Limburg is the most southern province of the Netherlands, like a promontory jutting out between Belgium and Germany. For the Dutch Limburg is always associated with holidays, as it’s one of the preferred staycation destinations in the country.
The main city in Limburg is Maastricht and most tourists coming to the Netherlands limit their visit only to Maastricht. However, there are so many beautiful places near Maastricht – from cute little villages, to lovely cities, stunning castles and amazing nature parks, including three national parks. In this post you will find a selection of places that can be visited on a day trip from Maastricht, not only in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium and in Germany.
➱Visiting Maastricht in the winter? Then you should not miss the Christmas Market on Vrijthof.
➱Staying only one day in Maastricht? Discover how to spend an unforgettable day in the city.
➱Looking for accommodation? Find out how to stay in a luxurious, yet affordable castle.
These are some of the most beautiful places to visit on a day trip from Maastricht.
Day trips from Maastricht in Limburg
The Dutch Province of Limburg shall not be confused with the Belgian Province of Limburg, which is bordering the Dutch one.
As Limburg is pretty long, some of the places in the north part of the province are located at more than 100 km from Maastricht, that’s why I haven’t included them in this selection.
Limburg is very pretty, with it’s gentle rolling hills, something totally different from the rest of the Netherlands. It reminds a bit of Tuscany in Italy. The more you go to the south, the curvier the landscape gets until you reach the highest point on continental Netherlands – Vaalserberg with its 322,40 m (1,058 ft).
Roermond is a lovely city on the River Meuse at some 50 km from Maastricht. Although it’s mostly known as a shopping destination because of the outlet centre located there, the city has rich historical and cultural heritage. Have a walk around and stop at the market square for a cup of coffee or a beer and listen to the carillon on the town hall. Another lovely place to hang out is the Munsterplein – the square in front of the beautiful Romanesque Our Lady Minster church (Munsterkerk). In the summer, there are quite regularly concerts held from the cute pavilion on the square.
When in Roermond don’t miss also the 15th century St. Christopher Cathedral. If you are there on a Saturday (between April and October), you can climb the church tower for breathtaking views of the city, the river and the surroundings.
Distance: 48 km
How to get there: By train – 30 min, by car – 35 min
Sittard is one of the oldest Dutch cities with city rights granted as early as in 1243. You will be surprised how beautiful and lively the place is. There are some amazing churches and of course the imposing monastery complex of the Dominican Monastery and the Convent of the Ursuline Sisters. The old town and the city centre are simply adorable. When in Sittard, you should visit the Neo-Gothic Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. It has amazing interior decorations and in my opinion it’s the most beautiful church I have visited in the Netherlands. It was also the first church in the Netherlands that was granted the title ‘basilica minor‘ in 1883.
Whether you’ll be travelling by car or by train, Sittard is just the perfect day trip from Maastricht.
Distance: 27 km
How to get there: By train – 19 min, by car – 27 min
They call Thorn ‘the little white town‘ and for a reason. All houses are painted in white, which is quite unusual for the Netherlands. Besides being irresistibly charming, this place has unusual history. Until the French invasion in 1794, this place was the smallest independent principality within the Holy Roman Empire, run by women. What started in the 10th century as family chapel, grew into an abbey where powerful women from the nobility were running their own miniature state.
Today, there isn’t much left from the abbey itself, but the church still stands there and can be visited. I highly recommend a visit to the local museum where you can learn all the amazing details about this place. Another beautiful place to visit in Thorn is the Chapel Under the Linden with its rich Baroque interior.
Thorn is one of those hidden gems of a place that only the locals know.
Distance: 45 km
How to get there: By car – 31 min, by train and bus (line 73) via Roermond – 1 hr 25 min
Read more: What to see and do in Thorn
Valkenburg is super close to Maastricht and is perhaps the most popular day trip from the city. Besides, there are so many things to do and see there! Valkenburg looks different from the rest of the Dutch cities and you will notice it immediately. You’ll hardly find there the typical Dutch houses covered with decorative red bricks, but instead, the houses there have this sand-whitish colour. It’s because there were chalk stone quarries in the region. As a result, today there is network of caves which are open for visitors. You can visit the Municipal Cave (Gemeentegroot) and the Velvet Cave (Fluwelengroot). Valkenburg boasts the only castle built on a hill and the only outdoor cableway in the Netherlands. Enough reasons to visit the place, or not? Oh, and if you are travelling with your kids they will love De Valkenier – the local amusement park.
