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Maastricht is truly a beautiful city, I would certainly spend more than one day here. However, if you only have one day then you can still try to fit in all the incredible history, culture, and nature that is around Maastricht. Maastricht is one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands. It is the birthplace of the EU and the Euro currency. It is close to the border between Belgium, Germany, and Luxembourg, so there is quite a bit of diversity. You will notice the architecture in Maastricht is different than the typical Dutch-style architecture.
Maastricht has been inhabited since prehistoric days, around 8,000 to 25,000 years ago. Then, in the 1st century AD, the Romans built a bridge across the Meuse during the reign of Augustus Caesar. Roman ruins can still be seen in Maastricht including a Roman road, bridge, a religious shrine, Roman bath, granary, some houses, and the 4th-century walls and gates. Since then, several groups have claimed Maastricht as it is very important for its location along the Meuse River. Today, Maastricht is a hub of tourist activity. There is a great shopping district, over 1,600 national heritage buildings, beautiful parks, and even an intricate network of tunnels!
Read on to find the best things to do in Maastricht if you only have one day in this fascinating city.
The Boekhandel Dominicanen is a bookstore situated in a beautiful 12th-century cathedral. You shop for your next novel while appreciating the high arched ceiling, the original stonework, and the stained glass windows. There is even a café here so you can grab some coffee and a delicious treat. The whole atmosphere is simply charming and peaceful.
Enjoy a walk around the Stadspark and admire the city walls, the beautiful pond, and all the people enjoying the day. This park is a popular place for locals to hang out. You can bring a picnic here or get an ice cream cone and relax on the grass.
The Helpoort is literally translated as "Hell's Gate." It was constructed in the 1200s and is part of the walls of the city that you can still see surrounding downtown Maastricht. The name of the gate comes from the fact that prisoners were locked away in the tower of the gate. You can visit the museum inside that details the history of the fortifications of Maastricht.
This beautiful church was built in the medieval ages, around 1200. It is made exclusively of Marl Stone and the pure red bell tower stands out in the Maastricht skyline. Go inside the church to see beautiful wooden pulpit, organ, and tall stain glass windows. If you're lucky, you may be able to attend a concert in the church.
Without a doubt, this is the coolest thing to do in Maastricht! There is an intricate network of tunnels, over 200 miles, that runs underneath Maastricht and into Belgium. The tunnels were made from mining the limestone in the hills, which they used to build the cathedrals in the surrounding area. Throughout the ages, many people have taken shelter in these tunnels. Even during WWII, over 6,000 civilians hid out here. The Nazis even hid several important pieces of artwork down in the tunnels, including Rembrandt's Night Watch. You can take a tour to learn about the incredible history of these underground tunnels.
Fort Sint Pieter was built in the 1700s and was an important part of the city's defense network. You can climb to the top of the fort for awesome views of Maastricht and the Meuse River. There are also guided tours so you can see the network of passageways, cannon rooms, and troops quarters.
This was the first religious building built in Maastricht as it was constructed in the 1100s. The church is very intriguing inside because the only light coming into the sanctuary is from a few high windows.
The Meuse river is one of the important rivers in Europe, as it is a key means of trade and transport. You can take a relaxing journey to see the fantastic scenery or even enjoy a nice evening dinner cruise.
After a lovely stroll around the city, you can choose from countless cafés and terraces. On a sunny day, you will find the city buzzing with people enjoying the outdoor seating. You can choose a restaurant situated on the Vrijtof or Market Square. Or you can choose a restaurant tucked away on one of the many narrow cobblestone streets.
The Vrijthof is a large and popular square in the Limburg region. There are plenty of shops and restaurants lining the square. Enjoy a meal outside and take in the beauty of the buildings, the historical monuments, and the Basilica of St. Servatius. Regular markets and events are held here in the square.
This is the other major plaza within Maastricht. The center of this square features the city hall. There are lots of trendy shops and adorable cafés to enjoy. This is a great place to sit outside and people watch.
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