In Maastricht, the Netherlands’ southernmost and sunniest city, they know a thing or two about enjoying life. Sunbathing on a terrace at a lovely square forms an important aspect of the local lifestyle. In fact, as soon as the sun comes out (when it finally does), the city’s main squares – Vrijthof and Onze Lieve Vrouweplein – turn into giant open-air terraces. Curious where to find the best terraces in town? Keep reading!
This may not be your typical Maastricht terrace. No historical setting with wobbly chairs on cobblestone streets here. Instead, Café Zuid is located in Maastricht’s contemporary Céramique district, on the eastern riverside, a stone throw away from the little alleys, shops and restaurants (and crowds) of Wyck. Café Zuid has long been one of my favourites, not only because of their great coffee (from local roaster Blanche Dael) and vlaai (fruit pie), but also because of the modern, spacious terrace with deck chairs overlooking the riverside park.
Café Zuid: Plein 1992 15
You may have heard of this one before because it appears on many lists when it comes to go-to places in Maastricht. And for a reason, because not only does this lovely bar-bistro in Maastricht’s Jekerkwartier offer some of the best regional food in town (zoervleis, anyone?), it also has a wonderful terrace on the edge of the lush City Park. The terrace of Café Sjiek is a must-visit if you’re looking for brilliant homely food in a green setting. It’s worth the wait!
Café Sjiek: St. Pieterstraat 13
Not far away from Café Sjiek is Lure, an intimate café with a spacious terrace in the middle of the leafy and quiet Grote Looierstraat, a reclaimed canal. As it’s located next to the university library it’s a popular spot among students as well as locals.
Lure: Grote Looiersstraat 7
Le Virage and Il y A
I mention these together because 1) they’re located opposite each other at the junction of the Koestraat/Cortenstraat, which is one of the most scenic corners of Maastricht; 2) they have similarly romantic terraces outside on the cobblestone street; 3) both Le Virage and Il y A have a fabulously French-inspired look, feel and menu. C’est magnifique!
Another Frenchie, this time on the other side of the river, in Wyck. CINQ can rightly claim its terrace has one of the most beautiful views of Maastricht. Located on the river banks at what was until recently an ordinary car park, this terrace is one of the city’s new favourites.
CINQ: Cörversplein 5
A bit more off-the-beaten track, but more than worth the detour: Marres Kitchen is a small bar and restaurant part of an arts and cultural centre not far from Market Square. Headed by a Syrian chef, the restaurant offers great Mediterreanean-style dishes, which (weather allowing) are served outside on their terrace in the beautiful garden.
Marres Kitchen: Capucijnenstraat 98
Based inside a former power station in Maastricht’s young, innovative and industrial Sphinx Quarter, Lumière is an arthouse cinema with a beautifully designed restaurant and bar. What’s more, they have an amazing terrace with views of the inner-city harbour ‘t Bassin. Since opening in autumn 2016 this place has quickly established itself as a new favourite among locals (myself included!)
Lumière: Bassin 88
It may not rival those of the seaside neighbourhood in Rio de Janeiro after which it was named, but the views from Ipanema in Céramique are pretty impressive too. Located on the ground floor of the modern dome of the Bonnefanten Museum, Café Ipanema has a contemporary feel. Its terrace overlooks the river Meuse and the modern architecture of this new Maastricht district.
Ipanema: Avenue Céramique 250
Coffeelovers has several locations in Maastricht, including branches inside a former Dominican church and a former Jesuit monastery. But my favourite is still the original Coffeelovers café at Plein 1992 in Céramique. Though its interior might not be as impressive as some of its newer cousins, this branch of Coffeelovers does have the most beautiful terrace. With views of the modern central library and the new pedestrian bridge that connects this new part of Maastricht to the historic city centre, this terrace is ideally located for a quick coffee stop in a beautiful, modern setting.
Coffeelovers (Plein 1992): Ruiterij 2
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Buitengoed Slavante is the place to be. This grand café on top of Mount St. Peter has one of the most gorgeous terraces in Maastricht, if not the whole country (given the fact that there are not an awful lot of other hilltop cafes to compete with in the Netherlands). A quick ride away from the city centre by bike or boat, Buitengoed Slavante was built in the 19th century and continues to attract locals and visitors alike. The short but steep climb is worth it, because you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the valley!
Buitengoed Slavante: Slavante 1