Belgium offers numerous amounts of wellness hotels, spa experiences and outdoor saunas. Nevertheless to find one which would satisfy all your wishes, let you have the ideal relaxed weekend getaway and also won’t cost you a fortune is definitely not so easy. Believe me, I’ve been there. Sometimes renting some private sauna in Belgium cost so much just for few hours that it’s cheaper to have holidays abroad. My exaggeration is not far from reality but let me introduce you to the amazing wellness hotel in Kortrijk, Wu Wei.
We wanted to have a romantic getaway in Belgium and got the chance to stay at the modern 4-star wellness hotel Wu Wei. “Wu Wei” means the art of non-doing and life to the rhythm of things by the way. And this is definitely a little paradise oasis where time stops and you feel like you are not in Belgium anymore. Isn’t it something that we all want to have sometimes? Just to escape from reality and be far from our daily routine.
Wu Wei is a day Spa and wellness hotel which is located just 10 minute walk away from the train station in Kortkrijk. There is also a free parking spot in case you’d decide to come by car. The architecture of the old industrial building is based on the idea of the simple, the clear with calm colours and plenty of light. It reminds me of Scandinavian modesty and basic design with wooden elements. The rooms in the hotel are spacious with oak parquet floors and equipped with all necessities, free Wi-Fi and toiletries. In the beginning it might feel a bit empty but after some time you start to appreciate these minimalistic elements because your mind doesn’t get distracted and you can fully relax.
The best part of Wu Wei hotel is it’s impressive spa area with outdoor swimming pool at 32 degrees, Canadian sauna at 80 degrees, outdoor Finnish sauna at 89 degrees and traditional 3 room Hammam. Just bring your towels, slippers and swimsuit to be able to access the area. You can also rent it at the hotel for a small price. We we’re staying over night at Wu Wei hotel that’s why we could find all essentials in our room.
In my opinion Wu Wei wellness hotel is a perfect combination of tranquillity, water and greenery. The various relaxing rooms with wood fires and dimmed light let you experience relaxation to it’s purest. There is also an interesting shower that will bring you to life in 4 different ways: With warm, cold, hard and soft water streams. Great experience! There is also salt scrub in the showers that everyone can use.
On the rooftop terrace it is possible to book a private spa with plunge pool, hot water bath, another sauna and relaxing room. In case it’s not booked you can also access and use it from the public spa. This is what we did because we were visiting during the weekdays. The wellness hotel was pretty empty, lucky us!
Last but not least there is a cafeteria with essential drinkable water which is gratis. This is very important to stay hydrated after all the healthy sweating in the saunas. It is also possible to order delicious snacks and soup which are served on beautiful wooden plates. In the evening after 6pm we were able to order a delicious and healthy dinner from the restaurant.
We wanted to accomplish our magical spa break with one of the treatments that Wu Wei offers. There is an extensive range of massages but we decided to book duo treatment of the back to relax our muscle tissues. Did you know that massage therapy has health benefits like reduction of pain caused by tight muscles, it can improve sleep and even increase endorphins levels. The duo treatment was performed by one person. I would prefer to be massaged separately so there wouldn’t be any waiting time in between but of course I was covered in scrub for some time. It was a good experience though!
All in one I can say that we found our perfect spa wellness in Belgium, Wu Wei in Kortrijk. Everything is just lovely there, tranquil atmosphere and cozy surroundings. In the morning we had a simple breakfast and could enjoy another day in the idyllic and peaceful spa.
Planning to explore surroundings of Belgium? Find out more about other wonderful hotels and hidden gems in a wonderful Belgium.
Durbuy is a hidden gem of Belgium, located in the French-speaking community of Wallonia. You can find this beautiful region in the Ardennes, south of Belgium. It’s not only famous for it’s magnificent old charm and tranquil atmosphere but also for being the “smallest city in the world” with it’s population of 11.ooo inhabitants.
It’s very easy to fall in love with the medieval city of Durbuy, filled with cobbled streets, authentic ancient stone houses and a beautiful castle at the centre. The city is surrounded by impressive hills that used to be one whole structure. But overtime the river carved a path through them by eroding the strong stones. After some time the river changed it’s direction and people built the impressive little town that welcomes around 2 million tourists every year.
