Things to do and attractions in Maastricht : Day 2 and 3 of Europe Trip

Things to do and attractions in Maastricht : Day 2 and 3 of Europe Trip

Day 2 from Amsterdam to Maastricht

There are so many things to do and attractions in Maastricht! On the 2nd day of our Europe trip, we took the train from Amsterdam transiting at Eindhoven to Maastricht. As you can see from the map,

Location of Maastricht in the Netherlands
Location of Maastricht in the Netherlands

Maastricht is actually at the southern end of the Netherlands. The trip from Amsterdam to Maastricht takes about 3 hours and costs approximately $50euro per person for a return trip.

We took the 0838 train to Eindhoven and picked up breakfast at our favourite breakfast venue – Hema!

Waiting for the train to Eindhoven at Amsterdam Centraal train station
Waiting for the train to Eindhoven at Amsterdam Centraal train station

$4.5euro from Hema
$4.5euro from Hema

As it was the weekend, works on the rail tracks and trains commenced (strange huh?). Hence, we transferred unto a shuttle bus that took us from Eindhoven to Weert for our next train to Maastricht.

Shuttlebus from Eindhoven to Weert because of rail works this weekend
Shuttlebus from Eindhoven to Weert because of rail works this weekend

Arty Bowling Structure at Eindhoven
Arty Bowling Structure at Eindhoven

0940 train at Weert to Maastricht
0940 train at Weert to Maastricht

However, disaster struck as we entered into the last station. It WAS NOT MAASTRICHT!! We had arrived at Heerlen!? We later found out from the friendly staff at the station that our original train from Eindhoven had made a split of the carriages along the way! We were in the wrong half of the train!

**Please take note of this especially for extended train rides!

Hence, we took a mrt like train back to Maastricht.

Smaller train from Heerlen to Maastricht
Smaller train from Heerlen to Maastricht

Reaching Maastricht

Inside the Maastricht station, we were greeted by classic interior decorations

Interior of Maastricht Station
Interior of Maastricht Station

Albert Heijn, the local supermarket to replenish your supplies and get $1euro coffees.

Albert Heijn Maastricht Train Station
Albert Heijn Maastricht Train Station

As we ventured out of the Maastricht train station, the sun illuminated the station and its surroundings and we finally came to terms that we’re here! In Maastricht! The cobbled streets in the distance gave us the confirmation.

Maastricht Train Station
Maastricht Train Station

Roundabout at Maastricht Centruum
Roundabout at Maastricht Centruum

As with many parts of the Netherlands, we were intrigued by the MANY TYPES OF PASTRIES on display at the bakery!

A Bakery in Maastricht
A Bakery in Maastricht

As we were still a little early for our check in at Hotel De La Bourse, we took the liberty to roam around the known portions of Maastricht (well at least known portions to us). First up was a river walk along river Maas

Walk along River Maas in Maastricht - JFK Bridge
Walk along River Maas in Maastricht – JFK Bridge

Further down the river we saw this strange looking structure

Bonnefanten Museum along River Maas
Bonnefanten Museum along River Maas

Turned out to be on of the well known Bonnefanten Museum that houses fine art – some old and some contemporary ones. We also took some time to venture further into the city and even caught a glimpse of a hot air balloon that floated right past us! As our reaction were too slow, we only caught a part of it in this picture…

Can you see the hot air balloon somewhere in the trees?
Can you see the hot air balloon somewhere in the trees?

As we moved on, we noticed a prominent looking church…

Anyone can enlighten us on the name of the church?
Anyone can enlighten us on the name of the church?

You can also enjoy a leisurely cruise down the river Maas while you’re in Maastricht.

River cruise in Maastricht
River cruise in Maastricht

Soon it was time to head back and check into our hotel. Hotel De La Bourse is actually located just beside city hall in Markt Square. However, when we approached the staff at Macs, they actually did not know where it was! (diagonally opposite Macs across the square!) So Tom explored the square while Kate waited. Soon, we found it!

Hotel De La Bourse Maastricht
Hotel De La Bourse Maastricht

Other prominent “landmarks” in Markt Square

Statue of a Lady
Statue of a Lady

Statue of Johannes Petrus Minckelers - guy who invented gas light
Statue of Johannes Petrus Minckelers – guy who invented gas light

The entrance of Hotel De La Bourse is actually the restaurant. Walking past it, you will be greeted by the receptionist at a counter close to the bar. There, we were readily checked in and shown to our cozy and simple room…

Double Room at Hotel De Lar Bourse - 70Euro a night
Double Room at Hotel De Lar Bourse – 70Euro a night

Room with a view of Markt Square
Room with a view of Markt Square

After checking in and switching on the TV to check out the channels (they have discovery channel!), we decided to head out to find the Michelin Restaurants that Maastricht is famed for. We asked for the directions and the receptionist kindly provided us with 2 locations, Beluga and Toine Hersen. Having already found out that Beluga was closed that evening, we headed to look for Toine Hersen on Bernardus Straat.

