There are many places of interest in Wallonia. it is therefore difficult to put together a top ten without having the feeling that at least ten have been forgotten. We have therefore tried to compile a well-balanced top ten of the various sights in the French-speaking part of Belgium. In Wallonia there are many beautiful historic cities, beautiful castles, special breweries and unique nature reserves. Many of these buildings or areas are National and, in some cases, World Heritage. Think of the Blegny mine, the boat lift of Strépy-Thieu or the belfry of Namur.
Wallonia ‘s Top 10 Attractions
Liège is the capital of the province of the same name and the second largest city in Wallonia after Charleroi. The city has had a bad image for years, but has been on the rise in recent years. The center of the city is being renovated at a rapid pace and considerable investments are being made to get the tourists to Liège. This seems to work as there has been a growing number of tourists visiting this special city in recent years. The city’s highlights include the Stairs of Bueren, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Prince-Bishops’ Palace and the futuristic Liège-Guillemins Station.
According to BRIDGAT, Namur is the capital of Wallonia and of the province of Namur. The city is located where the Sambre flows into the Meuse. It is a real university town with many cozy little squares and cafes. It is also a city with a long history. This history is still visible and tangible everywhere in the city. A good example of this is the citadel of Namur, which overlooks the city on a hill about a hundred meters high. In the city itself there are many places of interest such as the belfry, the Saint-Loup church and the Halle Al’Chair. The city is also a popular stopping point for tour boats that make a trip on the Meuse.
#3. Modave. Castle
Modave Castle is a beautifully restored castle near the Ardennes city of Huy. The castle is built on a rocky outcrop that rises about sixty meters above the valley of Hoyoux. The castle was built in the thirteenth century and has been renovated several times over the centuries. The most important renovation took place in the seventeenth century. In total there are still about twenty rooms in the castle to admire, all of which exude the allure of times long gone. The castle is open to the public every day (except Mondays) from April 1 to November 15. During the walk through the castle, the past of the castle is told via an audio guide.
#4. Mémorial du Mardasson
Just outside the city of Bastogne or Bastogne is this impressive World War II memorial. The monument was built in memory of the Battle of the Bulge. Many American soldiers were killed during this battle. The monument is in the shape of a five-pointed star. The top rim of the monument lists 48 US states. The various columns of the monument indicate the different divisions that took part in the Battle of the Bulge. Near the monument is the Bastogne Historical Center where you can learn more about the ‘Battle of the Bulge’.
#5. Blegny Mine
The Blegny Coal Mine is a former mine in the municipality of Blegny, which is now open to the public. The mine, along with several other mines in Wallonia, is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The mine was used as a coal mine until 1980 and has since served as a tourist attraction in the province of Liège. The mine consists of eight floors and has its deepest point at 580 meters underground. however, the visitors are not allowed to go that deep. These are given guided tours of the floors that can be found thirty and sixty meters below the ground. The tours are given by former miners.
Durbuy is said to be the smallest city in the world. Whether this is entirely correct, however, is debatable. What is clear is that this beautiful old town in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes has grown into one of the main tourist attractions in Wallonia. In the beautiful old but small center of the town you will find many cozy restaurants, bars and special shops. The area around Durbuy is ideal for outdoor activities. You can make beautiful walks and mountain bike rides and the Ourthe is ideal for a canoe or kayak trip.
#7. The springs of Spa
The springs of Spa may not be the most famous sights in Wallonia, but the water from these springs is one of the most famous export products from Wallonia. In total, there are seven different springs in the town that are accessible to the public. The most famous source is in the center of Spa. This is the Peter the Great well.
The spring water for the spa brand comes from the Reine, Barisart and Marie-Henriette springs. The different types of spring water that the brand sells are named after this. The town of Spa has been known for centuries as the spa town of Europe.
#8. Strépy-Thieu. boat lift
Like the other boat lifts in Belgium, the Strépy-Thieu boat lift is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. What makes this lift so special is the enormous height that this boat lift bridges. The ship’s bridge has to bridge a height of 73.15 meters. This is much more than the locks and lifts that exist in Belgium. Critical residents of Belgium regard the Strépy-Thieu boat lift as one of the great useless works. Since the mines were closed before the lift was completed and the ship lift had lost its main task. Nevertheless, the construction of the elevator was not entirely unnecessary. This is proven by the many metric tons that are transported over the Center Canal.
Charleroi is located in the central southern part of Belgium in the province of Hainaut. Charleroi is the largest city in Wallonia. Charleroi has been known for years as a gray industrial city. The city has long been dependent on the coal mines and the steel industry. After the disappearance of these industries, Charleroi had high unemployment and crime rates. Fortunately, there has been a change in income here in recent decades. With money from Brussels, companies are lured to establish themselves in or around the city. Tourism is on the rise, partly with the revival of Charleroi airport. Some places of interest in the city are the Hotel de Ville, the Belfry and St. Christopher’s Church.
#10. Abbey Notre-Dame d’Orval
This beautiful Notre-Dame d’Orval Abbey is located in the extreme south of Belgium, not far from the French border. The old abbey was founded in the first half of the twelfth century by Italian monks who settled here in the eleventh century. Over the centuries, the abbey has been destroyed and rebuilt several times. The abbey was destroyed during the French Revolution. It was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that the abbey was rebuilt. This partly on the remains of the previous abbey. The main source of income for the abbey is the brewing of the Trappist beer Orval. The abbey can be visited all year round.