Maastricht, Valkenburg and Margraten

<<back

The Netherlands 2017 & 2018

Maastricht, Valkenburg and Margraten


Considering the location, the very South East of the country, and distance from Amsterdam, you need at least one but preferably a two nights’ stay in Maastricht or surroundings. This tour can be done any day of the week.

 

Day one:

9am After breakfast and check out, your English-speaking guide / driver is ready to take you for a 2.5-hour drive by luxurious private car or minivan to Maastricht.

Kruisheren Hotel

Kruisheren Hotel

In Maastricht, you will check in at the Kruisherenhotel, one of the most spectacular hotels in the Netherlands. The building from the 15th century was the former Kruisheren cloister. Together with the monumental gothic church, this complex has been transformed into a very special designer hotel. It is a unique place, in which antiquity and modern design are interwoven; yet, at the same time, architectural contrasts between the past and the present are very clear.

The internationally renowned interior designer Henk Vos has created the interior of the Hotel.

The beautiful pieces of the light installation artwork where created by the German light installation artist Ingo Maurer. Throughout the complex, use has been made of the notable designs of masters such as Le Corbusier and Rietveld as well as modern designers like Marc Newson, Piet Heyn Eeck, Philippe Starck and Roderick Vos. These designs form exciting contrasts with the stained glass windows and the stunning, authentic wall and ceiling paintings. www.chateauhotels.nl/default.aspx?sc=7&taal=en

Upon arrival you will have leisure time for lunch until 1pm.

Maastricht

Maastricht

1pm After lunch, there will be an exciting walking tour through the city center, showing you all the highlights including some of the off the beaten sights this city has to offer.

Historic Maastricht is the oldest city in the Netherlands – a city that has ripened well with age, like good wine, with complex and lively cultural overtones added over centuries by the Romans, Germans and French. This rich cultural palette is the secret behind the city’s attractiveness, drawing visitors to the historic city center and the wealth of museums and festivals the city has to offer – making each visit a fascinating new experience. Besides this, it is the hometown of the famous violin player Andre Rieu.

The center of Maastricht is compact and easy to explore on foot. Large areas are pedestrians only and most sites are within walking distance. The old St. Servaas bridge links the old center with the trendy Wyck district, and from the adjacent Céramique district you can cross back over the river via the designer suspension bridge, the ‘Hoeg Brögk’, and cut through the park back to the center.

Numerous (art) museums, historic churches, historic buildings, culinary delights, and shopping- it’s all there and close at hand. You will not want to miss the restored Stokstraat quarter, the old ramparts, the various parks and the famous Vrijthof square. Maastricht is the art of fine living where you never feel lost but very much at home. www.vvv-maastricht.eu/city.html

Kazematten

Kazematten

During the tour we will make an exciting guided tour through the Kazematten.

Between 1575 and 1825, at the west side of Maastricht, a network of passageways and mine galleries where made. These passageways and galleries where used to enter the “city of the enemy” from under the city to defeat. During the private tour you will find out all the answers to this unique monument where subterranean and impressive bomb-shelter areas alternate with gunpowder rooms, stairs to galleries and others. There is a constant temperature of about 58F in the Kazematten. A sweater or something warm is therefore suggested! www.maastrichtunderground.nl

5.15pm The tour will end back at the hotel where you will have the remainder of the day for your own leisure.

 

Day two:

9am After breakfast, your English-speaking guide / driver will take you for an exciting drive through to the rolling countryside. This area is totally different from the rest of the Netherlands.

For most tourists it is an unknown area, but once seen, they call it one of the nicest areas they have seen in the Netherlands. And it is!

Valkenburg

Valkenburg

9.30am Our first stop will be in Valkenburg. This charming little village is also known as the Marlstone Town (Lime stone). You will notice the typical yellow marlstone throughout the town, on the surface (houses) and underground. Popular spots in Valkenburg are the historic buildings, the castle ruin, caves, heated pavement cafes and the river Geul.

