Maastricht Day Trip – How to Spend One Day in this Charming Dutch Town
Nestled in the southernmost part of the Netherlands, Maastricht is a picturesque city that promises to steal your heart away. With its cobbled streets, ancient architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, a Maastricht day trip is the perfect destination!
Whether you’re a history buff or a foodie on the hunt for new flavours, this charming city has something for everyone. In this article, I’ll take you on an exciting journey through the must-see attractions and hidden gems so that you can make the most of your one day in Maastricht. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this enchanting Dutch town!
Table of Contents
Is Maastricht Worth Visiting
Maastricht is a beautiful city located in the southern part of the Netherlands. It’s one of the oldest cities in the country, with a rich history and culture that dates back to Roman times. If you’re wondering if Maastricht is worth visiting, then let me tell you – it absolutely is!
There are so many reasons why Maastricht should be on your travel bucket list. From its stunning architecture to its lively atmosphere and year-round festivals.
One of the main attractions in Maastricht is its historic center. The cobbled streets and colourful buildings make it feel like you’ve stepped back in time. In fact, Maastricht is second only to Amsterdam, for the highest number of national heritage buildings in all of the Netherlands. You can wander around at your leisure to learn more about the city’s fascinating history.
So, let’s jump right to it – visit Maastricht in one day and you’ll be sure to have endless things to see and do!
What to See in Maastricht in One Day with these 15 Things
#1 St Servatius Bridge
Welcome to the beautiful city of Maastricht, where the stunning St. Servatius Bridge spans the River Maas. This iconic bridge is the oldest bridge in the Netherlands with its origins dating back to AD 50. Of course, it has been rebuilt many times, the last being after WWII.
As you walk across the bridge, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe at the stunning views of the city and the river below. The bridge is not only a functional crossing point connecting Old Town to a residential neighbourhood but also is a beloved landmark that has been featured in countless photographs.
Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a picturesque spot to snap some photos, the St. Servatius Bridge is a must-see attraction in Maastricht. So why not take a stroll across the bridge and soak up the beauty of this magical city?
#2 Basilica of Saint Servatius
The Basilica of Saint Servatius is an impressive church dating back to the 4th century and is dedicated to Saint Servatius, the first bishop of Maastricht.
The church is renowned for its stunning architecture and rich history, and it’s considered one of the most important religious buildings in the city. You can explore the impressive interior, which features a beautiful nave, ornate altars, and an impressive organ. The church also houses several relics, including the tomb of Saint Servatius and a piece of the True Cross. A visit to the Basilica of Saint Servatius is a must for anyone interested in religious history or stunning architecture.
- Location: Vrijthof Square
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 12:30 to 5 pm
- Cost: €5
#3 Saint John Church (Sint Janskerk)
Saint John Church is a beautiful 13th-century church known for its unique architecture, which blends elements of Romanesque and Gothic styles. You can’t help but notice the church’s striking tower, which stands tall above the surrounding buildings, and that it’s a bright red! Inside the church’s stunning interior, with its beautiful stained-glass windows, intricate carvings, and an impressive altarpiece by Jan van Scorel.
- Location: Vrijthof Square
- Opening hours: open Monday to Saturday 11 am to 4 pm
- Cost: €2.50
#4 Vrijthof Square
Vrijthof Square is the beating heart of Maastricht Old Town and is one of the city’s most popular gathering places. This beautiful public square is surrounded by historic buildings and is lined with charming outdoor cafes and restaurants. Soak up the lively atmosphere – you might even luck out and catch a local festival. Whether you’re looking to people-watch, enjoy a coffee, or simply take in the beauty of the city, a visit to Vrijthof Square is a must.
#5 Dominicanen Bookstore (Boekhanedel Dominicanen)
Calling all book lovers! Simply a must visit is the Dominicanen bookstore. Housed in a stunning 13th-century church, this one-of-a-kind bookstore is a true paradise for anyone who appreciates, well books!
Under the backdrop of the soaring ceilings, intricate stained-glass windows are the towering bookshelves filled with volumes on every imaginable subject. It’s no wonder that this bookstore has been named one of the most beautiful in the world.
Take your time browsing the shelves, sipping a cup of coffee in the cozy café, and soaking up the atmosphere.
