During our trip to the city of Maastricht, we took a day trip to Valkenburg. It is only a half hour drive by car. We took our bikes, explored the area and the caves and did some sightseeing in the area. A fun day trip for when visiting Maastricht.
Valkenburg is a picturesque medieval, slightly touristic, town in the beautiful hilly landscape of the province Limburg. The location in a valley created by the river ‘Geul’ gives it its rustic atmosphere. It is well-known for the caves and several cyclist tours that run through the town every year. The town can be divided into two parts; The old medieval centre and the new shopping area.
Things to do in Valkenburg
The Marlstone caves are over 70 million years old and full of pre-historic sea fossils, which dates back to a time when this landscape was a tropical sea. The yellow colour stones taken from the quarry are used in many of the landmarks in the area. There are a few different options to choose from when visiting the Caves of Valkenburg. Our recommendations are the following:
- The municipality caves: The “Gemeente Grotten’ are the most visited caves in the area. You will start the tour on foot or by a little train discovering the caves and all kinds of interesting sightseeing. At the end of the tour, a light show is projected at the walls of the cave to present a spectacular ending of the cave tour. There even is a possibility to book a mountain bike tour through the caves if you are in an adventurous mood.
- Velvet caves and castle ruins: The ‘fluweelgrot’ is a cave tour for about one hour in the caves underneath the castle ruins that originated in the 11th century. The impressive wall drawings and the romantic chapel, used as a hideaway place more than once in the history of Valkenburg, made this an interesting tour to check out. The tour guides are very well informed and present it in a pleasant and humoristic way. Once you get above the ground, you enter the ruins of the former castle that stands on top of these caves.
- Coal mines: Nowadays only open to the public as a museum but only 50 years ago this was a working coal mine. Ex-workers tell their stories of the days when the mines were still in use and give a peek into the hard life of in the mines and their workers. The tour takes around 75 minutes from start to end. A unique experience filled with the history of this area.
- Go for a ride in the cable car to take you up the hill to the ‘Wilhelmina’ tower. Once you have reached the top there are lots of active activities to choose from. For example a ride in one of the two toboggan tracks that have a total length of 375 meters. A fast and exciting ride down the hill that is definitely worth the price of 4 euro for two slides.
- Take out your bike for a ride into the beautiful nature that surrounds Valkenburg. There are several beautiful routes mapped out to go for a ride in the area. Don’t have your bike with you? No problem at all. Rent an electric bike at one of the many bike shops present in the area. You will have a pretty big advantage to ride up the hill with your electric bike and it will be extra fun to drive through the hilly landscape.
- Visit the spa for a well-deserved treatment in the Therme 2000 Wellness spa. This spa is built on a natural thermal source and it is a well-known facility in the area. Especially when you are a newbie in Wellness or just don’t like to go to a sauna naked, this is the place to be. Check out the website to see which clothing options are required to enjoy your day of wellness and relaxing.
The town itself is picturesque and has some interesting historical sights. It is a little too touristic at our findings and we couldn’t find a restaurant that would make us happy. All menus have the same standard food made in large quantities. If you are a regular to our blog you might know we like our food and it doesn’t have to be fancy or Michelin star food. It does have to be with real ingredients, made with love and above all tasty. We decided to lunch with a sandwich from the local traiteur, best decision of the day. It tasted delicious and prepared with real ingredients. For our dinner, we went back to Maastricht. Check out the best hotspots for Maastricht here.
We had a fun and interesting day in Valkenburg. The scenery of the town and the rural surroundings are impressive and a treat to spend some time in. For us the town of Valkenburg is a little too touristic and a day trip is a perfect way to do some activities and visit the caves.
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Lots of Love, Angelique and Carlo