After a wonderful Summer, where travel restrictions were lifted and travelling was possible again (within Europe for most of us), Autumn and Winter kicked in with lockdowns pretty much everywhere again. After visiting all the amazing places in the Netherlands, traveling to Rotterdam and finding out the best things to do in Heerlen and staying in a crane hotel earlier this year, we decided to focus on our own country again this Autumn and Winter. Once more looking for the most beautiful and special places the Netherlands has to offer.
With the Holiday Season just around the corner now, the Christmas Suite at Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen caught our attention. After working with them earlier this year for our blog on Heerlen, the mural capital of the Netherlands, we decided to have another collaboration, so they invited us to experience their wonderful Christmas Suite.
And with Christmas being our favorite time of the year, we simply couldn’t wait to stay at Van der Valk Heerlen and their Christmas Suite. And I can already tell you that this special Christmas Suite is the ultimate Holiday Season getaway!
Christmas at Van der Valk Heerlen
Located in the southernmost part of the southernmost province of the Netherlands. Van der Valk Heerlen welcomes you to the South of Limburg, to experience its warm hospitality, its culture and the amazing natural beauty. An unforgettable experience guaranteed.
Over the past few years Hotel Heerlen has been through some massive renovations and some new constructions. While renovating the place a few years ago they had to deal with a massive fire. Due to this fire they immediately renovated the main building, which gave Heerlen pretty much a full brand new Van der Valk Hotel, ready for the future.
They keep renovating, just recently they renovated and upgraded two of their suites into family suites, and after Christmas their Penthouse suites will also get an upgrade.
This Van der Valk Hotel in Heerlen was one of the very first hotels to have introduced the Christmas Suite during the Holiday Season. And by now it seems the idea exploded, as many Van der Valk hotels across the Netherlands are now offering a Christmas Suite.
Normally this room can be booked as the Penthouse Suite, but in November and December each year it is turned into a Christmas Suite. And I can tell you, that is absolutely something unique and special! A must for everyone who loves the Holiday Season, but also a very cozy suite for those looking for that something special for this coming December.
This suite offers it all, a large hot tub, steam cabin, a large King-size bed and a fireplace. The Penthouse Suite is the most spacious and luxurious suite of the hotel, has a separate living and sleeping area and a large roof terrace with lovely views.
What more do you want, right?
Until January 3rd this suite will be decorated in an extra special Christmas style, with Christmas trees, Christmas lights and attractive decoration. Next to this Christmas Suite you’ll find Christmas decorations throughout the hotel, giving it that extra Christmas spirit.
Pool time Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen
Imagine a cold day in December. You went out exploring Limburg’s nature or the Christmas town of Valkenburg. You’re back at the hotel looking for some relaxation after being outdoors. Make sure to book a time slot for the swimming pool as this heated indoor pool offers you the relaxation you’re looking for. The water is +30C, allowing you to relax your muscles optimally.
Next to the swimming pool there’s also a heated hot tub, which is by far my favorite part of the hotel, so relaxed! From the pool you have some lovely and relaxing Terworm Estate views.
Due to Corona the maximum capacity of the pool at the moment is two households. This way you can be sure that it is not busy in the pool, in fact, we had the pool completely to ourselves, a private pool, which was actually pretty cool!
The hotel does not have wellness facilities such as a sauna or Turkish bath, but your Christmas Suite has its own steam cabin. So, after pool time, make your way back to your room and enjoy the steam cabin.
Winter and Christmas season are normally a very popular time for tourists to visit South Limburg. Not only because of the beautiful nature and landscapes, but also because of Maastricht and Winter Wonderland, Christmas Town Valkenburg and the unique marl caves and the proximity of the Christmas market in Aachen. This year, because of Covid, everything is different, and a lot of these events are canceled. However, there are still some events that do take place and are worth coming to Limburg for.
So keep reading to find out all about Winter and Christmas time in South Limburg in 2020.
Things to do in Zuid Limburg in winter
This event started just a few years ago and soon became a very popular event in the centre of Heerlen. What can you expect from Wintertijd Heerlen? Meet Santa, give it a go at the ice-skating rink, lots and lots of live music, great food and drinks. It’s a fun event for all ages and very popular for families to have a fun day out.
Normally this event is held every year in December, but due to Corona this year it has been moved up to February 2021.
In order to create the Wintertijd atmosphere in people's homes in December, the organization of Wintertijd Heerlen has set up a Christmas tree campaign. From Thursday 26 November, high quality Nordmann Christmas trees will be sold on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Part of the proceeds will be reserved for the Wintertijd event.
Christmas Express Miljoenenlijn
It’s Christmas time at the Miljoenenlijn!
Step on board of this steam and diesel train and be in for an unforgettable ride along the most beautiful spots of the South Limburg hills. Let yourself be carried away by the enchanting landscape and the nostalgic journey back in time.
