Exploring Valkenburg and the Valkenburg Christmas Market is a must-do for all who are in the Netherlands. This small but very cosy, sociable location is a great place all year round, with lots of restaurants and things to do for all ages. The highlight is of course visiting in December, being able to visit the Christmas markets which are located inside the caves! Its an experience worth travelling for, even if you don’t wish to buy anything. Read on to learn about Valkenburg and Valkenburg Christmas markets!
Where is Valkenburg?
Valkenburg is located in South Limburg in the Netherlands, situated in the middle of Maastricht and Heerlen to be more precise. It can be found at the very South of the country between the hills and other beautiful villages.
What is special about Valkenburg?
With the official name of Valkenburg aan de Geul, this once fortified location was once occupied by Nazi-Germany for four years, four months and one week to be exact. Liberated on 17 September 1944, locals celebrated with the soldiers with fresh tulips and bread.
But before this, it was a popular holiday destination for many Dutch locals since the train station opened in 1853, which is the oldest surviving station in the Netherlands apparently!
Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers helped with the boost of tourism too, with many buildings being restored and renovated into beautiful gothic styles. He also helped design a hotel and an open air cinema.
These days Valkenburg is still a very popular place to visit, hosting 1 million overnight stays a year (pre covid). This number is also made up of those who also visit the Valkenburg Christmas Markets, mentioned more about below.
Things To Do In Valkenburg
Some of the main things to see and do in Valkenburg are the following:
- Climbing the Wilhelmina tower for beautiful views
- Exploring the Valkenburg castle ruins – Open to explore the ruins of the castle with also some lovely views of the area.
- Coal mine – A museum highlighting the work and life in the Limburgse Coal Mines during the 1960s and 1970s
- Local hiking routes through and around Valkenburg – There are many route starting, going through and ending here. Check out the free hiking app Kamoot for seeing which routes you may enjoy!
- A spa day at Thermae 2000 – A sauna and wellness resort for a well earned relaxing day for yourself or with loved ones.
- Cauberg Cavern – 70km man made tunnels that go up to 15m underground, with also tours highlighting lots of artwork and what life is like underground from the war.
- Visiting the Romeinse Katakomben – Catacombs replicas of those under the city of Rome, but still interesting to see!
Valkenburg Christmas Market
The gorgeous Valkenburg Christmas market is located in the limestone caves in the town. These caves are apparently up to 200km long and can be visited throughout the year, but for Christmas they are extra special. For the Christmas market, you can get yourself a ticket and enter these caves for a full festive delight.
Valkenburg Christmas Market Decorations
As soon as you arrive, the caves are decorated with some of the prettiest festive decorations for all ages to enjoy. From huge polar bears, snowmen, penguins, candy canes, houses and of course lots of trees. There is also fake snow in many places and shining lights throughout the whole cave for showing you the way.
For a bit of shopping, the Christmas market stands sell a bit of everything. From socks, scarfs and jumpers, festive house decorations, Christmas lights, snow globes, bags and children’s toys. There are many pretty stands also selling local artwork, designs and even products that are made from the stone of the caves.
Valkenburg Christmas Market Food & Drink
Inside the caves there are some food and drink spots to stop at and enjoy. There is seating allowing you to enjoy a nice festive drink. There were also stands selling warm food such as hotdogs, waffles and winter dishes like soup. There is of course also lots of delicious restaurants situated in Valkenburg to also find a seat at. Pick a place that has blankets or with outdoor heaters for an ultimate cosy dinner or lunch date.
Other posts you might be interested in from South Limburg:
The whole experience of visiting Valkenburg and the Valkenburg Christmas markets is quite special to walk around the caves, even if you don’t wish to buy anything. Book your time slot and enjoy a visit this year, which is open to the public from November. Plan at least a 1.5-2 hours to visit the caves plus a few more hours to enjoy the town centre too. Stop for a bite to eat and drink to make it a fun day out!
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Thank you for visiting my Valkenburg Christmas Markets post!