Top Things to do in Durbuy
Explore the Old Town
The magnificent Old Town of Durbuy enchants only 50 inhabitants, the majority live in the surroundings of the Durbuy region. Nevertheless the historic centre has plenty of interesting things to discover. There are a few lovely shops with local goods such as Durbuy’s dandelion jam, artisanally brewed beer and of course famous Belgian chocolate. The most prominent one you will find at Rue Alphonse Eloy.
Furthermore mesmerising Durbuy is the perfect place for photography lovers. Every corner is a great spot and opportunity for an impressive picture. Especially if you visit it during late spring or summer time.
Dine in a nice restaurant
Durbuy has a great reputation for hosting high quality food. You will be surprised how many restaurants and cafés this tiny town accommodates. You will be spoiled for choice, wherever you choose will be a good choice. We enjoyed our lunch at Saint Amour. It offers a relatively simple and old-fashion ambience but don’t judge book by it’s cover. Their lunch menu was voluptuous and sumptuous including a delicious variety of starters with paté and quiche. Furthermore there were unexpected refreshing surprises between the dishes. I would recommend to visit this restaurant and be prepared to spend at least 2 hours of happy feasting there.
If you are searching for a more over the top fancy dining experience then reserve a table at La Bru’sserie. You won’t be disappointed with the modern beauty of the interior and the quality of dishes.
Enjoy Wellness & Spa at Azur en Ardenne
The Ardennes are an ideal region to get away from chaos and immerse into tranquil nature surrounded by greenery. It’s perfect to unwind in one of the spas and recharge your batteries. We were staying at Azur en Ardenne, the wellness oasis surrounded by a beautiful forest. It’s also perfectly situated close to Durbuy’s Old Town and various activities, which you can easily reach on foot.
We booked the Comfort Room for 2 nights to disconnect from the outside world. The room was simple but well equipped. We received bathrobes and a welcome chocolate bar from the local chocolatery. I really liked the spacious white bathroom with a nice shower and a big bath. There was also tea, instant coffee, kettle and paper cups. I would definitely recommend to take some body cream with you after visiting sauna because hotel provides only with soap.
The best part of the Azur en Ardenne is the wellness area with a lovely indoor swimming pool. Furthermore there are 2 saunas, jacuzzi, hydrogen massage and a great panoramic view. The atmosphere is very relaxing and peaceful, accompanied with soft background music.
Wait until you see the breakfast that is served at Azur en Ardenne! It’s an epitome for the perfect start of the day. You can find everything what your foodie soul can crave for: muesli, fruits, warm waffles and pancakes, eggs, proper bacon, cheese, all kinds of teas and soft drink and even almond milk. It’s wonderful to wake up with beautiful views and voluptuous choice of treats.
There is also a restaurant that unfortunately didn’t approved my expectations but I got an insider tip: Just down the road there is place where all the chefs of Durbuy go to dine: Gastropub Gaspard . If you plan to visit this restaurant definitely reserve a table in advance because it’s small and always full!
Radhadesh Retreat Centre
You will be surprised to discover that in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes, in a fairytale castle you can find the spiritual community and one of the most important Hindu centres in Northern Europe. The beautiful castle Château de Petit Somme is home to the largest community of Hare Krishna, a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu organisation in Belgium. It’s an interesting experience to see the contrast between the grey cold stones of the huge castle and colourful interior and sculptures held in Indian tradition.
Radhadesh is a non-profit organization administered by a democratic general council and is the main center for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in the Benelux. Additionally it’s also a retreat where you can join various courses and even cultural festivals like popular Holi Festival. I personally enjoyed visiting the Museum of Sacred Art where you can observe Indian art traditions and enjoy various exhibitions. Also worth visiting the vegetarian restaurant and cafeteria.
Mystical Megaliths: Menhirs and Dolmens of Weris
There is a lot of mysticism around the Durbuy area and one of them is the 8 km rows of megaliths made of huge conglomerate, nature’s version of concrete stones. These stones are well anchored into the ground and date back to the Neolithic era, that means they are over 5.000 years old. Scientists are still asking themselves how people could put these massive stones in alignment with almost no tools?
