15 captivating things to do in Maastricht in 2022

What lies at the very bottom of the Netherlands is an ancient and thriving cultural hub. Known famously as the birthplace of the iconic euro and a city packed with activities — it’s Maastricht!

Just a door knock away from Germany and Belgium, if you’re looking to escape the typical Dutch scenery and plunge yourself into centuries worth of history, Maastricht is the place to be.

Prepare to enter an almost fairytale-like world filled with Dutch folklore, cultured cuisine, charming landscapes, and mysterious underground caves.

1. Journey into the magical caves of Maastricht

People of all ages can enjoy learning about the history of these caves! Image: Maastricht Underground/ Supplied

Ever wondered what it’s like to experience a city from below the surface? Then visiting Maastricht’s underground caves is a must. Here, mysterious charcoal drawings, inscriptions, and unique paintings on the wall await you!

With the help of a professional guide, you’re taken on a trip that brings you all the way back. The history to be found in these caves stretches from the Middle Ages, to when the people of Maastricht used them as an underground shelter in the Second World War. 

Beware, though, you’ll need to stay alert — these caves don’t come with any light, sound, or phone reception.

💰 Price: €8,50 for adults, €6,95 for children
⏰ Opening hours: 11:45 AM until 3:45 PM, Monday to Sunday
📍 Locations: Luikerweg 80, Maastricht, Bastion Waldeck, Slavante 1, Maastricht

2. Promenade through the lovely Vrijthof Square

On rare days, you can catch Vrijthof square free of its usual crowd, like this! Image: Depositphotos

At the heart of the city, you’ll find an idyllic ancient square made up of beautiful cobblestones dating back to the 19th century.

Vrijthof Square is home to many historical buildings, fantastic terrasjes (special for the Dutch to indulge in), and restaurants — but the main origin behind its fame lies in its annual Christmas event, Magical Maastricht, where the entire plaza is transformed into a winter wonderland.

Hot tip: If you’re strolling along the Vrijthof square, make sure to check out the beautiful Roman church around the corner, Basiliek van Sint Servaas (Basilica of Saint Servatius).

💰 Price: Free of charge
⏰ Opening hours: All day, every day
📍 Location: Vrijthof 100, 6211 NP Maastricht

3. (Book) worm your way through Boekhandel Dominicanen

“Sorry, I can’t hang out. My weekend is fully booked at this library.” Image: Bettina Miera/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

If you eat, sleep, and breathe books, then you simply must visit Boekhandel Dominicanen, located in an ancient Dominican Church in Maastricht.

Famed for being one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, Dominicanen’s range of books runs real deep and is suitable for all ages. Even if you’re not a voracious reader, the architecture alone is enough to wow you. 

Tip: You can enjoy a gezellige cup of coffee in the bookstore’s café while you sit and imagine yourself in a scene from “Beauty and the Beast”.

💰 Price: Free entry
⏰ Opening hours: Monday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday to Saturday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Sunday, 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM 
📍 Location: Dominicanerkerkstraat 3, 6211 CZ Maastricht

4. Strike a good bargain at The Market Square

Amsterdam’s not the only city for bargain lovers… Image: Depositphotos

Yet another leuk treat that comes with visiting the Netherlands is the many markets this tiny country boasts — and Maastricht comes with its very own.

The Market Square is the go-to place if you’re looking for some unexpected sensory delights, organic goodies, and unique vintage finds. It’s also home to the stunning, ancient city hall and a number of delectable cafés and restaurants.

You can stay and strike up a good conversation with the market locals — or you can cross the nearby border and join the Belgians on their shopping escapade.

💰 Price: Free entry
⏰ Opening hours: Wednesday and Friday from 09:00 AM to 03:00 PM
📍 Location: Maastricht, Markt 6211 CM Maastricht

5. Marvel at the Basilica of Saint Servatius’s hybrid architecture

A gift from the architecture gods. Image: Depositphotos

The Basilica of Saint Servatius isn’t your ordinary Roman Catholic church. No. This beauty is a work of art, built with a unique blend of Romanesque, Baroque, and Gothic architectural styles!

The Basilica is situated next to Vrijthof Square, and its name actually stems from an Armenian missionary, Saint Servatius. He lived and died during pre-Julian times (we’re talking 384 BC), and now lays peacefully at rest in this very church.

READ MORE | Studying in Maastricht: ultimate guide to Maastricht University and more

Fan of treasure? Then make sure to visit the church’s archives! This is where all the ancient fancy-schmancy golden relics are kept, including the Noodkist (a shrine where Saint Servatius’s remains are encased). 

