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As of Thursday 16 November 21h00, the entrance fees for the Christmas caves are no longer included in the ticket (regardless of the text below). You can buy it at the entrance of the caves.

You can still join as long as the book now button is active, even on Friday evening late. Click here to get all the trip information for participants. For more last minute information, just call 04950-345144 (until around 21h30 reachable)

Valkenburg kerststad logo

Expat Club loves taking you to remarkable places in Belgium and its surrounding countries. Chances are you’ve never heard of Valkenburg, because it is a small town just across the border in Holland. Still, this place might as well be the residence of Santa Claus himself. It just breathes and lives Christmas in every corner. Not only the scenic village is lovely decorated, but there are even underground caves that are fully transferred in a Christmassy wonderland. No wonder it calls itself the Christmas City of the Netherlands.

Lauwers Dubbeldekker

Our transportation
As usual we travel by 4* luxury bus with reclining comfort seats and extra leg space. The bus is equipped with an on-board toilet, air-conditioning and DVD system with various flatscreens. Along the way we serve you some drinks & snacks to make sure you’re comfortable. Travelling together is a great way to get to know some new people and just to relax a bit while watching the Belgian and Dutch landscapes roll by.

© ErnstPieber – Fotolia.com

Valkenburg lies in the Southeastern tip of the Netherlands, not far from Maastricht. This is certainly not typical Holland anymore. It feels more like a German village between the high rolling hills. Its history goes back at least until the 13th century, so it should not be a surprise that there are many impressively old and beautiful buildings. The Valkenburg ruins are a major tourist attraction, but so are the smaller still occupied castles and castle farms a little outside the city center. In the center itself you’ll find two watermills, two city gates, parts of the old city wall, an old Spanish court building and of course several churches.

historical corn mill in Valkenburg aan de Geul, The Netherlands

Historical corn mill in Valkenburg | © Christian Müller – Fotolia.com

Valkenburg © Els Diederen WC

City Walls | Els Diederen (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Valkenburg Schaloen © Kasteelbeer own work WC

Castle Schaloen | Kasteelbeer (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Valkenburg © Arjandb own work WC

Oost Castle | Arjandb (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Den Halder Castle | Peter van der Wielen (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Den Halder Castle | Peter van der Wielen (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Valkenburg Romaine - Own work WC

Roman Catacombs | Romaine (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The above monuments are in and of itself enough reason to visit this lovely Dutch town in the province of Limburg, but Valkenburg is especially known for its marl quarries. Although not natural, these tunnels are locally called caves due to their extensive underground network.

Charcoal drawing of Mosasauris in Communical Cave | UIC2 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Charcoal drawing of Mosasaurus in communal cave | UIC2 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re in Valkenburg these caves are definitely worth a visit, not in the least place for the amazing charcoal drawings that are visible in many places. But during the weeks leading up to Christmas they are the location for the unique underground Christmas markets. Two caves are turned into Christmas markets, the Communal cave and the Velvet cave. Another one, Mergelrijk, is beautiful cave dedicated to marl stone through sculptures and works of art.

Valkenburg 08

© Kerststad Valkenburg

The trip fee includes the fees for the Municipal Cave and the Velvet Cave already!

Gemeentegrot (Communal Cave) | Cqui (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Gemeentegrot (Communal Cave) | Cqui (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Christmas market in the Municipal Cave
The first market you can visit is at the foot of the famous Cauberg. This is the largest and oldest underground Christmas market on the continent! It is magnificently decorated. Enjoy this setting while you walk along the countless Christmas stalls.

Valkenburg 07

© Kerststad Valkenburg

Valkenburg 06

© Kerststad Valkenburg

Christmas market in the Velvet Cave
The second underground market you can visit is in the Fluweelgrot, the Velvet Cave. Walk by another lovely 50 shops while you can gaze also at the many impressive mural paintings, sculptures and a stunning chapel from the 18th century.

Valkenburg 09

© Kerststad Valkenburg

Stunning sculptures in Mergelrijk

Stunning sculptures in Mergelrijk

Mergelrijk
Yet another cave that is fully worth visiting. Here you can learn more about marlstone and caves through various tales, whereas you pass by magnificent sculptures, works of art and projected movies.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 13.01.47

Valkenburg 05

© Kerststad Valkenburg

You can also watch the ‘marlstone wizard’ movie. Just spectacular. Since we don’t want to fill up your program too much visiting this cave is optional. Click here to download more information.

What else to do in Valkenburg?
With barely 16.000 inhabitants you might think that you’ve seen it all in just a few hours, but nothing is further from the truth. In case you come back on your you should definitely consider spending some time at Thermae 2000, a great spa resort where you can relax. But for the Christmas period you may also want to checkout the places on the following pictures.

Valkenburg 02

The chairlift going up to the Cauberg | © Kerststad Valkenburg

The Wilhelmina Tower on top of the mountain (reachable by chair lift) | Pitlane02 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The Wilhelmina Tower on top of the mountain (reachable by chair lift) | Pitlane02 (own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Christmas Parade
At 19h30 each Saturday a lovely Christmas Parade passes through city centre. A magical light parade with beautifully decorated floats and costumed dancers comes by at the tune of lovely Christmas music. This is a free event.

© Kerststad Valkenburg

© Kerststad Valkenburg

Valkenburg 04

© Kerststad Valkenburg

Return to Brussels
The end of the parade is also a perfect moment to call it a day and walk back to the bus for our return trip to Brussels. We leave around 21h00 and come back to Place Schuman around 22h30. Yet another memorable Christmas trip with Expat Club.

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