One of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, Maastricht, is a charming university metropolis at the southern tip of the country that is renowned for its beautiful medieval-era architecture and vibrant, international cultural scene. The city’s Old Town features quaint, cobblestone streets lined with charming, historic buildings, including the Romanesque Basilica of St. Servatius and the Gothic-style church of Sint Janskerk. In stark contrast to the Old Town, the futuristic-looking Bonnefanten art museum rests on the opposite side of the Maas River, which bisects the city, and offers an array of outdoor activities in the summer. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
Vrijthof is a large urban square in the center of Maastricht and one of the most famous squares in the city. Once an ancient Roman and Frankish graveyard, the square was later transformed into a semi-private space owned by the Collegiate Church of Saint Servatius and went on to become the town's main square in the 19th century. Vrijthof is home to the two main churches in the city – the Romanesque Basilica of St. Servatius and the Gothic-style church of Sint Janskerk, and hosts many of the city’s main events such as the week-long carnival celebration that takes place annually before Lent. The square is an excellent spot for relaxing over a cup of coffee and a gooey, caramel Dutch waffle-biscuit known as a stroopwafel.
Vrijthof, Maastricht, Netherlands
The Lichtenberg Castle ruins are the remnants of one of the oldest castles in the Netherlands. Constructed in the early 1200s during the Medieval period, the castle was built in a strategic position on the flank of the Sint-Pietersberg overlooking the Maas. The castle began to fall into disrepair halfway through the 18th century, and a farm was built on the site, but the ruins of the castle’s defensible residential tower are still visible today. Visitors can spend the night at the Lichtenberg Farm and explore the ruins, and the limestone wall below the castle ruins that has been classified as a Geological monument.
Castle ruin Lichtenberg, Lichtenbergweg 2, Maastricht, Netherlands
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3.Flea Market of Maastricht
Every Saturday, the Stationsstraat at Maastricht’s central train station is transformed into the Maastricht flea market. The city’s largest flea market is located outside the building of the central train station and is an exciting mix of an antique and curio market. The market is a great place for browsing for antiques, period pieces, and one-of-a-kind treasures, as well as gramophone records, vinyl records, and cassettes, old books, antique furniture and lamps, and other peculiar knick-knacks. The market also sells a range of unique souvenirs and special mementos and is open between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
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4.Fort Saint Pieter
Fort Saint Pieter is a historical Netherlands fortress that was constructed in the 18th century to defend the strategically important city once known as the ‘Iron City.’ The hill-like hexagonal defensive fort was built in 1701 by the governor of Maastricht, Daniël Wolf, Baron von Dopff, and features a network of tunnels and passages that were once connected to the famous marl caves that form a grid beneath the city, enabling excellent defense of the town. The fort stood firm during an attack on the city by the French in 1794 and still bears the marks of its single siege, which can be explored on guided tours of the fortress.
Helpoort, Sint Bernardusstraat, Maastricht, Netherlands
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The Bonnefantenmuseum is dedicated to exhibiting an array of artworks from both Old Masters and contemporary artists from the Limburg area. The museum presents permanent collections and temporary exhibitions over three floors that feature the works of 16th and 17th century Old Masters, such as Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and Rubens, as well as contemporary artworks that focus on movements such as Concept Art, Minimal Art and Arte Povera with works by international artists, such as Sol LeWitt. Set on the banks of the Meuse River, the museum is based in a building designed by the Italian architect Aldo Rossi and is an architecturally significant artwork in itself.
Avenue Céramique, Maastricht, Netherlands
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6.Casemates Military Fortress
Maastricht’s Casemates is a nine-mile network of defensive bunkers, mine galleries, and tunnels that were built between 1575 and 1825 on the western side of Maastricht as part of the city’s defense system. These tunnels were used to approach and surprise the enemy from underground when the city was under siege up until the 18th century and later as shelter from bombardments during the Second World War. Visitors can explore the tunnel system and vaulted chambers, which has been hailed as a monument to the art of war, on guided tours.
Kazematten, Tongerseplein, Maastricht, Netherlands
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7.Stadhuis (City Hall)
Resting at the center of the city, the Stadhuis is Maastricht’s imposing City Hall that stands on the Market Square. Designed by Pieter Post in 1664 and built in the Dutch Classicism style, the building features an impressive tower with 49 bells that still toll regularly, and an awe-inspiring interior filled with ceiling frescoes and stucco work, and massive wall tapestries. The beautiful building overlooks the bustling Market Square, where the local food market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Stadhuis van Maastricht, 78 Markt, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6211 CL, The Netherlands
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8.The Wyck District
© Andre Bonn/stock.adobe.com
One of eight distinctive neighborhoods in Maastricht, the Wyck District, is situated on the border between the city center and outskirts and boasts an enchanting mix of old and new architecture. Hailed as the ‘upcoming’ neighborhood of the city, Wyck features quaint little cobblestone streets lined with chic boutiques, eclectic shops, and brand stores, sidewalk cafés and coffee shops, stylish restaurants and buzzing bars. The Wyck Vintage Fashion Market is a famous outdoor clothing market held in the summer that is the place to go for vintage clothing, accessories, and shoes, as well as fresh fashion items, fantastic food, and live entertainment.
