Updated: Nov 14, 2020
My Favorite Spots in Maastricht
From San Francisco, 12 hours one way, you could arrive in the charming city of Maastricht. Where and what is Maastricht? Maastricht is in Holland or in other words the Netherlands, but it is not Amsterdam as I have been asked: “How’s Amsterdam?” one too many times. Maastricht is a student city at the southern tip of the Netherlands residing along the Maas river. It borders Belgium and Germany as the southernmost city of Holland. Maastricht is close to a fairy tale village with its cobblestone streets, medieval-era architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. This city is bursting at the seams with the arts, culture, energy of student life as well as the traditional and delicious Dutch Stroopwafels. Thriving as a tourist attraction as well as a quaint University city, it is filled with action!
Each day as I leave my front steps in the city center to arrive at City Halls’ Square, weekly markets, fairs, parades, and gatherings of all people are a daily occurrence. This little city is definitely worthy of a trip, not to mention an exchange program! As it is a central and accessible location for traveling around Europe. On your next trip to Holland, you definitely don't want to miss out on the opportunity to visit this wonderful little place. I want to share this special city, called Maastricht with my family, friends, and followers, so I have decided to share my favorite spots and places to indulge, in Maastricht. Keep reading to virtually visit my new home.
BEGINNING YOUR DAY
Rise and Shine!
With brunch being the most important meal of the day (and my favorite), it is essential I give you my favorite spot for all things breakfast, lunch, chai lattes and Nutella brownies.
The Livin’ Room
I cannot tell you the number of times I have been to this quirky little cafe, but it’s definitely one of my favorite spots. Tucked in a side street off the city center, in a cozy setting with Hygge lighting, is the Livin Room. The atmosphere of this place is always a site for laughter, conversation, and amazing Chai’s Tea Lattes made by the greatest barista. In the summers you can enjoy their green backyard and bask in your brunch date’s company. With many vegan options, if I were you, I would brunch it here, you won't be disappointed! If you want to try my favorites, order a Chai Tea Latte with Oat Milk and ‘The Champs Break’ sandwich. Prepare to be amazed and incredibly satisfied!
Menu not to your liking? Need other options? Try some of my other favorite breakfast & brunch places in the old city and in Wyck: Van Wyck, Levantini, Preps, Bistro Bar T’ Wycker Cabinet, or The Broth Bar.
Bread: De Bisschopsmolen
Need a snack post-brunch? Carbohydrates are not only essential to the proper functioning of your body but they are also essential to living in Holland. De Bisschopsmolen or The Bishops Mill is hands down the best bakery, baked good, bread shop in all of Maastricht. The mill was first built in the seventh century and served multiple functions over its history until it was renovated in 2004. The mill is still active and visitors can see the bakers and mill in action! With the bakers actively working on their fresh-baked vlaai (pies), the windows of the bakery are filled with a golden glow of delectable goods. The sweet cinnamon-spiced air almost always draws me in to get a freshly baked treat of the day.
For me, the ‘Boekhandel Dominicanen’ is one of the most unique places in Maastricht. As Google describes it almost perfectly as “An indie bookstore selling diverse Dutch & English titles amid the stone vaults of a medieval church”. This church, bookstore, library, gift, and coffee shop is the full package. Disguised as a smaller medieval church a turn from one of the main shopping streets with no signage, you arrive into the vaulted ceilings and colorful panorama of books on every subject. Offering a wide variety of magazines, books, gifts, I've spent many hours strolling through these aisles or studying at the cafe, located near the rear of the church. This place is one of my favorite locations to show my visitors because there is nothing like it anywhere else I have been to in the world. It is definitely one of the most unique concepts for a library/shop as well as one of Maastricht's main hidden gems.
Stadspark (City Park)
Need to take a break from studying or all that tiring shopping you’ve been doing? Let me tell you, you will after visiting Maastricht. There is such great shopping here! The main source of activity in the center is shopping, with many boutiques, thrift stores, and chain stores occupying most of the city center as well as on the other side of the river, in Wyck. Visitors from Germany and other cities often come here to shop due to the variety as well as their Sunday hours. (Unlike the U.S. where we become angered when Target is not 24 hours, most stores throughout Germany are closed on Sunday.)
My favorite place to take a breather in Maastricht would be City Park. Taking a walk in any space abundant with green foliage can serve as a mini-meditation for me. From the main shopping streets, you are a five-minute walk until you’re in the middle of a green oasis. Located next to the Maas river, City Park is a fabric of ponds, streams, birds, and medieval architecture all woven throughout the park. During my first months here before rain and winter were a thing, my friends and I would often enjoy the sunshine by throwing down a picnic blanket and enjoying a sparkling wine with various snacks; indulging in the green scenery around us. There is nothing like a picnic anywhere in Europe where open containers are legally enhancing the picnic meal. Even in the winter, I still enjoy taking a gratitude stroll with friends through this park which stays green year-round.
Other great places I love to take a break in include: Waldeck Park, a green park near a hip study space the Turnzaaal, which is accessible through a variety of crossings over the mini moat. To take a longer detour a bit outside of the city enjoy, Hoge Fronten, which offers a mini type of hike, to really surround yourself with some greenery.
Favorite Study Spots
Need to get some work done? If the inner city library of two stories is packed, as usual, then head off across the river to Wyck where my favorite public library, de Bibliotheek Maastricht resides. With existential lighting and large open tables, I spend most of my time studying here during the day until its early closing hours. You can always either find me here or at De Brandweerkantine, another great place to stop for a coffee, soup, study sesh, or a conversation with one of the lovely waiters. De Brandweerkantines' playlist and the beautiful open setting within an old firehouse, provide me with my go-to late-night study spot. Coming from studying at U.C.S.B. 's library of 8 stories, these multiple new spots are definitely different but a positive change of scenery.
Drinks & Hangout Spots
Transitioning from a culture of underage binge drinking to legal enjoyment of mixed drinks. Grabbing a beer or G&T with one of your mates is essential to the weekend after workflow. Maastricht in whatever weather is simply a wonderful place filled with many great people. I enjoy summer sitting at any of the many bars, cafes, restaurants on the two main city squares. Like many places in Europe, they offer outdoor tables to people watch and have a great conversation. In the warm summer months, we sit out for an evening drink, and even in winters, we sit out under heat lamps. My favorite outdoor arrangement would have to be De Gouverneur with a classic setup. For the colder evenings, I enjoy the Student Hotel Rooftop bar, offering a cityscape of Maastricht. Or Take Five for the reasonable cocktails and saloon-style setting. For an intimate drink try Mr. Smith an incredibly hidden, underground, speakeasy!
Love where you live
As I live in the city’s center, I get to walk through all the amazing, medieval architecture each day. From the city walls of Maastricht which lay my path to the library to the beautiful Basiliek van Onze Lieve Vrouw where you can light a candle to pass that exam on your way to class! I enjoy stopping in the churches from time to time. The castle ruins of this city are woven into all the streets of the Old Town. When it becomes your usual walk to class, pause for a moment, and try not to forget how unique and incredible it is to have this as your scenery. Like many things in life, when we are caught up in our daily to-do lists we often forget to take a moment to reflect and give thanks for all the little details in our lives. Moving abroad has made me more aware of how much gratitude I have for my new home as well as my home in California.
Need more information? Feel free to shoot me an email below with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have about visiting Maastricht. Have a favorite spot I didn't mention? Leave a comment below! To help ensure all of us lead extraordinary lives.
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