A couple of weeks ago the Limburg Lonkt Campaign invited us to go on a boat trip from Maastricht to Liège with Rederij Stiphout. We’ve been saying for over a year we urgently need to discover more of Belgium, our home country, so this sounded like a great start. Would it be something you’d like to do as well? Keep reading to find out!
What’s the Limburg Lonkt Campaign?
The Limburg Lonkt Campaign is a collaboration between VVV Zuid-Limburg and Maastricht Marketing to put South Limburg on the map as the ‘Happiness Region’. Naomi from Happy B's was chosen to go on a 10 week blog trip to get this message out into the world. We gladly accepted the invite to join her on a boat trip from Maastricht to Liège with Rederij Stiphout.
Limburg Lonkt means Limburg is calling, but with a nice alliteration in Dutch. 😉
The Boat Trip from Maastricht to Liège with Rederij Stiphout
At 10:00 in the morning the boat from Rederij Stiphout leaves Maastricht. A 2.5 hour boat ride takes you over the Meuse (or Maas) and the Albert Canal to Liège. There, you have 2.5 hours to freely wander around this famous Belgian city on your own, before the boat leaves again for Maastricht. Ready to go on this boat trip with us?
Boat Trip from Maastricht to Liège – Practical information
But first, let’s dive into some practical stuff concerning this boat trip from Maastricht to Liège. Like I mentioned before, the boat leaves the jetty in Maastricht at 10:00 in the morning. They ask you to be there 15 minutes beforehand to let the departure run smoothly. For the best seats, you obviously have to arrive a little earlier.
If you happen to be by car, you can park it at Parking De Griend. This brand-new parking garage is a 5 minute walk from the jetty, on the other side of the Meuse. At the regular rate, you’d have to pay €13 to park your car there an entire day. However, at the Rederij Stiphout Ticket Office, you can buy a 24 hour parking ticket for €10.50 instead.
The boats of Rederij Stiphout are well equipped. They have a café, toilets, and seating both inside and out. You can opt to buy lunch on board à la carte, or preorder the lunch package for €14.40 per person. This includes coffee with pie and a main dish. If you prefer to eat out in Liège, that’s totally up to you of course.
They recommend making a reservation for this boat trip to avoid being disappointed on arrival. Tickets cost €24.25 per person, buying you a roundtrip Maastricht – Liège. You can purchase a one way ticket as well, which costs €15.25 per person.
Boat Trip from Maastricht to Liège – Our experience
We had a wonderful day, joining Naomi from Happy B's on the boat trip from Maastricht to Liège with Rederij Stiphout! We were pleasantly surprised by the nice views we had from the boat, cruising between the green banks of the Meuse. The captain pointed out the notable sights we passed over the microphone, like the house of André Rieu or the trees that were gnawed on or even felled by beavers. Didn’t spot a beaver though.
About 25 minutes into the boat trip, we reached the Ternaaien Lock. We had already seen a canal lock in operation, but hadn’t yet been on a boat in a lock. This particular lock between the Meuse and the Albert Canal bridges a height difference of no less than 15 metres. It took about 30 minutes to raise the water level up to that of the Albert Canal. It’s a pretty cool experience though, and we happily crossed that off of our bucket list.
Curious to see what this looks like? These are about 20 minutes of the time we spent in the lock on our way back compressed into 10 seconds:
Near Liège the Albert Canal comes together with the Meuse once again. Here you can see a huge statue of King Albert I. He was the 3rd king of Belgium, after whom the Canal was named. Right around here we smelled the Jupiler Brewery, where they brew one of Belgium’s most popular lagers.
Not much later, around 12:30, the boat moored at the jetty in Liège. We had exactly 2.5 hours to wander around Liège before the boat would leave again for Maastricht at 15:00 sharp.
Exploring Liège on a Self-Guided Walking Tour
Upon arrival at the Rederij Stiphout Ticket Office on the morning of your boat trip, you’ll receive a brochure with 2 suggested self-guided walking tours of Liège. They come with a route description, and points of interest are marked on the map. The blue walk takes about 1 hour on average, the pink one about 1.5 hours. To get the most out of our short time in Liège, we walked a combination of the 2, which is easily doable in 2 hours with plenty of time for photographs.
Liège City Centre
We started our self-guided walking tour by crossing the Meuse over the Passerelle Saucy, a footbridge. Passing the University of Liège, we continued to the Liège Cathedral. Otherwise known as St. Paul’s Cathedral, this former church was elevated in rank after the demolition of St. Lambert’s Cathedral. Unfortunately it was covered in scaffolding during our visit.
We crossed the Cathedral Square over to the Fontaine de la Vierge, or Virgin Fountain. We picked up some delicious sandwiches from Pollux, before continuing our self-guided walking tour of Liège. We didn’t know it then, but we would be returning here later for some Liège Waffles, the best ones in town according to Lonely Planet. Can’t visit Liège without eating a Liège Waffle now, can you?
Next stop was Place Saint-Lambert, or St. Lambert Square, with the impressive Palais des Princes-Évêques in the north. The former Palace of the Prince-Bishops now houses the courthouse and the provincial government. After a short look in the courtyard (too bad we weren’t allowed in the gardens), we took the Rue du Palais that runs along the Palace. Here you can see the typical 17th and 18th century Liège houses. Most of them are on a protected heritage list.
We continued to the doorway between number 58-64, where we entered the courtyard and climbed the narrow stairs squeezed between old houses to the terraces and a viewpoint over Liège. Every terrace has a bench where you can enjoy some alone time or a romantic date. Being on the clock, we continued to the right through the Sentier des Coteaux, literally the Hillside Trail. At the end we headed back down some more narrow stairs, to end at the foot of the Montagne de Bueren. This 374 step staircase was built in 1880 so soldiers could quickly reach the city centre from the Citadel. The Citadel is no more, so save yourself the sweat and instead just enjoy the view from the terraces and the Sentier de Coteaux.
Our time in Liège was coming to an end, so we headed back to the boat via the city’s most famous monument: Le Perron. This fountain, situated across from city hall, represents the freedom of the Liège people and is the symbol of the city of Liège.
Is this a day trip worth doing?
We certainly enjoyed this day trip, taking the boat from Maastricht to Liège with Rederij Stiphout, wandering around this Belgian city and taking the boat back to Maastricht. The route is nice, you get to experience the workings of a canal lock firsthand, and a brochure for an informative self-guided walking tour of Liège is included. Everything was arranged neatly, from the parking spot to the timing of the trip.
It’s a great day trip to enjoy the peace and quiet of a boat trip, combined with a couple of hours to soak up the vibe in Liège. Do note that your time in Liège is limited and you will be spending 5 hours of your day on a boat. If you’re in the right company that time flies by though, and you have lots to see on the shores of the Meuse and the Albert Canal.
If you prefer to spend some more time in Liège, you can always buy a one way ticket with Rederij Stiphout and head back to Maastricht by train. According to the SNCB Europe website this will take you 32 minutes and cost you €5.60. This way, you combine the best of everything: the relaxing boat trip with the canal lock experience, as much time in Liège as you wish, and a quick and cheap ride back to Maastricht. Enjoy!
Have you already been to Liège and tasted a Liège Waffle? Or took a boat over the Meuse and Albert Canal? We’d love to read about your experiences in the comments!
We didn’t have to pay for the boat trip from Maastricht to Liège with Rederij Stiphout, but our opinions are our own.
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