It’s been a little while that I wanted to visit Maastricht, but until then, the distance, and the transport time had prevented me to do it. Indeed, if you look at a map of the Netherlands, you will see that Maastricht is located in the south of the country, almost in an enclave, between Belgium and Germany. Here we are only 30km from Liège, and we hear people speaking French at every corner of the street. But finally, I absolutely do not regret to have waited, because visiting Maastricht for Christmas season is just magic!
Christmas in Maastricht
Maastricht is known for its Christmas market and indeed, if you are a Christmas lover, you’ll really enjoy it. It’s a little Disneyland for tourists, but it’s still nice, with its wooden chalets, its ice rink and its hot wine stands. The market is located in the Vrijthof, which must very nice in summer without all this agitation.
The city is also beautifully decorated and all this gives a very festive and nice atmosphere, which makes you want to walk around and explore the streets.
The south of the Netherlands is traditionally predominantly Catholic and in Maastricht, there are several very beautiful churches, remarkable both for their architecture and for their magnificent stained-glass windows. I am thinking in particular of Onze-Lieve-Vrouwebasiliek, The Sint Janskerk with its famous red tower and the Sint Servaas Basiliek.
Speaking about churches, do not miss this one which is a bit special. Indeed, this former church was rearranged in… bookstore! And what a bookstore! We could spend hours between these shelves, looking for the rare gem! I wish I could speak Dutch. But no panic, there is also an English section, and I left with some nice acquisitions!
This is a water mill, which still serves today to grind the flour. It is possible to visit the mill, before going into the shop to enjoy, On-site or take-awat, fresh bread with spelt flour, or a variety of pies and pastries.
Literally “Hell gate”. This is an ancient medieval gate from the 13th century, which was one of the first fortifications of the city.
Wandering around in Maastricht
But what I liked most about Maastricht is wandering and losing myself in his maze of small cobbled streets, all more charming than the others. Maastricht, it’s really pretty, we want to stop at every corner to take pictures, to stop for a moment at Pinki to taste a warm Liege wafle (you will find them all over the city, the shops are very easy to find with their pink interior) before continue with your exploration.
I only spent a day in Maastricht, and that’s enough to visit the centre. On the other hand, the city is also known for its caves, located outside the city centre, or for its small villages around. I would also like to spend a little more time in the Wyck Kwartier, near the station and the famous Sint Servaasbrug.
I really liked Maastricht, this city is so cute, I was literally going into raptures at every corner, discovering a new building with a ice frontage, and the Christmas decorations added a non-negligible charm.
I would come back with pleasure for a weekend in the beautiful season.