Maximize Your Day: What to See in Maastricht in One Day

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, this charming Dutch city is bound to leave you enchanted.

Wondering what to do in Maastricht in one day?
I’ll share the must-see attractions and hidden gems so that you can make the most of your one day in Maastricht.

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Is Maastricht Worth Visiting?

row of houses on riverbank on day trip maastricht

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.

Maastricht is second only to Amsterdam, for the highest number of national heritage buildings in all of the Netherlands. Which makes strolling this town at your leisure one of my favourite things to do.

What to See in Maastricht in One Day

city view of church steeple in what to see in maastricht in one day

I’ve compiled a list of 15 things to do in Maastricht Netherlands, not with the expectation of visiting them all. Feel free to pick and choose the ones that interest you the most.

I visited this city twice on day trips from Brussels, aiming to immerse myself in as much of the experience as possible.

1. St Servatius Bridge

bridge over the Maas River is a Maastricht must see

What is Maastricht famous for? Well, welcome to the beautiful city of Maastricht, where the stunning St. Servatius Bridge spans the River Maas.

This iconic bridge is the oldest 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 that make Maastricht instantly recognizable.

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.

Visit Maastricht in one day and start here! Take a stroll across the bridge and soak up the views before you dive into your Maastricht things to do list.

2. Basilica of Saint Servatius

Renaissance church with open door in is maastricht worth visiting

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.

  • 📍Vrijthof Square
  • 🕙 Monday to Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 12:30 to 5 pm
  • €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.

  • 📍Vrijthof Square
  • 🕙 Monday to Saturday 11 am to 4 pm
  • €2.50

4. Vrijthof Square

square with table, chairs under trees is maastricht what to see

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)

bookstore in churc with vaulted ceiling in day trip maastricht

Calling all book lovers, you’re going to want to add this to your Maastricht itinerary! The Dominicanen bookstore is 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.

  • 📍Dominicanerkerkstraat 1
  • 🕙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
  • Free

6. City Hall

square with city hall in maastricht day trip

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.

  • 📍Markt 78
  • 🕙 Monday to Friday 9 am to 12:30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
  • Free
  • Traveller’s Tip: Farmers Market is held on Wednesdays and Fridays in front of the City Hall

7. Maastricht Old Town

Of all the places to visit in Maastricht, 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 Maastricht, you’ll discover a wealth of quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants tucked away down hidden alleyways. It reminded me of another Dutch city near Amsterdam, Haarlem.

winding street with cobblestone maastricht day trip

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 that features exclusive shops with some of the best shopping in Maastricht, my favourite Quarter by the way
  • 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

church with stained glass windows in one day in maastricht

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).

  • 📍 Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 7
  • 🕙 Daily from 8:30 am to 5 pm
  • Free (donation) with the option to rent an audio guide for 3€

9. Hell’s Gate (Helpoort)

stone gate with red door on maastricht visit

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.

  • 📍 St. Bernardusstraat 24 b
  • 🕙 Daily from 12:30 pm to 4 pm
  • €3.00

10. Stadspark

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 in springtime (you’re in the Netherlands after all!).

Take a moment to relax on a bench and watch the world go by, or enjoy an impromptu picnic, as one of the best things to do in Maastricht for free.

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 the 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 (Bisschopsmolen)

watermill is a maastricht must see

The Bishop’s Mill is the oldest and still working watermill in the city and I recommend this as one of the things to see in Maastricht.

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

pies in shop window is what to see in maastricht in one day

Eat your way through Maastricht – you’re here for the day after all!

Maastricht is famous for its Vlaai or Limburg pie. This sweet pie has a rich creamy custard filling topped with crumbly streusel topping and is hands down the best food in Maastricht.

Many pie shops 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, 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: a laid-back pub 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: a popular bar that has been serving up cold beers and a lively atmosphere for over 400 years. Try their famous draft beer, “Zwarte Ruiter”
  • Café t Pothuiske: a cozy pub with a great selection of Belgian and Dutch beers on tap, as well as a cozy outdoor terrace. This was our favourite.

For dinner, I recommend these:

  • Beluga: a Michelin-starred restaurant is one of the best fine-dining establishments in Maastricht, serving innovative cuisine and exceptional wine pairings.
  • Harry’s: an upscale brasserie offers a modern take on classic French cuisine, with dishes like steak tartare and duck confit, my only disappointment was the limited vegetarian options, but their extensive wine list made up for it!

15. Fort Saint Peter (Sint Pieter)

fort on grassy hill is a maastricht must see

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.

Don’t make the same mistake I did, and that is you can only visit this Fort on a guided tour.

Best Day Trips from Maastricht

bikes in maastricht day trip

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 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)

FAQ About Maastricht Visit

green bike leaning on tree one day in maastricht

Where is Maastricht?

Maastricht is a city in the southern part of the Netherlands, near the borders with Belgium and Germany.

How do I get to Maastricht?

To get to Maastricht, there are regular train connections from major Dutch cities and even international destinations like Brussels and Paris. Alternatively, if travelling by car, highways such as the A2 provide easy access to Maastricht from neighbouring regions.

How far is Maastricht from Amsterdam?

Maastricht is approximately 215 km (134 miles) south of Amsterdam. Amsterdam to Maastricht by train is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.

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.

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.

What is Maastricht known for?

Maastricht is known for the Treaty of Maastricht, which laid the foundation for the European Union. The city is also known for its charming old town and medieval architecture like the Basilica of Saint Servatius.

As a Holidaymaker

Let your feet be your guide for your 1 day in Maastricht.

As you stroll through the streets, you will find some of the best well-preserved, historical landmarks that are Maastricht must see sites. 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. 

Next, check out this article if you are bound for Amsterdam.