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Travel Guide Europe Belgium Liege

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Introduction

War memorial in Liege, Belgium

War memorial in Liege, Belgium

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Liège (Dutch: Luik) is a city in the central east of Wallonia, the french speaking part of Belgium. It's closely situated near the border with the Netherlands and has a population of about 200,000. The total metropolitan area ranks third in Belgium (after Brussels and Antwerp) with around 750,000 inhabitants. Although not one of the most popular cities in the country, its central core region is a great to spend a day or so, including a visit to one of the popular cafes or restaurants. The city therefore is best visited as a daytrip from another Belgian city or maybe from Maastricht in the Netherlands.

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Sights and Activities

  • Place St. Lambert is a major square in the centre, where a number of key sights may be found. It was the site of Gothic Cathedral of Our Lady and St (Cathédrale Notre-Dame-et-Saint-Lambert), representation of religious power, torn down at the start of the 19th century after the revolution of Liège and today memorialized by metal columns and a design traced on the ground. At Place Saint Lambert 9-17, admire the neo-classic façades, dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Hôtel de ville de Liège (La Violette), place du Marché, 2. Perron, and houses along the market square - The town hall, is an elegant classic building. It was built in 1714, during reconstruction after the French attacks in 1691. It can be visited on rare occasions only, except for the "salle des pas perdus" - "room of lost steps" which is freely accessible. The houses on the square, with their charming blue stone and brick faces, date from the same period. The Perron, symbol of the city's freedom, is at the center of the square above the fountain that acts as its support. The perron is one of the symbols of the city and was used to render justice

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Getting There

By Plane

Liège Airport (LGG) is one of the biggest cargo airports in Europe, but has few flights for passengers. The only regular connections are to Pristina, Tirana and Tel Aviv, but there are charter services to quite a few places in southern Europe and northern Africa.

By Train

Liège-Guillemins is the main station, located on the southwest part of the city. Thalys and ICE high-speed trains serve Brussels, Paris, Aachen, Cologne and Frankfurt. Beware that unlike most train stations in Belgium, Liège-Guillemins is not a walking distance away from the city centre (20-25min). You can take a bus which cost €1.40 one way, or taxi which cost around 8-10 euros. The cheapest alternative being changing to another train that's heading to the station called "Liège-Palais". The fare of this trip is included in your ticket to Liège-Guillemins. The trip takes around 6 mins.

From Brussels, intercity service runs at least hourly and takes about 60 minutes from Brussels Nord. From Brussels Airport, take the airport shuttle to Leuven and take intercity service from there. From the Netherlands, connect in Maastricht. Trains run at least hourly and take about 30 minutes.

Once you are at Liège-Guillemins station, you can get to city centre by changing to a train heading for Gare du Palais, or by taking the number 1 or number 4 bus just outside the station to Place St. Lambert. Another alternative is route 48 which takes you to the Opera. Note that all routes run both ways at the stop of Liège-Guillemins station, make sure to take the buses that have either "Pl. St. Lambert" or "Opera" on their destination sign. Like aforementioned, change train to Liège-Palais station also takes you directly to centre.

By Car

Liège is the crossroads for several major motorways. Its "ring" has 6 branches in clockwise order:

  • The E25, to the south, towards Luxembourg and into France via Metz, Nancy, Lyon
  • The E42, to the west, crosses Wallonia via Mons/Bergen before entering France via Valenciennes, Paris
  • The E40, to the west, leading to the Belgian coast via Brussels
  • The E313, leading to Antwerp and on to the large coastal cities of the Netherlands
  • The E25, to the north, with Maastricht a stone's throw away (30 km) and the rest of the Netherlands beyond
  • The E40, to the east, entering Germany via Aachen. A second branch (Actually the E42) splits off at Verviers, heading to Trier.

Since it is a fairly large city, many motorway exits are signposted for "Liège". When coming from Germany or Netherlands, follow the E25 to its end, then follow the road signs to the center. If you are coming from Luxembourg, exit at "Angleur" and follow signs to the center, or to continue on to the exit marked "Liège-centre". Finally, coming from Paris, Lille, Brussels, or Antwerp, follow signs to Luxembourg until you reach the exit marked "Liège-centre." When coming from Flanders, Liège is named as "Luik."

By Bus

Liège is well-connected by bus, notably in the Eurolines network on rue des Guillemins, near the train station.

By Boat

Individuals arriving with their own boat are welcome at the port des Yachts.

Many organised cruises departing from Maastricht stop in the center of Liège, on the right bank (quai Marcatchou to quai Van Beneden).

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Getting Around

By Car

Unlike most Belgian cities, Liège has no inner ring built along the path of the old city walls. Instead, the main streets were laid out along the old branches of the river, which makes their organisation a bit obscure.

Leave your car in one of the city-center parking garages, especially if you have no map of to your destination.

Here are the main routes for cars:

  • The motorway E40-E25 that crosses parts of the city
  • The Boulevards "d'Avroy" and "de la Sauvenière", the main route between the center and the train station
  • The Quais "de la Meuse" and "de la Dérivation", which link to/from the two branches of the E25

By Public Transport

TEC is the main bus company. Most lines converge towards one of the city-center bus "terminals." These terminals are located at Gare Léopold, Place Saint-Lambert, Place de la République Française, and around the Opéra/Theater (all the four are very close to one another). The names of these five sites are used to indicate the direction of the bus, according to the line taken.

