Looking for the best one-day in Maastricht itinerary for an epic time in the capital of the province of Limburg?
You are in the right place!
There are so many amazing Dutch cities to visit, but Maastricht is one of the best. You will easily see why with its cobbled streets, historic buildings, and boutique shops.
However, it can be hard to know how to spend your time here, especially if you are short on time.
To help you out, let’s take a look at the best things to do in Maastricht in one day.
Things To Do In Maastricht In 24 Hours
Maastricht Underground Caves
For a day-tripper, the city’s Underground Caves provide a unique blend of adventure and education for those who only have an hour or two to spare.
You used to be able to explore the caves alone but after people got lost, the only way you can explore them now is by Guided tours. However, this is the best way to explore them as your local guide knows all the stories and tales surrounding the system.
If you plan to visit during the summer, book your tour for around mid-day. The cool caves offer an amazing break from the heat!
Fort Sint Peter
Exploring Maastricht in a single day becomes truly better with a visit to Fort Sint Pieter!
Perched atop St. Pietersberg Hill, this historic fortress not only offers panoramic views of the city but also immerses visitors in a tapestry of the past.
Built-in the 18th century, the fort played a strategic role in various conflicts and stands as a testament to Maastricht’s military history. It is also free to visit which makes it even better!
You will also be in the area to sample the best Pie in Maastricht from Peter Lemmens. And if you want to eat like a true Maastricht local, order the Rijstevlaai (rice pie).
Surrounded by historic buildings, including the stunning Saint Servatius Basilica and the St. John’s Church, the Vrijthof offers a captivating blend of architectural beauty.
The vibrant atmosphere of the square is made bigger by its lively cafes, restaurants, and terraces, creating a perfect spot to soak in the local vibe. This spot gets busy on the weekends, especially Fridays so it may be harder to find a table.
The Vrijthof also hosts numerous events and festivals throughout the year, including the easter carnival which is an amazing day out for all.
Whether it’s enjoying a stroll, exploring the cultural landmarks, or savoring a meal with a view, the Vrijthof provides a memorable introduction to Maastricht’s character and hospitality, making it an essential stop for any first-time visitor.
The Maastricht Helpoort, the oldest surviving city gate in the Netherlands, is a must-see for anyone visiting Maastricht. Dating back to the 13th century, this historical monument stands as a testament to the city’s medieval past and architectural significance.
It is just a gate into the city so it is completely free to walk through, just watch out as cars do come through this way. For the ultimate experience, visit in the summer months where there are lots of live bands in this area.
But if you are planning to visit in Winter, be prepared. Even though it can snow in Amsterdam, it’s rare. Whereas here snow tends to stick and it makes the cobbles hard to cycle and walk on in this area.
If you ask any local where you should go when visiting the city, this will be close to the top of the list!
Boekhandel Dominicanen is housed in a former Dominican church. It is also recognized as one of the world’s most beautiful bookstores.
A visit here provides a tranquil retreat for book enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. The carefully curated selection, set against the backdrop of Gothic arches has everyone entering saying “wow”.
For the best views of the bookstore, go up the steps to the 3rd floor and turn left, here you will be able to see the church in all its glory. And for those wanting to buy a book, the best floor is the second. Here you will find classics and many other books in English.
Okay, many locals refer to this as the “tourist pie shop”, but it is worth stopping by here!
The historic watermill turned bakery that captures the essence of the city’s culinary and cultural heritage. Nestled along the Jeker River, this charming spot offers a delightful experience, combining the aroma of freshly baked goods with the picturesque surroundings.
Dating back to the 7th century, De Bisschopsmolen has not only preserved its authentic milling techniques which are still used today, but you can walk in for free and see the mill yourself!
Even if you don’t sample their goods, it is worth just walking past the window and seeing the amazing pastries they have in the window.
This is the hub of Maastricht. Here you will find great bars, access to the boutique shops and so many bikes!
The square is a great place to eat in drink, especially in De Gouverneur where you will find hundreds of beers to sample. However, for a true Maastricht experience, visit around Mid-day on a Friday.
Here you will find everything a local will need for the week. The stalls include fresh flowers and plants, fishmongers, butchers, clothing stalls, and amazing places to get street food.
So if you love art, you will love this experience and easily spend hours here. If you aren’t the biggest art lover, it is still a pretty cool place to visit.