There are two main sites which are categorised as Weris 1 and Weris 2. The purpose of the menhirs is still not clear but there are some conclusions that it once was a spacious megalithic center for religious ceremonies, astronomical observations, healing of people and manipulation of the Earth’s energies. Nowadays people are still coming to immerse into the strong field of energies.
Interesting building: La Maison de Hary Cot
Close to the mystical megaliths you will discover La Maison de Hary Cot. A house that resembles Tim Burton’s crazy and intriguing creations. I was surprised to find out that it’s actually one of the finest restaurants in the region of Durbuy. Unfortunately it was not open when we were passing by but I would doubtlessly recommend to try to reserve a table at this admirable establishment which by the way belongs to the young couple Gael Colinet and Fanny Perreaux.
Visit Durbuy’s local brewery
Every town in Belgium is famous for their local beers. That’s why it’s a must to taste Durbuy’s own locally brewed beer, La Ferme au Chene. The brewery was established in 1560 by Philippe Marckloff and it’s located along the river Ourthe. Here you can also dine in the the local cuisine restaurant.
Sensation seekers should visit Adventure Valley
Adventure Valley in Durbuy is an amazing and challenging park with various activities for young and old. You can choose between climbing the side of the mountain with different difficulties, free fall from 32m high, going through the 3D labyrinth or enjoying the tumbling slide. There is also a possibility to crawl and climb between trees at different heights but also experience mega zipline.
Additionally all this fun is very safe, everyone receives a professional explanation in addition to helmets, security belts etc. You can see little children of age 5 and 6 being much braver than their parents and fearlessly climbing the various heights. It’s definitely memorable fun for the whole family! There is also a huge and gratis playground next to the café in case you don’t feel like spending money on an adventure.
Admire the World Largest Topiary Park
Have you ever heard of Topiary? It’s a beautiful practice of shaping or better to say clipping trees into ornamental figures. Since 1997, Durbuy Topiary Park has numerous amounts of tree figures, 250 masterpieces to be exact, on a 1-hectare garden. Moreover there are 39 flower bed and a breathtaking view over the river Ourthe and Durbuy castle. It’s truly a highlight and a must visit in Durbuy so plan to spend a few hours admiring the green art!
Nature and sport lovers will be surprised about the amount of outdoor activities that Durbuy can offer. You can enjoy the river with canoeing, rafting and kayaking. Moreover there is a possibility for horse riding and mountain biking. Last but not least Durbuy has incredible hiking trails with beautiful views. Just get more information at the tourist info point in the Old Town or at hotel Azur en Ardenne.
Best places to visit in Belgium
If you are spending a week or maybe even longer in Belgium then definitely visit the following cities:
Bruges, the fairy tale town of Belgium. The romantic atmosphere, smell of waffles and chocolate, mesmerising houses, bridges and swans on the canals will doubtlessly let you escape reality.
Brussels, as the capital of Belgium, attracts it’s visitors with beautiful historical monuments and world-class museums.
Ghent is a student city with beautiful and impressive medieval architecture and surprisingly un-touristy atmosphere.
If you are planning your vacation in Belgium then I would definitely recommend to visit Maasmechelen for a weekend. This is one of the hidden places in Belgium that not everyone knows about. Nevertheless it has a lot to offer for a romantic and lovely getaway for couples, friends and families. You can easily reach Maasmechelen village by public transport but it’s even more comfortable and faster by car. Less than an hour drive away from Brussels, Antwerp or Düsseldorf, Maasmechelen Village is located on the Meuse river in the Belgian province of Limburg. There are plenty of opportunities to park your car for example at Terhills Hotel in case you decide to spend the night there.
Where to Stay in Maasmechelen
If you decide to stay in Maasmechelen then you should experience your stay at the historic building of Terhills Hotel. It’s a beautiful 4-star hotel with a modern interior which used to be a the main building of the Eisden mine. Already the arrival at this place will leave you speechless: An amazing green garden that reminds a little like Versailles and an imposing historic building at the end of it. This location is very popular for wedding photography.
Terhills Hotel is not only unique but it’s also an architectural icon. Everywhere you can see hidden elements of the mining pre-history of the building well combined with a modern makeover: There is a half a meter difference in level between both sides of the building and the front stairs seem to look crooked. The building was built in 1932 but it had remained empty for around 25 years.The cooperation with Dôme Deco from Limburg turned the hotel into an impressive ambiance with elegant and stylish interior design.
