Meet Me in Maastricht

Go Dutch in a Delightful, Under-The-Radar City

Maybe you know that Maastricht, a charming Dutch town between Brussels, Belgium and Cologne, Germany is known as the birthplace of the European Union—or maybe not. It’s also one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands and its fascinating history and memorable architecture leave a lasting impression on its visitors: all three million of them who visit each year.

While Maastricht might be under the radar for some travelers, it should be a notable destination especially as a day trip. After walking through its small, winding streets and taking in its picturesque buildings and squares, you can see why a town with such a small population of 120,000 attracts such a following. Here’s a rundown of tips for your next visit.

EATS

Grand Cafe Maastricht Soiron
Are you in the middle of Vrijthof? Need a caffeine fix? Craving a little pie or cake? You’ve come to the right place. Have a seat in this relaxing cafe where you won’t be rushed and the service is welcoming. Oh and that cherry pie? Order it immediately if it’s there.  

Gembira
One could argue that some of the best Indonesian food outside of Indonesia is right in The Netherlands. Maastricht has its share: Gembira is laid-back, the service is welcoming, and the food is delicious. There are a few seats and tables, and if you’re vegetarian or vegan, there are plenty of tempting options. If you eat everything, Gembira is your oyster. 

Pinky
You can’t miss a bright, neon Pinky storefront—it’s part of the allure, not to mention the smell of freshly made waffles wafting in the air. And on a summer’s day, the soft serve topped with fresh fruit hits the spot. 

SHOP

We-ar Vintage
With two shops within walking distance of each other on both sides of the Maas River, this local vintage clothing store has a well-curated stock of affordable, colorful pieces with friendly shop people. The music curation in the shop is also pretty good. 

SITES

Boekhandel Dominicanen
A functioning church, now a bookstore: this place should be on every book lover's radar. Yes, a bookstore inside a former church, and I suppose you could say that this is where book enthusiasts go to worship. It’s one of the top-rated sites in Maastricht--it often appears on top ten bookstore lists--and it’s fairly easy to get lost amongst the shelves and stories. 

Sint Janskerk
Follow the bright red spire and climb up its insides. You cannot miss it, especially if you’re heading to the Vrijthof (a central square in the heart of Maastricht). Once you’re up there, take in the breathtaking, panoramic views of Maastricht and beyond. -sc