Spa, Belgium: Action and Relaxation

Looking for the ultimate blend of action and relaxation? Or old-world charm and new-world experiences? Then Spa, Belgium, might just be the place for you. Located in the beautiful Ardennes Forest, it’s a perfect spot for a day trip or a long weekend.

Spa is the original spa. The word that many of us associate with relaxation — mineral baths, massages, facials, steam treatments and just plain old treating ourselves — comes from just up the road in Belgium.

But Spa is so much more than just a bastion of relaxation. Here are four reasons to give it a try!

1. Race weekends

You’ll rarely feel more Euro than when you’re visiting Spa on a race weekend. The Spa-Francorchamps racetrack is globally famous. Each year, the track hosts a Formula One race that attracts fans from around the world.

But even if you know nothing about racing, the track is worth a visit. Tickets for non Formula One race days are cheap. Parking is easy. And visitors can see Lamborghinis, Ferraris, McLarens, Porsches, and Bentleys driven how they were meant to be driven, which is like having a front row seat for the nuttiest Autobahn driving you can imagine.

As a bonus, you can walk all around the track on most race days, and get dream views of some of the greatest supercars out there.

2. Treat yourself!

Spa is called Spa for a reason. Thanks to the natural springs that are found there, the Romans started relaxing in Spa two thousand years ago.


The tradition continues. Visitors can find great hotel package deals in Spa, sometimes all year round. You’ll find mineral waters and all the, well, spa package treatments that you would expect to find. Most hotels have mineral pools, hammams, saunas, and more. The Thermes of Spa is an outstanding destination for day trippers and overnight travelers alike.

3. The outstanding Ardennes

Spa’s location is part of its charm. The town is located in the hills of the Ardennes Forest, which means year-round beauty. You’ll find endless forests, massive bluffs, lakes, streams, and an abundance of trails.

This means, of course, that walks, bike rides, hikes and trail runs are all yours for the taking. And, combined with the spa options available, it means that visitors can have the best of both worlds. You can push your body to the max, then treat it well afterward.

4. Beautiful downtown

Spa’s downtown is fantastically adaptable. If you want to feel like someone from a James Bond movie, you can. You’ll find Michelin-starred restaurants, the elegant Spa casino, and enough shining sedans to make a music mogul blush.

But if you’re into picnics, souvenir shopping, meatballs, and Belgian beer, you can scratch that itch, too. That’s one of the wonderful thing about Spa: it’s down-to-earth and cosmopolitan all at the same time. And no one judges you if you prefer one or the other.

Getting there

From Kaiserslautern, Spa is approximately 2.5 hours by car. Check the Deutsche Bahn website for train options.

For U.S. government employees, including service members, remember to always follow command regulations, which may be different than host nation policies when it comes to travel.