24 hours in Maastricht

24 Hours in Maastricht

Hi babes! I hope all of you are cozily tucked away with loved ones (or enjoying your own company if that's what you fancy right now) getting mentally and practically prepared for the holidays. We have 99% of our Christmas eve and Christmas day shopping sorted - we don't do gifts, but we go all out in the food department, so I'm sitting near our retro white Christmas tree sorting through my laptop files and revisiting some of my favourite memories of 2018. I might even do a real recap post this year - who knows? 

This year had plenty of challenges, but it was also brimming with beautiful experiences. I don't think I've ever traveled to as many destinations in one year! Paris, London, CuraƧao, the U.S.A. And right before the year is over, I got to add another spot to that list when I was invited to discover Maastricht during its most magical time: the holidays. Only about an hour and a half from home, but across a border so it totally qualifies as traveling. My bestie Natalia lives about 10 minutes from Maastricht and had told me about its charms time and time again, but I had never made it there. 

Since I was so pleasantly surprised by the city, she's been bombarding me with "I told you so"'s and she's completely right. Maastricht is a beautiful city that has elements of both Belgium and the Netherlands, making its own unique mix. I love that it has more small boutiques than large chain stores, I love how it has a beautiful historical center in close walking distance from a more modern/up and coming district, and I love how many cozy bars the place has.

We stayed at Designhotel Maastricht which I wholeheartedly recommend. Great value for money, conveniently located close to the train station but also walking distance from the city center, and in the middle of Wyck, which is the most innovative and "trendy" part of Maastricht. We were especially enamored by the little balcony and the bathtub in the middle of the room. Nothing makes me feel like a 70s drug lord like having a bathtub in the middle of a bedroom. Oh, and the board games provided in the communal lounge!

Designhotel Maastricht
Designhotel Maastricht
Designhotel Maastricht

Right outside the hotel we were drawn towards the city center by following the trail of Christmas lights through Maastricht's picturesque streets. 

24 hours in Maastricht
coat: H&M - sweater: c/o Wonders - skirt: c/o JBC - boots: & Other Stories - tights: c/o Gambettes box

24 hours in Maastricht
24 hours in Maastricht

I'm pretty sure you'll never find more people riding bikes even when it's freezing and/or raining as you will in the Netherlands. It's our cultural heritage.

24 hours in Maastricht
24 hours in Maastricht

Wyck is right across the Sint Servaas bridge from the historical city center, and in about 10 minutes of walking you'll get to With Love Burrito, where we had dinner. I had the pork burrito with pineapple salsa and it was glorious. Very cool, funky place, which is just around the corner from Boekhandel Dominicanen which has won plenty of awards for being the most beautiful book store in, like, the universe. But I didn't actually make it there, silly me. More reason to return!

With Love Burrito Maastricht
With Love Burrito Maastricht
With Love Burrito Maastricht

After burritos it was time to make our way to Maastricht's Christmas market (part of their Magisch Maastricht themed activities around the holidays). Christmas markets everywhere follow the same formula with the likely suspects in terms of stands and sights, but Maastricht definitely has one of the most magical ones I have visited! I liked that the crowds weren't too big - I always feel like Antwerp's Christmas Market is just overwhelmingly crowded, which takes away from the experience for me. This one had just the right amount of people to be lively and cozy without having to dodge elbows when making way for the mulled wine stand.

24 hours in Maastricht
24 hours in Maastricht
24 hours in Maastricht
24 hours in Maastricht

We roamed the streets for a while and then made our way back to the hotel to have a rum and coke (me) and an Irish coffee (my guy) and play board games, which was the best type of cheesy fun. After that, we went up to our hotel room to enjoy that bath! Perfect night, and perfectly relaxed for a great night's sleep.

The next morning, fooled around in the hotel a bit after breakfast. I'm not the only person who HAS to sit in those design ball chairs whenever I spot one, right?

After that we went out to do some shopping only to see that 99% of stores in Maastricht would only open around noon that Monday because everything had been open on Sunday. Total bummer, man. But we made the best out of the situation by having drinks at one of Maastricht's oldest pubs and do some people watching. Before having lunch I still squeezed in some shopping at Stradivarius. After that, we made our way to Puur Van Wijck for the best watermelon lemonade and sweet potato cake I've ever tasted! Also, meat croquette sandwich. Also part of our Dutch heritage.

Designhotel MaastrichtDesignhotel Maastricht
Designhotel Maastricht
sweater: Stradivarius - jeans: Levi's Wedgie fit - boots: c/o Moonboots

Puur Van Wijck is exactly the type of place I seek out wherever I go: a menu that invests heavily in pure ingredients, freshly made food and on-trend flavours and ingredients without being intimidatingly "upscale". Modern but also warm, with a concept that exudes the enthusiasm of its owners. It's obvious that the concept appeals to a wide range of customers as well, as we saw students as well as older married couples and families sit down for a delicious lunch here.

Lunch at Puur van Wijck in Maastricht
Lunch at Puur van Wijck in Maastricht
Lunch at Puur van Wijck in Maastricht
Lunch at Puur van Wijck in Maastricht

There's still heaps to discover to the city of Maastricht, and rest assured: I'll be returning here. This seems like the ideal city to have a girlfriend weekend filled with shopping, sightseeing, good food and bar hopping.

Do you have any Maastricht recommendations? As I discovered from all the messages I got in response to my Instagram stories during our visit, Maastricht has quite the loyal fanbase, so get those tips coming for my next visit!

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