Landgraaf is a Dutch city in the south of the country, famous for hosting Pinkpop, said to be the longest running pop festival in the world. It's also home to one of the largest indoor ski pistes in Europe.
The town is home to some 38,000 people and part of the so-called Oostelijke Mijnstreek, or Eastern Mining Area. In the first half of the 20th century, two large coal mines were established in Schaesberg (then an individual town, now a neighbourhood of Landgraaf). Administratively, it works closely together with neighbouring municipalities such as Heerlen, Kerkrade and Simpelveld, in a collaboration called Parkstad Limburg.
Extensive project planning in still in progress in order to create a ring highway around some of the Parkstad municipalities including Landgraaf. As for now however, the provincial N299 is the main road in and out of town, connecting it directly to neighbouring towns Hoensbroek and Kerkrade. Several smaller roads connect to different parts of adjoining Heerlen and the Euregioweg connects Landgraaf to the 281 and further to the A76. As in all of the country, there are fine conditions for cycling in.
The town has a train station, which is served by regional trains of Veolia and the German Deutsche Bahn (DB). Veolia trains connect Langraaf to Kerkrade, Heerlen and Maastricht, while the DB trains connect to Heerlen, Alsdorf (Poststraße), Herzogenrath, Aachen (Hbf), Stolberg, Langerwehe and Düren. Only in summer, this German trains runs on to Heimbach as well. There's no manned office at the Landgraaf train station, but there are ticket machines for Veolia, DB and also for the Dutch NS (in case you need to travel further than the mentioned towns).
The heritage line Miljoenenlijn, which originates in Simpelveld, also passes Langraaf. It's obviously possible to use this train service to get in, but it serves as an attraction rather than a way of transport, with higher prices, limited schedules and long travel times.
Bus connections are operated by Veolia and include a few frequent services to Heerlen, from where you'll find connections to all towns in the region. Line 25 stops at the indoor ski piste Snowworld. Line 29 passes Heerlen too, but then runs on to Kerkrade.
It's possible to walk your way around, but a car or bike can be useful here, as some of the major attractions, notably Snowworld and Monde Verde, are about 3km from the train station. To get from the train station to Snowworld you can also catch bus 25, which leaves from the viaduct you'll see from the train station (about a 5 minute walk). During Pinkpop, just follow the crowds. There are no buses then.
- Mondo Verde, Groene Wereld 10, 6372 PW Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 - 535 01 61. Mondo Verde is a relatively new theme park. It consists of world gardens with replicas of monuments, for example the Alhambra from Granada (Spain). It also has a small zoo, a dinofauna and an amusement park with a roller coaster and several other attractions. €16.50, €10 from nov-feb.
- Pinkpop, Megaland Terrain. Pinkpop is a big three day festival which is usually organized during the pentecost weekend. During these three days, many national and international artists perform on the stages. The exact program differs every year. It is possible to sleep on the campgrounds when possessing a three day ticket. These campgrounds are created in the close vicinity of the festival terrain.
- Snowworld Ski Resort, Witte Wereld 1, 6372 VG Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 5470 700. Snowworld is the famous indoor skiing & snowboarding resort in the Netherlands, one of the largest of its kind in the world. There are currently three ski slopes, including a short, practice slopw. Note that in summer the steepest one is closed for visitors, as it used by professional ski-teams to practice. Discounts may be given for that reason. Ski and snowboard lessons can be given privately or in groups, but need to be reserved a few days in advance. €20 per hour of €40 for a full day, plus €12 if you need shoes and gear. For an additional €10 you can rent clothing as well. children get small discounts, paying €17/34 per hour/day..
- Snowworld Outdoor Fun Park. Recently opened directly next to the ski resort, this outdoor climb and fun park is a new addition to the Snowworld experience, suited for adults and children alike. You'll climb your way to the hill top using tree trunks and wooden plateaus ten meters up in the air, connected to each other with ropes. You follow the adventure trail to take in the lovely view from the top, and then make your way down with the Zip Line. There are different routes with different levels of difficulty, and there's an Alpine Coaster. €20 + €2,50 for a ride on the coaster..
