A weekend in Hasselt (Belgium)
Hasselt is not exactly a well-known place in Belgium and it isn’t the first city you think of when planning a weekend away in Belgium. But Hasselt has a lot to offer: nature, culture and delicious food. And they take that last one pretty seriously: Hasselt profiles itself as “the city of taste”. And we have experienced firsthand that isn’t a lie. These are all the perfect ingredients to spend a fun weekend in Hasselt.
Hasselt in 48h card
We visited Hasselt with the “Hasselt in 48h” card. This card gets you a lot of benefits like drinks, discounts on lunch or dinner, free bikes and bus. But you also get free access or a huge discount to different museums and attractions in and around Hasselt. The card is 19.50 euro per person but a number of hotels also offer special arrangements where you get the card for free when booking 2 nights. You can buy the card at the Tourist Office in the city centre of Hasselt.
What to do in Hasselt?
When in Hasselt, you have to visit the jenevermuseum. This museum is all about jenever and its special connection to Hasselt. Upon entering the museum, you learn all about the distillation process and the equipment used for it. Jenever is also the base for other strong liquors like gin. More general you learn about the effects of alcohol on your body and how specific herbs and spices give specific odours to the distillate. For those who like: you can taste jenever afterwards in the tasting room. I had creamy jenever with biscoff while my boyfriend had traditional grain jenever.
The city museum
The city museum of Hasselt can be visited for free. Here you will learn everything about the origin of the city of Hasselt. In addition to the permanent exhibition, there are also temporary exhibitions to visit.
Hasselt also has a beguinage where beguines lived until 1886. It is located pretty close to the jenever museum. This walled beguinage now is the home of the House of Contemporary Art Z33. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open when we were there.
A weekend in Hasselt isn’t complete without a visit to the beautiful Japanese garden. With the Hasselt in 48h card, admission is free (normally it is 6 euro per person). It is the biggest Japanese garden of its kind in Europe and does not only have different water features and beautiful plants and flowers but also a ceremony house and a tea house.
At the entrance, you can buy a bag of fish food so you can feed the magnificent Koi fish yourself. On a sunny day, it is wonderful to walk around the garden and enjoy the tranquillity.
Throughout the year, there are different events in the Japanese garden. Check the website for a calendar.
Biking through water
From Hasselt, it is easy to bike to Bokrijk where you can bike (and walk) through the water at bike node 91. The cycle path runs through one of the ponds of the De Wijers area. on both sides, the water is at eye level. A special experience and even more fun when ducks are around. You can rent bikes at the Tourist Office in Hasselt or at the train station. They are free for a day with the Hasselt in 48h card. We did a bike tour of about 22 km that started in Hasselt and through Bokrijk and the Japanese Garden ended right where we started. Perfect to combine a few things.
The open-air museum Bokrijk is also a must when you are in Hasselt for the weekend. Read all about it here.
Delicious food and drinks in Hasselt
Hasselt profiles itself the “city of taste” and certainly not unjustified. We had some delicious food during our weekend in Hasselt. Curious about all the food we had? Read about it here.
Where to stay for a weekend in Hasselt?
We booked a room at YUP hotel, walking distance from the centre of Hasselt and perfect for the weekend.
What else to visit in Hasselt?
There is so much more to see and visit in Hasselt. Here are a few more ideas:
- Virga Jessa Basilica
- Fashion museum
- Herkenrode Abbey Site
- Carillon Tower
- Dina Deferme’s garden
You wouldn’t pick Hasselt for a weekend in Belgium but it is definitely worth it. If you love nature, culture, delicious food or shopping, Hasselt has it all!
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