As the capital city of the Limburg province, and the southernmost city in the Netherlands with the Meuse River splitting her in two, and within walking distance of both Germany and Belgium, Maastricht is a major destination for travelers not only because of the medieval architecture and the laid-back vibe as a result of its universities, but also because it is a major shopping center and the headquarters for the Dutch national tourist agency, the VV. From the various museums to the coffee shops, the public parks, and the 13th century walls surrounding the city, Maastricht has more to offer than simply a pot-smoker’s dream-come-true. This is a medieval city at its core, surrounded by modernity.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of Maastricht, at least for the modern traveler, is how much bicycles are used. In fact, in many cities within the Netherlands it is possible for you to rent public bicycles and ride them around town for an extremely small fee, and it’s almost an unspoken rule that you are expected to become part of the bicycle crowd while in Maastricht. While a visitor can just as easily walk everywhere if they choose, bicycles are a great way to head out of the city on a day trip if you prefer, or simply use them to cruise around the city streets to explore the medieval architecture. Bikes trump cars in this city, so you don’t have to worry about traffic.
Between St. Servaas Church or St. Jan’s Cathedral, or the Derlon Museum and the Bonnefanten Museum, or exploring one of the various festivals at the Vrijthof during festivals such as the Carnaval—described by many as a North European Mardi Gras— or the Andre Rieu concerts, there is simply too much to explore in just one trip. Also in the winter, there's a rink, christmas stalls, gluhwein etc.
And given the fact that the Netherlands have a relaxed policy on certain recreational tobacco products, kicking back in a coffee shop has never been so fun.
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