The Original Spa
The picturesque town of Spa in eastern Wallonia has given its name to every spa in the world, because of the quality of its natural spring water which has helped visitors get their sparkle back since Roman times. Down the years, Spa became a watering hole for a long line of notable Brits, among them King Henry VIII, the Duke of Wellington and Winston Churchill. And the town has kept up with the times. Today’s visitors make for the ultra-modern Thermes de Spa centre.
Half an hour away, the town of Chaudfontaine has the only naturally warm spring in Belgium, enjoyed by the locals since the 17th century and now attracting visitors from far and wide, who come to take the waters (kept at a constant 34C) at a beautifully converted 19th century chateau which lies near the source of the bountiful spring.
While Chaudfontaine’s water is primarily used for restorative bathing and treatments, Spa’s cooler and tastier water is exported to many countries as a healthy drink in its own right, or as a refreshing accompaniment to a meal. Some of the town’s bottled waters are available in UK supermarkets in the forms of the blue-bottled Spa Reine, or the red-bottled sparkling Barisart.