In the last few weekends we have traveled to Belgium and in France, last weekend we decided that it’s time to discover another city in the Netherlands. It is always nice to see and discover the culture and the country you chose to make your home 🙂
After keeping an eye to the weather forecasts for the end of the week, we decided that Sunday will be the perfect time to go. We departed from Schiedam and it took us about 2 hours, by car, to Maastricht.
The city is amazing! And nothing compared to the other places we have been in the Netherlands! The variety of fortresses, churches and buildings of historical and cultural importance abound in this city. If you travel at a slow pace, then most probably you’ll need 2 or 3 days to visit most of the city.
How to get there if you don’t have a car?
You can rent one 🙂 or….you can travel by train, bus or boat!
If you travel by train, then you’ll be delighted to find out that to reach Maastricht is easy and simple. You can reach this destination by taking intercity trains from Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Den Bosch and Utrecht. If you happen to travel from Belgium to the Netherlands, then you can take a train that links this city with Liège.
If you choose to travel by bus, then you should check Eurolines, Megabus or Eurobus (for links, please go here). Another public transport company (ferries, train and bus) is Veolia. Its network extends to most parts of South Limburg as well as to Hasselt, Tongeren and Liège in Belgium, and Aachen in Germany (companies that are part of Veolia are: Connexxion and Transdev).
For those who want to travel in style there’s this chance to travel by boat. 🙂 Maastricht being split in two by the Meuse river, has a port, Beatrixhaven. From this port you can go by water to Belgium and to the rest of the Netherlands. If you want to experience this kind of travel, then you should plan your trip in advance, because there are no regular boat connections to other cities.
What to see and do in Maastricht?
First of all, get a map, because you’ll need one!!!! You can find the tourist information office (VVV) in the Dinghuis, a 15th-century former town hall and law courts building on the corner of Grote Staat and Kleine Staat. The map is not for free and the cheapest one is 1.5 euro. The prices vary because of the walking tours included on them, therefore choose carefully 😉
Some of the the sights that you should not miss are:
- City Fortifications, including: fragments of the second medieval city walls, Helpoort, Hoge Fronten and Casemate. These places are located at quite a big discance one from another, therefore get some comfy shoes to walk!
- Grote and Kleine Staat, and high-end shopping street Stokstraat.
- Vrijthof and Sint-Servaas Basiliek with the tomb of Saint Servatius in the crypt and Sint-Janskerk, a sandstone Gothic church dedicated to Saint John the Baptist with a distinctive red tower. REMARQUE: the entrance to some of the churches isn’t free of charge. Some will charge 3 euro or 4 euros per person.
- In Onze Lieve Vrouweplein you will find, along with many cafes and restaurants, a church from 11th century, Basilica of Our Lady. It is a very beautiful church and it is said that if you have a wish and pray to the Mary, mother of Jesus, that wish will become true. There’ll be no harm to try it, right? 🙂
- Wyck: the old quarter on the right bank of the Meuse river. Rechtstraat is the main shopping street in Wyck with a mix of specialty shops, art galleries and restaurants.
- Fort Sint-Pieter, an 18th-century fortress; Grotten Sint-Pietersberg; Kasteelruïne Lichtenberg, a farmstead containing a ruined medieval castle keep and the Sint Servaasbrug, the oldest bridge in the Netherlands.
Besides sightseeing, you can visit many of the museums that are in this city, try some local foods or go to one of the many festivals that are held here.
Because the city has various events and festivals, I will list only few of them and let you discover the rest of them.
- Musica Sacra, a festival of religious music, held in September.
- Jazz Maastricht, a jazz festival formerly known as “Jeker Jazz”.
- Carnival, which is a traditional 3-day festival in the southern part of the Netherlands. It is held in February and March.
- 11de van de 11de, the official start of the carnival season is November 11.
- Tedx Maastricht, one of the top 3 TEDx-events in Europe.
Two more things before I go:
1. Try to find the Bisschoop Mollen, they have a bakery attached to it, the bread and sweets are AMAZINGLY TASTY! I will recommend you to try the brownies!!!! 😉
2. Sunsets around the Meuse river are spectacular!
Travel safe and wise!