The foundation of Liege was laid in a chapel in Meuse in 558! It is one of the most historically rich places in Europe. In 705, after the murder of the Bishop, this place became a pilgrim destination. Today, Liege is the most important city in Wallonia.
- I Get in
- II See
- III Walloon Art Museum
- IV Sart Tilman Open-Air Museum
- V Where to stay in Liege
- VI Stay safe in Liège
- VII Go next
The first thing to do in such a culture-rich place is to get a Museum pass. This only costs thirteen Euros, and will give you unlimited access to thirteen Museums in this cultural epicenter of Belgium. Like all places that have been touched by Christian history, liege too boasts religious arts not only in museums but also outside. You can visit churches or just observe the old architecture to bask in this cultural glory.
At the foot of Ardennes on the river Meuse, it has been a prominent urban centre since the Middle Ages, but really blossomed during the industrial revolution, when it grew to become Belgium’s third-largest metropolis, after Brussels and Antwerp. Thanks to its strategic position, Liège still enjoys relative affluence and economic importance, in contrast to its fellow Wallon cities further south.
Despite its size and location in-between some of the most-visited cities in Europe, Liège sees very little tourist traffic. Those who find it along their itinerary might be surprised to find the purported industrial city to be quite green, with wide boulevards, an interesting, if a bit disorderly, mix of architecture from different periods, much greenery and picturesque riverbanks and hillsides. There are also quite a few museums and other points of interest, enough for at least a busy day trip.
Liège has been an important city since the early Middle Ages. It was the former capital of the Principality (prince-bishopric) of Liège, which remained an independent state until the French Revolution (around 1789). In the 19th century it became an early centre of industrialism. Today it is a large city of 200,000 inhabitants, with a total 750,000 in its metropolitan area. A city heavily shaped by waves of immigrants, Liège has important Italian (making up at least 5% of the population), Spanish, German, Moroccan, Turkish, and Sub-Saharan African communities (the latter being one of the largest in Belgium).
The central area of Liège presents itself as a rather interesting mix of a historic town centre (dotted with a few extremely brutalist buildings from the 1960s and 70s), a rather elegant new town with wide boulevards, tall apartment buildings (some Art Deco), narrow street with small businesses, a few pretty parks, and a few interesting shopping arcades. The outskirts of Liège consist mainly of 2 very distinctive areas: large industrial complexes sprawling on the river’s bank in the north and the south (with the cities of Seraing and Herstal) and working-class areas in the east and the west with mainly spare green neighborhood for healthy people.
Liège is located just at the beginning of the Ardennes, which makes the landscape of the south very different than the rest of the city, with high hills and abundant forests (Sart-tilman and beyond).
Cheap Flights to Brussels
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- Brussels Airport is your most likely point of entry into Belgium. To reach Liège, take the train to Louvain/Leuven, or Brussels-Nord and change for Liège.
- Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located in Charleroi, is an alternative for low-cost airlines such as Ryanair and WizzAir. From the airport, take the city bus Line A (stop is outside of the departure hall), which costs €6 one way to Charleroi-Sud (south) train station, then the train to Liège-Guillemins. Train departs once every hour from 5:00. Last train leaves at 23:00. The trip takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Maastricht Airport is also close to the city. Ryanair has some service from the city (a lot less than Charleroi though). Transportation to Liège can be done by taking a bus to Maastricht station, then taking a train.
- Frankfurt Airport has a thrice daily direct high-speed train link to Liège-Guillemins. More frequencies can be found if you make a stop in Cologne.
Liège-Guillemins is the main station, located on the southwest part of the city. Thalys and ICE high-speed trains serve Brussels, Paris, Aachen, Cologne and Frankfurt. Beware that unlike most train stations in Belgium, Liège-Guillemins is not a walking distance away from the city centre (20-25min). You can take a bus which cost €2 one way, or taxi which cost around 8-10 euros. The cheapest alternative being changing to another train that’s heading to the station called Liège-St-Lambert. The fare of this trip is included in your ticket to Liège-Guillemins. The trip takes around 6 mins.
