Discover the city of Maastricht
Straddling the Meuse River on the South-Eastern side of Holland, you'll find Maastricht - one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. Though somewhat underplayed when compared to Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Maastricht has tons to offer the average visitor.
Maastricht has been known since the area was under Roman rule. It was the first city to be granted Medieval city rights and these rights still form the basis of the system used today. The River Meuse was shallow at this point and relatively easy to cross resulting in ancient Celts picking it as a place to make their homes. It wasn't long before the Romans built a bridge to span the river and the city sprang up.
Today, Maastricht has a lot to offer. Besides a regular supply of indoor and outdoor displays of music, dance and theater, you will find that there are a number of small festivals or customs that are celebrated annually. Carnaval is an example of one such celebration. It is celebrated in Maastricht for the tree days before lent.
Maastricht also has a large number of Museums housing every variety of goods. From African masks to ecclesiastical treasures, you will surely find something to thoroughly captivate your interest. Some of the museums are located in old buildings too which means you'll have the added treat of exploring the grounds. One example of this is the Basilica of Our Lady which is based in an old castle-like church.
If you prefer to head outdoors there are thousands of gardens or parks waiting to be enjoyed. Most of them are well-manicured and make a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. To the south of the city is the hill of St Peter. If you make the effort to walk up the hill you will be rewarded with a magnificent view as well as an old fort and a number of man-made caves which can be explored by joining one of the guided tours. The caves are used by bats and people and have been the refuge of hundreds who sought shelter during the Second World War. As a result, there are some amazing charcoal drawings on the cave walls. The cave is also used to grow mushrooms. Once you are done visiting the caves, you could venture off to Jeker Valley, Cannerbos or Milleniumbos where you will find an abundance of good walking trails.
There is so much more to see and do in Maastricht. It is recommended that you take a guided tour of the city - either by bus or on foot - to ensure that you see the majority of the city's sites. From windmills to old-fashioned pie-baking, the city has a rich cultural history that is not to be missed. If you are visiting Holland, your trip would simply not be complete without Maastricht.