Renowned for its impressive collection of fine art, spanning from medieval masterpieces to contemporary works, the museum showcases the richness and diversity of human creativity. Housed in a distinctive, modern building designed by architect Aldo Rossi, the Bonnefanten Museum itself is too a work of art.
There is so much to see here that you can easily spend 2 plus hours here. To make sure you don’t miss out on other stops on your Maastricht itinerary, factor that in!
This lush area of greenery offers a peaceful escape from the urban hustle, providing a relaxing spot. The park, with its meandering paths, vibrant flower beds, and scenic ponds, is a popular place for locals to meet, especially in the summer.
The City Park’s historical significance includes remnants of medieval fortifications and the picturesque Helpoort gate. Families, couples, and solo travelers alike can all be found here, and even more so when there are events like the food festival.
The park’s accessibility from the city center makes it a convenient stop and a great place to escape the crowds. Just note that you aren’t allowed to cycle here so if you hire a bike, make sure you walk it through the park.
Natural History Museum
Home to an extensive collection of fossils, minerals, and exhibits on paleontology, the museum provides a fascinating journey through Earth’s evolutionary timeline.
The highlight is undoubtedly the museum’s association with the Mosasaurus, an ancient marine reptile discovered in the region!
You will find a lot of displays are in Dutch but there are plenty in English so you do not need to speak the language to enjoy a day out here. Also, the videos throughout the Museum either have Dutch or English subtitles which is helpful for international visitors.
How To Get To Maastricht
Getting to Maastricht depends on your current location and the mode of transportation you prefer. It is one of the most popular day trips from Amsterdam and other destinations so you will find plenty of options.
Here are the most popular ways to travel to Maastricht:
Maastricht Aachen Airport (MST): If you’re flying, Maastricht has its own airport. However, it is pretty small so most people fly into other airports.
Nearest International Airports:
- Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS): From Schiphol, you can take a train to Maastricht. The journey takes around 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Brussels Airport (BRU): From Brussels, you can also take a train to Maastricht, which takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
International Train Services:
- You can take international trains to Maastricht from major European cities. However, you will most likely need to change to Aachen (Germany) or Liege (Belgium)
Domestic Train Services:
- If you’re already in the Netherlands, you can easily take a train to Maastricht. Dutch Railways (NS) provides train services.
- Take the A2 highway towards Maastricht. The journey takes approximately 2.5 to 3 hours, depending on traffic.
- Take the E40 and E25 highways towards Maastricht. The journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, depending on traffic.
- Some international bus companies offer services to Maastricht. The most popular one is FlixBus and it drops you at the back of Maastricht Train Station.
- You can also take domestic bus services within the Netherlands but it isn’t the most convenient way to travel long distances.
How Long Do You Need In Maastricht?
If you’re on a tight schedule or just want a quick visit, a day trip to Maastricht can provide a taste of the city’s charm. You could explore the main attractions, stroll through the historic city center, and enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants.
For a more relaxed experience, consider spending a weekend in Maastricht. This allows you to delve deeper into the city’s culture, visit museums, take a leisurely walk along the Maas River, and perhaps explore nearby places.
Spending 2-4 days is the best amount of time to spend here. It will allow you to visit some amazing places nearby. The top places you can easily visit nearby are Valkenburg, Eindhoven, Hoensbroek Castle and Sittard.
Is Maastricht Worth Visiting
Maastricht is 100% worth visiting- even if it’s just for a day!
Maastricht boasts a rich history, and its city center is filled with charming cobblestone streets, historic buildings, and beautiful squares. The architecture reflects various periods, including Roman, medieval, and Renaissance influences which is rare in many Dutch cities.
The city is also known for its diverse and high-quality culinary scene. From traditional Dutch dishes to international cuisine, Maastricht offers a range of dining options. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore local markets on a Wednesday and Friday to try regional specialties.
One of the advantages of visiting here is that it’s also a convenient starting point for exploring other parts of the Netherlands. You can also easily explore nearby countries like Belgium and Germany.
How To Spend One Day In Maastricht Final Thoughts
In just one day, Maastricht reveals itself as an amazing destination where history, culture, and culinary delights can be found.
It can be overwhelming to plan where to visit in any city in just 24 hours, especially if you have never been there before. But you will be happy to know all the main attractions are close together so exploring can be fairly relaxed.
For the best day in Maastricht, try and plan your visit on a Friday. This is when the city comes alive and the markets fill Market Square. Don’t miss out on the Kiberlling at the fish stalls, this fried snack is the best!
This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Unsplash