Review Zutendaal Hoge Kempen national park

Zutendaal, Hoge Kempen National Park in Belgium – A lovely one day forest holiday 15 km from Maastricht

There are so many cool things to do around Maastricht. When you think that you have seen it all, it turns out that there is yet another amazing place to explore super closeby.

I started a little challenge with my little ones back in April to explore ‘Zuid Limburg’. You can read more about it here. South of Limburg keeps amazing me!

Zutendaal was actually not even on our list, but I’m so happy we went there. It is surely making our ‘best day trips from Maastricht’ list. It was the barefoot path (Blotevoetenpad) that brought us here. The ‘Blotevoetenpark in Brunssum’ was the next one on our list, but it is practically unreachable from Maastricht by public transport.

Visiting Zutendaal, in Belgium was our first outing after long weeks of rainy and unpredictable summer weather and me coming back into harmony with my postpartum menstrual cycles. Yes, let’s break the taboo around menstruation and talk about our periods openly. You can read about my experiences here.

Our day trip from Maastricht turned into an amazing one -day-holiday in beautiful nature that we all needed! I was a bit insecure about going or not, because we are still going though a bit of a rough period of sleep (deprivation) with our baby boy and some anxieties with our toddler. But sometimes you just have to take the leap and throw the neat little schedules away. Especially if schedules and routines are not your jam anyway as I wrote about it before.

What is special about Zutendaal?

Zutendaal is part of the National Park called Hoge Kempen. It is a beautiful forestry area that is surely worth a visit. It is easy to reach from Maastricht even by public transport. It has lots of child friendly activities that are for free or very budget friendly. If you are committed to immersing your children in nature as I am – it is the place to be. There are many holiday houses in the area and it is a popular holiday destination in general. It is lovely to ride the relaxed holiday vibes, when you drop by here for a day-trip from Maastricht.

Forest trail in Zutendaal, Hoge Kempen best day trip from Maastricht

How to get from Maastricht to Zutendaal right in the heart of the beautiful Hoge Kempen?

It is surprisingly easy to get here even by public transport. Bus number 45 (Direction Hasselt via Genk) takes you to Zutendaal Kerk in about 35 minutes from Maastricht Station. A one-way ticket costs €2,50 for the adults. The only downside is that the bus runs only once an hour in the holiday season. They’re nice playgrounds not far from the bus stop, so it is easy to adjust your plans and time your arrival right.

What is to do in Zutendaal?

I’ll be honest, I am not a Zutendaal or Hoge Kempen expert. I have only been here once, but it was effortless to make a super chill and relaxing day with a toddler and a baby. Our car loving toddler boy was totally content after the ride with the ‘Belgian Bus’ as he calls it. For him all the other things on top was just bonus.

Blotevoetenpad Lieteberg

It was this barefoot path what brought us here. It’s a 3km long trail that you can walk without shoes. There are lockers for your shoes and little foot washing showers and brushes at the end of the trail to clean off your muddy feet. It seems really fun and I can’t wait to do it next time, when we are here. I think this time it would have been still a bit too challenging for our almost 3 year-old (maybe if his daddy was also there, we would have given it a try). There is also an insect museum and butterfly house here that can be visited either separately or in combination with the barefoot path. Their website is available in English here.

Blote voetenpad Zutendaal Hoge Kempen. Best day trip from Maastricht

Klauterbos (Climbing forest)

It’s a little trail in the forest, where children can climb and balance on tree trunks etc. It is a nice little natural playground that doesn’t look like a playground. Our boys loved it. I love places that bring children in contact with nature in a playful way. It can be visited for free. You can find more info here.

Nice playgrounds

There are really cool playgrounds almost all the way from the bus stop Zutendaal Kerk to the Blotevoetenpad. It all covered with lovely soft sand. Some parts are for younger children, other parts are for bigger kids. It is challenging children in a fun and creative way.

Speeltuin Zutendaal hoge Kempen playground

Beautiful forest trails

This was my favorite part. The nature in the Hoge Kempen is amazing. It is such a beautiful daytrip from Maastricht. I loved walking in the beautiful forest. Some forest trails were quite okay to do with our bike trailer.

Cafes and restaurants

There are plenty of nice cafés to choose from in Zutendaal. We liked the cafeteria of Blotevoetenpad Lieteberg, because they have a grass covered terrace and that’s always nice with children, especially with a baby. Their selection of Belgian special beers is surprisingly broad. Their food selection is limited – some vlaai and pastry – and of course ice cream! You can eat your own food at their tables as long as you buy your drinks there. 

Cafeteria Lieteberg Blotevoetenpad Zutendaal Day-trip from Maastricht

This was our one-day holiday from Maastricht after some rainy weeks. Are you up for it? We will come back for sure.

Much love,


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