Maastricht is definitely one of the top cities to visit in the Netherlands. With large industry companies closing, the city relies more and more on tourists. Therefore, stating that Maastricht is a hidden gem in the Netherlands would be an untruth. During the weekends, a lot of visitors come to this medieval city to visit the many boutiques and shops, have a drink on the (heated) terraces (perfectly adapted for cold winters!) or have a dinner in one of the fancy restaurants that are located here. Would it be fair to say that Maastricht is a city you have to avoid when you don’t really like shopping or when you’re looking for the mere value of some culture? On the contrary! With this blogpost, our goal is to inform you the best way we can so you can experience the many other things this beautiful city offers.
Best way to get to Maastricht
The city is located in the very south of the Netherlands, close to the Belgian border. It is easy reachable by train, car or bus.
The main international airport of the Netherlands is Schiphol (near Amsterdam). The train station at Schiphol is located at the airport itself. Public transport in the Netherlands is excellent and relatively inexpensive. It takes around 2 hours and a half to get to Maastricht and the trip will cost you around 25 euro. Tickets can be bought via the website of NS.
If you are coming from inside Europe, our personal favourite is Flixbus. With over 2000 destinations all over Europe you can get around very easily for a very attractive price.
How to get around in Maastricht?
By foot: The city center is very walkable. The city also made the decision to keep the main shopping streets car free. The old and new city are separated by the river ‘the Maas’. There are several bridges connecting the two centers, which makes it excellent for walking. Everything from shopping to hotels in Maastricht are within walking distance.
Renting a bike: The Netherlands is the number one cycling country in the world. So why not discover Maastricht by bike? At the train station you can rent the OV-bike. For 3,85 euro a day you can transport yourself very easily and comfortably within Maastricht. You can find all the information you need at the tourist information center or the website of OV-bike.
Car and parking: Maastricht has about 7.000 parking spaces, divided over several parking lots. Parking “De Griend” and “Station” are easy when your hotel is situated in the region “Wyck”. The parking zones A, B and C are within walking distance to the city center. In the below picture you can find useful information about all the car parking spaces in Maastricht and their prices.
Orientation and interesting regions in Maastricht
The city is divided into different quarters and every quarter has something to offer. These are the quarters you should see during your visit:
- The ‘binnenstad’ is the area between the Servaas bridge, Markt and Vrijthof. This is the ideal quarter for an afternoon shopping.
- One of our favorite quarters is ‘Wyck’. It is very characteristic for Maastricht with historical buildings, local shops and little cafes and pubs with a relaxed atmosphere.
- If you have a lot of money to spend, the right place to do that is the Stokstraat quarter. This quarter is packed with exclusive boutiques. Inbetween the shopping, take the time to look up at the buildings where the shops are located in. The luxury of the buildings makes clear that this part of the city has always been one of the richest quarters in the history of Maastricht.
- The Céramique quarter is ‘the new Maastricht’. It is a new part of the city with some interesting modern architecture.
- The Jeker quarter got its name from the little river that flows through Maastricht. When strolling through this quarter, you might even think you are strolling through a Parisian quarter. There is a real French vibe going on in this part of Maastricht.
- Sint Pieter is a beautiful part of Maastricht that leads to the Sint Pieter mountain. Be surprised by the beautiful nature!
Best things to do in Maastricht
We created a map where you can find all the top things to do in Maastricht. This map includes all the best places to visit, restaurants, hotels and a walking tour of 5 km.
Our personal favorite things to do in the city are:
Take a guided tour through Maastricht via the visitor center
You can discover the best stories and anecdotes of the city with a guide. The guides are local people who know the city best. A tour takes about one and a half hour and a tours costs 7.95 € per adult. More information can be found on this website.
Go shopping at the “Staartstokstraat”
The Staartstokstraat is probably the most expensive street in Maastricht, because it is stacked with exclusive boutiques. But even if you don’t have a lot of money to splurge, the street is worth a visit for the buildings the boutiques are located in. Can you spot the old gates for the horses in the buildings?
Explore the oldest street of Maastricht, the Rechtstraat in Wyck
‘Wyck’ is the oldest quartes in Maastricht, and the Rechtstraat is it oldest street. A very atmospheric street with cosy cafes, coffeeshops and little shops.
Take a stroll on the ancient city walls and through the parks that surround the wall
Since Roman times, the city has always been fortified to protect the inhabitants from hostile attacks. Nowadays, you can take a walk on the ancient city walls and the parks that surround these walls. Especially the Helpoort is a true monument to visit.
Experience André Rieu
Did you know that the famous André Rieu was born in Maastricht? In summer, he brings his Johann Strauss Orchestra to Vrijthof Square. These evenings are described as unforgettable, full of comical and moving moments, but most importantly with plenty of romance! More information about these events can be found on the website of Maastricht.
Visit the Bonnefantenmuseum
The Bonnefantenmuseum (derived from the French ‘bon enfants’) is a modern art museum in the quarter Céramique. With its rocket-shaped form, it is one of Maastricht’s most prominent modern buildings. If you want to visit an exhibition, you can find more information about the upcoming exhibitions on the website of the Bonnefantenmuseum.
Visit the most romantic bookstore within the church of Maastricht
You can find the bookstore ‘Dominicanen’ in a Dominican church that dates back over 700 years. Because of its location, it is like a bookshop made in heaven! Wander through the shelves full of books or have a coffee while gazing at the magnificent ceiling of this former church.
The Bisschopsmolen or Bishop’s Mill is the oldest, still working water mill in the city. The scent of fresh bread and the rattle of the mill will show you the way. First have a look at how the mill works, and afterwards take a look inside where you can see the bakers at work. Definitely a must-do is to have a piece of the traditional vlaai (pie) in the eating room.
There are plenty other things to do in Maastricht. For more suggestions and future events, take a look at the website of the Maastricht Visitor Center.
Best hotels in Maastricht
We stayed at the Hampshire Design hotel. It is a 4-star hotel that hits the right spot between price, comfort and location. It is situated in the lovely old quarter “Wyck” and is only 200 meters away from the central station. Other hotels in the same price and comfort category that other travelers recommend are Kaboom hotel and BE41 hotel. We suggest to have a look at Booking to find the best deals for the period you are going.
Top restaurants and where to eat in Maastricht
Maastricht has trendy bars, exquisite restaurant and cozy coffee places. Despite that there are a lot of restaurants in Maastricht, we recommend to make a reservation. Especially when you visit Maastricht during holidays or the weekend. Below, we give an overview of the restaurants we appreciated the most.
First of all, Umami (Gault Millau) is one of our favourites. A modern Chinese Fusion restaurant that specializes in social dining and fine dining. It is listed in the prestigious ranking of Gault Millau. If you like Asian food and want to experience the 5th taste (umami / savoury), than you will love this place. In addition, we thought that prices were very reasonable for a ranked Gault Millau restaurant.
Another favorite is Febo. You haven’t been in the Netherlands if you haven’t bought a croquette from a vending machine.
As previously mentioned, The ‘Bisschopsmolen’ is great place to taste a traditional piece of pie (Limburgse vlaai) and a cup of coffee.
Finally, we add Café Sjiek to the list. A restaurant with a nice atmosphere and the best place to eat the typical ‘zoervleis’
Have you been to Maastricht? Any great spots that we have to visit or add to this guide? Or any questions? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!