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,
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!
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.
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.
Inside the Maastricht station, we were greeted by classic interior decorations
Albert Heijn, the local supermarket to replenish your supplies and get $1euro coffees.
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.
As with many parts of the Netherlands, we were intrigued by the MANY TYPES OF PASTRIES on display at the bakery!
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…
Further down the river we saw this strange looking structure
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…
As we moved on, we noticed a prominent looking church…
You can also enjoy a leisurely cruise down the river Maas while you’re 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!
Other prominent “landmarks” in Markt Square…
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…
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
as well as remnants (from the medieval times) that Maastricht is so famous for…
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…
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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
After the morning walk, we back tracked towards Vrijthof Square and headed towards the famous Stadsomwalling and Helpoort Fortifications of Maastricht.
The fortifications were built in the 13th century and have been well preserved after hundreds of years.
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 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?
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…
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.
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.
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.
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!
If you enjoyed our content, “Like” us on Facebook Today!