On the fifth day of our road trip, we decided to visit the birthplace of the European Union – Maastricht. This town in southeastern Netherlands is only 30 minutes away from Hasselt, so we thought it’d be an interesting day for a visit.
Maastricht: What We Saw and What We Did
We arrived in Maastricht around 10:30 and were happy to see that the sun was also shining across the border. Maastricht was fully alive with people and cars on the streets and we could really feel the difference from the low paced day yesterday in Hasselt. The first thing that we noticed was that it was a lot harder to walk around with a pram. Cars parked along the pavement and the cobblestone was a bit rougher than earlier stops during our trip. Not to mention that there were many more bicycles on the road as well.
Luckily we could still enjoy the city for a few hours. We explored the narrow streets and alleys of this city, which actually is one of the oldest ones in Europe. The first thing we did, however, was to enjoy a cup of coffee in an old-fashioned restaurant right next to the Basilica of Our Lady (Basiliek van Onze Lieve Vrouwe). Starting in Binnenstad, the first place we headed to after the coffee break was Bookstore Dominicanen. This is one of the coolest bookstores we’ve been to, as it’s inside an old church. Talk about worshipping books!
In Binnenstad we especially enjoyed the towers of the Basilica of Saint Servatius and the Sint-Janskerk. The spectacular towers overlook the Vrijthof square and they are prominent features of the Maastricht skyline. Vrijthof is the largest square in Maastricht, today a big part of it was closed. It seems there’s a festival or something going on.
We then crossed the Meuse river along the Sint Servaasbrug bridge to the neighborhood of Wyck. To be able to actually see this 13th-century bridge, we decided to walk along another bridge on our way back. Although on the other side of the river, Wyck also belongs to the part of Maastricht that dates from the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, we missed the city walls during our visit.
Back to Binnenstad
On the way back from Wyck we also passed by the town’s market square, Markt. The Town Hall is quite impressive, but otherwise, this square felt too modern in comparison to the rest of the town.
As the temperature was hitting 30 degrees Celsius by now, we decided it was time to head back to Belgium. This part of the Netherlands felt quite similar to Belgium. Maybe it was a little bit cheaper and with Maastricht being a bigger town, it was also noisier. They did have waffles at every street corner though and of course, we had to try it!