Wander Through Wallonia's Historic Cities
Situated in southern Belgium, the Wallonia region is well known for its centuries-old cities, rich French heritage, and hilly scenery. People who rent a holiday home in Wallonia will have no issues experiencing all the charms of this historic Belgian region.
One of the most important sites in Wallonia is the UNESCO-listed cathedral in the city of Tournai. Many historians believe the Tournai Cathedral is one of the finest surviving examples of Romanesque architecture in all of Europe.
After exploring the cathedral, don’t leave Tournai so fast! This city is also home to a historic belfry that measures over 70 meters high. Other impressive tourist stops in Tournai include the Museum of Fine Arts, Pont des Trous, and the Folklore Museum. Speaking of folklore, Tournai is also home to the popular International Folklore Festival, which usually takes place between September and October.
About an hour’s drive away from Tournai is another historically important Wallonian city known as Charleroi. Situated on the Sambre River, Charleroi is known nowadays as the epicenter of Belgium’s comic book industry. In addition to references to Charleroi’s comic book glory, you’ll find many reminders of this town’s industrial importance in attractions like the Industry Museum and the Museum of Glass. Indeed, there are many workshops in Charleroi that offer tours to curious visitors.
History buffs shouldn’t leave Wallonia without visiting the city of Bastogne, which is near the border with Luxembourg. The main attraction in this city is the Bastogne War Museum, which focuses on the history of the Battle of the Bulge. Tourists can also visit the Bastogne Barracks and the 101st Airborne Museum to learn more about what happened in Wallonia during WWII. Besides important WWII sites, Bastogne also has an impressive Gothic church and a 14th-century defensive tower called the Gate of Trier.
Another fascinating city in Wallonia is called Spa. As you could probably guess, this city played an important role in our modern concept of the “spa.” Indeed, most historians believe Spa was the first place in Europe to develop what we consider spa culture. This was due in large part to Spa’s numerous mineral-rich hot springs. While you’re here, definitely take a trip to Bains de Spa to see the city’s old baths. You can also go on tours of local mineral water factories and purchase a bottle of Spa’s water for yourself afterward.
Finally, any tour of Wallonia isn’t complete with a stop at Mons. Voted a European Capital of Culture in 2015, Mons has many historically important houses and palaces guests can explore. Just a few places you must see while in Mons include the city’s Baroque belfry tower, the Van Gogh House, the Grand Palace, and Doudou Museum.