💰 Price: Gratis
⏰ Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Sunday from 12:30 PM until 5:00 PM
📍 Location: Vrijthof 6211 TC Maastricht

6. Take a selfie on the Sint Servatius bridge

The ultimate attraction for the city of Maastricht. Image: Depositphotos

Every city has its own special attraction that makes it worth visiting. For Paris, it’s the Eiffel tower; for Rome, it’s the Colosseum — and for Maastricht? The Sint-Servaasbrug!

Built in the 13th century, this beautiful stone-made arch bridge is not only one of the most iconic attractions in the city, but it’s also the oldest bridge to ever exist in the Netherlands. Well, at least according to Maastricht locals. 😉

READ MORE | Hiking trails in Maastricht: 7 top routes for a walk in the wild

If it’s your lucky day and the weather gods have brought some sun, then the Sint-Servaasbrug makes for an epic place to snap a picture for the gram’. It’s also a great spot to watch all the canal boats float down the Meuse river. 

💰 Price: Only your love
⏰ Opening hours: All day, every day
📍 Location: Sint Servaasbrug Maastricht

7. Let your mind be blown at the Museum of Illusions

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to add to your Maastricht itinerary, then the Museum of Illusions is the place to be.

A rare find that’s totally bucket-list worthy, the museum offers a visual, sensory, and educational experience that’ll leave you questioning your entire existence. So trippy!

With illusions that make the room around you feel like it’s shrinking, to rooms where you’ll find yourself standing upside down, the museum is open for anyone who’s brave and curious enough to enter.

💰 Price: €7 for adults, €3 for children
⏰ Opening hours: 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday to Saturday
📍 Location: Mosae Forum 12-18, 6211 DS Maastricht

8. Travel back in time at the Natural History Museum of Maastricht

Discover the rooted history of Maastricht at this museum! Image: Wilson44691/Wikimedia Commons/CC1.0

History buffs, young and old, will enjoy navigating their way through Maastricht’s Natural History Museum. It holds the richest source of information on the prehistoric landscape and wildlife of the Limburg province!

While the museum is rather quaint, it’s huge when it comes to its extensive collections. You’re sure to take a good trip through time with this one, featuring a smack load of dinosaur fossils dating back to the carbonaceous period.

Since the museum is located in the heart of Maastricht, it’s also just a stone’s throw from many cafés, restaurants, and shopping centres. So, you can take in all that the city centre has to offer while you’re there!

💰 Price: €5 for children (aged 5-11), €7 for students, €8 for adults, €6 for seniors (aged 65+) 
⏰ Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Saturday to Sunday, 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
📍 Location: De Bosquetplein 7, 6211 KJ Maastricht

9. Indulge in some vlaai at De Bisschopsmolen (Bishop’s Mill)

Behold, the super-secret Bishop’s mill. Image: Berthold Werner/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

Are you an out-of-the-box thinker when it comes to searching for beautiful places? Then you’ll have no trouble finding De Bisschopsmolen! Otherwise, Google Maps is your friend.

What lies in one of Maastricht’s little alleyways is a best-kept secret— a charming working water mill that’s connected to a traditional Dutch bakery. 

You can take a tour around the mill, and discover how this centuries-old attraction became what it is today — and the best part? Vlaai! Treat your taste buds to a local Limburg pie at the bakery because… well, when dessert calls, you must answer.

💰 Price: Free of charge (unless you buy vlaai)
⏰ Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM, Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
📍 Location: Stenenbrug 3, 6211 HP Maastricht

10. Eat fancy food with a pretty view at Château Neercanne

Chateau Neercanne’s a real beauty, and easy on the eyes too. Image: Bert Kaufmann/Wikimedia Commons/CC2.0

The Netherlands holds some of the most beautiful castles and palaces in the world, but one in particular truly sets Maastricht apart from the rest — Château Neercanne!

When we talk about the fairytale-like part of Maastricht, this is what we mean. Built in the 17th century, Château Neercanne straddles the Belgian and Dutch borders and is the only castle in the Netherlands to have a massive terrace.

READ MORE | A guide to 11 breathtaking castles and palaces in the Netherlands

Of course, every terrace has to be accompanied by some sort of eatery. This castle has a top restaurant, where you can indulge in French-inspired gourmet cuisine with a view that overlooks the bucolic Jeker Valley.

💰 Price: Restaurant prices range from €88 to €120, Overnight bookings vary per package
⏰ Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10:00 AM until 11:00 PM, Monday to Tuesday, 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM
📍 Location: Von Dopfflaan 10, 6213 NG Maastricht

11. Hit up Fun Valley Park on a sunny day

Are you visiting Maastricht with a few lil’ beans by your side? Then you might want to consider going to Fun Valley! This recreational park makes for the perfect day getaway for families to enjoy their leisure time in the outdoors.