From Brussels, intercity service runs at least hourly and takes about 50 minutes from Brussels Nord. From Brussels Airport, take the airport shuttle to Leuven and take intercity service from there. From the Netherlands, connect in Maastricht. Trains run at least hourly and take about 30 minutes.
Once you are at Liège-Guillemins station, you can get to city centre by changing to a train heading for Liège-St-Lambert, or by taking the number 1 or number 4 bus just outside the station to Place St-Lambert. Another alternative is route 48 which takes you to the Opera. Note that all routes run both ways at the stop of Liège-Guillemins station, make sure to take the buses that have either “Pl. St-Lambert” or “Opéra” on their destination sign.
Liège’s position among the many “strategic triangles of Europe’s major cities makes it quickly accessible from multiple major hubs
Liège is the crossroads for several major motorways. Its “ring” has 6 branches in clockwise order:
- the E25, to the south, towards Luxembourg and into France via Metz, Nancy, Lyon
- the E42, to the west, crosses Wallonia via Mons/Bergen before entering France via Valenciennes, Paris
- the E40, to the west, leading to the Belgian coast via Brussels
- the E313, leading to Antwerp and on to the large coastal cities of the Netherlands
- the E25, to the north, with Maastricht a stone’s throw away (30 km) and the rest of the Netherlands beyond
- the E40, to the east, entering Germany via Aachen. A second branch (Actually the E42) splits off at Verviers, heading to Trier.
Since it is a fairly large city, many motorway exits are signposted for “Liège”. When coming from Germany or Netherlands, follow the E25 to its end, then follow the road signs to the center. If you are coming from Luxembourg, exit at “Angleur” and follow signs to the center, or to continue on to the exit marked “Liège-centre”. Finally, coming from Paris, Lille, Brussels, or Antwerp, follow signs to Luxembourg until you reach the exit marked “Liège-centre.” When coming from Flanders, Liège is named as “Luik.”
There are a number of covered car parks situated conveniently in the centre costing €2.20 an hour.
Liège is well-connected by bus, notably in the Eurolines network on rue des Guilleminutes, near the train station.
Individuals arriving with their own boat are welcome at the seaport des Yachts.
Many organised cruises departing from Maastricht stop in the center of Liège, on the right bank (quai Marcatchou to quai Van Beneden).
Unlike most Belgian cities, Liège has no inner ring built along the path of the old city walls. Instead, the main streets were laid out along the old branches of the river, which makes their organisation a bit obscure.
Leave your car in one of the city-center parking garages, especially if you have no map of to your destination.
Here are the main routes for cars:
- the motorway E40-E25 that crosses parts of the city
- the Boulevards “d’Avroy” and “de la Sauvenière”, the main route between the center and the train station
- the Quais “de la Meuse” and “de la Dérivation”, which link to/from the two branches of the E25
TEC is the main bus company. Most lines converge towards one of the city-center bus “terminals.” These terminals are located at Place Saint-Lambert, Gare Léopold, Place de la République Française, and around the Opéra/Theater (all the four are very close to one another). The names of these five sites are used to indicate the direction of the bus, according to the line taken.
Several other lines leave from the train station Liège-Guillemins. Among them, two lines link the station with city center: the #4, a circular line (direction “Bavière” to go from the station to the center, direction “d’Harscamp” for the reverse trip), and the #1 which runs train station to city center and on to Coronmeuse. There also is a few lines that start from the intersection of the Boulevard d’Avroy and the “Pont d’Avroy”, the main shopping street. Unfortunately, however, few lines run after midnight.
More and more bus stops now show the waiting time for the next bus on each line, and many busses are equipped to display the next stop and adapted for people with reduced mobility. Nevertheless, be aware that the next stop screens are not always synchronised with the bus stops. For people using a bus line they’re not familiar with, ask the driver to warn you when you are arriving at the bus stop you are looking for. You can ask for a free printed version of each bus schedule at the terminal of the line.
Travelling by bike in the city center is easy, but the hillsides can be a bit steep (between 5 and 15%). Reaching the higher neighborhoods will require a bit of training and a multi-speed bike!
