Sure, you know that Amsterdam, London and Paris are only a train ride away. So are Cologne, Bruges and Ghent. However, there are so many more places to discover in the surroundings of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia. On this page, we would like to introduce you to a few of these places.
Right outside the center of Hasselt, a city located in the east of Flanders, you will find Europe's largest Japanese garden. The Japanese garden and its beautiful surroundings will make for an excellent day trip (or date), but will most of all allow you to rest and meditate.
The Paira Daiza Zoo started out as a bird park in 1994, but quickly grew to become much more than that. Paira Daiza means enclosed garden in ancient Persian and is the oldest known name for paradise. You'll quickly find that the garden reflects its name with its ancient trees, its beautiful flowers and lush plants from all over the world. To top it off, the architecture is stunning and fit for the 5,000 animals sharing their home with each other. The park is located in Wallonia and thanks to the SNBC you can travel to and visit the park at a favourable rate.
Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth War Graves cemetery in the world. It is also the most important reminder of the Battle of Passchendaele, 1917. During that British offensive from July till November of 1917 almost 500,000 soldiers died in the immediate area over a period of just one hundred days, gaining barely eight kilometres. For those of you eager to learn more about the Great War, we advice to visit the region around Ypres. Besides the Tyne Cot Cemetery, you can also visit the Memorial Museum Passchendaele and attend the daily Last Post at 8PM.
Dinant is a Walloon city located about 90km south-east of Brussels. The ancient city by the river offers great sights, like the gothic Collegiate Church, the fortified Citadel and the house of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone. However, our favourite activity around Dinant doesn't include the city at all. About 20 kilometres from Dinant, you can explore the underground cavities of the Haquin hole or the Church hole and cross the famous "Letter Box". Another favourite is the kayak trip down the river Lesse. Ideal for a warm summer day.
For those of you who wish to completely avoid the beaten track, we advice to strap on comfortable shoes and avoid all sense of fear. Forbidden Places tells you where to find those places that are completely abandoned. All around the world you can find buildings that have been abandoned, but not demolished. As it turns out, quite of lot of these places are located in Belgium (and Brussels). Do you find the sight of walking around Brussels' sewage system a tad bit gruesome? Don't worry and explore the spots digitally.
Tournai (Dutch: Doornik) is a city with a rich history. After Tongeren it is the oldest city of Belgium. French kings, Flemish counts, English kings and the Spanish have all fought out battles for this place. It's well worth exploring and combines the delights of a city with nature. Right outside the city you will find Le Pays des Collines, a nature park, where you can come at ease like no where else.
Tongeren is much more than just a gateway to the beautiful Haspengouwen, the 'Tuscany of the North'. It's the oldest city in Belgium and a wonderful place for a city trip. Whether you like to dive into the past, like culture or shopping, Tongeren is most likely the place for you.