This year, Mons was chosen as the European Capital of Culture. Get lost in a maze of over 8,000 sunflowers at Mons’ Grand-Place. Celebrate summer, music and food with Festival au Carré, featuring 10 concerts and 16 spectacles in eight different locations. Witness history as the collegiate church of Sainte-Waudru becomes transparent with the use of digital technology. This technology will reveal its fascinating gothic architecture to visitors. Fans of the arts? Feast your eyes with sporadic street art while strolling around town. Street sculptures include a pile of books falling down a window of the University of Mons, a giant vase popping out from a building or modern menhirs inside a park. Mons awaits your visit.
Located on Flanders’ coast, the small beach village of De Haan is perfect for those seeking a tranquil day at sea. The village has all the facilities to make your trip stress-free, including expansive camping sites, lifeguards on duty, and food stands selling waffles and ice cream. Bars and restaurants are also scattered along the beach. De Haan is also known for providing shelter for Albert Einstein, who stayed there for six months before finding asylum in the United States from the Nazis. The village honors Einstein with a life-size statue of him in a small park situated at the end of Normandiëlaan street. In the center of De Haan is the beautiful art nouveau style tram station, which was built in 1902. Don’t miss the chance to get on the world’s longest coastal tram, spanning 68 kilometers with 70 stops, and it’s only 2 euros per ride.
Did you know the word ‘spa’ comes from the name of the Belgian town in the province of Liège? The town of Spa was Europe’s famous health resort in the 16th century, attracting famous visitors such as Tsar Peter the Great of Russia, Emperor Joseph II of Austria, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas. The town became known as the ‘Café of Europe’. Nowadays, Spa is no longer the St. Tropez for celebrities, yet it remains a charming town with countless springs and rivers. Relax and unwind at Les Thermes de Spa, an 800 square meter complex with indoor and outdoor baths, saunas and hammams. If you’re lucky enough, you can catch the Spa Formula One Grand Prix at one of the most popular circuits in the world.
Stretched over three provinces, Liège, Luxembourg and Namur, the region of Ardennes is considered the ‘wildest region in the surrounding part of Europe’. The most popular town in the Ardennes is La Roche-en-Ardenne, known for its picturesque scenery and Medieval castle ruins. Active travelers can choose from different outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, kayaking and mountain climbing. Families with children can join a walking tour at Parc à Gibier to witness forest wildlife such as deer, wild boars, lynx, foxes, pheasants and much more. At the end of an active day, you can sit down at a restaurant, sip on the local beer Feodale, and enjoy a dish of Ardennes trout to make your holiday complete.
Waterloo celebrates the historic battle’s bicentenary in 2015 with various events. Visitors can revisit the battlefield and climb the recently rehabilitated Lion’s Mound to experience the panoramic landscape reflecting what it was like in 1815. It is also possible to watch a 4D movie and feel immersed in the middle of the battle with the smell of gunpowder, the sound of cannons and scenes of cavalry charges. History has never been more fun than at the ‘History in Blocks’ exhibition, where 1.2 million Lego blocks are used to detail Emperor Napoleon’s life, starting with his wedding through to the Battle of Waterloo. You will also find replicas of famous landscapes such as the Arc de Triomphe, Les Invalides, and Château de Saint-Cloud.