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Things to do in Liege, Belgium: 7 Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss

7 Things to do in Liege, Belgium: Attractions You Shouldn’t Miss

Guide to sightseeing and attractions what to do in the city of Liege, Belgium

Finally, I made it to Liege, the off the beaten track town in Belgium’s the Far East. From the 3 cities that we visited that weekend (including Brussels & Antwerp), it was the one that I knew the least, and I wasn’t sure if there would be many things to do in Liege, Belgium. But I was pleasantly surprised!

liege, liejas, luik, brussels, day trip, train, station, calatrava, city trip, weekend trip, belgian, food, waffles, chocolate, beer, hotel, city center, attractions, what to see, visit, what to do, travel, wallonie, guillemins

Even though it is one of the best day trips from Luxembourg, I only passed a few times through when traveling by one of my favorite means of transport: by train.

Remembering thus only its epic train station, I couldn’t wait to discover what Liège is holding for avid travelers. Indeed as Liege is still not included in most Belgian itineraries, I selected a few of my favorite things to do in Liege, Belgium.

Although it may not be known for having any of the best castles in Belgium, there are so many other Liege attractions that shouldn’t be missed.

For example, it does have what I think is one of the best Belgian Christmas markets and is one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium. Some of the best hiking trails in Belgium are also near Liege and make day trips from the city.

Before visiting Liège, a very fundamental question arises: how to name the city properly!

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What should you call Liège, Belgium?

things to eat in liege belgium, plate of liege bread and cheese

Indeed this Eastern Belgian city has 7 names that don’t have much in common: Liège, Liege, Luke, Liejas, Léck, Lüttich, Luik, Belgium…(probably there are even more?)

And 3 of them are official languages in Belgium! Intriguing, isn’t it? Depending on the region where you’re traveling in Belgium, people will not understand about which town you’re talking if you don’t name the town in the local language. 

I don’t want to confuse you with “what to do in liejas’ and ‘things to do in Luik, Belgium.’ So let’s agree on calling it “Liège” as the town is set in a French-speaking area.

Although it isn’t necessarily on most “To-Do“/ “Must Visit” / “Travel Bucket Lists” of travelers visiting Belgium, Liège has definitely got several sights and places that make it a very “Belgian” town that shouldn’t be left out when visiting this little kingdom in Western Europe. So, here is everything I recommend for what to see in Liege, Belgium!

Be it as a day-trip from Brussels or for a weekend city-trip, I encourage you to stop in for some Liege sightseeing. From here, you can also see Brussels in one day.

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Read more about typical Belgian food

1. The epic Liege Train Station

liege train station
Happy Train Traveller in Liege-Guillemins!

One of my favourite ways to travel is definitely by train. It’s eco-friendly and goes with my love for slow traveling.

Nothing gives you more calm, space and punctuality. On top train traveling allows you to work on your tasks or just let your mind wander while gazing at the landscapes rolling by.

Travellers arriving in Liège by train will get a very special reward: Liège’s railway station named “Liège-Guillemins” is probably one of the most avant-garde and awe-inspiring ones in Europe. It is one of the top places to visit in Liege, Belgium.

It might surprise you that a train station is one of the things to see in Liege, but this station is something special. Designed by the renown Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and officially opened in 2009, it quickly became a major reason for architecture lovers to visit Liège.

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what to see in liege, coming down the escalator in liege train station
Wondering what to do in Luik

When the former train station became too small, the Belgium railway society decided to built a new one. And how well thought, was the idea of creating a new city symbol, a sight that would attract visitors from all over the globe?

Nowadays the train station of Liège became a very popular photo motive for photographers, bloggers, journalists and Instagrammers from around the world. No wonder that Liege is often considered one of the best towns in Belgium.

Can you guess what inspired Santiago Calatrava when designing this building? He, who calls himself an artist and not an architect?

Let me give you a little hint: women’s hips…

Ultimate Guide: Experience Belgium like a local

outside view of liege train station

2. Belgian Waffles. Of Course.

what to eat in liege belgium, eating a liege waffle outside the train station
Liege Waffles are baked with sugar inside which gives them a golden, crunchy coat

In case you are wondering what to do in Liege, Belgium for foodies, Belgian Waffles are a must! Indeed if you’re visiting Liege or not, they are a must-thing-to-do, must-eat whatever when travelling to Belgium.

There are 2 types of waffles in Belgium. As you see, besides chocolate and beer, Belgians are experts when it comes to elaborate delicious, probably not so healthy treats. And apparently, they like to offer as much variation as possible.

