Explore the picturesque town of Valkenburg on this walking tour, which visits the castle, caves, medieval gates, and more.
This walk starts from Valkenburg train station and it’s a 15-minute train ride from Maastricht. There’s also a large car park at the train station, one of the cheapest in town. Driving further into the centre of Valkenburg is not recommended as it can beome very busy.
Valkenburg Walking Tour Map
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Tips for Valkenburg Walking Tour
- Valkenburg can get very busy in the summer, especially on weekends, so start your walking tour early to avoid the crowds.
- Valkenburg is famous for its many caves, which are all old quarries mining the local stone. Most of the caves are fairly similar, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose to visit.
- Check out other walks and hikes on our Netherlands Hiking Page.
Top Sights in Valkenburg
On this self-guided walking tour you’ll walk along the main streets and see the main sights in the centre of Valkenburg. A couple of hours is enough time to spend in Valkenburg, though you could easily spend a few of days here if you want to visit the caves, attractions parks or cycle in the nearby countryside.
- Station Valkenburg
- Museum Valkenburg
- Valkenburg Main Streets
- Valkenburg Castle
- Gemeente Grot
- St. Nicholas Church
Top Sights Slightly Further from the Centre
You can still walk to the sights slightly further from the centre of Valkenburg, though others may prefer to drive.
- Valkenburg Caves
- Cauberg Hill
- Attraction Park Kabelbaan
- Sprookjesbos Attraction Park
Valkenburg Walking Tour Route
This walking trail starts from Valkenburg train station, which is the first stop on this tour.
1. Rijksmonument Station Valkenburg
The Rijksmonument Station Valkenburg* is a lovely historic building and worth seeing even if you don’t arrive by train. Like most buildings in Valkenburg, it’s made out of local Mergel Stone (or marlstone, a cross between mudstone and limestone). There’s a nice cafe here with pleasant outdoor seating. It also happens to be the oldest train station in the Netherlands!
Directions: Head down the road opposite the station, then left through the park. Turn left and then take the second right along a tree-lined pedestrianised street which brings you to the center of Valkenburg.
On your right just before you cross a stream, you’ll see the French Mill (Fransche Molen). A Frenchman constructed this grain mill in 1804, and you can still see the mill itself in the stream.
Directions: Cross the bridge, then take the first left.
You’ll soon reach a lovely square with a couple of cafes and the Valkenburg Tourist Information in the historic building opposite. Inside, apart from information, there is a small exhibit about the geology of the area. To the right of the tourist information, you can see the Geulpoort (the Gate by the River Geul). This was an old entrance to the town, which has recently been fully restored.
Directions: Continue walking along the street by the river. Cross the first bridge on your right, then turn right again to walk back on the other side. When you reach the Geulpoort again, turn left.
2. Museum Valkenburg
Key Information: Open Tue-Sun, 1-5pm. Tickets cost €8/4 for adults/children.
The Museum Valkenburg (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a small museum housed in a beautiful old building. It has exhibits about artists from the region and the history of Valkenburg from prehistoric times up until the present day. There’s a small collection of local archaeology, geology (mining and fossils) as well as culture and contemporary art. There are only a couple of signs in English, but most exhibits are self-explanatory.
Directions: Continue along the street and take the first left.
3. Valkenburg Main Streets
You’ll now be walking along the main streets of Valkenburg. These streets can be very busy in summer, especially on weekends. Both sides are full of restaurants and cafes, all with outdoor seating, and a few tourist shops.
Directions: At the end of the busy section, take a right along a path that heads upwards around the back of the castle. When you reach the road on the other side, the Velvet Caves are on your left, while the main entrance to the castle is along the street to the right, through a modern facade.
4. Valkenburg Castle
Valkenburg Castle (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is the Netherlands’ only hilltop castle! It’s now a ruin, but there are great panoramic views of the town and the surrounding countryside (Geul Valley) from within. You have to pay to enter, though you can still take a peak by heading up the steps (or lift) to just before the ticket barrier.
Inside there are a few walls still standing, but not too much more. These walls are just the remnants of the medieval castle, which you can learn about inside from the information boards dotted around.
The Velvet Cave (Fluweelengrot) is a network of secret passages beneath the castle. It is, like most of the other Valkenburg Caves, manmade, and mainly formed by miners digging for marl to use as building stone. It’s roughly 12C year-round (so relatively cold in summer & warm in winter) and you can see several drawings and cave murals inside, along with much more.
Directions: Almost opposite the castle entrance, but slightly up the Cauberg hill, is the entrance to the next stop.
5. Gemeente Grot
Key Information: Open for tours from 10:30 – 16:45. Tickets are €8.50/6 for adults/children.
The Gemeente Grot (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is sometimes also called Cauberg Cavern. There are two options for a tour here – either by foot or on a little train. The caves (actually old quarries) have an interesting history, with many different groups of people hiding out in these tunnels over the centuries.
The main downside is that the tours are only in Dutch. However, there is an English audio guide you can download to your phone. Additionally, if you do visit, ask at the front desk before you buy your tickets if the guide will be able to speak English to you or not. You can also read about the cave’s history online beforehand.
Directions: Leave the cave and turn left. This junction is Grendelplein and you’ll find more shops and restaurants here.
You’ll soon see Grendelpoort Historic Gate on your right. This gate has been restored to its original style, yet still has a historic charm.
Directions: Continue through the gate and take the first left down a quiet street. You’ll soon see the church on your right.
6. St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church (in Dutch the Nicolaas- en Barbarakerk) is the main church of Valkenburg. It’s a historic church with a distinctive interior and often hosts cultural events.
