Spa is a popular town in Belgium, which gets its name from the spas (healing mineral springs) it hosts. History shows that, from as early as the 1300s, people keen on tapping into the healing and relaxing effects of natural spas were flocking to what is today the Spa municipality in Liege. It is actually this town that gave spas, as we know them today, their name. Thus, like most other towns and cities in Belgium, Spa has a rather long and rich history. It is also a sparsely populated area: with the latest census showing that it is home to less than 11,000 people. What this means is that Spa is one of those resort towns where you can get a chance to relax ‘away from the bustle.’
Getting around Spa
Spa is a relatively small town, with a total area of less than 40 square kilometers. So getting around shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. It is one of those places where you can walk from one end to the other without getting too tired. There is, however, a train service, that connects Spa to Liege through Verviers. To get to Spa from Verviers, you need about 25 minutes. To get to Spa from Liege you need about 50 minutes by train. The train will, however, only get you to Spa. It won’t get you around Spa.
Things to do and see in Spa
One of Spa’s greatest attractions is its hot, natural, swimming pool: the Spa that gives it its name. Its exact name is Les Thermes de Spa. It is a real marvel – with a total area of more than 8,500 square feet. Note that this is not an artificial spa (though it is referred to as the New Spa). Rather, it is a natural spa, with the hot water that feeds it being water that comes directly from the historical Clementine spring.
Even before getting to dip into the spa, you will love the sight of it: what with its attendant geysers and other bubbling water features.
Moving on, even if you are not a gambling enthusiast, you will still find the Casino of Spa worth looking at. This is because, according to most historians, this is actually the world’s oldest (purpose-built) Casino, whose construction started in the mid 18th century. It is quite a beautiful building, even without its historical significance being factored in.
Spa Belgium is also home to the Leopold II Gallery. You will love the design of this particular gallery (as seen from outside), even before you venture to see what it has to offer.
Belgium Spa is also home to the Laundry Museum, where you get a chance to see how the technology people use to clean their outfits has evolved over time. Amazingly, some of the earliest washing machines that are on display in this particular museum are in fully serviceable condition. Here, you also get a chance to learn about the evolution of soaps – and by the time you get out of this museum, you will have gone beyond taking the conveniences we have today for granted.
Spa Belgium is also host to one of the wonders of motorsport: the Spa-Francorchamps track, which is a good place to watch the Grand Prix of Belgium. Even if you are not a motorsport enthusiast, you will find the grandeur of this particular track possibly breathtaking.
It will really be a pity if you make a trip to Spa Belgium, and leave without having a chance to taste sparkling water from the historic Pouhon Pierre le Grand.
To get deep insights into the culture and history of the people of Spa Belgium, you should make a point of visiting the town’s Ville d’Eaux Museum, which, apparently was at one point the Belgian Queen’s mansion, and which today hosts a remarkably rich museum of art.