New year, new things to do in Belgium

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As the new year roles in, it’s time to start thinking about new experiences. You don’t need to travel far, just head to Belgium!

As the year changes over, we all start to look forward to more experiences, and discovering new places. Did you know that incredible, quirky destinations are just a stone’s throw away, in Belgium?

Vlooybergtoren, Tielt-Winge

Drive from Calais: 252km / 2h 40m
The amazing engineering that created Vlooybergtoren is reason enough to visit.
The amazing engineering that created Vlooybergtoren is reason enough to visit. Credit: Stokkestijn

In the town of Tielt-Winge, there sits Vlooybergtoren, a staircase that needs to be seen to be believed. Designed by Close to the Bone, a Belgian engineering firm, Vlooybergtoren is a staircase that leads to nowhere, and demonstrates the incredible things physics and engineering can achieve.

The 33ft high staircase is completely unsupported, only staying upright because of the heavy base, the only part of the structure that touches the ground. The weight of the base anchors it so that even in the strongest winds, the staircase won’t topple over. The tower is also fitted with ‘vibration dampeners’ that prevent it from shaking when people climb to the top.

You might ask yourself, why is the staircase here? Incredible though it is, why would you climb it? The staircase actually sits on the same location as an old viewing tower, which burnt down (this is why Vlooybergtoren is metal, and therefore fire-proof). The view from the top of the staircase is incredible, and looks out for miles over the Belgian landscape, including the ‘fairy tale forest’ , Kabouterbos.

Jacques Chocolate Museum, Liege

Drive from Calais: 296km / 3h
 Find out more about Belgium chocolate, and take home as much as you can carry.
Find out more about Belgium chocolate, and take home as much as you can carry.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Belgium if chocolate didn’t feature in some way. And what could be better than a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type of experience? In the annexe of the Jacques Chocolate Factory, you’ll find the chocolate museum. Jacques is one of Belgium’s most popular chocolate brands, so learning about this iconic brand is a great way to discover more about this chocolate-loving country.

The factory shop is, naturally, filled to the brim with delicious Jacques chocolate, and all for a lot less than in the supermarkets. Thank goodness you drove there, so you can take back as many sweet treats as you want!

C-Mine, Genk

Drive from Calais: 292km / 3h
Discover amazing art and culture at these old mines.
Discover amazing art and culture at these old mines. Credit: Karen Baijens

Diving into the cultural hub of Belgium is easier than you think when you visit C-Mine in Genk. The town was a hub for artists, and was known for its natural beauty, as well as three large mining sites, known as C-Mine. The mines were eventually closed in the late ‘80s, but that didn’t mean the vast place was put to waste. Instead it is now an exciting space where designers and artists exhibit, including revolutionary minds like Tim Burton.

C-Mine also hosts film screenings and music performances alongside the art exhibits, so make sure you check the upcoming events before you visit. If you are just as interested in mining as you are in the arts, then make sure you check out their exhibition on the mining history of Genk.

Are you surprised about the amount of different activities you can get up to in Belgium? It’s easy for you to take to the road and explore this amazing country, it’s only 35 minutes from Folkestone to Calais. Make sure you book your tickets with us in advance to get the best price.

Top image Credit: BriYYZ