Mosan Valley

Regional Overview

Imperial Visage

The river Maas/Meuse was the heart of the early Carolingian Empire. With the imperial capital in Aachen, the cities of Maastricht, Liege, and Huy became centers of Romanesque and Gothic Art. As Imperial power weakened, the Prince-Bishops of Liege rose to prominence. Their dominance of the valley defined the region with their stylistic preferences, even through to the present day.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The distinctive blue sandstone used in almost every monumental construction
  • The Mosan Romanesque and Gothic Monuments in Aachen, Maastricht, Liege, Huy, Dinant and Roermond
  • The Late Baroque Palatial architecture in Namur, Liege, and surrounding estates

7.6

9.3

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Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted.

What is the Mosan Valley?

The Mosan Valley (Maas, or Meuse Valley) charted its own course through history. Isolated in a relatively remote and rugged forest valley, the great powers of Europe mostly left the region out of their political machinations. The region’s security and peace enabled a cultural blossoming, from the Romanesque to the Renaissance through the Industrial Revolution. Artists were free to work their trade, and the valley developed its legacy in gold and silver, visible today in museums worldwide. From stone, great monuments carved from the valley’s dark blue-gray hue give a visual uniqueness to the region. The Mosan Valley is often overlooked but offers a unique European experience.

Regional Overview

Cities of the Mosan Valley

Thematic Tours of the Region

Resplendent Palaces of the Mosan Valley

Resplendent Palaces of the Mosan Valley

The Maas Valley is full of resplendent and forgotten palaces. Relics from the Age of Absolutism, they offer well preserved windows into the past. So which ones are worth visiting? This guide will summarize the best palaces to visit in Maas Valley.

Hiking in the Region

Hiking: The Medieval Maas

Hiking: The Medieval Maas

This long hike takes you to some of the more impressive medieval structures in the Mosan Valley. Whereas most of the castles in the region…

Hiking: Lesse Heights

Hiking: Lesse Heights

Unlike most of the hikes on this site, this one is just for the natural beauty of the Ardenne. Since much of the forest is…

Hiking: Castles of the Maas

Hiking: Castles of the Maas

This long hike takes you to several castles and palaces along the Maas River between Liege and Namur. The Mosan Valley and the Ardenne were…

Hiking: Cliffs of the Mosan Valley

Hiking: Cliffs of the Mosan Valley

This hike takes you on a tour of the most spectacular part of the Mosan Valley. Here, the Ardenne Forest meets the River Maas, resulting…

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

7.6 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 8
  • Transportation: 5
  • Volume/Capacity: 10
  • Infrastructure: 6
  • Interactivity: 9

9.3 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 8
  • Monuments: 10
  • Quality: 10

9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 10
  • Tradition: 8

Navigation

Rhine-Maas

The Lower Rhine and Maas Rivers have a shared cultural basis in the fate of the Holy Roman Empire and in the industrialization of Europe.

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