You will be taken for an exclusive guided tour through the spectacular Velvet Cave.

Charcoal Drawing in the Velet Cave

Charcoal Drawing in the Velvet Cave

The Velvet Cave in Valkenburg is not just a cave. This one accommodates numerous mysteries and a treasure of impressive charcoal mural paintings. These paintings are between 100 and 150 years old! Besides these paintings you will also find some exceptional marlstone sculptures and a romantic refuge chapel dating back to the French occupation period. Spectacular!

In September 1944, during World War II, for 6 days and six nights the cave served as a hospital for American soldiers and a shelter for Jewish and local people. There is a large section in the velvet cave where American soldiers left charcoal reflection paintings from their faces on the walls, including their names. In the whole section you will find hundreds of names of soldiers who stayed in this cave.

Because of the constant temperature in the cave, everything is well preserved.

A unique and surprising experience! www.kasteelvalkenburg.nl

10.45am Coming out of the Velvet Cave, you will be taken for a tour through the castle ruin where you have spectacular views over the area. Of course you will also be taken through the little village.

Countryside of South Limburg

11.30am We continue the tour with a scenic drive through the Province of Limburg. Along the way you will see the spectacular rolling landscapes with picturesque villages. There will be leisure time to have lunch in a restaurant with a spectacular view.

2pm The drive will end in Margraten where we will make a guided tour through the American War Cemetery.

The World War II American War Cemetery is the second largest American cemetery in Europe. Omaha Beach in Normandy is the largest.

Margraten

Margraten

The tall memorial tower can be seen before reaching the cemetery, which covers 65.5 acres.

The walls on either side of the Court of Honor contain 1,722 missing soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their country and who rest in unknown graves.

Beyond the chapel and tower is the burial area. Here rest 8,301 American soldiers including 6 Medal of Honor. www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/ne.php

3pm From here it is only a 20-minute drive back to your hotel where you have the remaining of the day for your own leisure.

 

Day three:

9am After breakfast and check out, your English-speaking guide / driver is ready to take you for a 2,5 hour drive by luxurious private car or minivan to Amsterdam, or any other wonderful destination in the Netherlands or Belgium.

 

Extra possibilities:


A wine tasting at Apostelhoeve

Apostelhoeve Vineyard

Apostelhoeve Vineyard

The historic farm of “Apostelhoeve” is located in the South of Maastricht near the Belgian border on the only mountain on Dutch lands, the St. Pietersberg. Apostelhoeve’s land had been covered with grapevines since the era of the Romans. Various varietals such as Riesling, Auxerrois, and Müller-Thurgau do quite well on the sun-drenched slopes of Jeker Valley. Since 1967, the Hulst family had been producing excellent wines, which are popular all over The Netherlands. With the use of modern cellar equipment, the quality of the wines are rapidly increasing.

World famous British wine critic Jancis Robinson stated that Apostelhoeve wines are “the most surprising tasting ever”. She claimed that this is because “the traditional bands of temperate climate are shifting to the north in Europe, the southern part of the Netherlands for instance now has the same climate the Champagne region had only 10 years ago.


Dinner at Château Neercanne: a Michelin-starred Culinary Experience

Château Neercanne

Château Neercanne

Restaurant Château Neercanne has a rich cultural and culinary tradition, having been awarded its Michelin-starred status every year since 1986. Headed by Chefs de Cuisine, Hans Snijders and Gilbert von Berg, the team creates memorable gastronomic experiences, complemented by a range of carefully selected wines. A destination in itself, guests can enjoy an aperitif in the candlelit wine cellar within the Marl Caves, and on warm summer days dine al fresco on the Terrace overlooking the Jeker countryside.

As the only terraced castle in The Netherlands, Château Neercanne commands panoramic views across the Jeker Valley and straddles two countries – Belgium and Holland. Renowned for its superb Michelin-starred à la carte restaurant and popular lunch spot l’Auberge, it also houses a network of Marl Caves, offering a unique venue for large parties and celebratory gatherings.