Spa

Belgium

Overview

Often referred to as the Pearl of the Ardennes, Spa is an attractive Belgian town with very scenic surroundings. It has been frequented as a water-place since as early as the 14th century; the English word spa owes its origins to the town. Spa also has Europe’s oldest health resort and arguably the world’s oldest operational casino.

Events

Things to do in Spa!

Hotels

Booking.com

Guide

Neighborhood


Downtown

  • This area of Spa is particularly popular among tourists as it is the site for Casino de Spa, arguably the oldest operating casino in the world.

 

Ardennes

  • Spa is nestled in a valley in the Ardennes, which is famous for its luscious green landscapes, hills and mountain ranges.

 

Getting around


General info

Spa is fairly small in size and you can easily cover it with a car or bike.

To travel to neighboring areas like Stavelot you can use the TEC bus system.

Train

You can reach Spa by taking a train from Brussels (North, Central and Midi stations) to Pepinster where you can transfer to the L5476 in the direction of Spa-Geronstere.

 

From Brussels airport to Spa-Geronstere:

Station

Departure

Arrival

Train

From Brussel-Nat-Luchthaven To Leuven

14:39

14:53

IR 4214

From Leuven To Verviers-Central

15:26

16:23

IC 513

From Verviers-Central To-Geronstere

16:46

17:15

L 5487

Suggested itinerary


Spa can be covered as part of a tour of the Liege Province (Source: visitbelgium.com

 

The route traversed would be:

Liege - Spa - Francorchamps - Malmedy - Stavelot - Reinhardstein - Eupen -Liege (78 miles)

Staying connected


  • Belgium uses GSM 900and 1800 frequency bands. The phone must be “unlocked” to accept the Belgium’s SIM card. For 3G, carriers use the 2100 frequency band, Proximus, Mobistar, Base, Tango and BUCD are providing 4G services in the country now.
  • You can rent a cell phone at the airport from Locaphone, for use inside or outside Belgium. Alternatively, if you plan to stay longer in Belgium, you can buy a cell phone with a prepaid card. You can buy a cell phone with the activation card and a prepaid card in any phone store, You should pay no more than EUR 80.00 for an adequately functional phone. You can recharge the SIM at most Belgian ATMs or on-line.
  • The following are service providers in Belgium for Prepaid SIM:

Eat / Drink


Local

Some typical examples of the local Walloon cuisine include:

  • Salade Liégeoise: Common across Wallonia, this salad is rich with green beans and warm bacon pieces.
  • Liege Style Waffles (Gaufres de Liege): The most commonly seen waffles across Belgium, they can be identified by their uneven edges with caramelized pearl sugar (made from sugar beet).  Add to it a variety of toppings and you have a very tasty dish in hand!
  • Flamiche: Named after the Flemish word for cake, this dish is similar to a quiche. It is essentially a piecrust filled with custard containing vegetables (traditionally leeks) and cheese or both.

Gourmet

 

 

Vegetarian

There are very few traditional Belgian dishes that are vegetarian and you would be better off checking the menu of a restaurant before getting a table. Desert soups and salads aside you could consider ordering dishes like Stoemp, which is a typical Flemish dish of made of pureed or mashed potatoes and other root vegetables. Please confirm that the dish contains no meat before ordering.

 

  • La Dolce Vita (Spa)

Drink

Beer is extremely popular in Belgium with the country having more distinct types of beer per capita than anywhere else in the world including some of the most widely known names globally. Wallonia itself is home to major Trappist beers like Chimay.

 

While in Wallonia you should try some of the more famous local beers:

  • Juplier (5.2 alcohol by volume)
  • Orval (6.2 alcohol by volume)
  • Saison Dupont (6.5 alcohol by volume)
  • Abbaye des Rocs (9.0 alcohol by volume)
  • Bush Prestige (13.0 alcohol by volume)

Tipping


  • Tipping is not very common in Belgium. Service workers are generally well paid and do not rely on tips.
  • Restaurants: Tipping in restaurants is not expected because a 10-15% service charge is generally applied to your bill. If you feel that your service was exceptional, you can leave a few Euros as tip.
  • Bars: Tipping at bars is not expected but you may leave an additional amount if you are happy with the service.
  • Taxis: Tipping taxi drivers is not required or expected, but some people leave the change for their driver in order to round up to the nearest Euro. However, if the taxi driver goes out of his way to help, consider leaving a small tip. A few Euros is sufficient.
  • Hotel Porters/Concierge: Tipping the staff at hotels is not common because the cost of your bill will include services. However, with that said, you can still tip the bellman if you like. EUR 2.00 is fine for several pieces of luggage or EUR 1.00 per piece.

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Banner image credits: Jean-Pol GRANDMONT