- Location: Dominicanerkerkstraat 1
- Opening hours: Monday 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Thursday 9 am – 9 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 6 pm
- Cost: Free
#6 City Hall
The City Hall is a grand 17th-century building in the Dutch Baroque style with an impressive carillon with 49 bells that are still regularly played. Tour inside for a glimpse of Maastricht’s rich history and heritage, with several beautifully decorated rooms showcasing original artwork, sculptures, and furniture from different periods.
One of the most impressive rooms in the City Hall is the Council Chamber, which boasts an impressive ceiling painting depicting the allegory of the city’s history. The room has been used for official meetings and events for centuries, and its opulent décor serves as a reminder of Maastricht’s significance as a cultural and political center.
- Location: Markt 78
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
- Cost: Free
- Tip: Farmers Market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays
#7 Maastricht Old Town
The Old Town is without a doubt charming. As you wander through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported back in time to the city’s rich past.
As you explore the Old Town, you’ll discover a wealth of quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants tucked away down hidden alleyways.
Maastricht has distinct quarters and the best ones to seek out are:
- City centre – the old town is located between St. Servatius bridge, the Market, and Vrijthof square
- Stokstraat quarter – a collection of streets next to the city centre quarter features exclusive shops with some of the best shopping in Maastricht
- Jerker quarter – is nestled between the old city walls and centuries-old houses known for its hip coffee houses and laid-back vibes
- Wyck quarter – is across the bridge and is the oldest quarter in Maastricht, with Rechtstraat the oldest street
#8 Basilica of Our Lady
The Basilica of Our Lady is a stunning church that has been a place of worship for over 1000 years. This impressive Gothic-style church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city.
You will be immediately struck by the church’s imposing facade, with its ornate carvings and intricate detailing. Inside, the church is just as impressive, with a beautiful nave, stunning stained-glass windows, and an ornate high altar. The Basilica of Our Lady is also home to a famous statue of the Virgin Mary, known locally as “Sterre der Zee” (Star of the Sea).
- Location: Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 7
- Opening hours: open daily 8:30 am to 5 pm
- Cost: Free (donation) with option to rent an audio guide for 3€
#9 Hell’s Gate (Helpoort)
Hell’s Gate is an intriguing historic landmark in Maastricht. This impressive gate dates back to the 13th century and is a remnant of the city’s medieval fortifications. You can admire the imposing stone structure and imagine what life was like in medieval times.
Legend has it that the name “Hells Gate” comes from the belief that witches used to gather in the area, but today, it’s a peaceful and picturesque spot that is well worth a visit.
- Location: St. Bernardusstraat 24 b
- Opening hours: open daily from 12:30 pm to 4 pm
- Cost: €3.00
Adjacent to Hell’s Gate is Stadspark, or City Park. As you stroll through this lush green park, you’ll be surrounded by serene ponds, towering trees, and vibrant flowers, especially springtime (you’re in the Netherlands afterall!). Take a moment to relax on a bench and watch the world go by, or enjoy an impromtu picnic.
#11 Maastricht Underground
Maastricht Underground offers tours into sections of the vast tunnel network beneath the St-Pietersberg massif. The well-developed network of historical caves and tunnels once stretching 230km was created between the 1500s to 1800s to offer safety during times of siege.
During WWII many people took shelter here during the bombing raids. This is one of the unique things to do in Maastricht.
#12 Bonnefaten Museum
The most popular museum in Maastricht Netherlands is Bonnefaten Museum. The unusual style of the building will capture your immediate attention. A large modern circular-shaped tower, resembling a barn silo, followed by an E-shaped building is unlike the rest of the architecture found in Maastricht.
Exhibitions focus on fine art both historical and contemporary. Artwork from the 12th to 17th centuries as well as modern art from the 20th century can be found here. The Maastricht History Museum is also a top museum in Maastricht to visit for history lovers.
#13 Bishop’s Mill
The Bishop’s Mill or Bisschopsmolen, is the oldest and still working watermill in the city. Let your nose be your guide in finding this, as the heavenly scent of fresh bread and pies waffles through the air. You’ll see the bakers hard at work and can sample their treats at the adjacent cafe.
#14 Maastricht Restaurants
Eat your way through Maastricht – you’re here for the day afterall!
Maastricht is famous for its Vlaai or Limburg pie. This sweet pie has a rich creamy custard filling topped with crumbly streusel topping.