Just past the church on your left you can see the little Den Halder Castle by the river. It’s privately owned so you can’t visit, but it’s a pretty building.
Directions: Cross over the river and continue straight onwards to head back to the station and the end of the Valkenburg Walking Tour. Alternatively, visit some of the attractions in Valkenburg mentioned below.
Attractions Further Afield
Just outside the centre of Valkenburg are several other attractions you can visit. They’re all quite close, so you can still walk there, or drive if you think they’re too far.
1. Valkenburg Caves
Apart from the Gemeente Grot, there are several other caves to explore slightly further from the town centre of Valkenburg. The famous Valkenburg Caves offer different unique underground experiences with fascinating stories and history. Note that the caves are all quite cold, so bring a jacket.
Many of the caves have special markets or exhibitions around Christmas time (from mid-November to end-December). The largest and most famous Christmas Market is in the Gemeente Grot, with another Christmas Market in the Velvet Cave/Fluweelengrot. Be warned that these markets can get very busy, especially on weekends!
Key Information: Open 10/11am-16:30/15:30 in winter/summer. Tickets are €17.50/15.50 for adults/children.
The MergelRijk Caves (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) are one of the most expensive and commercialised caves in Valkenburg, but there’s lots to see and do. You’ll learn about the Mergel Rock (Marlstone) and underground spaces from prehistoric times until the present. You can see 3D cave paintings, sand sculptures, and take part in a fun treasure hunt.
Grotten Van Valkenburg
Key Information: Tours at 11m, 1pm and sometimes also 2:30pm. Tickets are €8.50/6.50 for adults/children.
The Grotten Van Valkenburg is another cave close to MergelRijk. There are several wall paintings, and on the tour your guide will explain the legends of these mysterious drawings. You’ll also learn about how the caves sheltered various groups of people during the wall and about the marlstone rock that was quarried from here.
Key Information: From Apr-Dec, daily tours hourly between 11am and 4pm inclusive (Nov & Dec last tour at 3pm). Jan-Mar tours 12pm-3pm weekends, 2pm weekdays. Tickets are €13/10 for adults/children.
The Steenkolenmijn Valkenburg (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) is a replica of a coal mine that you can visit only on a guided tour. The tours are led by former miners, and they explain the difficulties and daily tasks of what it was like down the mines. The mine is well laid out, with authentic mining machinery that you can see in action.
The tour itself is in Dutch only – for English speakers, you’re given an information leaflet (with fairly small text). This text is often much shorter than what the guide says, so you do miss out quite a lot if you don’t speak Dutch.
Key Information: Open every day with tours at 10:30, 12:30 and 14:30, with extra tours on the hour in summer. Tickets are €16/10 per adult/child.
The Roman Catacombs in Valkenburg (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*) are a replica of the ancient catacombs in Rome. They were created in 1910 inside an old quarry and are quite impressive. The guides explain the meaning of the frescoes and statues, and it’s a great alternative if you don’t think you’ll make it to Rome to see the real thing!
2. Cauberg Hill
Cauberg Hill is the hill on the southeast side of Valkenburg. It’s quite a steep incline but offers some nice views of the surrounding landscape. At the top, you can visit the Thermae 2000 Wellness centre and the Holland Casino, or head over to the attraction parks on the other side. Cauberg Hill is well-known because of a famous cycle race that finishes here every year (The Amstel-Gold Race). If you walk along the road, you’ll probably see many cyclists practicing!
Thermae 2000 Wellness Hotel
If you’re interested in relaxation, consider a visit to Thermae 2000, a wellness center with thermal baths and various spa facilities. You can stay here overnight*, or buy a day ticket to visit the spa*.
Holland Casino Valkenburg
Also at the top of Cauberg Hill is Holland Casino Valkenburg (Website, Tripadvisor Reviews*). In the Netherlands gambling is controlled by the state, which owns this chain of casinos (the only real casinos in the country). Here you can obviously gamle, but there are also several bars, restaurants and fine-dining opportunities. There is also often live entertainment, themed nights and more. The casino is open every day from midday. You must show proof of age (over 18) to get in.
3. Attraction Park Kabelbaan (Cable Car) Valkenburg
On the other side of Cauberg Hill lies the Kabelbaan attraction park. Here you can find several exciting activities. These include the cable car itself, which takes you to the top of the hill. At the top is the Wilhelmina Lookout Tower, from which there are great views, and a minigolf course. To get back down you can walk or take a ride on the toboggan run. The entrance and tickets are at the bottom on Neerhem Road.
4. Sprookjesbos Attraction Park
Sprookjesbos (Fairytale Forest) is a family attraction park aimed at young children. Inside there are rides, games, and adventures, all in a lovely forest.
Best Accommodation in Valkenburg
Valkenburg has a wide variety of accommodation options, from hotels to self-catering apartments. We’ve selected the best below:
Hotel Janssen*: a hotel in the center with friendly staff, clean and well-decorated rooms, and an excellent optional breakfast.
Hotel Botterweck*: this newly renovated hotel has a very central yet quiet location and has options of just rooms or lovely self-catering apartments.
Guidebooks to explore more of the Netherlands
FAQS – Valkenburg Walking Tour
Valkenburg is known for being a touristy town with plenty of attractions in the heart of south Limburg. It’s also known for its many caves and the Christmas Market which takes place underground, and the Cauberg – the famous hill known from the Amstel Gold cycling race.
Valkenburg is a great place to base yourself to explore the region by bike. Strolling around the historic centre of Valkenburg is also a great idea.
To visit the centre of Valkenburg you only need an hour or two, though you’ll need more time if you decide to visit one or more of the many caves. It also makes a nice base for exploring the wider region.