The city of Maastricht is located on the river Meuse, in the southeast of the Netherlands, only 3 kilometers from the border with Belgium and 50 km from Germany. The small administrative center of Limburg covers an area of almost 60 km²; as of 2015, about 125,000 people live in it.
The first memories of Maastricht date back to the 1st century. n e. Over its long history, it belonged to the Roman tribes, Spain, Belgium and France. In 1992, a significant event for modern Europe took place here – the signing of the Maastricht Treaty on the Establishment of the EU Monetary Union.
Holland’s restraint and luxurious architecture of France, hills and mountains, fine cuisine and rural traditional pies – all this makes Maastricht a city of contrasts. In this article we will tell you everything about him: from options for accommodation and meals to the main attractions of Maastricht and its most unusual corners. Find out all the details you are interested in about a vacation in the most Dutch city of Holland right now.
What to see in Maastricht
The ancient caves of Maastricht were born artificially several centuries ago. Since the end of the 17th century, this place has been a source of marl – a material widely used in the construction of which many urban houses are built. Then, in 1860, the Jesuits settled here – believing students from different parts of Holland. It was these young people who made the underground caves a unique attraction of the Netherlands.
Interesting fact! Jesuits called people belonging to the Society of Jesus, whose main task is to convert people to Christianity. Despite this, out of 400 drawings left by the Jesuits on the walls of these caves, less than 10% are devoted to religious subjects.
At a depth of 45 meters, local guides daily reveal the secrets of the underworld to travelers. Here tourists are waiting for fascinating stories about the history of the Netherlands, the magical atmosphere of gas lamps and a unique chance to try to cut real soft sandstone.
Amazing During the First World War, the caves of Maastricht were used as a secret bunker, where more than 780 works of art were hidden. Among the paintings saved from the German invaders were the works of Rembrandt, a famous 17th-century Dutch artist.
Excursions to this attraction in English are held three times a day: at 12:30, 14:00 and 15:30. A walk through the dungeon lasts about an hour and costs 6.75 € per adult, 5.3 € – for a child aged 3 to 11 years. You can buy a ticket on the official website (maastrichtbookings.nl) or on the spot 10 minutes before the start. Entrance to the caves without a guide is prohibited.
Built in the 13th century, the Dominican Church has become the most unusual attraction in Holland. Even if you are not a fan of religious monuments, do not rush to scroll through this paragraph. This is probably the only temple in the world where instead of Sunday prayers lively discussions are heard, and instead of the smell of paraffin candles, a magical mixture of coffee aromas and sheets of paper is heard.
In the 18th century, the church was almost completely destroyed as a result of hostilities, so over the past three centuries it has been used many times for other purposes. They kept bicycles in the sacred building, held banquets and evening parties, cultural events and exams for students. In 2007, a large-scale architectural project was implemented in the Dominican Church, which turned it into one of the most amazing bookstores in the world and the most popular attraction of the city.
The untouched stone structure with its inherent rigor and grace perfectly complement the three floors of bookshelves. In place of the central altar there is now a coffee shop with many tables, on the walls are ancient murals in the midst of the works of modern artists, and in the air there is an atmosphere of magic and wireless Internet.
Advice! Books here are 1.5-2 times more expensive than in other places, and there are not as many unique publishers or old models as they seem. Perhaps in this place it would be more rational to just enjoy a cup of coffee and a beautiful interior.
The church is located at Dominicanerkerkstraat 1. Opening hours:
- Tue-Wed, Fri-Sat – from 9 to 18;
- Thursday – from 9 to 21;
- Sunday – from 12 to 18;
- Monday – from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At the highest point of the city, near the southern border with Belgium, in 1701 a powerful fortress was built, designed to protect Maastricht from the French troops. For more than two centuries, the fortification, furnished with guns up and down, unquestioningly carried out its function and has never failed the locals. Today, the fortress is still threateningly looking in all directions through the barrel of weapons, but at its foot there is a beautiful park with fountains and a comfortable restaurant with delicious dishes.
Advice! Fort St. Peter is a great place to take a photo of Maastricht. From this point, the whole city is visible at a glance.
You can get into the fortress itself only as part of the tour. They are held daily at 12:30 and 14:00, cost 6.75 € for adults and 5.3 € – for children 3-11 years old. The address of the attraction is Luikerweg 71.
Saving! The Maastricht Underground Site (maastrichtbookings.nl) offers a guided tour of the Jesuit Caves and St. Peter’s Fort. Price for adults – 10.4 €, for children – 8 €. Start time is 12:30.
