Visitors flock each year to Valkenburg, enjoying its mines and caves with drawings that date back to Roman times. A maze of 12th-century passageways that lies beneath the remains of Valkenburg’s hilltop castle, which dates back to the 11th century, is full of history and charm and is a firm favourite with holidaymakers each year.
At Christmas time Valkenburg sparkles with cheerful light, November to January the annual underground Christmas market is in full swing, transforming the town into a ‘Kerststad’, a Christmas city.
Things to See and Do
Castle Ruins & Velvet Cave
The Netherlands’ only hill top castle towers over Valkenburg, it is now only a ruin, but offers fantastic views of the city. Most of the castle is made of limestone blocks that have been removed from the local caves and walking around you really get a sense of what life was like back in 1110, when it was built.
There are lots of informative signs written in English to guide you through the ruins, they describe what was happening and when it happened as well as how the castle was constructed.
Fantastic artwork hangs on the on the walls of the caves, for you to admire as you explore and make sure you head to the top and see the amazing panoramic view of Valkenburg.
The caves open at 10:00 am and it costs 7 euro's to enter the largest cave.
Museum Land Van Valkenburg
If you are travelling later in the year it is easy to get caught up in the Cave Market and Christmas shopping, try and put the Museums on your itinerary, it's a reminder that Valkenburg has its own heritage.
The local Valkenburg museum is small and housed in a beautiful old building and is run by a private foundation. The museum has some interesting information about Valkenburg and a rotating exhibition offering an insight in regional art life of the local area.
Although this is a model mine, built just to simulate the old situations, it is still the only accessible mine in the Netherlands, tour of the caves ensures you see all aspects of mining life, from the transport they used (trains and horses) to the drilling machines and bands that carry the coal and stones away.
Take a look back in time at this video of Steenkoolmijn
Top Tip – If you are travelling in the festive season these attractions can be combined on 1 ticket alongside the Christmas Market Caves, and the Sand Caves!
The Sand Caves
1 hour tours with silent trains departing every hour from 11am take you deep underground to view the caves paintings, carvings and really beautiful statues cut from the Mergel (soft chalkstone). Rembrandt's night watch and a skeleton of the famous mosasaurus are nice scenes to look out for.
TOP TIP: It's also worth paying that bit extra for a combined ticket for the Chair Lift to Wilhelmina Tower.
The Wilhelmina tower is the eye-catcher in Valkenburg.
Built in 1906, Wilhelmina Tower offers guests the opportunity to take a relaxed journey by chair lift up the mountain from Valkenburg Town to the Tower, the panoramic views over Limburg are impressive and on clear days you can even look over the border of Belgium and Germany.
© Raimond Spekking
If you are feeling adventurous, there is a metal toboggan run that returns you back to the tower at the top of the hill or take the A GGO zip line from the top of the tower.
If you want to discover Valkenburg, Grand UK Holidays offer a range of holidays, some include the Keukenhof Gardens as a bonus excursion.
For all our Valkenburg tours we stay at the Hotel Walram ★★★ (Dutch grading)
- Bar, restaurant,patio garden
- En-suite bedrooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Indoor swimming pool
- Buffet breakfast and three course set menu evening dinner with tea and coffee
Well-known for its family-friendly environment, the Hotel Walram is centrally located, perfect for those wanting to visit various towns/cities such as Cologne, Aachen, Monschau.
All of the local amenities are within walking distance (supermarket and cafes) and attractions such as the castle & caves located within a 10 minute walk on relatively flat to gradual gradient.
The food on the arrival night is buffet style, but subsequent nights are table service with a choice of two main courses chosen by the guest on the previous evening.
The breakfasts are buffet style with a good selection of cereals, pastries, salads, cold meats and hot selection of foods, & fruit juices.
The hotel caters for lots of coach holidays, and as such has a good system and helpful staff on hand 24/7.