The many delights of Maastricht

Open air dining in Maastricht, Netherlands

It would be hard NOT to fall in love with Maastricht, a town in Holland known for its markets, open plazas, and rich history. And so, we, too, fell in line with others who agree that this is a free-spirited place for shopping, touring, and relaxing.

Known for its open-air markets selling everything from clothing to beans, Maastricht identified itself to those of us on Viking’s Holland & Belgium cruise as the place for strolling and taking in all the sights and sounds. With numerous places to sit and sip a coffee or dine on pastries, we found ourselves looking at historical sights but also just enjoying the carefree atmosphere in the plazas and on the streets.

We reveled in more of the architecture of The Netherlands — ornate rooflines, stone construction, and markings that indicate care in construction not seen much today.

Architecture of Maastricht, Netherlands
Architecture of The Netherlands

The Basilica of Our Lady

We dipped out of the mayhem of markets for a brief but meaningful tour of the Basilica of Our Lady located in the plaza known as Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 7.

The spot where the Basilica of Our Lady now stands was the site of a small church as early as the fifth century AD. This was probably the oldest Christian church in the Netherlands and may have been built on top of the remains of a Roman temple.

Visit Maastricht

We were enthralled to see the lovely blue dome, artifacts still remaining intact, burial records of those interred in the flooring as well as vaulted ceilings and stonework that indicate this is one of the prettiest churches in the country.

Hallway, Basilica of Our Lady, Maastricht
Vaulted ceilings above and burial places below: Basilica of Our Lady

But not all churches are so lucky as to remain viable places of worship. Some have been converted, our guide told us, to bookstores or condominiums or other such purposes since fewer and fewer residents are attending church as we know it.

Bookstore in cathedral, Maastricht, Netherlands
A cathedral now turned bookstore in the middle of Maastricht’s shopping area

We loved our walk through neighboring small streets as we glimpsed doors embraced by arching florals and alleys where ever-present bicycles call home.

Doorway with flowers, Maastricht
Lovely doorway in Maastricht
Alley in Maastricht, Netherlands
Colorful, yet peaceful, alley in Maastricht

We even took a second and third glance at some decorated cookies in a pastry shop window where the owner motioned for us to come in and enjoy a free sample or a waffle or both! (Lucky us.)

But most of all, what you need to know about Maastricht is not just that it contains 1,677 National Heritage Buildings or that The Maastricht Treaty was signed here or that the euro was created here. You just need to know that it’s what the Viking Daily called it: “irreverent, independent and fun loving — one of the most popular cities for Dutch and international travelers.”

Enjoying a lovely day in Maastricht
Who wouldn’t enjoy a day biking around Maastricht?

We’re just glad we were among them!

Travel happy,

Rusha & Bert

30 thoughts on “The many delights of Maastricht

  1. Curt Mekemson

    “irreverent, independent and fun loving” Now that’s the definition of somewhere I would like, Rusha. You did a good job of capturing. I really like the Dutch and fell in love with Amsterdam again on our recent visit. Let me add “Quirky.” 🙂 –Curt

  2. WanderingCanadians

    I visited Maastricht years ago, but was with family, so we didn’t do a lot of sightseeing. I do remember going to that church though and being amazed with the interior. Sounds like you had a fabulous visit of just wandering around. I can’t believe there’s that many heritage buildings!

  3. Carolyn Pearre

    Rusha, You have done it again-you are an artist with your camera! Thank you for sharing with all of us.

  4. kzmcb

    It looks wonderful. I’ve always thought that if I was able to visit Europe one day, I’d do it on a cruise or two. Thanks so much for sharing these . I’m loving your trip. Are you currently on it, or was it earlier?

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      Thanks for always being so positive! I write about our trips when I get home. On the trip, I just try to enjoy and take photos. So it was a couple of months ago that we went on this CB one. And I will say that writing helps me relive the good times!!!

  5. Nancy Powell Gauntt

    This is such an interesting article. I have never been to, or heard of this charming tiny town. Your description makes me want to hold p on a river cruise and visit! Thanks for describing such a picturesque town.

    1. Oh, the Places We See

      I will say that cruises introduce you to towns you haven’t seen. And they’re usually quite interesting. Just adds some thing new to the journey. This was a fun stop, but I really loved the cathedral best of all!

  6. Jeanne Tapp

    The biking lady looks so happy! And the interiors of the churches prompt me to read again Ken Folletts Pillars of the Earth

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