Cycling paths are regularly added and improved, though the main roads remain a bit dangerous. Most one-way streets can be travelled in the opposite direction by cyclists. A map of cycling paths is available at the tourist information office. In addition, there’s a “Ravel” (a path for walkers and cyclists) along the right bank of the river Meuse.
- La Maison des Cyclistes
Most of the areas in city center are easily accessible on foot, and walking provides an interesting perspective on the city itself. The trip from the train station at Guillemins to the city center requires a bit more timeL about 30 min.
This place boasts ancient art almost as much as 9000 years old! At the Archeoforum villa, one can observe the walls of Gallo-Roman villa, look at ancient roman and Greek art and also look at various forms of religious masterpieces.
The Grand Curtis:
This museum of modern art and history will entertain you in five departments which are artillery, decoration, glass, religion, Mosan and archeology.
Tourists at Liege get a decent opportunity of exploiting numerous unique attractions evenhandedly. There are very few destinations, which have so many rare types of localities to entertain a variety of mindsets.
House of Science:
This is a home to some entertaining machines and experiments, illusions etc.
House of Metallurgy and Industry:
This museum holds objects as old as the 17th century and has a remarkable collection of machinery, energy and computers. You can find here many historical items such as Napoleon’s zinc bath and a real steam engine!
This is a museum of diverse art that only holds art from people who are mentally handicapped. This art is a collection of the contributions of five countries.
Walloon Art Museum
This museum holds collections of paintings and sculptures from Renaissance era.
Sart Tilman Open-Air Museum
Perhaps, the best of its kind, this museum holds murals and sculptures that are unique and precious. Speaking of outdoors, why not visit some historical landmarks? Liege is a place that is more beautiful than any other simply because nature has taken her way here. There are pavements that wind through the most exotic parks where birds of many kinds roam free and provide amazing sights to visitors.
This place has more than 60 listed tourist spots for people who want to indulge in landmarks. If night is falling and you are in the mood of some entertainment and fine dining, be sure to visit the district of The Carre. This is a place like no other because it is a romantic food-street complete with tables on the side-walks and bars that serve you with the finest alcohol.
Be sure to tell the chef your basic preferences and allergies and let them surprise you with savory cuisines that will force you to ask for second helpings! Have a desert of Liege typical waffles and coffees. If you require more intoxication, be sure to order the Peket! Being a component of local cuisine, ‘peket’ is a type of gin that is enjoyed either plain or flavored with lemon, lime etc. Also, there are year round entertainment according to the seasons and months!
January is the prime month for the Liege theatres, where there are special local plays held, where artists can display their talents.
February is the month of photography and visual art festivals that are held in different locations around the city.
March is the festival of engravings where artists from around the world not only gather to display their art but local artists can also create engravings for a small fee.
April is perhaps the most remarkable month because it holds the international festival of detective films. Numerous stars from around the world attend this festival.
May sees two festivals which are the International horseback championships and a Jazz festival for music lovers!
June is the month of gardens and secret corners with parties that go late into the night.
July is also one for music as it boasts an Electro-Rock event!
August is the month of a walking festival with road-side attractions for all who participate in the great parade.
September Retrouvailles is the most touching festival as it means get together. People from all over the world return just to meet and have some fun and the tourism population is high.
October holds the liege organ festival and the official funfair which means carnivals, colors and fun for all!
December has the best Christmas village with snow, trees, Santa and celebration all month until the New Year when a new ride starts all over again!
Where to stay in Liege
Hotels Liege: Popularity
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Mercure Liege City Centre
Van Der Valk Sélys Liège Hotel & Spa
Liège is generally a safe city during daytime. However, be cautious at night especially for single females. It is not recommended for women to walk alone in the evenings as many foreign female students have experienced being followed late at night. Robbery is rare but harassment to single females occurs often, mostly verbal but some travelers have experienced assaults in off-downtown area. If where you’re staying is more than a 5-min walk off the centre, it is suggested to take a cab (they have a line-ups around The Opera and Pont d’Avroy bus terminal) after 10PM.
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