This article was originally published on EIKONLINE.COM
Spa, Belgium is the birthplace of relaxation. The home of a spectacular natural thermal spa and really where the “spa” started for the Western world.
Just a short drive from the Capital of Brussels you arrive in the town of Spa, it is incredibly exciting and alive with energy which is surprising considering its size and population.
Amongst the excitement on offer it boasts a beautiful casino -that still requires its clientele to “dress-up”, this is no Las Vegas flip-flop and t-shirt wearing crowds.
It also has a famous race track close by, I was visiting the town while a rally was just coming to an end, so a stream of sports cars were driving through the centre, collecting their trophies.
In the centre of town there is a natural water source, for only €1 ($1.64NZD) you can find out the history and try the “interesting tasting” water bubbling up direct from the earth below.
The smell may be a little off putting, also, the taste might be too… but knock a glass back and just think of the health benefits.
This naturally carbonated and highly sulphuric smelling water will “heal” all your ailments.
(Forests of Spa in Belgium)
I then enjoyed a walk in the dense forest that surrounds Spa, discovering the other natural water sources on offer.
“La source de la Géronstère” is an idyllic source and it boasts its own restaurant and hotel, I indulged in some delicious afternoon coffee (also, dogs are welcome).
(La Source de la Geronstere)
Anyone who likes to be in nature will adore this area, just don’t forget those hiking boots.
As night crept in I took a trip to the Thermal Spa, where I wiled away several hours, developed from the 19th century they have inside and outside swimming pools, saunas, hammams and relaxation rooms… Endless treatments are available and packages range from half a day to five.
Basic entrance is €32.
(Back of the Hotel Dufays)
I stayed over at Hotel Dufays in the hamlet of Stavelot, next door to Spa.
This beautiful -gay owned and run- boutique hotel has elegant ambiance throughout, the property is from the 18th century and restored beautifully and in the morning indulge in an elegantly lavish breakfast.
The hosts Ad Nagel and his partner Frank Noten are happy to cater to individuals needs and tastes, personal attention is their top priority.
(Breakfast at Dufays Hotel)
All in all, I found Spa to be a majestically beautiful town. The inhabitants are very open minded and liberal, a truly diverse crowd and one that is clearly comfortable with two guys or two girls showing affection in public.
This place is a must -even if it’s just to experience the Thermal Spa- for anyone who enjoys true relaxation and peace.