Fun Valley is open all year round and offers all sorts of activities for your youngins to take part in, like paintballing, laser tag, escape rooms, and more. There’s also a large indoor and outdoor playground, and a kid-friendly beach to show off your paddle boarding skills.

READ MORE | The guide to 10 thrilling theme parks in the Netherlands

It’s not just a kid’s paradise, though. If you’re an adult, you can hit up the Cuba Beachbar and spoil yourself with some lekker cocktails while you lounge in a hammock. In other words, it’s a real dream come true for parents. 😉

💰 Price: Entrance costs €8.95, prices for activities and group entry options vary
⏰ Opening hours: 10:00 AM until 7:00 PM, Monday to Sunday
📍 Location: Oosterweg 5, 6245 LC Eijsden

12. Enter Hell’s Gate in Maastricht, if you dare…

The last of Maastricht’s mighty fortresses. Image: Depositphotos

Ok, ok… so this isn’t actually a gate that leads you to the Underworld, where Hades is probably busy walking his hellhounds. De Helpoort, also known as Hell’s Gate, was Maastricht’s first ever stone fortification — and is now the only one left standing.

It used to serve as one of the city’s main entrances but later evolved into a residence, workshop, and even storage space. It’s also the oldest city gate in the Netherlands, having been built in the 1200s and all.

De Helpoort is connected to a small isolated fortress, which has two separate gates and ten towers. So, don’t forget to climb up one of its many spiral staircases and get a good look at the city from above!

💰 Price: Entrance fee is €3 
⏰ Opening hours: 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, Tuesday to Sunday
📍 Location: Sint Bernardusstraat 24b, 6211 HL Maastricht

13. Visit the Vesting Museum in Hell’s Gate

Knockin’ on hell’s door. Image: Zairon/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

Did Hell’s Gate capture your attention? We’re suspicious. Kidding! But seriously, you should consider taking a jaunt through the Vesting Museum

Here’s where you can learn all about the long history of Maastricht’s fortifications.

It’s located inside De Helpoort, so go on in during opening hours and don’t forget to bring your museumgoer persona with you.

💰 Price: Entrance fee is €3 
⏰ Opening hours: 11:00 AM until 4:00 PM, Tuesday to Sunday
📍 Location: Sint Bernardusstraat 24b, 6211 HL Maastricht

14. Book a guided bike tour around the city

Don’t forget to bike across the Sint Servatius bridge and get a glance at all the houseboats! Image: Depositphotos

Want to get to know Maastricht the Dutch way? You’ll need a bike. Luckily, the city has no shortage of bike tour opportunities for you to seize.

Get a good introduction to all the best spots in the city and cruise by the Dutch canals, busy streets, and iconic windmills either with your own bike, a rented one, or a bike provided by your hotel.

READ MORE | 7 scenic bike paths in the Netherlands

Each bike tour has its own guide to explain the important historical events of the city in English, Dutch, and German. The tours are available for those travelling in pairs, or a large group of up to 15 people.

💰 Price: Prices can vary per tour
⏰ Opening hours: 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM, Monday to Saturday
📍 Location: Depart at Stationsplein 26, 6221 BT Maastricht

15. Have a picnic on the grass at the City Park

The grass is always greener on the other side… or in this case, the City Park. Image: Depositphotos

Perhaps a good break in nature is just what you need to recover from a long day’s worth of sightseeing. Grab a blanket and some snacks from your nearest Albert Heijn — and head to the City Park!

As you take a casual stroll through the park, you’ll find yourself surrounded not only by scenic views of the city but centuries worth of history too. The park’s path carries many statues, each with a little story to tell, including the statue of D’Artagnan. 

READ MORE | Get your cozy on: 5 gezellig spots in Maastricht

Believe it or not, the statue of D’Artagnan has nothing to do with Dustin’s short-lived pet from Stranger Things. 😢 In fact, it’s actually a special monument commemorating a piece of the park’s history.

💰 Price: Free of charge
⏰ Opening hours: All day, every day
📍 Location: Stadspark 6211 JW Maastricht

Maastricht is booming with places to see, activities to do, and lekker coffee to drink. We’d bet our last dollar that you’ll never get bored of all that the city has to offer. So, put your walking shoes on and grab your backpack, it’s sightseeing time.

Have you visited any of these attractions? If so, what was your favourite? Tell us in the comments below! 👇

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Gaelle Salem
Gaelle Salem
Born and raised on the island of Sint Maarten, Gaelle moved to the Netherlands in 2018 to attend university. Still trying to survive the erratic Dutch wind and rain, she has taken up the hobby of buying a new umbrella every month. You can probably find her in the centre of The Hague appreciating the Dutch architecture with a coffee in one hand and a slice of appeltaart in the other.

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