Well before I came to the Netherlands, I thought the country is as flat as a pancake. But I was proven wrong! The south of the Netherlands is full of rolling hills. Last weekend, I joined a local hiking group to explore the countryside of the Limburg Province, which the southern-most areas of the Netherlands.
We started our hike at the historical city of Maastricht, but within a short hike we were in the countryside. Apparently, South Limburg is very famous for its caves and underground passages. Many of these were dug out for mining and they were even used as bomb shelters during Second World War.
Farmlands and Rolling Hills
While I was living in Hong Kong, we didn’t see any farmland except those small organic plantation plots. It was very refreshing to roam around to see those big productive farmlands where corns and wheat are grown. If you are into photography, then the natural scenery is definitely a treat. Many of these places are ideal locations to take professional looking photos.
As we walk further along the more hills we came across. It was nice to see the town below from above. At one point we reached 180 meters above the sea level, quite high considering the name Netherlands means low-lying lands.
During our hike, we also enjoyed what the nature had to offer. We simply foraged some delicious cherries from the tree and some redcurrants off the bush.
The Catholic South & The Pilgrim Trail
Having walked for miles, we eventually joined one the European Pilgrim Trails. There are many of these in Europe and cross many countries and eventually end up at Santiago de Compostela, Spain where it was believe St James, one of Jesus disciples, was buried. Maybe that will be one of our future adventures?
The presence of Catholicism in the South Limburg is apparent. In most places we came across, we saw many status of Jesus or memorials of their friends and family members with a Jesus status on it. All of them are nicely decorated.
Medieval Town of Valkenburg
After the long 22 km hike, we end up at a small town called Valkenburg. It was certainly a surprise and the architectures were beautiful. It almost felt like I was in some kind of fairy land. Apparently, the town is also famous for the Christmas market in the cave. We must pay another visit and explore the town properly.
- Maastricht and Valkenburg: about 22 km hike on the rolling hills
- Getting to Masstricht: regular intercity trains serves the city from Amsterdam and Eindhoven; international trains from Liege, Belgium also serve the city
- Getting to Valkenburg: regular local trains connect Valkenburg from Maastrich
Have you ever been to Limburg or the Netherlands? What was your experience? Comment below and we would love to hear your experience.