Here’s a list of the 15 best things to do in Maastricht (Netherlands), along with famous landmarks, museums, and other points of interest.
Maastricht is one of the largest cities in the Netherlands, and second to Amsterdam in terms of national heritage buildings. The city was founded as a Roman settlement and has since then developed from a religious center into a cultural city.
Moreover, this is also the place where the Maastricht treaty took place and where the euro was birthed. Nowadays, the city of Maastricht is famous as a student city with many international students.
It’s a very interesting city to visit with lots of history and cultural experiences to offer. In this article, I’m sharing some of the best places to visit in Maastricht including attractions that shouldn’t be missed while visiting.
Vrijthof is Maastricht’s most popular square located right in the center of the city. The square used to be an ancient cemetery and was later transformed into a large square.
It connects many of Maastricht’s most- famous buildings such as the museum, the theater, several hotels as well as restaurants and bars. The Vrijthof is also where many public events are held every year.
Due to its central location and the numerous venues surrounding it, the area is busy every time of the day, and Vrijthof is a great place to experience the local culture and history.
Maastricht’s Underground tunnels are one of the most mysterious and fascinating sights of the city. Guided tours lead visitors along the historic foundations of the city.
There are several interesting Kazematten Tunnels to be explored as well as the old fort and city’s caves. Due to the secludedness of the underground tunnels and the fact people can only come here as part of guided tours, there is a special sense of peace and serenity to be felt here.
Basilica of St. Servatius
Basilica of Saint Servatius is an interesting Romanesque structure dedicated to Saint Servatius, the patron saint of Maastricht. The church was built during the 11th and 12th century and resembles traditional German Imperial churches.
The basilica’s main draws are its beautiful sculptures and its treasury consisting of many interesting artifacts like a Reliquary chest, a bust of Saint Servatius, and beautiful 7th-century silk cloth. It’s a symbol of Christianity in the city.
Photo: Guste L / Shutterstock.com
Fort Sint Pieter
The city’s main fortification, Fort Sint Pieter, was built in the early 18th century and serves as one of the most interesting historical monuments of Maastricht today.
This fort is located on a scenic hill that used to help the Dutch defend their territory against invading French troops and today serves as a great viewpoint allowing fantastic views of the city and its surroundings.
Fort Sint Pieter is only accessible by taking part in a guided tour. The surrounding greenery is protected as it is considered a nature reserve. It serves as an ideal place for cycling and hiking.
Basiliek van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw
Basilica of Our Lady, as the church is known in English, is a religious highlight of the city. This Romanesque structure was built during the 4th or 5th century and is often considered the oldest church of Maastricht.
The basilica’s twin towers and the monumental façade make it a landmark of Maastricht and one of the must-sees during a visit to this part of the Netherlands.
Apart from the beautiful façade and the Gothic Mérode chapel, there is also a breathtaking choir with a beautiful gallery found on the inside of the church.
Helpoort is another historic symbol of Maastricht. Not unlike the Basilica of our Lady, it features a beautiful twin-tower façade that has become a key image of the city.
The gate was built in the 13th century and used to be an important fortification for the region. Today it serves as a touristic attraction and many people come here on their way from or to the Stadspark and the river Meuse.
De Bisschopsmolen is known for featuring one of the oldest functioning water mills in the world. The mill is used to ground floor from wheat.
Adjacent to the mill is a bakery that makes traditional bread as well as delicious Dutch cakes, biscuits, and snacks. It always smells wonderful from that bakery.
The Bosch Brewery opened its doors in 1758 and has since then established itself as one of the city’s premier breweries. Visitors get to enjoy the almost 300 years of brewing history with a guided tour that explains all the key ingredients and processing steps needed for a good beer.
There are also plenty of exhibits of the Bosch Brewery’s historic brewing equipment to be found. Frequent tasting events are organized here as well. The guided tours take around one hour and are led by experienced guides that are true experts in beer making and the history of the Bosch Brewery.
The market square hosts a bi-weekly market that is known all over the city for its fantastic produce. All the goods sold here are fresh and regionally grown.
The market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM and its lively hustle and bustle is the perfect place to get a glimpse of Dutch culture.
There is also a textile market taking place here that is great for bargain hunting and searching for unique utensils that you would never find in a regular boutique. There is also an antique market here as well as a flea market.
Bonnefantenmuseum is Maastricht’s premier fine arts museum. It looks back on a rich history dating to 1834 when the museum was founded. The interesting sounding name refers to the French words for ”good children”, the name of the convent located here previously.
This venue offers an extensive collection of artworks from the 13th to 16th century as well as contemporary art. This variety makes the museum unique as other art museums usually separate the two.
Apart from the many paintings on display, there are also interesting wooden sculptures, and a variety of medieval artifacts made from gold, bronze, and other materials.
Photo: Gerrit Bunt / Shutterstock.com
Maastricht Natural History Museum
Another fantastic museum found in Maastricht is the Natural History Museum. It is dedicated to displaying the variety of wildlife found in the Limburg region, covering the history of the last 250,000 years.
Many long-lost plants and animals are portrayed. Particularly interesting is the Insectenkamer, which is home to several animal mummies.
The museum is situated in the historic Grauwzustersklooster, a beautiful monastery. There is also a beautiful botanic garden located behind the monastery.
The Bureau Europa is an interesting museum that organizes numerous exhibitions to the fields of architecture and design. The venue also covers topics related to society and politics.
It is best to check the schedule online to see what’s on display during your visit to Maastricht. Apart from the interesting temporary exhibitions, there is also a permanent one that can be visited regardless of other events.
Boekhandel Dominicanen (in English: Bookshop Dominicanen) was established in 2006 using a beautiful, freshly renovated church as its location. The venue has quickly become a cultural hotspot of Maastricht and every year around 700,000 visitors come here not just to buy books but also to attend special events. There are many readings, debates, exhibitions and even live-music events held here throughout the year.
Photo: www.hollandfoto.net / Shutterstock.com
Boottocht Maastricht – Rederij Stiphout
One of the most scenic ways to explore Maastricht is by taking part in a boat tour. The Rederij Stiphout arranges different cruises that offer various stops covering all the important highlights of Maastricht.
There are also day-trips available that take you out of the city and towards interesting destinations like Luik. If you are interested in private tours the Rederij Stiphout is happy to arrange custom tours suited to your liking.
The winery Apostelhoeve is a lovely family-run business that produces first-class wines. The estate is located on the Louwberg, one of the most scenic points of the area.
It offers great views and beautiful surroundings full of vineyards. The estate also offers guided tours that take visitors around the property, explaining all aspects of winemaking.
Of course, there are also taste testings on offer and you can buy some of the delicious wine in the winery’s in-house shop.
Other cities to visit in the Netherlands
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