Surrounding area, Maastricht
Some of the most fun I have had in and around Maastricht is when I rent a bike.Bike rental is available right beside the train station.There is a 7 euro charge per day and a deposit of 50euro.It is a good idea to visit the VVV and purchase a map detailing all the bike routes in Limburg and some in Belgium as well.The areas to the west of Maastricht are flat for the most part and cycling is very easy.The countryside is very scenic and just a delight to visit.Going south or southeast of Maastricht will carry you into more hilly terrain but the countryside is breathtaking.I spent 4 days starting my ride in Maastricht and riding all day and ending up back in Maastricht before nightfall.I would advise carrying a small backpack with some water and something to eat and just make a day of riding around enjoying the rural areas around Limburg.
In Vaals, , about 30 km from Maastricht, you can visit the Drielandenpunt, this location is situated at the highest hill of the Netherlands, and is for that reason a tourist attraction. It has a huge labyrinth made of hedges, in which u can get yourself lost. In the middle of the labyrinth is a kind of platform, from which u have a view over the labyrinh, with all the people walking in it. To get here, take the "Interliner," to Aachen (Aken) a bus that departs from the busstation near the central railroadstation and get off the bus in Vaals.
Valkenberg is a small town that is – in the summer – overcrowded by tourists, most of them dutch. I myself consider this town as Benidorm of the Netherlands, and that is not meant as a complement. The streets, pubs, sights and monuments loose their charm because of it, and it is as if there are more tourists than local inhabitants during the summer in this town. Yet, this small town has some interesting things to go for. There’s an old castle (10 th century) on a hill that overlooks the town and the surrounding hills. The castle itself remains as a ruin, but it is still a place that gives a very good impression on how the counts of Valkenberg must have lived. The castle is a unique one in the Netherlands, because nowhere in the rest of the country, you will find a castle on a hill. In the summer there are spectacular plays at the castle, in which tourists can take part. There’s a small entrance fee for it. Under the castle there is a labyrinth of tunnels called the “Fluweel” cave. This place is open to public, but you have to buy a special ticket for it. The town of Valkenberg has also the eldest railroad-station of the Netherlands. It was build in 1853 and has a remarkable look. Valkenberg is appreciated by tourists because it has a lot of facilities for relaxation. It has a casino (address: Cauberg 28), one can take a course of waters at the Thermae 2000 (address: Cauberg 27), you can visit an old coalmine; a “koempel” (“miner” in Limburgian dialect) will guide you, or you go with your family to the “Valkenier” a fun-fair.
When you have been that lucky that you finally have found Maastricht, you should not waste the opportunity to visit two city's that are right in the neighboorhood (+/- 30 km from Maastrcht), that is Aachen and Liège. These cities form, toghether with Maastricht the so called 'Euregio,' an unique league that transgresses national borders and shows that European Integration is in fact a good thing. One has to see them: Aachen, is - apart from its pleaqsant atmosphere and many gemütliche Kneipen, like 'Rethel pub' - an enormous interesting place to visit for it has been Charlemagne's favourite resort in the Middle-ages: of course for it's water. See the reminders of that great erea! Liège itself has it's particular reasons to attrack visitors who are in the Euregio: it has nearly a common historical identity to Maastricht, yet, on the other hand -being Wallonian- it has it's very own way in which that is embedded. And: though Maastricht and Liège are mutually influencing one 'n other, lifestyle completely differs: go f.e to the 'Des Olivettes' , a lovely pub, in the middle of the city, where typical Liègeain characters climb the stage (t.i. a piano on a small platform
) and sing along with Brell and Bécaud (franchophonic Héro's in chansons)Even you are invided, to take a chance:even if it's Rammstein you'd like to perform: people are enjoying the atmosphere, everyone is there for having a good time...It's a pub, that we in the Netherlands would call: 'het kleine café aan de haven' : where people still enjoy life, were everybody acceps one other's sound (even if it's Rammstein!!!)
't Bassin is the historic harbour on the river Maas. It has been renovated a couple of years back, and since then it has regained a lot of it's atmosphere. Small boats and yachts are docked here. Along the water you can find many restaurants, pubs and shops. It's a great place to go for a drink in the summertime. But it's also very nice to look at all teh beautiful boats that dock here. In June you can enjoy the harbour festivities.
The way to 't Bassin is signposted from the Market Square. It's only a couple of minutes walking. You can also get there by walking along the river.
Rederij Stiphout offers a wide range of boat tours on the river Maas. You can take a 50 minute cruise on the river and combine with a visit to the caves. You can also take the boat that goes to the Belgian city of Liege. There are several other trips available. On board you can order drinks and snacks.
A 50 minute cruise costs 5,90 Euros, a day trip to Belgium costs 18,40 euros.
Pinkpop is the oldest ands most famous popfestival of the Netherlands. This hughe open air
festival is being organised since 1970 each year at Whitsun weekend(in Dutch: “Pinksteren,” that’s why its called Pink pop.) and has a sort of Wood-stock atmosphere. Since the festival is more than one day, visitors can stay next to the festival ground at the campsite. Bush, Radiohead, Supergrass, Placebo are the kind bands that you can expect there; its not a popfestival for Britney Spears or Justin Timberlake lovers. The festival starts at saturday and ends at Monday night and is located in Langraaf. It has a capacity of 60.000 spectators and there are more than 30 bands on stage. The festival is also shown live nearly 10 hours at the Dutch national television and radio.
