Valkenburg aan de Geul
Where is Valkenburg?
The name of Valkenburg aan de Geul explains everything: Valkenburg is located by the Geul, a small river in the province of Limburg, down in the south of the Netherlands and not far from Maastricht. A visit to the Limburg city of Maastricht can therefore easily be combined with a trip to Valkenburg. The train will take you from one place to another in only eleven minutes. Traveling by train is also a great choice because Valkenburg Station is one of the oldest stations in the Netherlands. However, you can also easily manage the short distance of 11 km between the two Limburg towns.
Sightseeing in Valkenburg
Valkenburg is an extremely popular sightseeing destination. People come for the famous caves (see below), the castle ruins and the lovely restaurants and cafes. There's one restaurant in a particularly appealing location at the foot of the castle ruins: Restaurant De Haselderhof offers a marvelous view over the small town of Valkenburg. Ideal for drinking a coffee before or after looking around the hill castle, and then a piece of the famous cake known as Vlaai to eat. Incidentally, the area around Valkenburg is also known for its wine. You can buy this and many other specialties, souvenirs, books and clothes in the pretty shops in the center of Valkenburg.
If you want to learn more about Valkenburg, and about south Limburg art and history, we recommend a visit to Museum Valkenburg, housed in the old town hall (Grotestraat Centrum 31).
The famous caves of Valkenburg
There's a lot to see and do in and around Valkenburg. Valkenburg itself is mainly known for its marl caves.
In Valkenburg - or rather, below Valkenburg - the 'municipal cave' lets you into a fascinating world. Marl was once mined here, and today, visitors can explore the caves - on foot or by slow train - where the Romans already mined marl 2,000 years ago.
Another cave in Valkenburg is the Fluweelengrot which lies below the castle ruins. This corridor labyrinth was first discovered in 1937. In the past, it acted as an escape opportunity for riders and castle residents, in case the castle was invaded by enemies.
Other things to see and do in Valkenburg
The only hill castle in the Netherlands stands enthroned over Valkenburg. The castle, with a history dating back to the 11th century, only consists of remains today, but opens onto a fantastic panoramic view over the town of Valkenburg.
In Valkenburg, you'll also find spa and wellness places Thermae 2000, where you can take a modern spa bath in water that's over 40,000 years old – and at a comfortable water temperature of 32 degrees (90 °F).
There are two theme parks in Valkenburg: the family park De Valkenier and the Sprookjesbos ('fairytale wood') theme park. You'll find thrills galore on the ghost train and switchback in the Valkenier amusement park, and fairytale experiences for younger children in Sprookjesbos.
A summer toboggan run promises high-speed fun; a chairlift will take you to the starting point on the hill. If the weather's bad, you can have fun with laser games and a gold treasure hunt at A GoGo Valkenburg or enjoy your time at Holland Casino.
Of course, you should also pay at least one visit to the wonderful city of Maastricht if you're on vacation in Valkenburg. Maastricht has an unbelievable amount to offer; from culture to shopping to outstanding restaurants.
Events in Valkenburg
Are you interested in bicycle racing? Then you can come to Valkenburg in April when the Amstel Gold Race is taking place. This race is a difficult tour, with several mountain stages and a distance of around 250 km.
The Christmas spirit in Valkenburg lasts from mid-November to the beginning of January. Then Valkenburg changes into a 'Kerststad', a Christmas town. Christmas markets are held in the caves, and a Christmas parade travels through the town.
In summer, the open air theater (Valkenburg Open Air Theater) - which is, incidentally, the oldest natural theater in the Netherlands - attracts visitors with plays under the open sky. Classical, pop and jazz concerts and operas are held.
Trip destinations in the surrounding area
Fancy a bit of power shopping? Then go to Roermond! There, you won't only find several shops downtown, but even an entire designer outlet center with 150 shops! It's also worth traveling to Heerlen, especially if you're interested in culture. There's a Roman baths museum and a mine museum In Heerlen. Even more to discover? Landgraaf invites you to come for walks and bicycle rides. Throughout the province of Limburg you'll also find water mills, gardens and a very diverse hilly landscape.
You'll also encounter several castles in the province of Limburg: Hoensbroek Castle is one of the largest and loveliest castles in Holland. You'll find yourself traveling back in time in the forty or so castle rooms; there are also plenty of activities on offer for children.
You can take another trip into the past with the steam train known as Miljoenenlijn, which travels several times through the hilly southern Limburg landscape with a steam or diesel locomotive.
Hotels and accommodation in Valkenburg
The loveliest and most luxurious hotels near Valkenburg aan de Geul include Château St. Gerlach, a four-star hotel in a former monastery, with a baroque park, which is also known for its marvelous restaurant. The well-known Thermae 2000 is also home to a four-star hotel, where you can combine a spa day with a relaxing night in a chic atmosphere.