The Krijtlandpad (chalkland trail) is a regional trail that takes you on a circuit of the chalk plateau of South Limburg in five main stages totalling 93km, starting in Maastricht, and taking you right across to the point where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet in Vaals, on the outskirts of Aachen. There's also an 8km link-route across the circuit that allows you to break it up into shorter tours. 

I walked most of the route in August 2018 in four stages: Eijsden to Slenaken; Slenaken to Vaals; Vaals to Gulpen and Gulpen to Maastricht. To make best use of bus services along the route I substituted Eijsden for Mariadorp and Gulpen for Scheulder as stage-points; this doesn't throw the stage-lengths out very much compared to the "official" version. I've left out stage 1, along the Maas, for the time being - it looks rather less interesting than the rest, and it's too short for a full day in summer, but I'll probably come back to it at some point. 

I found it a very enjoyable walk, even in the hot, dry weather we had this summer, and I'll certainly be coming back to it. Stages 2 and 3 roughly follow the Belgian border and have quite a bit of woodland in them, whilst stage 4 and the first part of stage 5 are mostly villages and high open farmland. After braving the minor tourist-hell of Valkenburg (more comical than annoying, really), the last part of stage 5 then takes you along the wooded flanks of the Geul valley before sneaking into Maastricht past a series of abandoned quarries. There's plenty of up and down all the way (including the highest point in the Netherlands, 328m, at the triple frontier in Vaals), lots of views, and a surprising amount of peace and quiet when you consider what a popular and well-known area Zuid Limburg is.

From To km Date
Maastricht Eijsden 12  
Eijsden Slenaken 20 02/08/18
Slenaken Vaals 21.9 03/08/18
Vaals Gulpen 16.5 05/08/18
Gulpen Maastricht 22.2 11/08/18



Above Slenaken
Near Vaals, looking back towards Lemiers
Hot day on the Kruisberg above Eys
Statue of the Virgin, above Gulpen
Valkenburg town centre - tourist-hell!


Climbing out of an old quarry on the fringes of Maastricht