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What to do on a Weekend Trip to Genk

Hello folks,

As you may know, I'm an expat living in Belgium who loves to explore the country. The land of chocolate and beer has always surprised me. Even though I live here for more than 4 years, I'm still discovering new lovely places. 

I've already been to Genk, but I've never had time to deeply enjoy the town, so for me, it was a nice experience to stay in the region for a weekend trip. I got amazed about how culture and nature fuse effortlessly together in Genk. From the acclaimed "The World of Tim Burton" exhibition to the peaceful cycling routes in the natural reserve De Wijers, I became fond of this place.

On a sunny weekend at the end of September, Christian and I decided to hop on the train and it took us about one hour to arrive at the station of Genk from Leuven. The train ride was very pleasant, as we can admire the lush green fields of Limburg, which inspired many painters like Emile Van Doren.
The sky was blue and the birds were chirping: a perfect autumn day. Our first stop was the cultural hotspot of the town: the C-Mine. It's wonderful how the city transformed the old mine buildings into this modern and vibrant place. Here we visited the "The World of Tim Burton" exhibition, which came across as very whimsical and exciting. It also evoked many memories of my childhood, as I was fascinated by Edward Scissorhands. For me, a good exhibition always makes a brilliant focal point to city break, and Genk definitely nails it! The second highlight of the former coal mine was to visit the tunnels and the head-frame. I particularly enjoyed the virtual reality experience, which transported us back to 1950s, when the digging was at its height. Furthermore, this experience was important to understand the heart and soul of this town, which is composed of people from different origins, working together to make Genk a warm and happy place for everyone.

In the old times, miners celebrated the 4th of December, commemorating their patron Saint Barbara. During celebrations, miners were bringing along delicacies from their home countries and sharing food amongst colleagues. The tradition of sharing food became to know in Dutch as partaasch, which originates from the French world partager. This beautiful philosophy was adopted to create one of the best restaurants in the town: Partaasch, which was the second stop of our Saturday. I absolutely loved this multicultural paradise of food. Their concept of sharing, offering dishes to be enjoyed by everybody at the table, is what we need in this world: less individualism and more community.  The young genius chefs Steven and Loredana master the art of combining ingredients and flavours from different countries to create a delicious gastronomic experience. As some of you know, I'm a dessert monster. If you are like me: please do not forget to order their sweet treats as well. I just can't forget their divine cannoli.

After our special evening at the Partaasch, we went to the M-Hotel to recharge our energies. It's the second time I stayed in this hotel, and for me, it is the best in town. Christian truly loved their breakfast, with so many fresh fruits, and I'm delighted about the view over the lake and park surrounding it. On Sunday morning we rented bicycles next to the train station to explore the outer districts of Genk. I was looking forward to "cycle through water", which describes a special bridge crossing the lakes below water level. Hence, we chose to explore the park and forests around Bokrijk and De Wijers. This route is so dreamy and romantic! On the way, you will find many interesting places, like a farm where actors bring back to life a village 100 years ago and the beautiful castle Bokrijk.

If you are feeling energetic like us, you can also combine this tour with another one in the north of the city around Thor Park. It brings you to the former coal mine of Waterschei, where you will find the Partaasch restaurant. The building is now a start-up incubator and features several impressive artworks outside. The vast fields of Thor Park are marvellous for cycling and have plenty of picnic areas! If you intend to stay more than a weekend in Genk, know that the region of Limburg has more lovely towns to visit in a day trip, like Tongeren and HasseltCheck below the video for more details of our tour and subscribe to the Youtube channel of Papel com Clips to stay updated on our trips. 

genk belgium blue sky

Check the video below and discover more about our trip to Genk

labyrinth genk
belgian getaways

natural reserve De Wijers

partaasch genk review

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