Thinking of going to Maastricht for a weekend getaway? Do it! We should’ve done it way earlier.
It was our first time (a shame, we know!) and we immediately fell in love with the city and it’s vibrant atmosphere. After a 2,5 hours train ride we had the feeling that we were not in the Netherlands anymore, but that we actually left the country for our weekend getaway.
We stayed in Hotel The Dutch, 5 minutes walking from the Central Station and walking distance to most of the popular stops. It is a super nice hotel with a retro look, but yet modern. We absolutely love it, especially the free mini bar ;-). It doesn’t serve breakfast, but in every room you do get a breakfast bag that needs to be put out at the door before midnight where you have to specify for how many people and by when the next morning you would like to have it. Great idea! You also have access to their fridge in the lounge that contains free fruits, popsicles, water & soda 24-hours. All-in-all, we definitely made the right choice for a hotel.
The moment we arrived in the hotel we quickly changed into shorts, as it was at least 3 degrees warmer compared to The Hague, and went out to explore the city. You can rent bikes at the Central Station, rent scooters, or explore on foot. We decided to choose the later.
In 5 minutes we found ourselves walking across the Sint Servaas bridge over the Meuse (Maas) river that brought us to the old centrum. For a Friday afternoon it was bustling with people and it seemed that every corner that we turned there was a Pinky, ice-cream shop! Maastricht is known for its culinary possibilities and it didn’t disappoint. The old centrum has both the “Onze Lieve Vrouwen” square and the “Vrijthof” that are surrounded by restaurants and cafés. You will also find the famous Dominicanen bookstore which is housed in an old church and gives you a breathtaking view the moment you walk in.
After exploring a bit more, having a good Italian dinner and drinks we decided to head back to the hotel. On our way there, we stumbled upon a free concert by the Maas. It was the perfect ending to our first day in Maastricht.
The next day we took the train from Maastricht Central Station to Valkenburg, which is a small town about 20 minutes away. What a quaint little town! It had something medieval to it, but that made us like it so much more. It also reminded us of Bellagio, Italy for some reason. There’s a city tour train that takes you around, but again we opted to walk around the town. The best idea! We walked (a lot), but went through small streets, up & down the Cauberg hill, and saw quite a few things that we wouldn’t have seen were we in the tour train.
One of the main activities in Valkenburg is visiting the caves. There are the municipal caves and the velvet caves. In both of these caves the temperature is a constant 12 degrees Celsius. Since we were not prepared for this (and it was a hot summer day), we decided to skip the caves and do the castle ruins instead. You can do a combined tour of the velvet caves and the castle ruins, but bring a jacket! The castle ruins provides a spectacular view over the town and you can also see the people zip-lining from the Wilhelmina tower. If you’re wanting to be a bit adventurous yourself, you can also try it out. Climb the almost 200 stairs of the Wilhelmina Tower and take the jump down with the 100 meter long zip-line.
We spent about half a day in Valkenburg walking around enjoying the romantic scenery, but then decided to go back to Maastricht to spend our last night having dinner by the Maas.
For a weekend / romantic get away, Maastricht & Valkenburg was perfect. This will definitely not be our last time.