The southern part of the province of Limburg has a lot of hills (for us Dutchies it is almost mountainous) Close to Vijlen lies Vaals, near the border with Germany and belonging to the same municipality.
The Vaalserberg is the highest point of the Netherlands. This point is 322,5 meters above Normal Amsterdam Level (although there are sources saying it is even 322,7 m) and is marked with a plaque, just in front of border post number 1. Another sign is referring to the lowest point in the Netherlands: Nieuwerkerk a/d IJssel.
Just a couple of meters away lies the so called ‘Drielandenpunt’ (Three Country Point), where the borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany intersect. From 1830 till 1919 it was even a ‘Four Country Point’ with the mini state of Neu Moresnet (in the meantime belonging to Belgium).
The boundary lines of these four countries can be seen in the cobbles.
The whole area on top of the Vaalserberg is a touristy hot spot with cafés, restaurants, panorama towers and a labyrinth; so don’t expect to be alone when discovering the highest point of Limburg and the Netherlands.
… or green, white or other coloured posts in and around Vijlen. Staying in Vijlen you ‘have’ to hike or walk at least one time and we decided to stretch our legs after our diner. Yvon, hostess of our B&B A gen Kirk, recommended the ‘yellow posts walk’. She knows a lot about walking in this part of Limburg, having written two books with walks by herself. She told us also about a couple of badgers burrows along the route, but to be honest we didn’t see any of them.
This walk starts at the St. Martinus Church, soon we were walking through meadows, with grazing cows, nosey sheep, small orchards, along bushes and wooden banks, sometimes passed corn fields, but always with great views of the soft rolling hills. The (almost) sunset gave the landscape a special warm glow and made it even more pleasant to walk around.
We walked along a Way of the Cross ending up at monument for the Holy Mary; there are some benches for a rest of enjoying the wonderful scenery.
The walk is rather easy and just has a couple of lower hills; generally the yellow posts are clearly visible. If you think you get lost, there is always the tower of the St. Martinus Church pointing you in the right direction. The walk is about 4,5 km’s long and it will take – without rests – about 75 minutes.
After a last climb to the church of Vijlen, we came back at ‘A gen Kirk’, just in time for a well-earned drink.
Vijlen is located in the most southern part of the Netherlands, in the south of the province Limburg.
In the forest, in the hills near Vijlen, you will find the cafe/restaurant 't Hijgend Hert (The Panting Deer).
It is a very popular stop among hikers and mountain bikers. Several marked walks start from here, and there is a mountain bike trail as well.
They have once of the best terraces in the Netherlands, with super-fast and friendly service and the food is very good as well! We had very nice sandwiches. Try the local blond beer "Hert" (7.5%).
Walks that start (and finish) from here are marked with colored posts:
Blue: 4.2 km
Green: 5.5 km
White: 5 km
Red: 4 km
I don't think there's much overlap between the walks, so you could combine several of them if you want to walk more than 5 km...
Over 15 walks start (and finish) at the Hijgend Hert, and you can buy a booklet with the descriptions. There are also pub-routes with stops in one or more other bars, also described in a booklet.
You can rent bikes here as well.
Besides all this, there also is a small farm and playground for children.
Hilleshagerweg 2, , Vijlen, Limburg 6294 AP
Good for: Couples
Vijlenberg 33, Vijlen, 6294 AR, nl
Good for: Couples
Although not a real B&B, but in my opinion more a small guesthouse, it was a great experience...more
A gen Kirk calls itself ‘wandel en fiets café’ (bike and hike café) and indeed when staying in the B&B or sitting on the lovely terrace, we did see a lot of bikers and hikers. Having a break, drinking a coffee or beer or having a home made apple pie, lunch or snack.
But A gen Kirk also has also a diner menu, although the choice isn’t too extensive it has something for everybody from local to more general dishes. During our stay in the B&B the weather was so nice and we enjoyed the afternoon sun on the terrace. So we decided having diner at A gen Kirk.
And to be honest: it was marvellous !! We had four different dishes: salmon, vegetarian pasta, natural steak and ‘coq au vin’ and they all were tasteful and very well cooked by Daniël, one of the owners. As dessert we had (both times) an excellent crème brulée.
Dining in the dining room of A gen Kirk with its images of saints, bibles, church books, holy crosses and other clerical decorations is very special and with such good and honest food and a fruity rosé wine just a treat for our taste buds !!
Favorite Dish: Good and honest food for very affordable prices.
We paid for our main course (2009) between € 10,- en € 13,50.
We never had been to the caves of Valkenburg in the Dutch province of Limburg and after heard/read some rather good reviews we decided visiting them during the annual subterranean Christmas Market. Vijlen is a good starting point for visiting Valkenburg: very nearby and much more affordable.
Still being aboveground there was some light snowfall in the village and a lot of people were finding their way to one of the caves with Christmas Markets. We decided for the so called ‘Gemeentegrot’, being the oldest and biggest subterranean market.
Once inside it was quite an experience strolling through the labyrinth of galleries and huge halls of this former marl grotto. These were all lined with market booths and there was even a café. On some places there were rather nice Christmas decorations, without being very stunning.
But to be honest we were absolutely very disappointed by the kind of booths we saw. Most of them are just offering quite common articles and knickknacks (which can be found on every market in the country). Just a couple of them had Christmas decorations or gifts for sale. I really would call it a big TOURIST TRAP.
It was quite a relief going back to the quaint village of Vijlen, far away from the hustle and bustle of touristy Valkenburg.
This Christmas market is hold from mid November till mid December. See for the exact opening hours, admission fee and directions their website.
Although a little bit strange I will add a German sight to a Dutch tip.
Vijlen is so close to Aachen – less than 10 kms’ – and this German city offers an absolutely ‘must see’ sight for tourists. And I’m talking about the Aachen Cathedral.
A visit to Aachen was for us one of the reasons for a weekend in Vijlen. We went by our own car – bus transportation is also rather easy – and parked just outside the city centre. We walked to the centre and we were surprised by the very pleasant sight of the old town around the cathedral and the town hall, with lots of sidewalk cafés, nice shops and cosy alleys.
But most impressive of all was the Aachen Cathedral: quite massive and solid outside, but inside of a stunning beauty. We have visited many churches, but without any doubt this is one of the most beautiful ones we have seen.
Does it look outside rather huge, once inside it is surprisingly ‘small’, with only benches for churchgoers (and visitors) in the octagon, the Carolingian core building of the church dating back to around the year 800. It has an extremely rich decorated classical cupola, nice pillars, arches with bronze railings as decoration. In the middle of the octagon hangs a chandelier, named after Barbarossa (Emperor Frederick I), who donated it to the cathedral.
The impressive choir is gothic (1355 – 1414) and has enormous colourful stained glass windows. The shrines of St. Mary and Charlemagne, the golden pulpit and other valuables can only be seen from behind a fence, but still are worth viewing.
We walked around, sat on one of the benches just looking at this magnificent building and were making pictures (be aware you have to pay € 2,- for a permission for shooting photos).
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