Valkenburg is just a 40 minute drive from Geilenkirchen and is a great place to go for a day trip or if you have an afternoon free. It’s very touristy and almost always crowded, so be prepared for that, but you’ll find a lot of restaurants, an amusement park for kids, a lot of interesting historical sites, a spa worth spending an entire day at, and, of course, the caves.
Adventure groups arrange paintball, biking, and laser tag inside the caves. Deep underground, the temperature stays moderate all year making it a nice stop if the weather outside is unbearable. Kids and adults alike will also enjoy the toboggan rides down the hill.
I toured Fluweelengrot cave and castle ruin.
The cave tour lasted about an hour in pitch black surroundings. We only had the small oil lamp of our guide to light the area for most of the trip. It eventually led us up steep narrow stairs up to the bottom of the castle ruin. The castle is a ruin because it had been captured by the French and recaptured again by the Dutch. Upon threat of the castle being captured again by the French, the Dutch king blew it up. So, it is ruin, not by age, nor by the hand of an invader, but by the Dutch. It was pretty. I would have loved to see what it looked like before. Instead, it started to rain just as the cave tour ended and we walked around the old brick ruin getting wet.
This is the cave where the annual Christmas Market is held each year.
Parking can be frustrating. I’ve found both situations there – easy parking, and the driving around in circles until eventually giving up. If you know of any quick and easy parking solutions in Valkenburg – please share!
There is a lot to do in Valkenburg… it just takes some exploration. Try something new and let us all know how it is!