This lovely city, situated in the south of the Netherlands, deserves more than a day trip; a weekend break would be more appropriate. That’s if you really want to feel the charm of the Limburg province, have time to see the historical sites, churches and museums, to sample the local cuisine, and to go shopping.
There are even some great day trips that can be done from Maastricht, like the white village of Thorn. But if you don’t have much time to spend in this part of the country, a day trip is enough to get just a hint of the city. Getting there from Amsterdam is easy, although the journey is a bit long: 2.5 hours by train. But once you get there, most of the city can be visited on foot.
I was returning to Amsterdam from Belgium when I visited Maastricht, so I only had a few hours. If I had to describe the city in a few words, I’d say that it’s white with a red church tower (I’m talking about the old part of the city, which was the only part I visited). The architecture, even though is similar to that of Amsterdam or other northern Dutch cities, still has a different style and creates a different atmosphere. The houses are painted mostly in white or beige, making it entirely pastel-coloured. I was there in spring so there was a lot of green colours too, as well as an unusual light, thrown from an approaching storm.
It is a charming place. The streets were quiet – except in the shopping area – and there was a peaceful atmosphere. Some people worked on a huge 3D painting in the square, others fed the few animals in a kind of open air zoo in the park, and some were just laying on the grass, soaking up the few rays of sun. I particularly enjoyed wandering along the river Maas, strolling through the narrow streets, admiring the red tower of Sint Janskerk, climbing to the top of the old city walls, and having a tasty dinner at the Café Forum in the artistic neighbourhood afterwards.
I definitely want to return, and for a few days next time. Until then, I’ll just admire the photos from that beautiful April day.