Where are the good bars? What shops should you go to? Which restaurants have the best food and low prices? When you’re new in town, it’s always hard to find out where the hot spots are. Observant gives you a hand, with four routes for four different days out.
You can impress your parents with your knowledge of the history of the city by buying one of the city walking routes at the tourist information centre (VVV) and learning it by heart. That way, while leading them around the sights of Maastricht, you can casually drop lines like ‘You know, the Vrijthof was a graveyard in the early Middle Ages’ or ‘The town hall was built by the Dutch architect Pieter Post’. (VVV, Kleine Straat 1, www.vvvmaastricht.eu)
Onze Lieve Vrouweplein
After your tour around the city, you can have a well-deserved drink at one of the outdoor cafés at the Onze Lieve Vrouweplein. This square is slightly less touristy than the Vrijthof, and taking your parents there will give you an air of being well integrated. Which café you visit doesn’t really matter, unless your parents are really into chocolate. In that case, go to the Chocolate Company, where they sell special chocolates, chocolate cake, chocolate ice-cream and of course hot chocolate. (Chocolate Company, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 2, www.chocolatecompany.nl)
Beluga Nxt Door
This is the trendy baby sister of two-star restaurant Beluga. The food is said to be as good as in the original restaurant, but the prices are a lot friendlier. It’s still a good idea to bring your parents though, as Beluga Nxt Door is not exactly student budget proof. They don’t take reservations, so try to be there early. If you have to wait for a little while you can do so in the posh cocktail and champagne bar at the entrance, which won the Dutch catering award for Best Cocktail Bar. (Beluga Nxt Door, Koestraat 2–6. www.nxtdoor.nl)
Theater aan het Vrijthof
The theatre at the Vrijthof is the place to be for a cultural night out. All kind of artists perform here, from well-known comedians to up-and-coming drama groups, from classical concerts to musicals. The theatre season runs from September till July and you usually need to book early. Besides its normal programme, the theatre also hosts several festivals during the year, including the Dutch Days of Dance and the Euregional Opera and Music festival. (Theater aan het Vrijthof, Vrijthof 47, www.theateraanhetvrijthof.nl)