We passed by Sint Janskerk and Sint Servaas Basiliek at Vrijthof Square

Sint Janskerk and Sint Servaas Basiliek at Vrijthof Square
Sint Janskerk and Sint Servaas Basiliek at Vrijthof Square

as well as remnants (from the medieval times) that Maastricht is so famous for…

Remnants of Fortress from medieval times
Remnants of Fortress from medieval times

BUT! We still COULD NOT FIND Toine Hersen! So, we asked several locals along the way. It seemed that all the locals knew where Bernardus Straat was and pointed us in the general direction. Having asked several locals, we finally chanced upon a door that somewhat resembled a home…

Toine Hersen on bernardustraat Michelin restaurant closed on Sundays
Toine Hersen on bernardustraat Michelin restaurant closed on Sundays

Upon closer inspection (and seeing a menu), we concluded that we finally found it! However, to our dismay, the restaurant was also closed on Sunday. That therefore ended our hunt for Michelin restaurants that evening. Hungry and downstruck, we headed back to Vrijthof Square to have a drink to cool off and think about where to have dinner.

Outside eating at Grand Cafe Nieuw Bruin
Outside eating at Grand Cafe Nieuw Bruin

Tom had a beer while I had a cappucino. The beer was kept chilled by the 18 degrees cold air while the cappucino quickly turned lukewarm. Still, it was quite chillax to enjoy a drink, lay back a little and watch passers-by going about their business. Being too lazy to find another joint for dinner, we scanned around the square for suitable candidates. The Uruguayan restaurant across the street stirred some interest in us to try out the grilled steaks. But the chalk board right in front of us (from the same restaurant) enticed us with mussels in white wine!! :O

We then requested the waiter to have us seated inside for our dinner…

Mussels in white wine
Mussels in white wine

Beef Steak
Beef Steak

Interior of Cafe Niew Bruin
Interior of Cafe Niew Bruin

The mussels are a “must-try”! You can really taste the freshness of the mussels while the white wine made the dish oh so flavourful! After the sumptuous dinner, we headed back to our hotel and turned in early.

Day 3 in Maastricht

The next morning, we woke up early to enjoy the buffet spread and to take in some fresh morning air. The buffet spread was simple with bread, ham, cheese and cereals. There was also a choice of fruit juices or coffee/tea.

Breakfast at Hotel De La Bourse
Breakfast at Hotel De La Bourse

Before we left, we took some hot tea to warm ourselves up before we entered into the fresh but cold morning air of Maastricht. We headed towards the bridge that connects to the train station and there, we saw birds flying in formation!

Birds flying in formation
Birds flying in formation

We have all heard about why the birds are flying in formation. It’s actually for the birds to take turns to lead at the front. Those that have led will fall behind the V-shaped formation to take a rest by harnessing the upward lift generated by the birds in front. In this way, they actually save up to 50% of their effort flying. It’s also quite an experience to actually see it after hearing so much about their flying concept.

More birds...
More birds…

Dawn at the bridge
Dawn at the bridge

After the morning walk, we back tracked towards Vrijthof Square and headed towards the famous Stadsomwalling and Helpoort Fortifications of Maastricht.

Rows of cafes at Vrijthof Square where we had dinner the previous night
Rows of cafes at Vrijthof Square where we had dinner the previous night

The fortifications were built in the 13th century and have been well preserved after hundreds of years.

Stadsomwalling Maastricht
Stadsomwalling Maastricht

If you take a closer look at the picture above, there are actually homes right beside the wall! How cool is it to live right beside hundreds of years of history!

Helpoort Maastricht
Helpoort Maastricht

Fort with Cannon in Maastricht
Fort with Cannon in Maastricht

Fort overlooking pond and garden
Fort overlooking pond and garden

Helpoort is the oldest remaining gate in Europe, of medieval times. We also took the opportunity to scale the fort (basically a few short flight of steps) to see the old cannon as well as the view it overlooks. Below, you can see one of the entrance to the fort. Great work of art isnt it?

One of the entrance to the fort
One of the entrance to the fort

Next we headed along to the park and we were quite surprised to see so many ducks and huge geese! There’s even a mini zoo where deers roamed…

Fat Ducks and Geese beside the fortifications
Fat Ducks and Geese beside the fortifications

Deers at the park zoo
Deers at the park zoo

As it was the last bit of our stay in Maastricht, it was with a heavy heart that we strolled back to our hotel room. Along the way, we passed by the Sint Janskerk.

Sint Janskerk Maastricht
Sint Janskerk Maastricht

The church is sort of an icon of Maastricht because of its bright red colour. If possible, do take a short climb up the tower (not for weak hearted people like Kate and I) for a mere price of 2 Euro. There, you would be able to catch splendid views of the entire city!

After checking out, as it was still some time before our train was scheduled to arrive, we had a quick lunch at the Japanese restaurant close to the train station.

Sushi-ya Restaurant Maastricht
Sushi-ya Restaurant Maastricht

As it was still early, the restaurant was empty and we managed to have the window seats and people watch while we enjoyed our Beef Udon and Chicken Curry Udon at 5 euros each.

Beef Udon
Beef Udon

Chicken Curry Udon
Chicken Curry Udon

Our Take on Maastricht

People used to say to us that Maastricht is a must-visit venue in the Netherlands. It’s true. However, you cant really pin-point what is it that attracts you. Is it the rich history of cobbled streets and fortifications? Is it the michelin restaurants and food culture? Or is it just the slow pace of life which transcends time? Well, whatever it is, we really do hope that you can drop by Maastricht, experience the charm that it exuberates and share it with us!

For your convenience, we have arranged for the best hotel deals in Maastricht right here!

Next Stop Prague – The Capital City of the Czech Republic!

Things to do in Maastricht
Things to do in Maastricht

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