The impressive castle makes a great background for the annual sand sculpture festival
Hoensbroek is a town in South Limburg, the southern most region of the Dutch province of Limburg. It's part of the municipality of Heerlen but has a long, separate history and was an independent municipality until 1982. Hoensbroek's castle is one the most well-known castles in the country. Since there isn't much more to see or do for the average traveler, Hoensbroek castle is best visited as a day trip from one of the many destinations in the area. However, if you do find yourself staying the night here, there are a few options to eat, drink and sleep.
With over 20.000 inhabitants, Hoensbroek is a major part of Heerlen. Rather than being a district of that city, it's a town on itself and its people will tell you they live in Hoensbroek, not in Heerlen. Nevertheless, for outsiders it's somewhat hard to distinguish, as the two have grown together as one large built-up area.
Tourist information, Hoofdstraat 26, ☎ 0900-555 9798. The Dutch tourist information office VVV has an information point in Peeters Tabak store. There's no VVV personal present, but you will find leaflets, maps and other basic information. Calling will connect you to the general VVV service for South Limburg.edit
Hoensbroek is well-connected by road, with the A76/E314 passing directly by. If you're getting in by car, follow the A76/314 and take exit 5 to Nuth/Hoensbroek. The Emmastraat connects the town directly to nearby Brunssum. There's a train station which is served by regional trains in the directions of Sittard and Heerlen. At least 8 different bus lines connect different parts of Hoensbroek to other destinations in the region. The main ones include:
Hoensbroek's center is not very large and you can get around on foot or by bike. However, since the town has limited tourist attractions apart from the castle, it's convenient to have a car at hand to explore sights in nearby towns. There's a good bus network operated by Veolia in case you're headed for the outer parts of the town.
Hoensbroek castle (Kasteel Hoensbroek), Klinkertstraat 118, ☎ +31 (0)45-522 72 72, . One of the largest castle's in the Netherlands, Kasteel Hoensbroek with its towers and water-filled moat is an impressive sight. Although records exist of an even earlier stronghold on the site, the oldest parts of the current building date back to the mid 13th century. It was Sir Herman Hoen who became the towns first lord (in 1388) and gave the castle its name. Once a prominent stronghold on the busy travel roads between the northern regions of Brabant and the more southers cities of Maastricht, Aachen and Cologne, it is now a great museum where you can walk through the castle halls as they were in the 17th and 18th century. There are guided tours and workshops, including sword fighting, perfume making and shepherding sheep. Large and small events are organized regularly in and around the castle, Europe's largest sand sculpture festival being the most interesting one (see the "Do" section).edit
Zwemparadijs Otterveurdt, Gravin von Schönbornlaan 2, ☎ +31 45-523 2626, . Closed on Mondays. This local swimming pool isn't state of the art nor very large, but it's a fine place for a few hours in the water, especially with children. In summer, there's an outdoor pool and sun bathing field too.edit
Sand Sculpture Festival, Klinkertstraat 118, ☎ +31 (0)45 -522 72 72, . With the castle as a background, an impressive sand sculpture festival is organized here in summers, usually around a specific theme. The 2011 edition is the largest festival of its kind in Europe. It has "Masterworks" as a title, with some 24 magnificent historic scenes produced by over 30 international sand artists. If you're in the area between the beginning of July and the beginning of November, seeing the King Arthur's Knights, the Sagrada Familia or musketeer d’Artagnan in sand is time well spent.€ 7.50. edit
Wok Paradiso, Markt 11, ☎ +31 (0)45 528 52 12. All you can eat stir-fry place on the market square. Food isn't great but also reasonably priced, with drinks (which you can take on your own) included. 20 EUR. edit
Da Fillipina, Kouvenderstraat 200, ☎ +31 (0)45 521 15 31, . The service in this place isn't always friendly and the interior is a bit clean, but it's still popular for its good Italian food. The menu isn't large but it changes monthly.mains from 17.50 EUR. edit
Bergrust, Schuureikenweg 115, ☎ +31 45-5241451. Fiftheen minutes walk down the road from the castle, this place serves simple food as it is traditional in the Netherlands: a piece of meat, potatoes and vegetables. It's not a romantic place and there's little effort put in the decoration: Bergrust is mainly popular for a quick, cheap but pleasant bite.edit
Ilfu Rouge, Kouvenderstraat 165, ☎ +31 45-5220349. Another Italian place, mostly for take-away or delivery, but you can eat you pizza there, too. Pizza's are nice, the "restaurant" of course isn't so much, but the service is friendly.from 8 EUR. edit
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