Located just minutes from both Germany and Belgium, Maastricht in the south of the Netherlands is a beautiful town with a storied history dating back to prehistoric years. In more modern times, the city saw the birth of the European Union and the Euro, the Union’s currency. Home to both an institute and a university, Maastricht has a vibrant population made up of locals, students, and international scholars. This beautiful city is perfect to explore by walking around and it offers something for every visitor. In downtown, travelers will find an array of charming streets, accessible only on foot or by bike. The streets lie around 2 main squares, one with two impressive churches, and the main market square with the town hall and a fortnightly market. Grab a coffee next to an 11th century basilica, or enjoy a picnic in one of the several lovely parks. View classic as well as contemporary art at the Bonnefantenmuseum, or explore the evidence of Roman occupation at Derlon Museum Cellar. It is possible to walk over to Belgium for a taste of its culture, and to ride to Germany as well. The city’s old fortifications, dating from the 17th through the 19th centuries, are also worth a visit. In fact, Maastricht contains 1677 national heritage sites and there seems to be one around every corner. Because of its proximity to other countries and its international population, visitors can easily get by speaking English.
The best time to visit Maastricht is from May to September when the weather is at its warmest. Of course, this is also peak season, so try visiting during the shoulder months of April and October to beat the crowds. To see the city at its most festive, try to be there around Lent to experience the popular yearly Carnaval festival. During the off season between November and February, when it can be quite chilly, there may be some hotel deals to be had.
When in downtown, walking is by far the best way to get around. The streets are largely pedestrian and provide lots of real Dutch charm. Stroll past historical architecture, beautiful greenery, and quaint shops lining the cobbled streets. Bicycles are also available to rent, for those that want to get around the city like the locals do. They also allow visitors to cover a bit more ground and venture as far as Germany, if they please. Bike tours are a nice way to see Maastricht and its surroundings. Local buses are also available and cover most areas of the city.