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If you are considering a trip to Maastricht, Netherlands then you will not be disappointed in all that there is to see and do during your holiday. It is known for its bustling squares that combine modern amenities and historic buildings. Maastricht has over 1,600 historical landmark buildings with its visitor’s center located in a medieval castle. It is a gorgeous city that deserves exploring for an avid traveler and is a wonderful place to take in Dutch history, beautiful architectural designs, and natural reserves.
Everything You Need to Know about Maastricht, Netherlands
Where is Maastricht, Netherlands?
Maastricht, Netherlands is located in the southeast Netherlands, close to the border of Belgium. It is located near two rivers: the Meuse and the Jeker. The climate there is quite comfortable in the summer months but it can get cooler in the winter. Maastricht is in an inland region, meaning its temperatures can get a bit hotter in the warmer months and colder in the winter months, but not by much compared to their coastal neighbors. Since the Netherlands are considered to be an oceanic climate, temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees in the summer and rarely dip below freezing. This means that no matter what time of year you visit Maastricht and the Netherlands, you are sure to have comfortable weather.
What to See in Maastricht, Netherlands
Maastricht, Netherlands is full of history and architectural heritage dating back to the medieval time period. You can immerse yourself in the history with guided tours of the city. There are also several cafes, restaurants, and culinary hotspots where you can enjoy traditional Dutch dishes as well as modern fusion cuisine.
Uncovering the History of Maastricht
A private guided tour is one of the best ways to learn about the history of Maastricht and how it came to be the bustling tourist spot of today. Go to the Maastricht Visitor Center and ask to schedule a tour, make sure to ask for Jo Voorst if he’s available. Still standing in the city are 13th-century fortifications including Helpoort or “Hell’s Gate”- a gate built in the 1230’s. There are also fortifications, towers, and gates from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries that you are able to explore and enjoy, showcasing the history of Maastricht.
Casemates is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maastricht. It is an underground network of tunnels used for the storing of guns and cannons throughout the centuries. Maastricht was occupied by several different countries over the past several hundred years, meaning that there was a constant need to protect the city from incoming enemy.
There are also several museums located within the city walls, many of them holding religious artifacts from centuries before. The Bonnefanten Museum holds collections of contemporary and historical fine art. The Treasury of the Basilica of Saint Servatius holds several artifacts of the Saint, including ones from the 4th to 20th century related to him. Other museums include:
- The Treasury of the Basilica of Our Lady
- The Maastricht Natural History Museum
- Museum aan het Vrijthof
Parks and Natural Reserves of Maastricht
One of the most enchanting parts of Maastricht are the several parks and natural reserves located in and around the city. The main public park, Stadspark, is located near the Jerker River and has medieval walls that are still standing. It also boasts a mini-zoo, several medieval sculptures from the 20th century, and footpaths to walk along the way.
There are also several modern parks located within the city that are family-friendly and modern. Some of them also contain remnants of 19th and 20th century fortresses, walls, and sculptures, giving a unique fusion of the modern and ancient world.
In addition to the many parks around the city, there are also several natural reserves that are wonderful for hiking, biking, and walking. Overlooking Maastricht is Mount Saint Peter which has footpaths for tourists to walk up. The lush, green mountain will amaze you, as will the flocks of sheep you may see walking around the mountainside. Maastricht is located along the Meuse and Jerker rivers, providing beautiful green banks with some castles, towers, and walls from centuries past.
City Streets of Maastricht
Although Maastricht is full of beauty and history, the busy and bustling streets within the city limits also provide tourists with a wonderful experience. There are several restaurants, cafes, and other culinary delights to try, making it quite an experience for anyone who loves to try different foods while they travel. These areas can be found in three main squares in Maastricht: Vrijthof, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein, and Markt.
Vrijthof is the largest square in Maastricht with many restaurants and bars. It is the most popular of the three squares, having several restaurants, pubs, and a theater. It also holds the Basilica of Saint Servatius, the gothic church of Saint-Janskerk, a 17th-century military guard house, and a neoclassical mansion now used as a theater.
Onze Lieve Vrouweplein has several smallers cafes and has a small European-town feel that reminds you of the movies. It also holds the Basilica of Our Lady, and a small museum.
Markt is the town’s market square which has modern shopping centers, as well as a medieval town hall and a 13th-century bookstore located inside a Dominican church touted as the “most beautiful bookstore in the world.”
Wellness Spas in Maastricht
Located just outside the city limits on the Cauberg Hill is a fully-equipped wellness spa and resort, Thermae 2000. You can come for the day or stay in their 60-room hotel. There are several health and wellness options available, including locally sourced hot spring water in the indoor and outdoor pools, several full saunas, delicious food options, and facilities for physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.
If you are looking for something more invigorating, Thermae 2000 has several beauty and wellness options such as individual massages, couples massages, chocolate body treatments, pedicures, manicures, sea salt scrubs, and hot stone massages. They also have a sauna pouring with essential oils, floating experiences in their spas, and beauty facials. The environment of this European spa is something you will not find in America. Once you visit you’ll have a new standard for your future spa experiences.
Seasonal Events in Maastricht
Maastricht holds several historical and traditional events throughout the year, both in celebration of their culture as well as community events to bring the city together.
