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Discovering Genk: A Weekend Getaway Guide

Hello folks,

As you may know, I'm an expat living in Belgium, a country that never ceases to amaze me with its chocolate, beer, and endless surprises. Even after more than four years here, I'm still discovering charming new places.

Although I've visited Genk before, I never really had the chance to thoroughly enjoy the town. Spending a weekend there recently was a delightful experience, especially seeing how culture and nature blend seamlessly. From the acclaimed "The World of Tim Burton" exhibition to the serene cycling routes in De Wijers nature reserve, Genk has quickly become a favourite of mine.

On a sunny weekend in late September, Christian and I took a train from Leuven to Genk, a journey of about an hour. The ride offered stunning views of Limburg's lush green fields, reminiscent of landscapes that inspired painters like Emile Van Doren. It was the perfect autumn day, with a clear blue sky and birds chirping. Our first destination was the town's cultural hotspot: C-Mine. It's fascinating how the city has repurposed the old mine buildings into a vibrant, modern space. The "The World of Tim Burton" exhibition was whimsical and exciting, bringing back fond memories of my childhood fascination with Edward Scissorhands. For me, a compelling exhibition is a highlight of any city break, and Genk excels in this. Another memorable part of our visit was exploring the mine's tunnels and headframe, enhanced by a virtual reality experience that took us back to the 1950s mining boom. This insight into the town's heritage, shaped by a diverse community working together, was truly heartwarming.

Historically, miners celebrated December 4th, Saint Barbara's Day, by sharing delicacies from their homelands. This tradition of sharing, known in Dutch as "partaasch" (from the French "partager"), inspired one of the town's finest restaurants, Partaasch. Our dinner there was a celebration of multicultural culinary delights, embodying the spirit of community over individualism. The chefs, Steven and Loredana, brilliantly fuse ingredients and flavours from various cultures into a delectable experience. And for fellow dessert lovers, their divine cannoli is a must-try.

After a memorable evening at Partaasch, we stayed at the M-Hotel, my top choice in Genk. Christian raved about the breakfast selection, especially the fresh fruits, and I loved the lake and park views. On Sunday, we rented bicycles near the train station to explore Genk's outskirts, including the unique "cycle through water" path. Our route through Bokrijk and De Wijers was enchanting, offering sights like a historical farm and the beautiful Bokrijk castle.

For those with extra energy, I recommend extending your tour to Thor Park in the city's north, home to the Partaasch restaurant and a former coal mine now serving as a start-up incubator. The park's vast fields are perfect for cycling and picnicking. If you're planning a longer stay in Genk, consider day trips to other beautiful Limburg towns like Tongeren and Hasselt. For more details on our trip, check out the video below and subscribe to the Papel com Clips YouTube channel for updates on our adventures.

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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