Tickets are available via www.ticketservice.nl
In the outerring, just surrounding the old town's bounderies, there are various beautiful buildings. The belonged in the 18th and 19th century to wealthy families and are called "herenhuizen" (lord's houses) in The Netherlands. Many leave them forgotten as the hop quickly from the old centres monuments to the fortifications. Look around and it's a welcome adding to the visit of Maastricht.
The busy shoppingstreets are full of windows that attracts the peoples greedy minds, but over them are magnificent old houses, facades with graceful formes and old windows hiding many secrets. So, please look also up and discover these things that actually make up the towns history much more then the HEMA, Blokker, Peek & Cloppenburg or whatever shop that you can find in every mayor Dutch town.
The Hoensbroek castle was build in the 13 th. Century, although many parts of the castle that date from this century have vanished. The eldest part of the caste is the round tower, which was build in the 14 th. Century. The castle has been the residence of many counts, that ruled over the regio of Hoensbroek. The castle is the main tourist attraction of the regio. At the courtyart tourists can participate in silly mediavel games such as walking on stilts and inside the castle there are three interesting spots. First: a beautiful room, whith a lot of decorations, called the Seal room; second: a secret tunnel and room that are hidden behind a closet (the room is called “Verbörgenis” – whch means hiding-place - and finally the dining room, that is interesting for its “Kotsgat” (puke hole), a hole that enables the dinner guests to puke in the castle’s ditch. Table manners must have been quite interesting in those days…to get to Hoensbroek you have to take the train to Heerlen; from heerlen there are busses to Hoensbroek.
In this museum you can find a complete Roman bathhouse. In the days of the Roman Empire it was called the bathhouse of Coriovallum, which is the Roman name for the town that is nowadays called Heerlen. This bathhouse was build in the second century and in those days it was the most important building in town. Coriovallum was an important trading place and all travellers, merchants, soldiers went to this place not only to take a bath but also to get a massage, visit a doctor, have a quick snack or play games. The museum has some interestings things that you must see. First: there’s an unique collection of Roman pottery. In some of the pieces, there is an inscription of the name of the potter (Lucius), so that we now know that one of the original inhabitants of Heerlen was called Lucius. Second: There’s a mediavel copy of a Roman map on which the erea of Limburg is depicted, including the cities of Maastricht (Trajectum ad mosam) and Heerlen. Third: there are some tombstones and a coin dating from the period of Hadrianus. I personally think, that when you have ever been in Rome, having seen lots of things – temples, coins, tools etc. – of the Romans, this museum is not really exciting. But if you have special interest in the way how the Romans used to live in the area of Heerlen, the museum will give you a good impression.
To get there: take the train to Heerlen. Train leaves two times an hour (approx. '05 and '25)
If you want to experience how it must have been, when soldiers were defending their country against the germans in world war 2 you must take look at this fort. This fort is situated in Belgium, nearby Maastricht and it has a fantastic construction of tunnels and blockhouses. There's a lot of original things that are still functioning, like an old elevator that goes down enormously fast; and you have a great view through the loop-holes, overloking the Albert-canal. Walking trough the tunnels and exploring each room in the complex you'll get a good impression on how it was for those many soldiers to be there. The fort is open for individuals from march untill november from 10 am to 16 pm on specific data, that you can acknowledged by contacting the phonenumber below
The "Heuvelland" (Land of Hills) of Limburg is an unique scenery, that attracks many tourists who pass through it by train. Well, there is even a more interesting way to get an impression of the beaty of this place, namely by taking a tour on the "Miljoenenlijn-express" This is an original 19 th century locomotive, that could have come right from out a Dickens novel! The train has old fashioned cabins, furniture, diningrooms and it departs from a small town called "Schin op geul" In the summer there are three departures: 11.20, 14.20, 17.20; during the wintertime the train leaves at 11.10, 14.10, 17.30. You can take a stopping train to Schin op geul, and from there youre journey back in time starts! Prices depend on the miles you are making.
Located about 10 miles from Maastricht. Although the city itself is not special at all, it offers several nice attractions:
* Europe's largest artificial outdoor ski track.
Currently they are also working on a large, indoor ski track with artificial snow.
* Strijthagen & Mondo Verde
Here you'll find some great routes for walking, running, horseback riding and bicycling. Currently they are working on the Castle Gardens that will surround the villas that are located there. Curretly they are building: several greenhouses with different climate types, ponds, bridges, parks, a clone of the Trevi fountain and a Roman villa.
* Drive-in cinema
The last drive-in cinema in the Netherlands.
Close to Maastricht, there is a little town where the houses are a bit special (YES, another one!!)
It's called Thorn..the main thing is that the houses are all white..which gives out a nice peacefull atmosphere on a sunny spring or summer day..