Simpelveld

The St. Remigius church isn't a national heritage site from the outside, but the antique interior is.

Known mostly for the Miljoenenlijn steam train, which originates here, Simpelveld is a small city in the South Limburg region, in the Dutch province Limburg. Also, in 1930 the so-called "Sarcophagus of Simpelveld" was discovered here.

Understand

The towns roots go back thousands of years, known through archaeological finds of the linear Pottery culture in the area. In Roman times, it was a settlement on the road from Maastricht to Cologne. The famous sand stone sarcophagus that was discovered in 1930 most likely belonged to one of Simpelveld's rich female inhabitants of old times.

The fact that this small town had two different monasteries gained it the local title of "kloesterstedsje", or "monastery town". The village has an active local community and serves as a centre for daily shopping for neighbouring villages. Ir receives quite many Dutch tourists in summer, who use the town as a base for a visit to the whole of the South Limburg region.

Get in

Simpelveld is easily accessible through the E314/A76, which connects the town directly to Aachen and Geleen, and gives it a highway connection to Maastricht. To Heerlen, the N281 is the main connection.

By train & bus

Although the village has a train station, that is now only used for the touristic Miljoenenlijn and has no regular connection to the Dutch railway system. The steam train operated by ZLSM comes from either Kerkrade or Valkenburg. It doesn't have a routine schedule but this is a recommended route if you want to see some of the spectacular views of the hillsides of Maastricht-Hill Country and it would get you to Simpelveld, if coming from one of its few other stations.

Buses run frequently however and connections include:

The nearest airport is Maastricht-Aachen Airport, with some international destinations.

Get around

As Simpelveld is a small place, you'll be mostly able to make your way on foot in the center. However, to explore the outskirts or nearby villages, a bike or car is a good option. You can rent a bike at the Natuurtransferium (Kruinweg 5 )

See

The town has a few national heritage sites. There are some old farms and a number of religious sites.

Do

ZLSM Steamtrain

Buy

For a real shopping spree you should head to nearby Heerlen or (better yet) to Maastricht, Sittard or Aachen. However, Simpelveld has all the basic shops you would need during your stay, including grocery stores, clothing shops, household goods and stores for cosmetic and personal hygiene items. The town's shops are a combination of modern Dutch chain stores and old-fashioned family-run village shops, some of which have been here for decades.

You'll find most of the shops on and around the Markt, the newly built Kloosterplein, the Kloosterstraat, and the Dorpsstraat (Village street). The Plus supermarket on the Kloosterplein is open Mo-Sa 8.30-21.00 and Su 10.00-18.00. Het Oude Schoolhuis on the corner of the Markt and Dorpsstraat sells some nice antiques. There's a weekly market on Friday mornings, mostly with fruits, vegetables and other food items.

Eat

For a village of its size, Simpelveld has a good number of places to eat, although several are cheap fries & snacks places. On Mondays and on evenings after 9.30PM you might find yourself hard pressed to get anything else, since most places are closed then. If you're in one of the many chalets, self-cateringen is a good alternative. Nearby Bocholtz has a number of other places and it's easy enough to get to Heerlen, Vaals or Gulpen if you can't find anything you like.

Budget

Mid-range & splurge

Drink

For a night out with better bars and clubs, many locals turn to nearby Heerlen. Nevertheless, there are a few places where you can go to just hang out and have a beer and on the outskirts of town you'll even find a dance club.

Sleep

Connect

Most places to stay have free WiFi, but if it is offered, don't count on it to be stable or fast. It's easier if you use mobile internet, as the coverage is alright.

Go next

Hopping on the steam train will get you to even more tourist minded places like Gulpen and Valkenburg, but other South Limburg destination are easy to reach as well. Head to beautiful Maastricht for fine sights and food, go indoor skiing in Landgraaf or explore the border area of Vaals. From there, consider just quickly jumping over to the impressive German city of Aachen, all just minutes away from Simpelvel.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 07, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.