André Rieu traditionally brings his Johann Strauss Orchestra to Vrijthof Square. André was born in Maastricht and brings his famous orchestra to his home city every summer to play thirteen sold out concerts. It’s a vibrant and exciting show with a constant dose of humor and elegance.
Depending on the time of year you are visiting you will find different things going on such as:
- Carnival, a traditional three-day outdoor festival (February or March).
- Amstel Gold Race, an international cycling race which starts in Maastricht (usually April).
- Stadsprocessie, a religious procession with reliquaries of local saints (May).
- Maastrichts Mooiste, an annual running and walking event (June).
- Fashionclash, an international fashion event throughout the city (June).
- Vrijthof concerts by André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra (July/August).
- Preuvenemint, a large culinary event held on the Vrijthof square (August).
- Musica Sacra, a festival of religious (classical) music (September).
- Nederlandse Dansdagen (Netherlands Dance Days), a modern dance festival (October).
- Jazz Maastricht, a jazz festival formerly known as Jeker Jazz (autumn).
- Magic Maastricht (Magisch Maastricht), a winter-themed funfair and Christmas market held on Vrijthof square and other locations throughout the city (December/January).
Although there are several hotels and hostels in Maastricht, there is no place that is as inclusive as the Dormio Resort of Maastricht. Located just outside the city streets, this resort has several different types of accommodations that fit exactly what you need for your holiday. With rooms, apartments, and even vacation homes that fit two to 20 people you will be sure to find exactly what you’re looking for at Dormio.
Dormio Resort is located just ten minutes from Maastricht but you might not ever want to leave. It’s rolling, luscious landscape of the Limburg hill on the Belgium border provides gorgeous views all year long along. Coupled with amenities like an indoor swimming pool with a water slide, a restaurant and bar on-site, bike rentals, a food court, a bakery, and a kid’s club, you might want to use all your time exploring the resort. TIP: There is no need for a car. The city is a short bike ride away on well made bike paths.
In addition to the amenities provided, Dormio Resort also has several different accommodation options that will fit your needs. These accommodations include:
- Holiday Homes
- Wellness Homes
- Kids Homes
- Group Accommodations
Each set of homes, apartments, and hotel rooms has its own unique amenities. The holiday homes are for large groups and have a bathroom with a hot tub and a sauna inside. The wellness homes include an outdoor hot tub, outdoor showers, a fireplace, a barbecue, and a luxury patio for sitting and relaxing. The kids homes are designed just for kids with a children’s room of toys and games, child-proof outlets, and playground equipment near by. Apartments are suitable for smaller groups with a bedroom, kitchen, and living area, giving you more space as needed. The hotel is for guests who don’t need much space or the use of a kitchen, and are perfect for couple’s vacationing together. If you have a large group, there are group accommodations available within several of the guest homes.
Your stay in Maastricht will be met with complete relaxation when you stay in Dormio Resort. You can let the stress melt away with the accommodations that make your family feel comfortable while you are there, while also providing you an escape from your day-to-day.
Restaurants in Maastricht
Maastricht is well-known for bars, restaurants, and pubs in the different city centers and squares located through the city. Here you will find traditional Dutch and Belgium cuisine as well as modern fusion dishes. Maastricht also has several breweries and wineries in the local area, so you will be sure to find some delicious pairings to go along with your meals.
Restaurant Recommendations in Maastricht
The Brandweer Kantine is a former fire station turned culinary hotspot. It has a large interior space that feels cozy and nostalgic yet modern. It is one of the most popular in Maastricht for dinner.
The Broth Bar is known for the enthusiastic cooks that create delicious, healthy, slow cooked bone bouillons and organic slow-food dishes. Charlote and Tanja put their heart into the menu and it really shows once you get to enjoy what they have to offer. They boast a healthy yet hip, good-for-you and good-for-your-soul menu. They offer a great selection of vegetarian, vegan, 100% Paleo, WAPF, and gluten-free options. It is the perfect spot for lunch after a day of exploring the streets of Maastricht. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal, recharge your body with wholesome broths, and take some pastries for the road.
Mes Amis Wine Restaurant takes pride in pairing wine with delicious meals. Wine is the focus of your meal here- they choose wines seasonally and then create dishes that will pair well with them. Many of the wines are Dutch or Belgian, coming from the Limburg area of the Netherlands. Their ingredients are locally sourced, and patrons can choose 4-, 5-, or 6-course meals or order a la carte. Expect to stay awhile at Mes Amis as the food is prepared fresh and according to your desires and wine choice. The presentation is truly elegant and the attention to detail outstanding. You will fall in love with this family owned restaurant. Let Jeffrey Meessen and Patriek Doelen take you on a wonderful culinary journey that you won’t soon forget.
Maastricht, Netherlands is a bustling city that offers many different sights, history, and wellness opportunities. In Maastricht, you can make your trip exactly what you want it to be – active with hiking, biking, and taking in the sights around the city, delicious as you head out on a food tour around the different pubs, restaurants, and bakeries, or a relaxing holiday with a wellness and spa retreat. Whatever you decide you will be sure to have an amazing experience in Maastricht.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Tips for Traveling on the Railroads in Europe.
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