Festive Breaks in Liège

Angela Wood

Senior Contributor

If you fancy a festive break with a difference, head to the Belgian hinterlands of Wallonia and the vibrant city of Liège. The city has long been one of Belgium’s cultural hubs, with a Gothic-style cathedral, historic palaces and a plethora of museums. You can gain the best views from the city’s landmark staircase and citadel and enjoy browsing the largest festive market in Belgium before retiring to your luxury hotel for a glass of mulled wine. Bliss.

Admire Innovative Architecture

If you’re arriving for your festive break in Liège by rail, you cannot fail to be impressed by the city’s latest structural masterpiece. The undulating curves of modernist Gare de Liège-Guillemins puts the city firmly on the architectural world map. The station building was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava whose vision was to create a structure without facades, cleverly using light and shade of the vaulted glass and steel canopy of the roof as shelter. Airy and transparent, the new rail station was a significant message to the old guard of Belgium and a symbol of the city’s rebirth. You can reach Liège by train in around 3 hours from London and within 2 hours from Paris and Frankfurt.

Liège Rail Station

Credit: Dennis van der Water

Gain the Best Views of Liège

If you want to gain the best views of Liège and stay in shape at the same time, climb the 374 steps of Montagne de Bueren. The stairs once enabled a link between the city centre and the citadel barracks at the summit and hold several secrets to the city. They were the scene of a failed coup led by Vincent de Bueren when he, and his counterparts, attempted to capture Louis XI and Charles the Bold in October 1468! En route, discover traditional hillside houses and gain an elevated perspective of the River Meuse. Montagne de Bueren is known as one of the most extreme staircases in the world, so when you make it to the top, treat yourself to a delicious, calorie-laden Belgian waffle with all the trimmings!

Montagne de Bueren

Credit: Dmitry Eagle Orlov

Discover Wallonian Art & History

There’s much to see in Liège, and if you want to delve deeper into Wallonian history, a good place to begin is at the Curtius Museum. Built in the late 1500s - early 1600s, the museum is home to a vast collection of Mosan, religious and decorative art, ancient weaponry and archaeological items. The museum displays over 5,200 pieces which span approximately 7,000 years in total! When you’ve completed your exploration, walk to pretty Parc La Boverie, located on an isthmus on the River Meuse. In addition to beautifully landscaped gardens and great views of the cityscape, La Boverie also plays host to Liège’s mesmerising fine art collection showcasing works from De Witte, Monet, Van Gogh, Closson and more.

La Boverie Liège

Credit: Erik AJV

Visit the Largest Festive Market in Belgium

No winter break in Liège would be complete without a trip to the Liège Festive Market. Not only does it boast the biggest Christmas village in the country, but you can also enjoy browsing a plethora of festive stalls, glide across a skating rink and visit the European Circus Festival. The market - the oldest in Belgium, envelops the city centre between late November and New Year’s Eve each year. With fairytale cabins bursting with creative wares, decorations and handmade jewellery and innovative food chalets, it’s a great way to immerse yourself in the city’s festive atmosphere.

Liège Festive Market

Credit: Mali Lucky

Enjoy an Evening at the Opera

There’s no better way to round off your festive break in Liège than with an evening at Opéra Royal de Liège-Wallonie. Throughout the winter months, Verdi makes way for Puccini and Rossini and performances of Faust and Tosca grace the stage to rapturous applause each evening. In addition to spellbinding stage performances, the structure itself is a work of wonder. From sweeping staircases with red carpets to glistening Murano crystal chandeliers and painted ceilings by Emile Berchmans, Opéra Royal de Liège-Wallonie still manages to capture all the elegance and grandeur of a bygone era.

Opera Performance

Credit: Igor Bulgarin

Stay in a Hip Hotel with Friends

In the heart of Liège, close to Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège and St. Paul’s Cathedral, sits contemporary Pentahotel Liège. With some of the hottest interiors in the city, Pentahotel is an eclectic mix of modern convenience and industrial retro charm. Guest rooms and suites are zen-like, dressed in muted greys, pinks and pistachio shades with city landmark frescoes of Liège splashed across a feature wall. If you’re on a festive break in Liège with friends, select the Penta Playerpad Suite as it offers free retro games and a pinball machine in the room. Downstairs, the bar and restaurant are illuminated by candles and blacklights while gilded mirrors and hanging 70s style lampshades adorn the room. If you don’t want to move too far in the evening, you can also enjoy top notch dining, as Pentahotel offers one of the best steak, burger and cocktail combos in the city!

Pentahotel Bar

Credit: Pentahotel Liège

Or…Opt for a 5-Star Romantic Stay in Liège

Within a short walk of Royal Academy of Beaux-Arts and Place Saint-Lambert, Van der Valk Hotel Sélys Liège blends gabled Medieval buildings and ramparts with grand interiors and floodlit dining terraces overlooking the cityscape. There’s much to love about this elegant hotel in Liège. Guest suites are decorated in rich, opulent shades with marble fireplace and claw foot bathtubs or a selection of modern rooms are available overlooking the city. The restaurant serves delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch which is not only popular with tourists but locals too. After dining, relax in L’Atelier du Sélys lobby bar with an aromatic glass of mulled wine, alternatively, take a dip in the indoor swimming pool or indulge yourself with a luxurious treatment at the hotel’s Osmose Spa.

Van der Valk Hotel Sélys Liège

Credit: Van der Valk Hotel Sélys Liège

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