Liège has a long and proud sporting history. Its main claim to fame is being the start and finishing point of the classic ‘Liège-Bastogne-Liège’ international cycling race.
Huy, about 40km from Liège, is known to cycling fans for its legendary ‘Wall of Huy’, a steep climb that is feared on the international circuit.
In Spa-Francorchamps, adrenaline rushes are the order of the day – or three days, including practice sessions - during the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix, one of the most eagerly anticipated sporting events of the European calendar, held in late August when the F1 championship is nearing its climax.
Another site not to be missed is Crystal Discovery in Val Saint Lambert, the world's largest crystal factory and the only one open to the public in Europe. You can visit the heart of the workshops, built on the site of a former Cistercian abbey. In the museum, a multimedia gallery presents the history of crystal-making, right back to the Babylonian era. Finally, in the demonstration workshop, you can see the blowing and engraving of the precious glass.
Another great place to visit is Château of Jehay. This 16th century building, surrounded by moats and beautiful gardens, is a classic example of the ‘Mosaic Renaissance’. Its remarkable chequered board façade, made up of white and grey stones, is unique in Europe. The interior is sumptuously decorated and includes a rich collection of gold and silverware, tapestries, paintings and statues. The Château also has regular temporary exhibitions.
Nearby is the Château of Modave. Set on a rocky peak, overlooking the Hoyoux valley, the building dates back to the 13th century. An audioguide available in five languages allows you to unravel the secrets of this unique place which was listed in the 1993 Heritage Wall of Wallonia. The gardens and intricately decorated interior are sublime. Most impressive of all is the wheel which enabled water to be lifted from the river to the château above. A revolutionary idea at the time, it was later reused at the Château of Versailles to draw water from the Seine.
If you are looking for a day or a weekend spa treatment, come and enjoy the thermal waters of Chaudfontaine. In a beautiful setting, the Château des Thermes, with its spring water at 34°C, is the perfect place.
About 10 km north-east of Liège, you should consider a visit to the Blegny-Mine, one of the major mining sites of Wallonia, listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list. You can visit a subterranean gallery 530m deep, the Mining Museum, a preserved spoil heap which is now a biotope, and ride on the tourist train that traverses the Blegny complex. With various other attractions this is the ideal place for a family visit: the kids will love it!
Also north-east of Liège, you should visit the fascinating and historic area of the Pays de Herve, with its 17th and 18th century houses and its ‘Six Fontaines’, a famous public wash house built in 1773. Herve is renowned for its extraordinary Herve cheese, known all over the world. It is the first Belgian cheese to benefit from the controlled label of origin, which means a cheese of that name can’t be produced anywhere else.
Liège-Guillemins TGV Station. The most attractive and well-connected station on the entire TGV network, this remarkable structure was designed by the famous Catalan architect Santiago Calatrava. Liège is now even closer to Brussels, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Cologne or Frankfurt. So, without further delay, make a high-speed trip to Liège, to discover a fascinating city, replete with cultural and architectural heritage.