Friday 6 April 2018

24 Hours in Maastricht, The Netherlands

Maastricht was the final stop on our whistle stop tour around the Netherlands. Despite it being a couple of hours away by train from Utrecht, it was en route to Brussels which is where we caught the Eurostar back to London. Maastricht is very different from the other cities we visited. Cultural similarities here are much more in tune with Germany and Belgium, compared to the north of the country which feels more Nordic in comparison. Because of this Maastricht ended up being my least favourite city but that's not to say I didn't enjoy our time here because I absolutely did. The city is traditional, picturesque, and full of history. Whilst you won't find concept stores, street food markets, or pretty canals like the rest of the country, you will find some excellent attractions and a sophisticated foodie scene. We spent just under 24 hours in the city and it was the perfect amount of time to see everything that took our fancy.

Here's my Maastricht city guide.

Affordable boutique hotels
As with the rest of the Netherlands, Maastricht is no stranger to the boutique hotel scene. Fortunately there are several affordable options and Townhouse absolutely gets my seal of approval. Situated around the corner from Maastricht station, and a 15 minute walk from the historic city centre, the location couldn't have been more ideal. The rooms are on the minimalist side but have pops of colour and design details that make them feel homely. The lobby area is a mid century modern design haven and oozes that contemporary hip hotel vibe. The bar serves complimentary soup to all residents each evening, unfortunately it was mushroom during our stay and you all know how I feel about that.

Sint Maartenslaan 5, 6221 AV Maastricht, Netherlands
Room from €70

Maastricht's trendiest cafe
Maastricht doesn't really do hipster but if it did Cafe Zondag would be the place to get that fix. All-day cafe and bar vibes makes this the perfect location for a stop any time of day. We popped in for breakfast and whilst our bagels might not have been the most exciting things we ate in the Netherlands, the atmosphere was buzzing.

Wycker Brugstraat 42, 6221 ED Maastricht, Netherlands
Open various times daily

Explore Maastricht's trendiest neighbourhood
On the east side of the river Maas you will find the Wyck neighbourhood of Maastricht. This is where aforementioned Townhose and Zondag are located. This is a reasonably small and quiet area compared to the historic city centre but don't let that fool you into thinking it's not worth your time. Wyck is full of independent boutiques, exciting restaurants, cosy bars, and lovely architecture. It's the city's trendy little sister. It's great for a stroll but do be warned that many of the shops are closed on Sunday. We did manage to visit De VerwonderinG (Hoogbrugstraat 21), a lovely concept store perfect for gifts, interiors pieces, and fashion. The area down by the river is charming with it's cobbled streets, pretty houses, and colourful shop fronts.

Get your art fix at Bonnefantenmuseum
On the edge of the Wyck neighbourhood you'll find Bonnefantenmuseum*, Maastricht's premier art gallery. Displaying early European painting and sculptures, as well as contemporary artists and large scale installations, the museum is a real joy to walk around.

Avenue Ceramique 250, 6221 KX Maastricht, Netherlands
Open 11am - 5pm daily (closed Monday)

Take in the views across the river Maas
If you've visited Bonnefantenmuseum, cross over the river Maas via ultra modern Hoge Brug. The views across the city area beautiful. You'll have a great view over to the 13th century arched bridge, Sint Servaasbrug, as well as Stadspark on the western bank. You'll be able to see the towers of Basiliek van Sint Servaas and red Sint Janskerk. When it's time to head back across the river, make sure to cross via Sint Servaasbrug.

Explore the historic city centre
The historic centre is bustling with people but as the city is relatively small it doesn't take long to see all the key spots. Once you cross over the river it won't be long until you stumble upon the picturesque Basiliek van Onze-Lieve-Vrouw (Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 7). The church is located on a cafe lined square where locals go about their day to day life. As you meander through the busy streets that are lined with narrow houses you'll soon come across Vrijthof, the city's large central square. Cafes and museums line the expansive space and two beautiful churches stand proud in the south-western corner. During the week you can climb the incredible red tower of Sint Janskerk for view over the city and next door you'll find the stunning Basiliek van Sint Servaas (Keizer Karelplein 3).

Delicious lunch at a Maastricht favourite
Enjoy traditional Dutch food with a contemporary twist at super cosy Cafe Sjiek. The cafe is a favourite amongst locals which is no surprise as our simple lunch was definitely one of the most enjoyable meals we had on our trip, and whilst it took a bit of effort to translate the non-English menu, it was absolutely worth it.

Sint Pieterstraat 13, 6211 JM Maastricht, Netherlands
Open various times daily

City centre shopping
Despite its small size, Maastricht still has plenty of shopping options. Boekhandel Dominicanen (Dominicanerkerkstraat 1), once a church and now a bookshop and coffee shop, is absolutely worth a visit, even if it's just to take in the incredible use of space. For ladies fashion check out Kiki Niesten (Stokstraat 28-32), LB Lena Berens (Witmakersstraat 1), Le Marais (Morenstraat 11), and Nina's Boutique (Rechtstraat 58). For interiors and gifts check out Conflict (Minckelersstraat 14), Nolabel (Minckelersstraat 10), and Le Marais Deux (Maastrichter Heidenstraat 6) which also has an on site coffee shop. Living Room (Heggenstraat 7) is a cool coffee shop when you're in need of a afternoon pick-me-up.

Traditional Dutch dining
When it comes to food Maastricht has a stellar restaurant scene, especially if you're interested in traditional cooking. Located in the heart of the Wyck neighbourhood, Eetcafe Ceramique provided an excellent location for a traditional Dutch dinner. The food definitely felt more German compared to everything else we'd eaten on our trip around the Netherlands. Think lots of meat, big stews, and generous portions.

Rechtstraat 78, 6221 EL Maastricht, Netherlands
Open 5:30pm - 10pm daily

Local beers in cosy pubs
Maastricht may not be as buzzing as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or Utrecht, but that doesn't mean everything shuts down come the evening. De Poshoorn (Stationsstraat 47) and Take One (Rechtstraat 28) were two lovely, cosy pubs in the Wyck neighbourhood to grab a local beer in.

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1 comment:

  1. Excellent location for a traditional Dutch dinner, Love yeah


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