That’s the only way how you can explain almost 1600 kinds of beer and an almost infinite number of chocolate creations.

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But there are only (!) 2 kinds of waffles. 

Gaufres de Bruxelles” (Brussels’ Waffles) are made with a yeast-leavened, thin dough which makes them lighter. Their edges are smooth and they have a rectangular form with deep holes.

old town liege belgium, liege pastries being made
Yum!

Gaufre de Liège” (Liege’s Waffles) are made with a thicker, bread-like dough. The batter contains chunks of sugar that caramelize with the heat and give the waffle a golden, crunchy coating. The edges of the Liege waffle are more uneven, its form is more round and the taste is sweeter than the Brussels’ waffle. 

Whereas you can get waffles at almost every corner, there are always a few secret spots in town which do a particularly good job.

In Liege, this has to be the Une Gaufrette, Saperlipopette shop. The window of the fairy tale bakery is already all too pretty: piles of golden waffles, mountains of delicious pastries and pancakes. This window will certainly make you veeery hungry.

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They have several kinds of waffles and one was more delicious than the other. All the ingredients are natural and only traditional recipes are used.

A bite of their waffles and you just gonna melt away. This place should definitely be part of your visit to Liege.

You can’t leave Liège without trying a waffle at  Une Gaufrette, Saperlipopette!

Where: Rue des Mineurs 7, 4000 Liège, Belgium

If you can’t travel to Liege right now, I leave you the recipe on how to make Liege waffles at home:

Yield: 4

Crispy Liege Waffles Recipe

liege waffles recipe

One of the best things to do in Liege, Belgium is to eat their specialty waffles. They are completely unique and you’ll become instantly obsessed. So after you visit Liege, use this recipe to recreate them at home!

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup room water, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) butter cut into equal pieces
  • 1/ 1/2 cups (8 oz) pearl sugar
  • Toppings of choice (some suggestions are: fresh fruit, nutella, whipped cream, ice cream or powdered sugar)

Instructions

  1. Mix together yeast, milk, eggs, vanilla, water, milk, sugar, salt and honey into a bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Let it sit for about five minutes.
  2. Next, mix in on low using a dough hook. Slowly add in butter one piece at a time and the flour one cup at a time (all but one cup), mixing and kneading it in as you go.
  3. Put the dough in a bowl lightly coated with oil, cover with plastic and place it in a warm place to rise. Once the dough has doubled in size (about 1 -2 hours), put it in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes or longer.
  4. Once chilled, remove the dough form the fridge and knead in the pearl sugar. During this time, preheat your waffle iron for 10 minutes
  5. Next divide the dough into 8 – 10 equal sized pieces, and roll the into balls.
  6. The balls should be placed inside the waffle iron and cooked until crispy and golden on the outside, make sure they are cooked through in the middle. This takes 4-5 minutes, but keep a close eye on them as they will burn at too high a temperature.
  7. Serve hot with selected toppings or key warm in oven heated at 200 – 225°F

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 540Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 587mgCarbohydrates: 106gFiber: 4gSugar: 20gProtein: 16g

All information presented and written are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. The writers and publishers of paulinaontheroad.com are not nutritionists or registered dietitians. Statements within this site have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

3. Peket – Belgian Gin made in Liege, Belgium

what to do in liege belgium, try some local peket alcohol
Peket exists in all different colors and flavors

Even though its geographical origins, Liege, are so close to my home country Luxembourg, I’ve never heard of Peket before.

Many regions in Belgium have their very own alcoholic spirits. For example, Flanders is mostly famous for Jenever, the juniper-flavored traditional liquor from which gin evolved. Whereas Peket is the juniper-favored booze that is particularly popular in Liège and an important part of the city of Liege tourism.

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It is said that Peket was born when miners in Liège region decided to add juniper berries to their eaux de vie in order to make it more aromatic. Nowadays it comes in more than 30 different flavors like cinnamon, strawberry or violette. All with different levels of sweetness.

It’s even used in the regional gastronomy when preparing local delicacies like duck or quail.

I had my first Peket experience in  “Maison du Peket“, probably the most ancient place to get this gin version while in Liège.

It’s set in the charming historic quarter of the town and its rustic interior design respects the construction style of the 18th century.

I don’t have to mention that food was delicious too. As a starter we got the typical cheese from Liège, Herve and as a main meatballs prepared Belgian way. The portions were huuge and I couldn’t finish it all.

