A Couchsurfer’s guide to… Maastricht

By: Arne
St. Servaas Bridge (Martin Bergsma/shutterstock)

Best breakfast in town!

For breakfast in Maastricht ‘Livin’ Room’ is definitely the place to be. It’s located in the city center and they serve healthy food prepared with love. They have vegetarian and vegan options and also a gluten free option.

There’s a cozy atmosphere and with good weather you can also sit in the garden area. If you are a food blogger this place is also great for Instagram pictures btw 😉

The perfect picture!

1. Take a picture of the Old St. Servaas bridge with a view of the west side of the city while strolling next to the river Maas.

2. Visit the Dominicanen Bookstore. This is a bookshop located in an old church.

3. St. Servaas church from the Vrijthof square has got to be the iconic picture from Maastricht

(Henk Vrieselaar/shutterstock)

Cute cafe!

Coffeelovers has 6 different locations in the city and is a good place for a drink and to get some work done.

Best place to grab a drink!

De Gouverneur is a place that specializes in beers. They serve over 300+ beers and their menu is a nicely categorized book with all the different kinds of beers. The food here is also worth it.

For cocktails you should try ‘Mr. Smith’. This place is literally hidden and you need to find the doorbell that says: ‘press here for drinks’ after which a host will open the door for you and guide you to a refurbished basement where the cocktail bar is. Mystery, taste and intrigue all come together here.

One museum not to miss!

1. Bonnefanten Museum: They have a nice changing modern art exhibition. One of the recent artists who was showing their artwork here was the one and only David Lynch!

2. Museum aan het Vrijthof: A nice building with interesting exhibitions, right in the middle of the city center!”

(Kim Willems/shutterstock)

Where to dance!

Complex Maastricht. The focus here is electronic underground artists and music and they have about 150-200 events per year.

Historic moment!

For those who want to explore the history of the area on a deeper level, guided tours are available at Fort St. Pieter, as well as below it. That’s right, below the St. Pieter mountain there are many meandering tunnels which often date back centuries. These tunnels can be explored on foot and on bike. More information here.

Maastricht is the city where in 1992 the Maastricht Treaty AKA Treaty on European Union was signed. This took place in the Gouvernement building which is located next to the river Maas and it’s where the European Union was founded.

The Helpoort is part of the old city wall and dates back to the 13th century(!) and it’s one of the important landmarks of the city.

Helpoort (Sina Ettmer Photography/shutterstock)

A treat-yourself meal!

Novo new dining’ for the excellent cuisine and Chateau Neercanne for excellent cuisine, great view and a beautiful decor. These restaurants are Michelin recommended!

Once experience not to miss!

Visit the ENCI quarry! It’s a wonderful place to walk in nature and spot beautiful plants and animals. More information can be found here.

ENCI Quarry (Theo Duijkers/shutterstock)

Best quick bite!

1. Piano B, for the best pizza in town! (Only take-out service)

2. BABS burritos for good food and amazing and attentive service.

Best view in the city!

Make a trip up the rather unusual tower of Sint-Janskerk. While the church itself is free to visit, for just €2.50 it’s possible to climb the 281 spiralling steps of the narrow tower and ascend onto the red roof of the church. From the top it gives a good view of the city within the city center.

Visit Fort St. Pieter on the St. Pieter mountain for a good view of the city a little outside of the city center. This location also gives a very nice nature area to go for walks or jogging

(Harry Beugelink/shutterstock)

Where to try the local cuisine!

Maastrichts Zuurvlees’ is the local cuisine to try. This can be found at multiple restaurants and one example which is worth a visit is Cafe Sjiek.

Best day-trip out of town!

1. Vaalserberg and the three-country-point: If you want to climb the highest mountain in the Netherlands, this is your chance! OK, it’s not a mountain but a hill. Psst… Just don’t tell this to the Dutch, as they don’t know it yet. They are convinced it’s a mountain. Also this is the place that brings together the borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.

2. Brunssummerheide is a nature preserve to the south of Brunssum. The name of the park can be translated as Brunssum’s Heathlands. The landscape is quite diverse – hilly sand dunes, peat bogs, pine forests and vast areas covered with heath. They say, the park turns into purple magic in the autumn when the heath is in bloom.”

(Alexander Jung/shutterstock)

A tourist trap to avoid!

Stay away from the small town Valkenburg which is located close to Maastricht. I often hear people visiting Maastricht also wanting to go there, but you can find everything there also in Maastricht itself. Although it’s recommended on the internet often I think it’s a little overrated. Especially the Christmas markets cause the one in Maastricht is just as nice and probably even nicer!

Also try to avoid taxis. Using taxis in The Netherlands is just not worth your money..

Anything else to add…

Maastricht is a member of the ‘Most Ancient European Towns Network’ which is a working group of the oldest cities in Europe.

In 2018, 18,000 students studied at Maastricht University, 53% of whom were foreign students. About half of the bachelor’s programmes are fully offered in English and most of the master’s and doctoral programmes are in English. Maastricht University regularly ranks as one of Europe’s leading universities. The University has been placed in the top 300 universities in the world by five major ranking tables.

Maastricht is part of the Meuse-Rhine Euro region, which includes the nearby German and Belgian cities of Aachen, Eupen, Hasselt, Liège, and Tongeren. The Meuse-Rhine Euro region is a metropolis with a population of about 3.9 million with several international universities.

(Harry Beugelink/shutterstock)

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