Rooms at Terhills Hotel
I loved every moment of my stay at this hotel. From the very beginning you feel very comfortable: Welcome drinks and beautiful decorative elements, all these create the perfect atmosphere. After a fast and easy check-in the ultra-modern lift brought us to the second level with spacious corridors where our room could be found. Terhills Hotel offers 5 different types of rooms. We were staying in the Superior Room with Garden View.
Our room was outstanding: comfortable king-sized bed, flat-screen TV and an awesome big freestanding shower with bath robes and free toiletries. A sweet message from the hotel manager accompanied by Neuhaus pralines, tea, coffee and bottle of bubbles made us feel like home immediately. The beautiful view from the room and cozy vibes let you feel so good, you don’t want to leave this little oasis.
Breakfast at Terhills Hotel
I am very critical regarding breakfast because I’ve noticed nowadays it’s really hard to find a place that offers a delicious variety of food at the beginning of the day. Most of the time it’s just simple boring eggs and croissants. But at Terhills Hotel I was positively surprised and definitely satisfied with the quality and diversity of the dishes. They serve everything that can please your breakfast wishes: From scrambled eggs, proper bacon, American pancakes to fresh yoghurt with fruits, granola, chia and nuts. Different juices and hot drinks like coffee and tea accompany the sumptuous breakfast.
What to do in Maasmechelen Village
Designer Outlet Shopping – Shopping in Belgium
Almost everyone who lives in Belgium has at least once visited the famous designer outlet shops at Maasmechelen Village to stroll through luxury fashion and homeware stores and enjoy great discounts of up to 60%. Many famous brands present their products at significant reduced prices that you rarely can find in the cities.
The Designer Outlet is located just behind Terhills Hotel and it looks very modern and clean. There are various interesting sculptures worth of taking a picture for Instagram and comfortable benches to relax on the way from one shop to another. Families with kids will be happy to discover a big playground where they can let their toddlers have fun so the grown-ups can be focused on spending money.
You can easily combine smart shopping with nice dining. There are some lovely options to get food on the way or enjoy your meal in one of the three main restaurants. All in one Maasmechelen Village doubtlessly provides a relaxed and pleasant shopping experience. The best way to enjoy your shopping to maximum is to stay at Terhills Hotel and get an additional 10% discount on every purchase like I did. Sounds awesome, right?
Hiking in Belgium: Visit Connecterra
Limburg has a lot of stunning nature and picturesque views. One of them is the popular panoramic getaway in the National Park Hoge Kempen. It’s located just next to Terhills Hotel and is definitely a must visit. This place used to be used for coal mining until it was closed in 1987. You can still view the impressive shafts of the former Eisden mine which mainly have a decorative value nowadays.
For 3€ you can explore the park on foot. There are three well marked out hiking trails that will lead you to the best spots of Connecterra. You can also decide if you would prefer to have a short 45-minute walk or more extended 2 or 3-hour hikes, which goes around a lake and through the woods. I would suggest to go for the longer hiking trail as we did. Either way you will be rewarded with a beautiful panoramic view over the Belgian forest and lake. Some spots can be a bit steep but all in one it’s a very easy hike that everyone from young until old can enjoy.
There is visitors lounge with a little café and a great playground at the main entrance of Connecterra. So by the end or beginning of your walk you can enjoy your drink surrounded by nature. Families can let their little rebels climb around and have some fun at the modern playground.
If you are wondering what cities are worth of day tours in Belgium then definitely visit Liège. Liege offers various tourist attractions and it’s the third largest city in Belgium after Brussels and Antwerp. This charming place is also the largest city in the French-Speaking region of Wallonia. In just one hour from Brussels by train you will reach the medieval and historical treasure of Liège.
Not everyone knows but Liège is one of Belgium’s most important industrial centers. The city was one of the first places in Europe to start mining coal and has a long tradition in manufacturing. Due to the industrial heritage I didn’t expect to discover such beautiful architecture and variety of interesting museums and churches.
Delicious patisserie in Belgium
Where to stay in Liège, Belgium?
