The Belgium town of Spa is so famous for its mineral springs it inspired the English word “spa”. The charming village has attracted royalty and aristocrats since the early-16th century and is home to the world’s first casino and mountain hikes.
Things to do
Test your luck at the world’s first casino. Originally built in 1763, the Casino de Spa is one of many Neoclassical buildings in Spa’s town center. Try your hand at a traditional game, such as Dice Jack or English Roulette, while admiring the intricate mural ceilings and elegant chandeliers.
Hikers can relish impressive views over the Ardennes mountain range on a trail from Géronstère to Fagne de Malchamps. The 14-kilometer-long route passes through dense forests, streams and moors. Motor enthusiasts can take a behind-the-scenes look at the Circuit de Spa Francorchamps, known as the world’s most beautiful Formula One circuit.
Interested in the local history of Spa? Spend an afternoon at the Museum of the City of Waters. The museum features an array of precious antique and is housed in the Villa Royale, the former residence of Queen Marie-Henriette of Belgium.
A trip to Spa isn’t complete without dedicating a full day to indulgence. The Thermes de Spa is perched atop a green hill overlooking the town. Treat yourself to the relaxing thermal waters, healing treatments and soothing steam rooms at this elegant spa.
Spa is connected to Liège, Namur and Brussels by train, while Maastricht Aachen Airport is a two-hour bus ride away. Buses connect to the Circuit de Spa Francorchamps, while Spa itself is easily explored on foot.