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Saturday 20 April 2024

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Discover Maastricht – a Dutch city break with so much to offer

A view of the Wyck district across the River Maas in Maastricht

There is something very special about a European city break. It almost matters not whither you go; splendid town halls, vast and thriving squares, twisty cobbled weinds and ancient churches abound.

When exploring Holland, the first, and a very deserving, port of call is the capital, Amsterdam. But most Brits tend to overlook two other of our favourite Dutch cities, save for a dismissive nod to connections with war crimes trials and treaties – namely Den Haag and Maastricht. The former is covered elsewhere in these pages, so it is to the second of these fine metropolises that we bend our attention here.

Situated adjacent to the River Maas, this majestic conurbation seamlessly blends old with new; ancient with modern.

From the 17th century Stadhuis on Markt, with its splendidly ornate and melodious bell tower, quite happy to regale an audience with fullsong every hour on the hour, and a chirrupy burst of just a stanza or two to mark the quarters, to the vastness of Vrijthof, sporting a skyline comprising the spires of Sint-Servaas Basiliek, the Romanesque church of Saint Servatius, on its far horizon, Maastricht is a city that doesn’t disappoint architecturally. A place of deep histories and subtle energy, this dynamo of an urban settlement imbues the wanderer’s soul with a temperate excitement that informs the tourist that, if he hasn’t already, he must become a traveller with all fortitude.

Boasting 52 churches – one for every week of the year – and over 400 bars – more than one for every day of the year – Maastricht has the wherewithal to entertain the most discerning visitor. Turn a different corner and there is something new to peruse, walk another street and some ancient wonder presents itself. Akin with many of its European counterparts, the city has a great student population, and this lends itself to a feeling of vibrant relaxation.

Whether one requires to simply while away a pleasant few hours – or even days – just basking in the laid-back charm of the city, or more actively partake of its many museums, events and cultural diversity, Maastricht will not be overlooked by the adventurer displaying even an ounce of sagacity.

World Travel Blog especially recommends:

Tijl Uilenspiegel
Break your fast leisurely whilst watching the world go by on the city’s famous and beautiful Markt…
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Café La Clé
Situated on Maastricht’s quaintly picturesque promenade, this stylish little café bar is one of the few to offer a late drink…
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Brasserie Grand Café Amadeus
Tucked up a serene little byway off one of Maastricht’s busy shopping streets, this eatery offers simply divine local dishes…
Find out more

The Maastricht Solar Train
Be green and lean whilst exploring this fine city, with the uber environmentally friendly little solar train…
Find out more

D’n 11e Baog
Perfect for taking in the hustle and bustle along Maastricht’s promenade, and with a delightful view of the River Maas…
Find out more

Brasserie Monopole
Be where it’s at in the city hubbub of Vrijthof, while safely tucked into a quiet corner to enjoy your victuals…
Find out more

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