- Swimming Pool In de Bende, Emmastraat 3, 6373 HM Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 - 569 81 81.
Landgraaf has all the usual shops for a town its size, including supermarkets, book stores, fashion shop, toy stores etc. Many of them are concentrated in the i shopping centre between the Raadhuisplein and the Dorpsstraat. The Schaesberg neighbourhood has its own shopping centre.
There are several good quality bakeries in Landgraaf, selling (among other products) varieties of the local speciality: Limburgian vlaai. It is a pizza sized sweet pie which can be filled with f.e. apricots, cherries, apples. There are also varieties with whipped cream on it.
- Bakkerij Huntjes, Markt 9. M-Sa 8.00-18.00.
- Bakker Verbeek, Hoofdstraat 53. Th-Sa 8.00-18.00 Sa 7.30-16.00.
There are several small restaurants in town, including some lunch rooms in the shopping centre. The hotels mentioned in the Sleep-section below all have their own restaurants too, offering good alternatives for food.
- Lounge Restaurant Pomerol, Hereweg 92, ☎ +31 45 569 22 97. This place feels a lot like you're invited in someone's living room, and does get a bit noisy when it's full. It's the closest thing to fine dining around and the food is on the heavy side, but prepared with detail and care. It's run by a couple. €35.
- Sfeer, Heerlenseweg 1-3, ☎ +31 45-5332222. W-Sa 17.00-23.00, Su 16.00-23.00. A popular place that fills up regularly on weekends, serving French and Italian inspired dishes for competitive prices. Service is quick and friendly. It's only open for dinner From €20 for 3 course menus.
- Pizzeria Santa Maria, Stationsplein 65, ☎ +31 45-5331313. There are several Italian restaurants in town, and this one near the train station is one of the better options.
There are several cafés at Snowworld, which you can also enter when you're not going to ski yourself. They have good views of the pistes, making it fun to hang around if your friends are inside, but also just to watch other people. There are also outdoor terraces, when the weather allows.
Otherwise, there's no serious night life in town, but there are some quaint cafés, if you're just looking for a beer.
- Café Candlelight, Hoogstraat 157. This place has a good selection of beers, including 5 on tap, and serves 15 kinds of whiskey.
- Hotel SnowWorld, Witte Wereld 1, 6372 VG Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 5470 700. The hotel is located right next to Snowworld, the indoor ski and snowboard resort in Landgraaf. It's large, with some 100 rooms and facilities include a wellness and fitness studio. They offer many ski/snowboard + stay arrangements, which can be great options if you'd like to take a course or just spend time on the piste. From €70.
- Landgoed Overste Hof Landgraaf, Overstehofweg 14, 6372 VG Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 - 532 00 32. Located in the middle of a natural area, this place is easy to reach but has beautifully forest surroundings and a quiet feel. There's a pleasant outdoor terrace next to a pond and a good in house restaurant for guests. It's one of the cheaper options around. Rooms are 3 star quality and good value for money. From €55.
- Hotel Landgraaf, Heerlenseweg 1-3, 6371 HP Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 - 533 22 22.
- Winseler Hof, Tunnelweg 99, 6372 XH Landgraaf, ☎ +31 45 546 43 43. It's not the cheapest option around, but this wonderfully restored farm building has the grandeur of a small castle. There a good inhouse Italian restaurant and the rooms meet all the 4 star hotel criteria, while still breathing a nice historic atmosphere. From €105.
The hotels offer WiFi to their guests and it's also available in the cafés at Snowworld. For postal services, head to one of the following:
- Bruna bookstore, Paganinipassage 92.
- Jumbo Supermarket, Hoofdstraat 146.
All of South Limburg is just a stone's throw away. Follow the heritage train track to Valkenburg, a domestic visitor's favourite or make your way to beautiful Maastricht. Head for the beautiful landscapes around Vaals, Vijlen and Epen or hop over the German border to historic student city Aachen.