Stunning natural scenery, beautiful medieval cities, beer and chocolate. Belgium has plenty to offer beyond the Belgian Grand Prix at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Hire a car and get exploring this compact, fascinating country in the heart of Europe!
Check out the Circuit Museum
The Musée du Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps can be found in a beautiful old abbey in the nearby town of Stavelot, just 5km from the circuit. Home to a small, yet perfectly curated collection of cars and motorbikes that have raced on the circuit over the past century, the museum is open every day from 10:00-18:00. Tickets cost €9.50 for adults and also include entry to the two other museums on the same site. Click here for more information.
The historic town that gives the circuit part of its name is also where the word ‘spa’ originates. Enjoy the thermal baths and various health treatments that have made the town a popular destination for centuries, try your luck in the town’s historic casino or just wander the quaint streets. Spa is just 12km from the circuit and is well worth a few hours of your time, especially if you need to rest your weary muscles after a long day at the track!
Eat (and Drink) Like a Local
Did you know that Belgium produces over 500 types of beer? Half of the world’s Trappist breweries (that’s beer produced by Monks) are located in the country, and you are never far from a good pub serving a tasty range of craft beers. Just watch out for the super-strong varieties. Belgium also has a reputation for serving some of the world’s tastiest junk foods, especially waffles and fries, the latter served with mayonnaise. This small country is also a heavy hitter in the world of chocolate, producing over 200,000 tonnes per annum! Of course, there’s more to the local cuisine than chocolate and junk food. Popular dishes include mussels, beef casserole, fish soup and stoemp, a mix of mashed potatoes and vegetables.
Best of Belgium…and Beyond
Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is the de facto capital of the European Union and also the headquarters of NATO. This historic city is also home to some stunning palaces, churches and museums. Other notable cities worth visiting in Belgium include Bruges (main picture above), a stunningly preserved medieval city, Antwerp, a coastal city that dominates the global diamond trade, Ghent Belgium’s second largest city and Liège, a pretty student city near the borders of Germany and The Netherlands. Of course, nowhere is too far away in this part of Western Europe. We also recommend checking out the city-state of Luxembourg, Aachen in Germany and Maastricht in The Netherlands, all of which are within a short drive of Spa-Francorchamps.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Spa-Francorchamps is situated in the heart of the mountainous Ardennes region of Belgium. Popular for hiking, cycling and camping in the summer months, the area boasts some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Western Europe, including dense forests, lakes, caves and cliffs. As with the rest of Belgium, you’ll also find some pretty medieval villages, castles and monasteries. The city of Namur is a great base to explore the region.
Drive the Nürburgring
The legendary Nürburgring circuit is less than 100km (60 miles) east of Spa-Francorchamps. The short GP Strecke layout of the circuit hosted the German Grand Prix as recently as 2013, but the fearsome 20.81km (12.93 mile) Nordschleife circuit, also known as “The Green Hell,” is the one you really want to see. If you are feeling brave, you can even drive on the Nordschleife. The circuit regularly hosts track days and several companies also offer driving experiences. Click here for more information.