Arlon is one of those Belgian towns with very long, rich, inspiring and interesting histories. Historians tell us that Arlon was there, long before the Roman Empire conquests. This town, which is to be found in the Luxembourg province right on the main railway line that connects Brussels to Luxembourg has survived and thrived over the millennia, though its population has not really grown exponentially.
As at the end of 2011 for instance, the population stood at just above 28,000 people. It is thus one of those towns that can’t exactly be described as bustling. This is important for the tourist, as the ‘bustling’ towns and cities tend to have a scenario where the tourists and the residents have to compete for space. Talking of space, it is also worth noting that Arlon is relatively small in size and most of its tourist attractions are within a relatively small (almost compact) geographical area. Thus, sightseeing in Arlon shouldn’t be too much of a chore. Some of the sights in Arlon are unique and time expended visiting this town will definitely be time well spent.
Getting around Arlon
As we mentioned earlier, Arlon is located on the main railway line that connects Luxembourg to Brussels. This means that you can get to this town using any one of the express trains that ply the route, these being trains that connect Belgium to other European nations.
There is the option of getting around Arlon by bus. There are more than 15 bus routes that originate from Arlon, go via Arlon or terminate at Arlon. Many of these pass through the further flung parts of Arlon, and they can therefore help you get around the town as well.
You should also be able to get around Arlon by taxi. The taxis here mostly charge fixed prices and as is the case with most of the European Union countries, services like those pertaining to taxi transport can be quite costly.
Getting around Arlon by foot is really an option too. After all, Arlon is not particularly big, especially if your focus is on the areas with tourist attractions (as opposed to the upcoming far-flung residential and business areas). So you can get around by foot, and chances are that your experience will be much richer if you set aside enough time, and decide to take things slowly and leisurely, by exploring Arlon on foot.
Things to see and do in Arlon
Arlon is home to the some of the most visible remnants of one of the defensive walls that ancients used to build for self-defense purposes. Referred to as the Gallo-Roman wall, this is definitely a sight to behold while touring this historically rich town. You will admire the design of the walls, their joinery (the manner in which the materials used to build them were put together), and the fact that they, or at least fragments of them, have survived to this age.
There are two remarkable museums that you should make an effort to visit while in Arlon. One of those is the local archeological museum, which has artifacts from as far back as the times of the Roman conquest, and others that actually predate that conquest. The other one is the Gaspar Museum, which is essentially an art museum, with exquisite displays of paintings, works of religious art, as well as amazing furniture displays standing side by side with the best of pottery and other ceramic products.
Though a sad place, the local Jewish cemetery is a site worth visiting. It is full of grandeur, and within a short while, you will discover that it was not really meant to be a place for mourning, but rather, a place for celebrating the lives of those buried there.
Like every other historical Belgian city, Arlon has an ancient church which is really an architectural marvel. It is known as Saint Donat’s church, and you will be amazed to learn that the site where it stands has more historical significance: that being where an ancient Capuchin monastery stood, and also a site where a castle once stood.