That’s probably when Peket comes in. Following tradition, a good eau de vie is supposed to facilitate digestion. I had the strawberry peket and it reminded me my childhood when I was chewing pink bubble gum all day long. That’s just to give you an idea how sweet it was.

However, having a peket and delicious Belgian food is one of the top things to do in Liege, Belgium.

I also had a try on the violette Peket, but that one did not only smell like a granny’s perfume, but it was even sweeter than the previous one. With that sugar rush, I finally had enough zeal and energy to continue the Liège city tour. 

Maison du Peket
Rue de l’Epée 2, 4000 Liège
contact@maisondupeket.be

www.maisondupeket.be

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what to drink in liege, shot of red peket
Peket is a must if you visit Liege

4. The Citadel of Liège

places to visit in liege belgium, heading up to the liege cathedral
Wandering through the narrow streets of Liege’s Citadel

Liège’s Citadelle was probably the most surprising place that we visited during our tour through Belgium’s largest town in the East. Whereas the contrast between the light white, filigrane architecture of the train station and the town’s bit stolid, obscure brick houses was already striking, the citadel enthroning the top of the city, left me totally mesmerized.

The citadel shows yet another side of Liege that isn’t reflected nor in its rail station or its city center: its medieval past.

The Citadelle de Liège is located 110 meters above the valley of the Meuse and its origins go back to 1255. Its massive walls made the fortress a coveted target for foreign powers. That’s how it ended up being seriously damaged during Liège’s tumultuous past.

Destroyed by the French and rebuilt by the Dutch, the citadel continued in use as a barracks post. Nowadays only the southern walls remain which were used as a prison during WW2. There’s also an impressive cemetery honoring the victims of the Nazi regime.

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why you should visit visit liege belgium, inside the liege cathedral
No wonder this is one of the top Liege tourist attractions!

The views on Liège will be the best that you can find.

One of Liège’s most eye-catching sights, the Montagne de Bueren, a 374-step staircase was supposed to connect the new neighborhoods behind the citadel with the Liege old town and city center.  And obviously to shorten the way to the soldiers.

I particularly enjoyed strolling through its narrow streets. Every now and then a hidden corner opens up which gives you furtive glances at lush green patios and private gardens. It was definitely one of my favorite places to visit when in Liege.

It’s definitely a place where I enjoyed to get lost. Both in time and in enchanting streets. It is not surprising this is one of the top Liege tourist attractions because it was easily one of my things to do in Liege, Belgium.

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top liege attractions, view from the liege cathedral
Visit Liege for this view

5. A River Cruise on the Meuse

things to do in luik, view over liege and River Meuse
View on Liege and it’s river Meuse

For the coronation of this little trip to Liège, this pretty hidden gem in Belgium’s East, we had a little cruise on the river that goes through Liege: the Meuse.

Although we were not very lucky with the weather, it allowed us to discover some of Liège’s most pretty sights from a different perspective. And it was still one of my favorite things to do in Liege, Belgium. You’ll cruise along with impressive, historic buildings like the Aquarium et Musee de Zoologie and modernist architecture near Pont Albert 1er.

The cruise takes off at the before mentioned Aquarium-Museum and the ride will cost you 8€ per person. It will leave you at the Pont Albert 1er from where I recommend you to visit one of Liège’s most enchanting parks: Parc de la Boverie.

You shouldn’t miss its rose garden and the pergola. 

Little ponds with ducks surrounded by weeping willows created an almost fairytale-like atmosphere. In the middle of the park, you’ll see a rather monumental building: The snow-white building dating back to 1905 stands in contrast with the modern artworks it hosts.

The river cruise on the Meuse is definitely a lovely way to spend your afternoon in Liège irrespective of any season and one of the top things to do in Liege.

what to see in liege belgium, street art on the side of a building
The colorful city of Liege, Belgium

6. Explore Liege’s Beautiful Historic Buildingsold town liege belgium

things to see in liege belgium, walking into la ciolette the liege town hall
“La Violette” – Town Hall of Liege

As you might have already acknowledged, Liège is a candy, especially for architecture lovers.

The already mentioned examples of the Santiago Calatrava’s filigree architecture at Liège-Guillemins rail station and Liege’s citadel from the 19th century, I don’t want to withhold you some of the prettiest buildings in Liège’s city center. Here’s what to see in Liege if you love architecture:

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Liège’s town hall

Also known as “La Violette” while referring to the colorful facade of the previous building. It’s dating back to the 18th century and it’s located at the central Place du Marché.

