Your Dutch Guide

A little outside of town, are the most wonderfully carved quarries in western Europe (or so I think): Jezuïetenberg. The quarry was exploited in the 18th and 19th century when limestone of this area was particularly popular as a building material. The Maastricht Jesuit fathers carved reliefs and statues into the walls throughout the 19th century. Tours run daily through the fascinating caves.

Brewery Bosch

Photo courtesy of Brewery Bosch

Brewery Bosch is a particularly interesting must-visit in Maastricht. The brewery was founded in 1758 and is now an industrial monument. You can take an English spoken brewery tour and sample some of the beer and local cheeses afterwards.

Christmas market in Maastricht

Christmas market Maastricht, The Netherlands (photo: Maison Rowena)

A really lovely thing to do is visit Maastricht in winter. From the first weekend of December you can enjoy the Christmas market in Maastricht. The Christmas markets are set up at Markt and Vrijthof. You can also follow magical light routes through the city centre. Please note that the Christmas market in Maastricht is really popular, so do book your hotel in advance.

Do you like Christmas? Read about the best Christmas markets in The Netherlands!

Restaurants in Maastricht

‘t Wycker Cabinet

Restaurants Maastricht: 't Wycker Cabinet (photo: eighty8things)

Wyck is my favourite neighbourhood in Maastricht and I love having lunch or a drink at ‘t Wycker Cabinet in the heart of the neighbourhood. It’s a place where locals love to come, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by people speaking the (even for me) incomprehensible Maastricht accent.

Brandweer kantine

Restaurants Maastricht: Brandweer kantine (photo: Maison Rownena)

When discovering Sphinx quarter you simply hop by Brandweer kantine (the old canteen of the firemen’s department). The canteen still looks like it did in the 80s, including fabulous vintage furniture, but with lots of plants and a good menu to choose from. There are also lots of tables outside, so grab a seat when the weather is nice.

Bisschopsmolen

Restaurants Maastricht: Bisschopsmolen | Your Dutch Guide

If breakfast is not included with your stay at your hotel, just hop by Bisschopsmolen in a very pretty secluded street in the heart of Maastricht. Baker and owner Frank van Eerd was the first one in The Netherlands experimenting with spelt flower and his spelt pastries and bars are now quite famous.

Zondag

Photo courtesy of Zondag

Zondag is one of the most popular cafés in town and it’s not hard to see why. The place is simple, but cosy and a just your average neighbourhood café. It’s like you’re sitting in someone’s living room, rather than a café. Perfect for brunch or afternoon drinks.

Brasserie Tapijn

Restaurants Maastricht: Brasserie Tapijn | Your Dutch Guide

If you’ve rented a bicycle, please take a little detour to have drinks or dinner at Brasserie Tapijn. It’s set in the old city barracks at the edge of town in surprisingly green surroundings. You can either order some craft beer and sit outside in the sun, or relax on the swings at the old filling station.

Café Sjiek

Photo courtesy of Café Sjiek

Café Sjiek offers the best Maastricht has to offer, it refuses to call itself a restaurant as it really embraces its homely feel. If you want to order something really local, go ahead and have some traditional ‘zuurvlees’.

Marres kitchen

Restaurants Maastricht: Marres kitchen | Your Dutch Guide

Marres kitchen is located in a gorgeous historical building, which also hosts interesting art exhibitions, but the restaurant is also a true gem. Chef Maher is like a magician, filling tables every night with the most exquisite mezze plates.

Source: https://www.yourdutchguide.com/

By Lala