We stayed at Appart-Hotel Léopold Liège Centre in the historic heart of Liège surrounded by lovely bars. It’s next to the Liège’s old City Hall which you can admire from your window at night when it’s gloriously lit up by red spotlights. Our room was tidy, with clean bedding, towels and a comfortable double-bed. It also contains a kitchen with basic kitchen utensils, nice bathroom with a great shower, towels, soaps and shampoo. There is free Wi-Fi and a flat screen TV but unfortunately with mainly French channels. Although we could still enjoy the nature documentary on BBC.
Marvel at the Liege-Guillemins Station
Liege-Guillemins Station, Belgium
First things to see in Liège is futuristic and iconic central station. The breath-taking building was designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and is made of steel. The modern building completed in 2009 might remind you of a sci-fi movie and it’s an ideal spot for photography.
Best of Liège: Learn About Art at the beautiful Grand Curtius
Grand Curtius Liège, Belgium
The Grand Curtius Museum is an archeology and art museum from the 17th century. The impressive red building belonged to a wealthy entrepreneur from the city and it was his personal idea to bring together four different museum collections in order to form the large collection.
Places to visit in Liège: Montagne de Bueren
374 steps of the Montagne de Bueren, Liège, Belgium
With a steep 30 degree slope and a good amount of 374 steps Montagne de Bueren has been nominated as the most extreme stairway in the world. Climb the stairs, take amazing pictures and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
Visit the Collegiate Church of St. Bartholomew
Collegiate Church of St. Bartholomew Liège, Belgium
Founded in the 11th century, this gorgeous church was built in the Mosan style. Mosan describes a medieval style of architecture and metalwork centered mainly around Liège and is characterized by a mix of styles popular in neighboring countries: France and the Netherlands.
Popular drink of Liège, peket
The alcoholic drink peket is made from juniper berries so it’s basically gin. It can be drunk straight as a shot but is typically mixed with fruit flavors, usually lemon. There are various flavors and you can taste them in the La Maison du Peket.
Where to eat in Liège?
Burger place in Liege, The Huggy’s Bar
Yes, of course you can try the traditional Belgian food à la my grandmother can cook it at home. I would suggest to taste burgers from a new and hip place The Huggy’s Bar. The great fact about this place is that all ingredients are produced in Belgium, the majority in Liège. The philosophy of the company is to keep close attention to a positive environmental attitude.
What to eat in Liège, Belgium: Burger from The Huggy’s Bar
First place where you can pair Huggy’s self-brewed beer with burgers
The Huggy’s Bar offers a casual and laid-back atmosphere with a friendly service. There are 40 various burger combinations paired together with Huggy’s 8 self-brewed beers. We ordered the Avocado Burger with beef and bacon, cheddar, guacamole, tomato & red onions and Huggy’s secret sauce and the Chimay Burger with double bacon, beef, red onions, rucola and chummy cheese of course. Our order came with an unlimited amount of coleslaw and tasty Belgian fries. The burgers were very juicy and sumptuous with fresh products. If I have to give one point to criticism it would be only that the buns were too soft and fell apart. A grilled version of them could make it the best burger. Nevertheless we enjoyed it. Definitely try the Trinity beer if you prefer a bit more character in your glass. My personal highlight was a Galler Chocolate Milkshake which left me speechless for a moment.
If you are planning to visit some other cities in Belgium you can find more tips here.
One day in Brussels is enough to see the best of it. As you probably know Brussels is the capital not only of Belgium but also of the European Union. Brussels is Belgium’s main economic and educational spot, what let to define it as a cosmopolitan city full of contrasts. Nevertheless it attracts tourists with it’s historical monuments and various world-class museums.
Interesting to mention is that the city is bilingual, all signs and the name of the streets are written in French and Dutch. The majority speaks French though, so they don’t even understand Dutch. Curious and sad at the same time, the country is divided into two parts, so many of it’s citizens can’t communicate with each other. But let’s talk about beautiful parts of Brussels because there are plenty of them!
If you are planning your day trip to Brussels the best choice to start it from Brussels-Midi train station. From here you will easily reach the city centre within a walking distance.
