Cycling in Limburg, the Netherlands
From the super cozy Gulpen (about half an hour from Maastricht by public transport) I rented an electric bike at rental company Rocca (address: Landsraderweg 13).
Believe me… An e-bike is not a luxury here!
Instead of a regular electric bike, I was offered the latest version: the Kingo e-bike. An electrified two-wheeler with a gigantic tablet on the steering wheel that serves as a GPS.
Although it certainly creates opportunities, I would still recommend going for the regular e-bike. The tablet will deplete your battery faster, but the system also lags too often or responds too slowly to really enjoy your bike ride.
There are plenty of opportunities to cycle in South Limburg. In total there are hundreds of miles of cycling paths that are cleverly connected via junctions. With these, you can map out your cycling tour yourself, or you can choose a pre-planned route.
On the way you just have to keep an eye out for the wooden signposts with numbers on, but once you realize how it all works the cycling goes pretty smoothly.
Cycle past Maastricht, Valkenburg, Gulpen or Margraten or cross the Dutch border to Belgium or Germany. Maybe it’s even more fun to head off to the three-country border!
Along the way you get a lot of variation in landscapes.
Flat agricultural landscapes with long green grass that is eaten short by cows, sheep and horses, or hills from where you get beautiful views over the entire region. You don’t only see nature here. During your cycling tour you’ll also explore cozy villages or luxurious residential areas. And not unimportant: you also pass quite a few restaurants or cafes where you can take a break.
Nice things to visit during your cycling tour in Limburg, the Netherlands
Are you not sure how you want to map out your cycle route through South Limburg yet? Then plan them based on some sights! You can visit them as a stopover on the way, or perhaps as a final destination. I sum up some of the nicest things to do.
The Three-Country border
From the Netherlands I cycled briefly through Aachen, from where I then pedaled further to the Three-Country point (the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium). If you still don’t feel the wrath of all that cycling in your calves, I guarantee that it will come anytime now.
The Three-Country border is located at a fairly high point on the three national borders.
I have to be honest; It’s not very special, but the feeling that you are so close to three countries at the same time is pretty exciting. Around these three land borders you’ll also find many tourist activities and cozy restaurants.
The Three-Country border tower
The Three-Country point even has its own watchtower, (the Wilhelminatoren) from where you see the three countries from up high.
You can go up for three euros.
Do you climb the stairs, or are you lazy like me and take the elevator? In good weather the view is quite impressive. From this height you also see how hilly this landscape is, and how green!
With binoculars you can explore the area even better if you wish. A panoramic platform with a glass floor was built on the highest floor. It’s a bit of a fright when you look down, but I didn’t see any cracks … So I think it’s safe!
The Three-Country point maze
About one kilometer (0,6 mile) further is another tourist attraction: the Three-Country border maze.
This activity is especially fun for children, but as an adult you of course have just as much rights to get lost. Don’t you feel like getting disoriented between the green walls of this labyrinth? Then you can just enjoy a drink nearby.
Margraten American cemetery
If you go cycling through South Limburg and you leave from Gulpen, you don’t have to go very far at first. The next village that you pass is Margraten.
Although this is actually not such a big city, many tourists come here every year. And that has everything to do with the American cemetery of Margraten.
Thousands of white crosses stand here in long rows next to and behind each other and thus provide an impressive first sight. More than ten thousand young men and women are buried here because of their courageous actions during World War Two.
The serenity and sobriety of this monument is beautiful. But once a year, it gets even more impressive! During the ‘faces of Margraten’ thousands of photos are placed next to the graves for several days. For once, all of the graves of the fallen soldiers get a face, and that really leaves you standing there with goosebumps…
Are you leaving from Gulpen, or are you still looking for a nice place to end your bike ride? Then perhaps this is a fun activity.
In the heart of Gulpen you’ll find one of the most successful small breweries in the Netherlands.
Since I’m not a big fan of Heineken, I was a bit skeptical about Dutch beer. But… I shouldn’t have been!
Some 60 people work in the Gulpener brewery. Brewing beer is of course their core business, but they also keep busy with a lot of cool initiatives in which they involve local residents and at the same time staying very environmentally conscious.
Exactly how that works is perfectly explained by one of those sixty enthusiastic employees during a tour of the brewery.
After a brief introduction (introductory movie, more explanation and a first beer you can taste) you are taken through the entire factory.
You actually get to see every step of the production process without it ever getting boring. On the way you get the opportunity to sip an unfiltered beer. When I visited, we got to taste the ‘Gerardus tripel‘. Honestly, this was one of the best beers I drank in my life!!!
If you still have some questions after the introduction movie, they will be explained during the tour. You get to see how ecological this brewery works, how they quietly modernize everything and where they want to head in the future.
At the end of the tour it’s time to chat with the other visitors while you get to try three different beers from Brewery Gulpener (in 2018 they had 16 own brews). You have to try and guess what the brand name of these three alcoholic beverages are, but since these (and the previous) drink are following each other at a quite fast pace, you’ll soon get a little bit light headed… Conclusion: it gets very difficult.
I ended up with guessing only one beer correct. Not too bad if I compared my score with the other visitors!
Feel free to hang around in the brewery afterwards. Especially the terrace I found super cozy (and the food smelled delicious!).
Great food and accommodation nearby
If you stay in Gulpen like I did, then I can strongly recommend ‘Herberg de Zwarte Ruiter‘.
In this authentic inn you can try tasty regional dishes or enjoy some local beers (from the Gulpener brewery!). If you prefer to spend a night in this cute village, you can do that here as well.
Behind the bar lies a luxurious accommodation where you are pampered to the max. The rooms are stylishly furnished and equipped with everything that you might need. The amazing breakfast ensures that you can’t start the day better (especially if you want to rent a bike afterwards!). Definitely have a chat with the friendly staff, as they will gladly tell you more about the area or about their beautiful establishment.
Another cool concept in the neighborhood is ‘Talentino‘. A restaurant with top quality dishes at fairly low prices. People with disabilities serve the delicious food that they’ve prepared themselves. The portions are huge, so make sure you are hungry when you come here!
Finally, in Gulpen you can also have lunch or dinner at Brewery Gulpener. I didn’t eat here myself, but the food looked (and smelled) really delicious. Moreover, they only work with local products (everything comes from a radius of 40 kilometers / 25 miles), which I think is a successful initiative to support the local economy and again very environmentally friendly. Especially in good weather it’s very pleasant to dine here. Are you not that hungry? Then you can still enjoy a good beer here. My favourite? The Gerardus tripel. As a Belgian, I have to reluctantly admit that this was one of the tastiest ‘pints’ I’ve ever had…
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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.