Jonathan Crouch visited Belgium’s scenic Wallonia region to see what might be in store for British visitors…

A driving holiday in Belgium. You probably haven’t considered it. Possibly you should. There’s certainly plenty here. Park up the car and you could travel along the banks of the River Meuse by bike or walk the course of a refreshing mountain stream. You could take the plunge in a water park, go fishing or explore the subterranean world of caves.

All these things are features of the Wallonia region but the district’s greatest draw for automotive fans is the famous Spa-Francorchamps race track, deep in the Ardennes, near the historic thermal town of Spa.

For our visit, we took a long weekend, staying in the ancient town of Spa, taking in the track and exploring the region and its nearby towns of Malmedy, Eupen, Liege and Huy. Our chosen car was Kia’s impressive Grand Tourer, the Stinger. Getting to Belgium from the UK is straightforward, particularly if as we did, you take a EuroTunnel crossing. The link is celebrating 25 years of operation and its speed, frequency and convenience is still impressive.

Reaching the area of Wallonia we’d chosen to visit in the Ardennes Forest was an easy three and a half hour trek across mainly empty motorways. Before we knew it, we were pulling into our base for the weekend, the Reine Hotel in the centre of Spa. We found it clean, well situated, affordable and possessed of an excellent restaurant.

The Spa-Francorchamps racetrack is 10kms away from the town but today is a much shorter circuit than greats like Jim Clark and Graham Hill raced on in the sixties. Back then the track was all on public roads and if you want to remember those days, a visit to the Race Track museum at Stavelot Abbey nearby is a must. Here you will see some of the greatest cars to grace the old circuit in those dangerous days. This is one of three museums at Stavelot Abbey – the others are ‘History’ and ‘Apollinaire’.

If you tire of the cars, there are plenty of other places you might want to visit. Maybe the Pottery Museum in Rearen, the Darcis Chocolate Factory in Verviers or perhaps Franchimont Castle in Theux. In short, we found this part of Wallonia to be a region of surprises – enough to sustain a much longer visit.

To find out more, go to


Getting There –

What To Do – Visit

Where To Stay – We tried the Reine Hotel in Spa (

The Car – We took Kia’s Stinger in 2.2-litre CRDi diesel form. The CRDi version as tested costs £34,250