The Best of Maastricht - Some hidden secrets for your visit

Welcome to Maastricht...

…a hidden gem nestled in the southern region of the Netherlands. This vibrant city effortlessly blends rich history, cultural diversity, and stunning architecture, making it a must-visit destination. Explore its charming streets, filled with boutique shops and cozy cafes, or delve into the past through its ancient gates and limestone caves. Immerse yourself in art at the Bonnefantenmuseum, relax in the beautiful City Park, and lose yourself in the magical atmosphere of Bookstore Dominicanen. Maastricht offers a unique and unforgettable experience for every traveler.

The city of Maastricht has a pedestrian friendly zone where no cars are allowed, making for the perfect shopping and strolling experience.  This huge area has many wonderful streets to walk in and explore.  Shopping in Maastricht is wonderful, even if you’re only doing window-shopping.  But there is a lot more to this beautiful place.  Let’s look at a few must-do, must-see, and must-visit things to do in Maastricht, for your next travel adventure.

Let's get going !

Can you explore from here?

Just a short travel from Germany you will find the beautiful district of Maastricht in the Netherlands.  The best would be to have your own rental car as there is so much to see and you are so close to everything.  From Maastricht you can explore:

  • Cologne Germany 1 hr 20 min (115 km) via A4
  • Belgium 1 hr 19 min (123 km) via E42
  • Luxembourg 2 hrs (154 km) via E42 and E421
  • Amsterdam   2 hrs 8 min (210 km) via A2
  • Utrecht 1 hr 55 min (180 km) via A2
  • Rotterdam 2 hrs 6 min (198 km) via A2

First stop

The Tourist Information Centre is right in the middle of the pedestrian zone and this should be your first stop.  Get your free map and Maastricht guide books, info and tips on what is happening at that very moment (they’ll give you the inside scoop on what is happening “right now”) in the area and then you can create your own personal “flight-plan”.  The friendly service will definitely make you feel right at home.

Now you’re ready to take on the streets.

You now have a plan of where you would like to go and what you would like to see, but if you make the wrong turn, don’t stress.  Part of being an expert traveler, is to enjoy every surprise a new avenue has to offer and in Maastricht almost every corner has a new surprise.

beautiful places to stay in Maastricht
Alex Maastricht Hotel - Set 1.3 km from Basilica of Saint Servatius. Located in the Wijck district.

More on where to stay, later in this article.

Best things to do in Maastricht must see places bonnefanten museum
Bonnefanten Museum
Is Maastricht worth a visit best things to do top things to do sightseeing in Maastricht hidden gems inside info

7 Things you must do - If you only have limited time:

  • Wyck: Explore this charming neighborhood with its quaint streets, boutique shops, and cozy cafes, offering a more relaxed atmosphere than the city center.
  • Helpoort: Visit the oldest surviving city gate in the Netherlands, which dates back to the 13th century, and learn about Maastricht’s rich history. – Instagram photo opportunity.  (Photo below)
  • Bonnefanten museum: Discover this unique art museum featuring a diverse collection of contemporary and old master artworks, housed in an architecturally stunning building.
  • City Park (Free things to do): Relax and unwind in this picturesque green space, perfect for picnics, strolls, and enjoying nature’s beauty right in the heart of the city.
  • Bookstore Dominicanen: Get lost in the magical ambiance of this breathtaking bookstore housed in a former church, offering a vast selection of books and a charming café.
  • Shopping:  Explore the shopping streets of Maastricht and search for the perfect gift or souvenir.  Or just enjoy some “window-shopping”.
  • Markets:  Visit the local market square and experience ‘life in Maastricht’:

Places and streets to include in your walk

Market Square & Vrijthof

Visit the “Markt” or Market Square in front of the city hall, on a Wednesday or Friday for a real outdoor market experience in the Netherlands.  On Fridays, there are more stalls:  Selling anything from clothing and material to flowers and cheese.  This plaza is the biggest one in Maastricht and has a mix of old and modern architecture.

At Vrijthof Plaza you will find the Basilica of Saint Servatius and Saint Jan’s Church.  The Vrijthof Plaza has beautiful outdoor restaurants and you can enjoy a perfect dinner here in the evening.  Taking in the ambiance of the city and enjoying the local cuisine.  The area really comes to life at night.