The Basilica of the Virgin Mary in Maastricht is one of the oldest churches in the Netherlands. It was built at the beginning of the 11th century, but for all the time it only needed a serious restoration twice. This amazing attraction combines the features of religious and fortifications, Mozanian and Gothic styles, French and German traditions. There is a 17th century organ with stained glass windows depicting the Virgin Mary, a statue of the Madonna and a place of worship for the majestic Star of the Seas.
Entrance to the basilica is free, photography is allowed. The exact address of the attraction: Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 9. Open daily from 8:30 to 17:00. You can find out the schedule of various events and the time of mass in English on the official website – www.sterre-der-zee.nl.
Interesting fact! The Basilica of the Virgin Mary is in the top 100 places of cultural heritage of the Netherlands.
The oldest church in Maastricht and Holland is the Basilica of St. Servatius. The modern temple building was built in 1039, but earlier on this place there was a wooden and then a stone church of the first Tongeren bishop, destroyed in the 9th century by the Vikings.
Today, the Basilica of St. Servatius holds many unique exhibits: statues of 12 apostles, sculptures of Christ, St. Peter and the bishop himself, paintings dating from 12-13 centuries. Of greatest value is the 12th century reliquary, which still holds the relics of many bishops of Holland.
Near the basilica there is a small park with a fountain and benches where you can relax after a long walk. The temple is located on Keizer Karelplein Street, it is open from 10 to 17 on weekdays and Saturdays, from 12:30 to 17 – on Sunday. All the detailed information about the attraction can be found on its official website – www.sintservaas.nl.
The central square of Maastricht is the place from which to begin acquaintance with this city. Colorful and contrasting, it will show you the main basilicas and theaters, the most popular cafes and restaurants, ancient buildings and modern shopping centers.
Whenever you come, you will have something to do at Freithof: in the summer parties are held here with incendiary salsa, in spring – a variety of tulips bloom, in the autumn – it rains warmly, and in the winter – there is a Christmas market with traditional treats and an ice rink.
Good to know! Only at Christmas in Maastricht, a ferris wheel is installed, from which you can admire the beauties of the whole city.
The inhabitants of the Netherlands decided not to stop at a bookstore in the temple and went a little further, having built an amazing coffee house in … a mill. This is a true closed-loop production: a water mill built in the 7th century is still in working condition to this day, and the flour that is made with it is used in the cafe itself to make traditional pies (for € 2.5 a slice) and rolls. Delicious cappuccino and hot chocolate are served here for € 2.65.
The cafe is located at Stenenbrug 3. Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30 to 18, Sunday from 11 to 17.
Where to stay in Maastricht
In a small town there are about 50 hotels of different classes. The minimum cost of living in summer is from 60 € for a double room in a three-star hotel and from 95 € – in a four-star hotel.
Apartments rented from residents of the Netherlands through special services like Airbnb will cost a little cheaper. The minimum price for an apartment for two is 35 €, on average, the cost is 65-110 €.
Cafes and Restaurants: Where to Go
There are a lot of cafes and restaurants in the city, the most expensive and popular of them are in the historical center. They mainly offer dishes of European (Italian, French and Spanish), Oriental or local cuisine, in addition, in Maastricht there are many pizzerias and bakeries.
Three-course lunch in an inexpensive cafe will cost 15-25 € per person, a trip to the coffee shop – 5-8 € (hot drink + dessert), a full dinner in a gourmet restaurant – from 60 €.
How to get to Maastricht from Amsterdam
The capital of the Netherlands and Maastricht are separated by 220 km, which can be overcome in one of three ways:
- By bus. This is the cheapest and fastest option. Only one direct bus leaves from Amsterdam Sloterdijk station every day – at 21:15. Travel time is almost three hours, the fare is 12 €. You can buy tickets online at shop.flixbus.ru.
- By train Amsterdam-Maastricht, spending 2.5 hours and 25.5 €. They leave every half hour from the Amsterdam Centraal station and go from 6:10 to 22:41. Book your tickets at www.ns.nl.
- For those who want to cover the distance between Amsterdam and Maastricht by car, the direct route A2 is suitable. If there are no traffic jams on the roads, the path will take you only 2 hours of time. On average, such a trip requires 17 liters of gasoline.
Prices on the page are for June 2018.
The city of Maastricht in the Netherlands is an amazing place. Let this journey fill your life with magic!