A popular destination from the 17th century onward for the famous hot springs, which claim to have healing powers, the original town of Spa has some beautiful grand buildings and parks dating from the time when it was the "cafe of Europe." In busy visiting periods (the summer months and December), the tourist office organizes guided tours, and the main museum, the Musee de la Ville d'eau, is worth a visit for its vintage posters advertising the advantages of Spa water.

However, we recommend Spa as a place to relax, sample the fine food and hike in the nearby forest rather than for sightseeing. Take a trip in a glass elevator up the hill to the Thermes de Spa to bathe in the famous waters, enjoy a massage, mud bath or beauty treatment and generally have the pampering of a lifetime. In winter time, there is a Christmas market and an ice rink. In sharp contrast to the sleepy atmosphere and romantic valleys of the surrounding countryside is the Spa-Francorchamps motor-racing circuit, which hosts a famous grand-prix race every autumn. Spa is 100 mi/160 km southeast of Brussels.

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