Several other lines leave from the train station Liège-Guillemins. Among them, two lines link the station with city center: the #4, a circular line (direction "Bavière" to go from the station to the center, direction "d'Harscamp" for the reverse trip), and the #1 which runs train station to city center and on to Coronmeuse. There also is a few lines that start from the intersection of the Boulevard d'Avroy and the "Pont d'Avroy", the main shopping street. Unfortunately, however, few lines run after midnight.

More and more bus stops now show the waiting time for the next bus on each line, and many busses are equipped to display the next stop and adapted for people with reduced mobility. Nevertheless, be aware that the next stop screens are not always synchronised with the bus stops. For people using a bus line they're not familiar with, ask the driver to warn you when you are arriving at the bus stop you are looking for. You can ask for a free printed version of each bus schedule at the terminal of the line.

By Foot

Most of the areas in city center are easily accessible on foot, and walking provides an interesting perspective on the city itself. The trip from the train station at Guillemins to the city centre requires a bit more time, about 30 minutes.

By Bike

Travelling by bike in the city center is easy, but the hillsides can be a bit steep (between 5 and 15%). Reaching the higher neighborhoods will require a bit of training and a multi-speed bike!

Cycling paths are regularly added and improved, though the main roads remain a bit dangerous. Most one-way streets can be travelled in the opposite direction by cyclists. A map of cycling paths is available at the tourist information office. In addition, there's a "Ravel" (a path for walkers and cyclists) along the right bank of the river Meuse.

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Eat

Regional specialities include:

  • Boulets sauce-lapin, meatballs in a sauce made from Sirop de Liège, onions, vinegar and prunes, accompanied of course by frites - french fries. The boulet even has its own critics and reviews.
  • La potée liégeoise, a country dish made from beans, potatoes, and bacon bits cooked together and drenched in vinegar.
  • Les boûkètes, dark crêpes served at New Year's Eve or other festive occasions
  • Le matoufèt, a cross between a crêpe and an omelette, made from flour, eggs, milk and bacon bits, and served either salty or sweet.
  • La tarte au riz, originally from the neighboring city of Verviers or the area of Tancrémont

Prices unfortunately are fairly high, as in most other Belgian cities. Budget restaurants will cost about €12-€15 per person, drinks included, mid-range restaurants between €25 and €50, and splurge restaurants well over that!

For budget solutions, snack shops like any of the sanwicheries or kebab shops offer cheap yet tasty food. A Döner kebab typically costs 3-5 euro, and a sandwich is around 2-4. Note that in Liège all snack shops charge 50 cents for sauce, and usually another 50 cents for vegetables. For example you can see a meatball sandwich for 2 euro on the price list, however; after the sauce and the vegetables it will be 3 euro in total. It is recommended to look for convenient stores for soft drinks as they're over-priced in snack bars.

Obtaining meals outside of conventional times can be a challenge, many restaurant do not serve between 2 and 6 in the afternoon, those that do tend to be full and you can expect to wait some time for service.

There are Northern American fastfood chain in the city: A McDonald's is located near the Opera, a BigMac meal is about €6, a Subway can be found behind the city hall, and a Pizza Hut can be found near the Opera.

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Drink

The area known as "Le Carré" offers numerous options to drink and party 365 days per year, with a young, vibrant, student atmosphere. Also worth a visit: the trendier Place du Marché, and the area around Place Cathédrale, to see and be seen.

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Sleep

For a city of its size, Liège has surprisingly few accommodation facilities. This is both due to the city's relatively low popularity as a tourist destination and the fact that it is between 1 to 3 hours from many major cities where business traffic to it originates. You may want to take advantage of the latter yourself and stay anywhere closer or farther and come to the city for the day.

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel Passerelle24, Chaussee des PresHotel-
Husa de la CouronnePlace des Guillemins 11hotel-
Liège Youth HostelRue Georges Simenon 2Hostel87

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely available in Belgium, but internet cafés are not common, because most people have internet access at home or through wifi. There are multiple internet access points in all cities and it is free in most libraries. Also in multiple gas stations, train stations and diners on the highways there is Wi-Fi available. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi nowadays and if you can't find any you can always fall back on Quick or McDonalds which both offer free Wi-Fi.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Belgium is: + 32. To make an international call from Belgium, the code is 00.

Belgium has a modern telephone system with nationwide cellular telephone coverage. Belgium uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are three main companies (Proximus, Mobistar and Base, and a large number of MVNOs) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free. You can get sim cards for the three main companies in dedicated phone shops. Sim cards from the MVNOs are readily available at supermarkets (Carrefour, Aldi, Colruyt to name a few all have their own brand). All networks provide UMTS and HSDPA (3G) mobile internet coverage, and are rolling out a 4G network, mainly in the big cities and eventually in the whole country.

Post

De Post is the national postal service of Belgium, with Dutch, French and German versions. They offer generally fast, reliable services. It's a relatively expensive service though, with normal domestic post (cards, letters etc) up to 50 grams costing €0.61. To other European countries it costs €1.03 and outside Europe it's €1.34. At the post offices, you can buy stamps and they have other services as well, including international money transfers. The opening times of post offices are 9:00am or 10:00am until 4:00pm or 5:00pm, depending on whether it's the main central one or a smaller branch or in towns. Some of them might be open on Saturday mornings, and remember that quite a few still close for lunch break! De Post also offers the sending of parcels, but you could also use private international companies like UPS, TNT or DHL, as they offer roughly the same services and prices, but are generally faster.

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Accommodation in Liege

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Liege searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Liege and areas nearby.

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This is version 8. Last edited at 14:51 on May 23, 17 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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