Palace of the Prince Bishops

The Palace of the Prince Bishops is another eye candy that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Liège. The original palace was built about 900 years ago, but unfortunately it couldn’t be preserved but it contains a stunning interior patio inspired by the Italian Renaissance. It is centrally located in old town Liege, Belgium.

Liege tourism is full of these beautiful gems

Victor Hugo said about its interior patio: “Nowhere have I seen a construction so remarkable, serious and grandiose at the same time”. This should be reasons enough to include the palace in your Liège city tour. 😉

Eglise Saint-Barthélemy

In case you still didn’t get enough of remarkable architectural gems, you’d need to visit the bright red/white church Eglise Saint-Barthélemy and the Cour Saint-Antoine, an inner courtyard with houses from the 17th – 19th century standing next to postmodern buildings.  

These buildings are not only lovely photoshoot locations but also have a remarkable symbolic and historic value for the city.

I am sure that those are not Liege’s only architecture gems and best places to visit, so if you’ve got some, please share them with me in the comment

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what to see in liege, historic building in liege belgium
Where I want to live!

7. The enormous Bueren Staircase of Liege!

things to do in liege belgium, view up the bueren staircase
Who lives up there? 🙂

The huuuge staircase in the city center of Liege old town, the Montage de Bueren was probably the most striking sight. It is also one of the top Liege tourist attractions.

Unsuspectingly you’ll just turn at the corner and then you end up standing in front of an ENORMOUS staircase! With 374 steps, to be precise. 

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The versions of its origins defer. I’ve been told that the staircase was supposed to shorten the way from the citadel to the town center so that the soldiers living in the citadel didn’t have to pass along dangerous alleys…

things to see in liege belgium, bueren staircase of liege
Almost there…

On the other hand, there’s the version that the staircase had been built in 1881 in order to remember the 600 soldiers that died in a battle during the 15th century by naming the staircase after their commander Vincent de Bueren.

Finally, it was also supposed to connect the new neighborhoods behind the citadel with the city center of Liège.

Today it became not only one of the biggest city of Liege attractions but also an emblematic place where festivities or sport events are being held throughout the year. It should definitely figure on your places to visit in Liege, Belgium.

In 2013 the staircase at Montagne de Bueren even ranked #1 at Huffington Post’s Most Extreme Staircases.

I am still grateful to the guide that we didn’t have to get all these stairs up. 😉

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view over the city of liege
Perfect spot for some Liege sightseeing!

Where to stay in Liège, Belgium

Budget
Hotel Neuvice ***
Hôtel Hors-Château – Liège Centre Historique ***
Mid-Range
B&B The Street Lodge
Pentahotel Liège ****
Luxury
Van Der Valk Sélys Liège Hotel & Spa ****

General Info to Visit Liege

things to do in liege belgium, sign at liege train station

Geographic situation: Major Walloon city in Eastern Belgium and municipality and the capital of the Belgian province of Liège. Liège ranks as the third most populous urban area in Belgium, after Brussels and Antwerp.
Language: French. English is spoken as well.
Currency: EUR
How to get there: By airplane to Airport Brussels Zaventem or Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Liege has an airport connecting it to a few main holiday destinations.
By train from Brussels, Luxembourg, Cologne, Aachen. Liège is well-connected to the long-distance bus network Omio.
InhabitantsLiégeois



I hope some of these, admittedly very personal, highlights of my favorite things to do in Liège, Belgium could convince you to include this surprising town in your travel plans when visiting Belgium.

It will definitely be worth it… I will only mention Wafffffles… 😉 Even if you visit Liege from a day trip from Brussels.

Get here my ultimate Belgium Like a Local Itinerary


Have you been in Liege, Belgium? What was your impression? I would love to hear about the things you loved (or loved less) in the comment form. 


Map: Highlights of Liège, Belgium

best things to do in liege

Short FAQ about things to do in Liege

Is Liege worth visiting?

Absolutely! There are a surprising number of things to do in Liege, Belgium, which makes it one of the best day trips you can take from Brussels!

Where is Liege, Belgium?

Liege, Belgium is located in the Wallonia part of Belgium in the Eastern part of the country.

What is a Liege waffle?

Liege waffles can be found throughout Belgium, but originated in Liege, Belgium. What makes a waffle specifically a Liege one is that it has rounded edges AND it tends to be thicker and sweeter due to the way they are made.


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Disclaimer: I have been a guest of the Tourism Board of Belgium. All my opinions, as always, are my own. This posts contains affiliate links. In case you purchase one of the items, I’ll receive a small commission. The price remains the same for you.
Some of these pictures have been taken by the talented Laurie Dieffembacq

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