The very impressive and monumental Sint Servaasbasiliek (Basilica of St. Servatius) is well worth a visit.  You can tour the church, the cloisters, and the treasure room.

Shopping cobblestone streets


I think this is the best street to start your cobblestone-shopping-experience.  Follow this narrow cobblestone street and do some window shopping.

Grote Staat (also called the “shopping avenue of Maastricht”)

This is one of the busiest streets with loads of shopping opportunities.  Walking through the pedestrian zone, you can take any of the roads, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  You turn a corner and find a lovely restaurant, or a cozy bar, international clothing shops, and beautiful outdoor seating areas.  The city is full of surprises and nice to explore and walk around.  You might stumble upon a pretty little square like Sint Amorsplane or Platielstraat with its rows of romantic table settings on the side of the road:  all popular restaurants you can visit.

A stroll along Grote Staat and Kersenmarkt with more shops will lead you to the ‘Onze Lieve Vrouweplein’ another pretty square.  This is the place to stop for something to drink and eat after all the shopping.  Then explore the ‘Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basiliek’ (Basilica of our Lady) that is situated also on this square. 

Visit Bisshopsmolen (Bishop’s Mill / Waterwheel) an active waterwheel grinding flour for the adjacent bakery.  The smell of freshly baked bread and pies will definitely draw you in.


Another pretty cobblestone shopping street decorated with hanging flower baskets and adorned with upmarket shops.  You will find loads of clothing shops everywhere within the pedestrian zone.


Walk amongst the ruins of Fort St Pieter dating back to the 18th century.  A visit to the museum and restaurant makes for a pleasant afternoon experience and is a big tourist attraction in the city.  From here you will have beautiful views across Maastricht.

The Stadspark (City Park) is a favorite place to spend time, for the locals.  Find a peaceful spot to feed the ducks and walk from there to the Neo-gothic Hellpoort, the oldest fortified gate in the Netherlands.

Maastricht Helpoort
Hellpoort fortified gate
Maastricht City Hall
Maastricht City Hall
Maastricht Basilica
Maastricht Basilica
Maastricht shopping

Must See Places

Boekhandel Dominicanen (Dominican Bookstore): 

No this is no ordinary bookstore.

When in Maastricht you simply must stop at the most unusual bookstore in the country.  They converted the church into a huge bookstore with painted cathedral ceilings and stained glass windows. 

This indoor coffee shop, bookstore, and spectacular venue are a perfect combination and well worth a visit.  Read more…


Must-do things

Go on a boat trip on the river, or travel to Belgium by boat.

A culinary must-try is the Friterie “chip shop” – chips with mayonnaise – an unusual but awesome combination.

Maastricht Nederland sketch

The ultimate Maastricht experience

See and experience the “street-vibe” in Vrijthof, before a concert:

What is the 1 dish you must try while in Maastricht?

Zoervleisj.” This traditional Limburg stew is made with tender beef, marinated in a tangy and sweet sauce crafted from vinegar, brown sugar, and a blend of spices. The meat is slowly cooked until it becomes incredibly tender, resulting in a rich and flavorful dish. Zoervleisj perfectly represents the region’s culinary heritage and is often served with fries or traditional Limburgse vlaai (fruit tart). It’s a must-try delicacy that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Is Maastricht worth a visit?

Absolutely! Maastricht is definitely worth visiting. This enchanting city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and picturesque charm. Its cobblestone streets, stunning architecture, and vibrant atmosphere create an inviting and memorable experience.

Skip the line

Book ahead of time with trusted tour operators:

Where to stay in Maastricht Netherlands

Hotel Monastère Maastricht

Set in the Boschstraatkwartier district, the hotel is within 650 m of Vrijthof.

The Social Hub Hotel

The photo above is of "The Social Hub Maastricht".  It is a unique and unusual place where you can stay.  The hotel has been nominated for the Design (FRAME) Award for Best use of color and receives excellent reviews from guests.

Cousins Boutique Hotel

The property is set 500 metres from Basilica of Saint Servatius, 3.9 km from Maastricht International Golf and 11 km from Kasteel van Rijckholt.

Popular places to stay in Maastricht, with real guest ratings.  

Remember to book your flights in time:

Going to Maastricht, you’ll fly in to Maastricht International Airport (MST).

You can use the link here and add the promo code to your booking, to save on flight expences.


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