Another weekend and another new destination. Although this was a similar case in which I flew into Dusseldorf to visit my friends and made the base there. The fact is that driving to France, the Netherlands or Belgium is very easy and quick, and these cities in the area are not big at all hence perfect for a day trip, or staying overnight to include more cities on the route. After all, there are so many places anyone could go, it does not really matter.
The city has not much to see or do and will not take you longer than half a day to visit, giving you enough time if you have a car to include and plan the visit of another city, either on the way into Liege or way back to wherever you are staying or coming from. In our case, we included this time the small village of Monschau in Germany, 66km away from Liege. Both places made it a perfect summer day out.
Because of my background studies (technical architecture) and my ongoing passion for architecture, I keep searching wherever I travel for great landmarks, and Liege is a good example. It’s home to one of the spectacular creations by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava; the train station. To myself, the highlight of this trip without hesitation.
The city hosts a nice but small historical centre. It is not like in many other cities in Belgium where grand buildings surround beautiful squares or whole medieval old towns perfectly restored to their former glory. Liege is a much smaller city in that sense, but still has a great collection of buildings and the overall impression will satisfy and will well pay off your visit.
So now, if your question is what to eat? well you’re lucky, Your are in Belgium! Surely you will find anywhere their delicious mussels and fries, national dish by excellence. Of course have a look around and compare prices in few places as it can be way too much difference for the very same. As for drink, if you happen to like beer then you are of course in paradise. Belgium beers are one of the best in the world. The choice is too vast.
For more information about the city check Wikipedia and Wikitravel sites. Belgium’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Liege
- Place St Lambert Is the main square and heart of the city where the 16th century palace of the Prince-Bishops of Liège is located, now the Palace of Justice and the Provincial Palace.
- Cathedral of Saint Paul’s After the old cathedral was destroyed by the French in 1794, the Saint Paul’s Cathedral became the new one at the beginning of 1900.
- Saint James Church Perhaps the most beautiful church in the city, in Gothic style.
- Place du Marché or Market Square, is where most historical buildings can be found.
-The Perron monument Is the symbol of the city, standing in front of the City Hall.
-City Hall Elegant classic building dating back to the 17th century.
-Buildings at both sides of the square, all date back to the 17th century.
- Le Carre district Is the oldest part of the city.
- Curtius Palace Now the art and history museum, located by the riverside is one of the finest buildings in the city and the most characteristic for its red bricks.
- Statue of Charlemagne
- Liège-Guillemins This is the flamboyant train station designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Make sure you go up to the platforms and also the lower areas of the lobby. Each angle offers a totally different perspective.
Although Liege has its own airport, not many airlines have routes to/from here. Your best bet will be flying to Brussels, and then change for a train to Liege. Another option is Brussels Charleroi, serving mostly low cost airlines with Ryanair at the head having many routes to Europe. From Charleroi airport you will need to take a bus to the train station and then a train to Liege. All manageable in little over an hour. As last, you can opt for Maastricht airport, 35km away from Liege where Ryanair has just started flights recently.
Coming overland is very simple too, no matter if via train or buses. Every city in these countries is incredibly well connected generally. And then by car from neighbouring countries is the fastest way if you are, lets say, coming from the Netherlands or Germany.
Within the city you will not need any public transportation at all. The size of it does not make it difficult or time consuming to navigate through the old town and all the sights, along mostly pedestrian streets.
As for any day trip I did these days from Dusseldorf as a base, I do not have the need for searching a place where to stay for the night, therefore I cannot recommend any specific hotel. But being so near to Maastricht, you could consider searching for accommodation at any of these two cities, and make a perfect combination visiting them both in one go. This will further expand the choices available and surely will be easier to get a good deal.