Wyck, Maastricht, Netherlands
9.Sint Janskerk (Saint John’s Church)
Sint Janskerk is a beautiful 15th-century Gothic church with a soaring 140-foot red limestone tower and one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Named after John the Baptist, the church is one of the seven Maasgotic churches and chapels in the center of Maastricht and is built in marlstone. The focal point of the church is the red tower, which was influenced by the Dom tower in Utrecht and houses a 15th-century wooden belfry with a clock from 1687. Visitors can climb the tower via very narrow spiral stairs and be rewarded with spectacular views of the city from the top.
Sint Janskerk, Vrijthof, Maastricht, Netherlands
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10.The North Caves
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The North Caves, also known as the Marl Caves of Maastricht, is a network of underground caves dating back to the 13th century that play an essential role in the history of the city. Originally dug to mine marl, lime-rich mud that contains large amounts of clay and silt, the caves formed a network so vast with more than 20,000 passageways, that it was later used for purposes other than mining. During the Second World War, the 200-mile long cave complex was used to hide valuable paintings and historical artifacts from the Germans, as well as armaments that could be used against the Germans. The caves were also used as a shelter for citizens of the city during heavy bombardments, and today, the caves can be explored on guided tours.
Grotten Noord Maastricht, Luikerweg, Maastricht, Netherlands
Beluga is a Michelin-star fine-dining restaurant with timeless grace and charm that promises an unrivaled dining experience. Located on Plein 1992 in Maastricht, the refined restaurant features an elegant and classy interior with wood and glass accents, natural décor, and a subtle combination of dark and light hues. Helmed by world-renowned Dutch chef Hans van Wolde, the restaurant offers a section of menus from a la carte to a mouthwatering six-course tasting menu featuring sublime dishes created with locally sourced ingredients and presented with flair. The cuisine is accompanied by an impressive wine list and a range of Beluga’s own beer. Beluga is open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Saturday.
12 Plein 1992, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6221 JP, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-21-33-64
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© Pieke Potloed
Tucked away in a historic building in one of the inner city’s cobblestone backstreets, Pieke Potloed is an authentic Maastricht restaurant with a cozy interior with exposed brick walls, comfortable seating, and a charming outdoor terrace for alfresco dining under the stars. The warm and welcoming restaurant serves a menu featuring regional specialties prepared from old recipes using local ingredients such as Maastricht Beef Stew, Steak Limousin, Wengskes (pork cheeks in red wine), and Knien (pickled rabbit). The restaurant also serves a three-course tasting menu, which includes some of the restaurant’s signature specialties, and the food is accompanied by a selection of fine wines from around Europe. Pieke Potloed is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
5 Sporenstraat, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6211 EB, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-21-59-68
© Harry’s Restaurant
Harry’s is a Michelin-star international brasserie with elegant décor and a sophisticated atmosphere. The warm and welcoming restaurant has an open kitchen where diners can watch the expert chefs at work, creating sublime dishes from around the world using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and world-class culinary techniques. The menu features French, Italian and Spanish cuisine with dishes like Simmentaler Entrecote, Codfish, Wild Boar Cheeks, Pearl Barley Risotto, and Oxtail, and the food is accompanied by a selection of fine wines and craft beers on tap and by the bottle, and cocktails made with premium spirits. Harry’s Restaurant is open for is open for lunch and dinner, daily.
2 Wycker Brugstraat, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6221 EC, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-28-13-66
Basilica is a charming restaurant located on the main square in the heart of Maastricht with a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere that serves globally-inspired cuisine prepared with artisan ingredients. The menu features an array of dishes from around the globe, such as French onion soup, Greek lamb burgers, Indian green curry, and traditional Belgian pomme frites, and the full-service bar offers over 55 beers on tap and by the bottle. The weekends see the restaurant turn into a nightclub with famous local DJs spinning their tunes and locals dancing the night away. Basilica is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
15A Vrijthof, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6211 LD, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-21-39-36
© Alex Tihonov/stock.adobe.com
Brasserie Keizer is based between St. Servaas Basilica and Vrijthof theater in the heart of old Maastricht and offers a charming, laid-back spot with elegant décor that serves Provençal-inspired cuisine with a focus on fresh fish. The casual restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and serves a variety of appetizers, entrées such as gourmet burgers, fresh seafood, prime meat dishes, and fresh salads, along with a three-course tasting menu with local specialties. A full-service bar serves a range of casual wines, craft, and draft beers, handcrafted cocktails and premium spirits, as well as freshly brewed coffee and soft drinks.