Valkenburg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Limburg. Let’s say that you can’t visit Maastricht without visiting Valkenburg, which makes the city a bit touristy, but nonetheless absolutely worth the visit.
Distance: 13 km
How to get there: By train – 11 min, by car – 15 min
Read more: Top things to do and see in Valkenburg
The Hoensbroek Castle is one of the biggest and best preserved castles in the Netherlands open for visiting. Built in the second half of the 14th century, the castle was first a simple tower house. Through the ages it was enlarged and fortified and became an important stronghold. The owners of the castle, the knights and counts Van Hoensbroek lived in the castle until the end of the 18th century.
After the French Revolution the castle was abandoned and left to its fate. In the 20th century the castle was restored a few times and today is one of the most beautiful castles to visit in the Netherlands. The stories of the castle are told in an interactive way and you can do a self-guided tour with the brochure that’s available at the ticket office. There’s also a special treasure hunt for kids.
The entry fee for adults is 12,95 EUR and for kids aged 4 – 12 years – 9,75 EUR.
Distance: 22 km
How to get there: By car – 25 min, by train and bus (line 56) via Valkenburg – 55 min
Brunssummerheide is a nature preserve to the south of Brunssum. The name of the park can be translated as Brunssum’s Heathlands. The landscape is quite diverse – hilly sand dunes, peat bogs, pine forests, a brook crossing the park and of course vast areas covered with heath. They say, the park turns into purple magic in the autumn when the heath is in bloom. I have visited it in the spring and the place was still incredibly beautiful. There’s a visitor centre in the park where you can take a map of the park with different trails to choose from.
Distance: 39 km
How to get there: By car – 32 min, by train and bus (line 20) via Heerlen – 50 min
De Meinweg is one of the 20 National Parks in the Netherlands and it comes without saying that it’s the perfect day trip in Limburg for nature lovers. This park is characterized by terraced landscape with steep transitions between the plateaus. You can walk there through forests, marshlands and lakes. There’s also this lovely trail that goes along a boardwalk through a flooded forest. As there are so many walking routes to chose from, one day is not enough to explore the whole park, but you can still get an idea of it. Just pick up one trail and get completely off-grid. (There’s hardly any mobile reception in the area). As the National Park is located at the border with Germany, you might just pop up there without noticing it.
Distance: 55 km
How to get there: By car – 40 min, by train and bus (line 62) via Roermond – 56 min
Vaalserberg and the Tripoint
If you want to climb the highest mountain in the Netherlands, this is your chance! OK, it’s only the highest one on continental Netherlands, and it’s not a mountain but a hill. Psst… Just don’t tell this to the Dutch, as they don’t know it yet. They are convinced it’s a mountain. Also at this place there come together the borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (Drielandenpunt – tripoint). There are two watchtowers: the 35-m high Wilhelimna Tower (Wilhelminatoren) in the Dutch part, which also has a skywalk, and the the taller, 50-m high King Boudewijn Tower (Boudewijntoren) in the Belgian part. There’s also a lovely maze near the tripoint.
Distance: 32 km
How to get there: By car – 35 min, by train and bus (line 350) via Vaals – 50 min + walk
Day trips from Maastricht to Germany
As Maastricht is located close to the border with Germany, it’s very easy to take a day trip to the Dutch Eastern neighbours. Both the Netherlands and Germany are Schengen countries, so if you are visiting Europe with a Schengen visa, stopping by the Dutch neighbours won’t require any additional formalities.
There are lots of beautiful places in Germany that can be visited on a day trip from Maastricht. However these are the 3 most popular and easy to do trips from Maastricht to Germany.
Aachen is the city of Charlemagne (Charles the Great), the famous emperor, who ruled over a great part of Western Europe in the 8th-9th centuries. The cathedral he built, and where he was also buried, is one of the oldest cathedrals in Europe. It’s also the place where the German kings were crowned. Today, the Cathedral of Aachen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old city centre is absolutely lovely, with the Aachen City Hall, dating from 1330, the emblematic fountain Elisenbrunnen, the old city gates Ponttor and Marschiertor. If you want to learn everything about the city and its history, visit Centre Charlemagne – the Aachen city museum.