During the month of December this unique experience becomes even more unique as the steam train turns into the Christmas Express. Experience the familiar nostalgic Christmas atmosphere of grandmother’s time during a steam train journey with this special Christmas Express. The puffing steam locomotive gently sets the "Christmas Express" in motion. Enjoy the beautiful winter landscape of South Limburg!
The Christmas Express commutes 4 times per day between the main station in Simpelveld and the station in Schin op Geul. On the way the train passes the stations of Eys-Wittem and Wijlre-Gulpen. It is possible to get on or off anywhere on the way.
Christmas manger walks
Something completely Corona-proof, and a fun activity for the whole family are the Christmas manger walks in the South of Limburg.
Every year hundreds of people display their Christmas manger to the public. Over the years more and more people started to do so and walks past these mangers were created. Nowadays there are several routes you can walk, and there are even some routes you can do by car.
Make sure to check their website for all routes and locations.
Christmas in Valkenburg
Even though everything looks different because of Covid, some things are still on. Christmas in Valkenburg is one of them. Although some of their events are cancelled and they have a lot of safety measures in place, but Christmas in Valkenburg is happening! That makes me really happy, as it’s something truly unique and for many people it’s something to look forward to each year during the Holiday Season.
The castle ruin tower majestically above the medieval streets and the whole place exudes a festive atmosphere. Not as many as normally, but still in two different caves you can enjoy the underground enchantment. Experience the feeling of warmth and coziness at Christmas in Valkenburg. Some must do’s you really shouldn’t miss out on.
Christmas in Mergelrijk
The absolute must see of Christmas in Valkenburg. Be amazed by life sized marl sculptures, experience unique Christmas villages and of course the 25 meters long Christmas story in miniature. The underground corridors are completely decorated in a Christmas atmosphere. Be sure to order your tickets online!
This year Mergelrijk is definitely one of my favorites and highly recommended things to do! The cave is completely decorated in a Christmas atmosphere and becomes and enchanting and cozy Christmas cave. Going down in the cave you’re immediately amazed by the 30-meter long miniature world that tells the Christmas story.
Keep walking and you’ll walk straight into a winter fairytale by visiting the Lemax Christmas villages and its inhabitants.
Mergelrijk also tells stories about the secrets of marl, the history of the caves, search for fossils and be inspired by various educational themes.
Winter Wonderland Valkenburg
This one is new in 2020, so definitely worth a trip to Valkenburg. At the foot of the cable-lift you can enter the marl Wilhelmina Cave and experience the story of Christmas at the most beautiful nativity scene in Europe! Be ready for a breathtaking trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
After being amazed by this beautiful Christmas story, you should really follow it up by a ride on the cable lift. It takes you up to the Wilhelmina tower, where you’ll find the largest illuminated Christmas tree in Limburg. Make sure you enjoy the view of Christmas town Valkenburg from up here. And while you’re up there, wake up the inner child and have a go at the toboggan run.
Culinary walking routes
One of my favorite things to do, I do this one every year and just love it. Christmas in Valkenburg normally hosts about 4-5 culinary walks, all around Valkenburg. The routes vary between 4 and 8 kilometers, visiting 4-5 restaurants and cafes on your route. At every stop you’re served a delicious amuse bouche. Explore and discover Christmassy Valkenburg while enjoying some truly delicious amuse bouche, my number one must do!
In and around Valkenburg you can make the most beautiful winter walks. Valkenburg has some well-marked paths, amazing natural beauty and incredible views. You can also do a Christmas manger walk starting in Valkenburg, at the local Tourist Office. This fun walk will take you towards Schin op Geul.
Nature Terworm Estate
Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen is part of the beautiful and impressive Terworm Estate. It’s a nature reserve offering plenty of opportunities for some active outdoor activities or relaxation. It’s very suitable for walking and cycling with routes varying from 4 to 7 kilometers.
Something else that’s really worth the visit is the 14th century Terworm Castle, located just a short 5 minute walk from the hotel. One of my favorite parts of the estate are the impressive castle gardens, very beautiful. The castle is located on a completely moated site, that definitely makes it even more impressive and beautiful.
Even though the Winter and Christmas season in South Limburg will be very different this year, this region is still a great place to escape to, have a short staycation or winter getaway. The region still offers plenty of activities and things to do. Explore the beautiful nature this part of the Netherlands has to offer, do some Christmas shopping in Valkenburg, Maastricht or Heerlen and of course stay in the most special hotel suite this region currently offers. Find out everything you need to know and more things to do in this region through the local tourist office of Visit Zuid Limburg.
The Christmas Suite at Van der Valk hotel Heerlen is for sure the most welcoming and cozy suite you can imagine, the perfect staycation getaway this Holiday Season! Make it your next staycation, start booking here.
This blog was written by travel writer and Traveltomtom team member Ashley. She explored Valkenburg and stayed at the Van der Valk Heerlen hotel and experienced their super special Christmas Suite on behalf of Traveltomtom and wrote this blog about her experiences of this unique suite at Van der Valk Hotel Heerlen.