Mount St. Pieter

Most Famous Mountain in the Netherlands

At 171 meters, Mount St. Pieter (also called Mount Saint Peter) is the most famous mountain in the Netherlands. A small part is also located in Belgium. It is located near the city of Maastricht. On top you will find the Fortress St. Pieter (locally known as Fort Sint Pieter), the famous marl caves and the famous ENCI Groeve, this is an absolute attraction of the southern part of the province of Limburg.

Mount St. Pieter is an ideal location for some good hiking. However, there is much more to explore here. These are the most beautiful sights of Mount St. Pieter near Maastricht. Also includes tips for excursions and tours.

ENCI Groeve Nature Park

ENCI Groeve Nature Park on Mount St. Pieter. ©Corno van den Berg

The ENCI Groeve is a limestone quarry on the Maas side of Mount St. Pieter near Maastricht. The extraction of limestone, also known as marl, started here in 1926. ENCI is the abbreviation for Eerste Nederlandse Cement Industrie. You can walk through the pit, including the 40-meter high steel staircase with a wonderful view.

Read my tips for the ENCI Groeve Nature Park

Fortress St. Pieter

A tour around Fortress St. Pieter. ©Jonathan Vos Photography

The fortress on top of Mount St. Pieter has been protecting the inhabitants of Maastricht for over 300 years. City commander Daniël Wolf van Dopff started construction in 1702 after the city was attacked by Louis XIV, the French Sun King. He had a stone, pentagonal fortress built on the hill with no fewer than twelve gun emplacements. Nowadays you can take a guided tour, where you go deep into the fortress. You will see that a part is directly connected to the corridors in the mountain.

Address: Luikerweg 30, Maastricht

Caves at Mount St. Pieter

The caves in Mount St. Pieter are well known. There are countless of them, some of them are open to the public. The North Caves and the Zonneberg Caves are particularly worth a visit. You can explore the caves with a qualified guide. Take some warm clothes with you, because it is relatively cool in the caves.

North Caves

The North Caves are no less than 80 kilometres long. There are hundreds of corridors. You get a look at how the inhabitants of the city have used the limestone and caves for centuries. It was once a shelter against the French, it was a smuggling route during the Second World War and there were several mushroom farms here. You will also hear all about the Mosasaurus, a reptile related to the dinosaurs that once swam here in a primaeval sea. These animals could grow up to 18 meters in length.

Address: Luikerweg 80 in Maastricht

A guided tour through the North Caves. ©Jonathan Vos Photography

Zonneberg Caves

These caves were largely dug during the Second World War. They were mainly used during this war as an air-raid shelter. You can still see countless remnants, with various utensils. Here too you can see drawings in the limestone about what life was like. It was a place of hope and fear at the time.

Address: Slavante 1 in Maastricht

Devil's Cave

If you go hiking on Mount St. Pieter, the Devil's Cave is a special place. This cave is now closed due to the danger of collapse. It is home to various species of bats, which you can see here at dusk as they take flight. This also applies to the early morning when the mammals come back to the cave to spend the night.

The famous Devil's Cave at Mount St. Pieter. ©Corno van den Berg

Hoeve Lichtenberg

The Hoeve Lichtenberg is actually a castle ruin on Mount St. Pieter. It is a remnant of one of the high-altitude castles in the country. Construction probably started around 1212, which was built on the remains of a fortified castle. The castle itself was built around 1400. And a few parts are still from 1212. The tower is still in good condition, where you have a beautiful view. A part of the hoeve has been restored, where you can now spend the night. Natuurmonumenten is the current owner of Hoeve Lichtenberg.

Address: Lichtenbergweg 2, Maastricht

Chateau Neercanne

From a distance you can see the famous Chateau Neercanne. The former castle is now a restaurant, where you can eat very well. From Mount St. Pieter you can see the imposing castle on another hill.

Hiking on and around Mount St. Pieter

The path through the ENCI forest at Mount St. Pieter. ©Corno van den Berg

There are several hiking trails to explore this area. Just pick one and head out. 

Short Hike around Mount St. Pieter (5,15 km)

This trail is very suitable to get a good idea of Mount St. Pieter. You walk over the plateau with limestone slopes. You can also view the famous Eagle-Owl Valley from the edge. You will probably not see the impressive bird of prey. Best chance is at nightfall or very early in the morning.

Long Hike around Mount St. Pieter (10,8 km)

Those who would like to see all the sights of Mount St. Pieter should do this hike. The starting point is at Fortress St. Pieter and you walk along the chalk grasslands with many butterflies and insects, but also along the ENCI Groeve, the Devil's Cave and the famous lookout point D'n Obervant.

The Eagle-Owl Valley at Mount St. Pieter. ©Corno van den Berg

Visit Mount St. Pieter

This hill just outside Maastricht is very popular. Partly for this reason, it can get very busy in the caves, the fortress and the hiking trails. It is best to avoid the weekends, as well as the school holidays.

If this is not possible, then going out early is a good solution. Especially for hiking it is nice and quiet. It is best to book the tours of the caves and the fortress well in advance.

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