Worth visiting is also the Aachen Christmas Market, held annually in the four weeks before Christmas.
Distance: 38 km
How to get there: By car – 33 min, by bus (line 350) – 60 min
Cologne (Köln) is mostly famous for its cathedral. It took about 6 century to finish the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and for some time it was the tallest church in Europe. Today, it’s on 3rd place, but nonetheless the building, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is amazing. The cathedral has survived the heavy bombardment of the city during World War II, when nearly the whole city centre was destroyed. However Cologne is not only about history. The Museum Ludwig has an intriguing collection of contemporary pop art and the Chocolate Museum is a must-see for any chocolate lover.
Cologne is also quite a modern city, a cultural and art hub of Germany, thriving and buzzing with life and numerous events.
Distance: 115 km
How to get there: By car – 1 hr 15 min
Monschau is an adorable little town in the Eifel Region. With it’s half-timbered houses and bridges, it looks as if it comes from a fairy tale. Monschau makes a lovely day trip from Maastricht, to enjoy a glass of Weizen beer and a flammkuchen at one of the cafes on the the market square. But that’s not the only thing you can do in Monschau. When in Monschau, do not miss to visit the ruins of Der Haller. On the way to the top of the hill, you’ll be rewarded with a picturesque view over the town and the meandering Rur River. There’s also a mustard museum in the town and a house museum in Rococo style (the Red House).
If you are visiting in the winter, you should not miss the Monschau Christmas Market – one of the most romantic Christmas markets in Germany.
Distance: 75 km
How to get there: By car – 60 min
Day trips from Maastricht to Belgium
The best part about visiting Maastricht is that you can easily visit other countries as day trips. So, your trip to the Netherlands can include a few stops in the neighbouring Belgium. Both the Netherlands and Belgium are Schengen countries, so you can just pop up there without any further formalities. The distances aren’t that big and you can even visit Bruges (215 km), Antwerp (115 km) or Brussels (115 km) on a day trip from Maastricht. However, I have chosen a few other places that are bit closer to Maastricht.
Liege / Luik
Liege (or Luik in Flemish) is a beautiful Belgian city that’s easily overlooked by most tourists. However, it does have a few hidden gems, like the stately Prince-Bishop’s Palace, the Saint-Paul Cathedral, or the famous staircase to the top of the Montagne de Beuren. To learn everything about the province of Wallonia, where Liege is located, visit the Museum of Walloon Life (Musée de la Vie Wallonne), which is housed in a former Minorite monastery from the 17th century.
You can get to Liege from Maastricht by car or by train. By the way, the railway station in Liege is absolutely stunning, designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. However, there’s also another way to get to Liege, which is even more fun, and it’s by boat on the Meuse River.
Distance: 35 km
How to get there: By car – 28 min, by train – 35 min
This little village in Belgium, close to the border with the Netherlands, is absolutely adorable. It’s included on the Belgian list of the Most Beautiful Villages in Wallonia. Limbourg has quite a glorious past, once being the capital of the Duchy of Limburg and known as an unconquerable stronghold. The heart of the village – the Saint-George Square, is paved with cobblestones from the Vesder River. Full of Medieval charm, this quiet place is the perfect day trip to escape the big cities.
Distance: 50 km
How to get there: By car – 37 min
They say that Durbuy is the smallest town in the world. Most probably this is not true, but Durbuy is for sure one of the most charming places I have ever seen. The old town is just postcard-perfect! Take your time and walk around in the old town’s cobblestone lanes with quirky shops and lovely cafés. A major point of interest is the Anticline (l’Anticlinal) – a U-shaped rock formation that looks like a vertical wall.
If you love parks and gardens, then you will enjoy a visit to the Topiary Gardens. The park features 250 amazing sculptures of immaculately pruned box trees and shrubs. From the park there’s a lovely view to the privately-owned castle of Durbuy. The park is open from 1 March to 31 October and the entry is 4,50 EUR for adults and 1,00 EUR for children aged 6 – 12.
Distance: 85 km
How to get there: By car – 1 hr 10 min