There are many pie shops that serve both the traditional way or numerous varieties of vlaai–filled with chocolate, rice pudding, or fruits such as cherries, strawberries, apples, and bananas. Take your pick, they’re all delicious. The best pie shops in Maastricht are:
When it comes time for lunch, I highly recommend De Brandweer. It’s located in a converted fire station, and this trendy cafe offers a range of healthy lunch options, including salads, wraps, and smoothies for a light lunch.
Maastricht is known for its beer culture, and so there is no shortage of pubs and bars offering a wide variety of local and international brews. Here are some of the best spots for a beer in Maastricht:
- Café Falstaff: This laid-back pub is known for its impressive beer menu, featuring a range of local and international brews. Their outdoor seating area is perfect for warm summer evenings.
- Café de Zwaan: This popular bar has been serving up cold beers and a lively atmosphere for over 400 years. Try their famous draft beer, “Zwarte Ruiter.”
- Café ‘t Pothuiske: This cozy pub has a great selection of Belgian and Dutch beers on tap, as well as a cozy outdoor terrace.
For dinner here are a couple recommendations:
- Beluga: This Michelin-starred restaurant is one of the best fine-dining establishments in Maastricht, serving innovative cuisine and exceptional wine pairings.
- Harry’s: This upscale brasserie offers a modern take on classic French cuisine, with dishes like steak tartare and duck confit. Their extensive wine list is a must-try.
#15 Fort Saint Peter (Sint Pieter)
Fort Saint Peter in Maastricht lies outside the Maastricht city centre but is a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike. This impressive fort, which dates back to the 18th century, is perched atop a hill overlooking the city, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Explore the fort that was used as a strategic military stronghold to its role in defending the city during World War II. Don’t miss the chance to explore the underground tunnels and caverns, which offer a fascinating glimpse into the fort’s past.
Visiting information is by guided tour only.
Maastricht Day Trip: How to Get There
If you’re planning a day trip to Maastricht and wondering how to get there, don’t worry! Maastricht is easily accessible by various means of transportation.
The city has its own airport, Maastricht Aachen Airport, which is just a 15-minute drive from the city center.
Alternatively, you can reach Maastricht by train, with regular connections from major Dutch cities and even international destinations like Brussels and Paris. The train station is located in the heart of the city, making it a convenient option for travellers.
Additionally, if you prefer to drive, Maastricht is well-connected to the Dutch highway network and has several park-and-ride facilities outside the city center. So, whatever your preferred mode of transportation may be, getting to Maastricht is a breeze!
Best Day Trips from Maastricht
The main city in the province of Limburg is Maastricht. Here is a selection of places that can be visited on a day trip from Maastricht, not only in the Netherlands but also in Belgium and in Germany.
- Day Trips from nearby Dutch villages -Valkenburg (15 mins), Sittard (30 mins), Thorn (30 mins) Hoensbroek Castle (25 min)
- Day Trips from Germany – Aachen (30 mins), Cologne (75 mins), Monschau (60 mins)
- Day Trips from Belgium – Liege (30 mins), Brussels (90 mins), Leuven (60 mins)
Be sure to check out my Europe Travel page where it’s your one-stop shop for all travel planning resources you might need – from accommodations, flights, train travel and more.
If you LOVE EUROPEAN TRAVEL or planning a TRIP TO EUROPE, subscribe to my website! I will share my love of Europe with you, along with travel planning tips and inspiration. Join, and let’s be travel friends!
How long do you need in Maastricht?
Maastricht can be experienced in one day where you will see most of the main highlights like Saint Servatius bridge and Old Town, but spending at least 1-night you can visit the nearby caves and castles.
How to spend one day in Maastricht?
Spend your day in Maastricht Old Town strolling the narrow streets and visiting Domincanen bookstore and relaxing in Vrijthof Square where you can admire Saint John’s church.
Is Maastricht a walkable city?
Absolutely! Maastricht is a walkable city as the historic city center is compact and pedestrian-friendly, with most of the main attractions within easy walking distance.
As a Holidaymaker
The city of Maastricht is such a beautiful setting along both banks of the River Maas. Let your feet be your guide. As you stroll through the streets, you will find some of the best well-preserved, historical landmarks that are Maastricht must-see sites. It’s a city that feels like you’ve stepped back in time, yet has a modern, hip vibe. Maastricht shopping, dining, and sightseeing are all reasons why this is one of the best day trips you can make whether you are in the Netherlands or Belgium.