Visiting Liege, Belgium
Liege is located in Belgium along the river Meuse and often overlooked for Brussels. I had the pleasure of visiting this summer and found that Liege had a lot to offer including amazing food, architecture, history, and art. Travel & Leisure named Liege as one of top places to visit in 2016 – and they were spot on!
Here are my top tips for visiting:
- Arrive by train – Liege is easily accessible by train just a short 2 hours from Paris or 1 hour from Brussels on Thalys, which you can book through Rail Europe. Train travel in Europe is effortless and gives you a chance to explore the scenery through which the train runs, take a nap or even work. WiFi is readily available on the train, the plush seats are luxurious and comfortable and the ride is smooth. Liege-Guillemins station is actually a work of art. You will notice when you arrive that it is strikingly beautiful and a great introduction to the city.
- Currency & Credit Cards –Liege, like the rest of Belgium uses the Euro as their currency. I always try to have local currency before I arrive anywhere just in case finding an ATM can sometimes be tricky. I did not have any issues finding an ATM in Liege – but I would still suggest coming with some Euro’s so you can take a taxi if need be or to purchase street food. Credit cards are widely accepted and if you plan to use them, make sure to turn the travel alerts on for your card and make sure the one you are using is accepted where you are going. You are more likely to find Visa and MasterCard logos than Diners Club.
- Official language is French – there are people who speak Dutch, but French is the primary language. I had about a 50/50 experience in finding people who spoke English.
- Eat the most popular dish: Boulets a la Liégoise (Liege meatballs) – these are hands down the most delicious thing I ate in all of Europe during my stay. Savory and sweet and they come with fries!
- Eating in Restaurants – if you don’t speak French and have no way of truly communicating with your server, I found that all the restaurants I ate at had English written menus. Just ask for an English menu – they will know what you are asking for.
- Where to stay – There are 22 hotels within the city. I stayed at the Crowne Plaza and they are the only 5 star hotel in the city. You will notice from the moment you arrive that this is not like any other hotel. The hotel is based on the former private mansions of de Sélys-Longchamps and the Comtes de Méan, dating from the XVIth century – and you can see the historical touches throughout. The food was amazing, the location was about 10 minutes from the train station and it was an easy walk to town.
- Pack walking shoes – the city is not flat and there is a lot of cobblestone. While the city is enjoyable to walk, I would hate to see your feet sore from not packing properly.
- If you have rolling luggage, take a taxi – walking cities is one of the many free luxuries the world offers. However, the cobblestone will kill the wheels on your suitcase.
- Fries come with mayonnaise and ketchup – if you have never had it, you will learn to love it as it is the best way to enjoy these delicious snacks. Give it a try.
- Discover the city and its magnificent architecture – If I am being honest, the city is not very pretty. However, I think it ads character. Not every place in the world is going to be picturesque and as a traveler, you will notice this on your adventures. Each city has something to offer and although I didn’t find the city pretty, the older architecture is outstanding and worth the view.
- Water is not free – In America you can get tap water for free when you dine out. This is not the case is most of Europe, including Liege. That being said, look at the prices for water and if there is something else you would like, its probably a comparable cost +/- slightly.
- Eat all the Liege Waffles – This speaks for itself. You won’t find a better waffle anywhere else. These waffles are made with sugar and caramelized on the top.
- Enjoy the art throughout the city – I noticed as I strolled the streets that I found art often. I think it gives the cit character and I enjoy seeing how people put art together in cities around the world.
- Visit Prince-Bishops’ Palace – Visually stunning architecture in the Place Saint-Lambert (square in the middle of Liege). The Palace’s first courtyard is open to visitors. Walking around the square you can see just how beautiful the building is.
- Grab a fresh snacks at one of the many vendors in the city – traveling can be hard on your body and it is easy to just eat whatever (I am very guilty of this). However, make sure and eat some fruits and veggies among the other foods you eat.
- Drink Peket – this is an alcoholic beverage that is made from juniper berries and comes in many flavors. You can drink it in a shot by itself or try it on fire! I promise its so much fun to drink it flambeed.