15 Keizer Karelplein, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6211 TC, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-21-11-15
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© Nicolas Faramaz
Situated in a former warehouse known as Pakhuisin Dutch next to the Maas River, Restaurant Pakhoes is an elegant restaurant with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Named after the building in which it is housed, the family-owned and operated restaurant boasts a beautiful terrace on which guests can dine overlooking the river, tucking into Franco-Belgian haute cuisine with global accents and signature specialties created by Head Chef Guidy Wolfs. The menu features classics like skate and cod, along with contemporary dishes like handmade pasta and vegetarian options, and the food is paired with a range of casual wines, craft, and draft beers, handcrafted cocktails and premium spirits, as well as freshly brewed coffee.
4-6 Waterpoort, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6221 GB, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-25-70-00
17.Il y a
© Il y a
Located in the city’s Latin Quarter, Il y a is a cozy restaurant that specializes in authentic Mediterranean cuisine with Italian, French, Portuguese, and Spanish influences. Boasting a classy, stylish interior with wooden furniture, photograph-adorned walls, and dimmed lighting, creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere. The menu features traditional dishes of fresh seafood, prime meats and chicken, handmade pasta, fresh organic salads and vegetarian dishes, and decadent desserts, and the paired with a range of casual wines, craft, and draft beers, and signature cocktails and premium spirits. A charming terrace offers alfresco-style dining in the summer months, and the restaurant is open for dinner nightly and Sunday lunch.
7 Koestraat, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6211 HR, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-25-07-77
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© Stadscafé Lure
Stadscafé Lure is a warm and welcoming restaurant that serves simple, traditional fare in a cozy atmosphere. Located on Grote Looiersstraat, the restaurant has a charming interior with banquette seating and art deco-style furnishings, and outdoor seating on the square surrounded by beautiful old buildings. The restaurant serves lunch, light afternoon meals, and dinner, and signature dishes include veal entrecôte with truffle butter, traditional beef stew in vinegar and apple syrup, farmers Molenaarsbrood, and carpaccio with truffle mayo and parmesan. The food is paired with a range of casual wines, craft, and draft beers, handcrafted cocktails, and premium spirits.
7 Grote Looiersstraat, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6211 JH, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-21-17-75
Toine Hermsen is a highly acclaimed, double Michelin-star restaurant in the heart of Maastricht. Enjoying a prime spot near the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basilica, the elegant restaurant offers an unforgettable dining experience with sublime cuisine, award-winning global wines, and a classy and refined atmosphere. The stylish interior features chic décor, wooden furniture, crisp white tablecloths, and elegant glassware, and offers two tasting menus, a ‘Jubilee’ menu with four or five courses, and a ‘Friends’ menu with three or four courses. The cuisine is accompanied by an impressive selection of world-class wines from around the world, imported beers and premium spirits and signature cocktails.
Kruisdonk 49, 6222 PH Maastricht, Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-25-84-00
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20.Bouchon d'en Face
© Bouchon d’en Face
Bouchon d’en Face is an authentic French restaurant that offers a refined dining experience like no other. Bring the romance of Paris to the heart of Maastricht, Bouchon d’en Face combines the elegance of a chic bistro with the casualness of a tavern and features beautiful French décor, soft lighting, and an intimate ambiance. The restaurant serves an entirely French menu with signature dishes such as bouillabaisse, steak tartar, escargots and steak in béarnaise sauce, accompanied by fine French wines. Bouchon d’en Face is open for dinner only, Wednesday through Sunday.
54 Wycker Brugstraat, Maastricht-Centrum Maastricht, Limburg, 6221 ED, The Netherlands, Phone: +314-33-11-64-38
20 Best Things to Do in Maastricht, Netherlands
- Vrijthof, Photo: dudlajzov/stock.adobe.com
- Lichtenberg Castle, Photo: vladimircaribb/stock.adobe.com
- Flea Market of Maastricht, Photo: Myst/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Saint Pieter, Photo: Emile/stock.adobe.com
- Bonnefantenmuseum, Photo: twanwiermans/stock.adobe.com
- Casemates Military Fortress, Photo: hiv360/stock.adobe.com
- Stadhuis (City Hall), Photo: pixssell/stock.adobe.com
- The Wyck District, Photo: Andre Bonn/stock.adobe.com
- Sint Janskerk (Saint John’s Church), Photo: streetflash/stock.adobe.com
- The North Caves, Photo: Raja stills/stock.adobe.com
- Beluga, Photo: Beluga
- Pieke Potloed, Photo: Pieke Potloed
- Harry’s Restaurant, Photo: Harry’s Restaurant
- Basilica, Photo: Basilica
- Brasserie Keizer, Photo: Alex Tihonov/stock.adobe.com
- Restaurant Pakhoes, Photo: Nicolas Faramaz
- Il y a, Photo: Il y a
- Stadscafe Lure, Photo: Stadscafé Lure
- Toine Hermsen, Photo: weyo/stock.adobe.com
- Bouchon d'en Face, Photo: Bouchon d’en Face
- Cover Photo: allard1/stock.adobe.com
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