10 Things To Do in One Day in Brussels
1. Grand Place
The main touristic spot and Brussels attraction is the city’s main plaza Grand Place and it’s right in the heart of Brussels’ Old Town. The square is full with magnificent architecture in barock style. Moreover it’s considered as one of the most beautiful places in the world. No wonder, the square is surrounded by outstanding buildings decorated with rich gold ornates and gables. The most recongizible architectural masterpiece is the Town Hall, built in the 15th century. The architecture of the beautiful Grand Place reflects the diverse culture and society of Belgium, presenting the influences of different artistic styles. Here you also have a possibility to visit various museums, the prices for the tickets are mostly around 7-9€. If you need a map of the city, don’t buy it in the Info Hall, just go to the little chocolate museum and take one for free.
2. Manneken Pis
You’ve probably heard that one of the top things to see in Brussels is the famous urinating little boy of Brussels: “Manneken Pis”. I did it too. My expectations to see the symbol of the rebellious spirit of the City of Brussels were not so high, because what other country would actually use a pissing little boy as a symbol of the city? Moreover my hope to understand the meaning of Belgium’s most famous statue were immediately gone when I saw the microscopic bronze sculpture: 61cm.
Best things to do in Brussels is doubtlessly to eat Belgian waffles. Next to the marvelous “monument” is a street full of delicious Belgian waffles. The tempting aroma will lead you to the right direction, where you can find a huge variety of these sugary baked goods from 1 to 10 Euros. The price doesn’t play a major role, all Belgian waffles taste delightful. It’s like Belgian chocolate, the taste will never disappoint you. You can get waffles either hot or cold and even with different toppings like fruits, chocolate, caramel, nuts and more and more of other exquisite extras.
4. Beer Cafe Delirium
Belgium is famous all over the world for it’s tremendous beer culture. Since the Middle Ages Belgian folk take it’s reputation seriously, they even designed customized shapes of the glasses for each beer to enhance the flavor. Belgians brew with love and passion numerous variety of beer tastes. Nevertheless if you have an affinity for beers, you should definitely visit Delirium Café in Brussels. It’s one of the main places to visit in Brussels because it has over 3.000 different brands of beer from over 60 countries. This unbelievable record found it’s place even in The Guinness Book of Records.
5. Visit Museums in Brussels
Brussels is hiding a diverse amount of historical treasures, I could write an infinite number of pages describing it’s breathtaking beauty. I will introduce you to a few, that left an impression on me. The Mont des Artes is an architecturally imposing complex of monuments with a wide gorgeous garden. From there you can enjoy a great view on the Grand Place and the historic City of Brussels. Close to this magical garden you can find the influential achievements of the great Belgian architect Victor Horta. His unique design now regarded as iconic examples of the Art Nouveau style. Horta’s architectural masterpieces with borrowed motifs from nature are even featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. You can also visit the Horta museum, which remains a magnificent scene of a fairytale.
In a one day tour to Brussels you can’t miss this place! Close to Grand Place you can find a famous and beautiful shopping arcade Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. There are numerous luxury stores, lovely cafes and a theatre. It’s the perfect place to do window shopping and buy some souvenirs.
7. Comic book murals
Belgium is famous for it’s comic books and protagonists like the Smurfs, Lucky Luke, Tintin and many others. Throughout the city, you will find colourful murals dedicated to them. You can also buy a map of the city just for 1€ which will show you where all comic book murals are.
8. Brussels Coffee Scene
If you need a break from all walking just visit one of the amazing coffee shops in Brussels. Cafes like L’Atelier en Ville or Cafe Du Sablon take their coffee very seriously. These are ideal spots to have a break with delicious pastry.
9. Visit Parc De Brussels
If you are visiting Brussels during the summer don’t hesitate to explore the beautiful parks of Brussels. It’s a wonderful place to immerse into the peaceful vibes of the vibrant city. I would also suggest to visit Jardin Du Petit Sablon and Parc du Cinquantenaire.
10. Try Traditional Belgian Dishes
What to do in Brussels for a day? Of course try the traditional Belgian cuisine. There are two wonderful places where you can eat in Brussels that I would recommend: Mokafe and Peck 47. These are wonderful options for brunch or lunch. Mokafe will spoil you with wide range of traditional Belgian dishes on their menu. At Peck 47 you can taste savoury waffles with poached eggs.
Other beautiful cities in Belgium that you can’t miss are Bruges and Ghent.