Three Spas in Belgium We Love

By alison - June 11, 2012 (Updated: February 3, 2016)

Relax at a Spa in Belgium

Relax at a Spa in Belgium

With the arrival of the warm and sunny weather, it’s finally spa season, (well let’s face it, it’s always spa season in Belgium). We thought it would be a great time to recap 3 of our favourite spas in Belgium.

For those of you who have never been to a Belgian spa, it could be a bit different than what you’re used to back home, especially for you North Americans. If you’re like I was, you probably think of a spa as a place to get a massage, facial or manicure. Belgian spas have all of this but are so much more.

In fact, Belgians have perfected the spa. As they should — after all, they coined the term. Since the 14th century, Europeans have been visiting the thermal pools of the Belgian town, Spa. The term ‘spa’ has come to mean any place having a natural water source that has healthy properties — a place of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Belgian spas are all about the water, so although many other treatments are offered, the most important part of the spa experience is soaking in the pool – be it a Jacuzzi, hot-tub or a refreshing swimming pool.

Treatments are only one part of a spa day in Belgium

Treatments are only one part of a spa day in Belgium

Thermes de Spa

If you’re completely new to the Belgian spa scene, a great way to get your feet wet is to go straight to the source (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and visit the Thermes de Spa.

The Thermes de spa is a huge modern complex with indoor and outdoor pools, saunas and hammams. It is very family friendly, so you’ll see a lot of families with children on the weekends. It draws an international crowd of all ages and its location on a hilltop, offers a great view of Spa, below.

Our one complaint about the Thermes de Spa is the lack of a decent restaurant on site.

For more details, read our full review of the Thermes de Spa.

Thermae Grimbergen

The first spa we ever visited in Belgium was Thermae Grimbergen, and it was a real eye-opener in more ways than one. Coming from Canada, we still had the North American version of a spa firmly planted in our heads. We were surprised to find the spa had both a bathing-suit required and a nude side and communal changing rooms. (Puritans beware!)

Thermae Grimbergen  has a sort of North African feel to its decor. It is much smaller than Thermes de Spa, but also less crowded and noisy. There are fewer children here and more younger couples and groups of friends.

There is an excellent restaurant and there are plenty of spa packages if you need a full day of pampering.

For more details, read our full review of the Thermae Grimbergen.

Thermae Boetfort

My current favourite spa is the Thermae Boetfort, just outside of Brussels. It is run by the same people that run Thermae Grimbergen. It also has a bathing-suit and nude side to the spa, but it is a newer facility and I really like its character.

It’s built inside a old fortified farmhouse and the modern spa facilities contrast beautifully with the period architecture. I particularly love the relaxing pool in the former wine cellar. The spacious yard offers plenty of room for longing in the sun.

The only drawback is the rather small size of the outdoor pool on the bathing-suit side of the spa. The lovely restaurant in the former chateau is a nice trade-off though.

For more details, read our full review of Thermae Boetfort.

We’re eager to try out some new spas this year (all in the name of research for you dear readers) so if you have any recommendations of great spas in Belgium, please let us now in the comments below or drop us an email.

3 Best Spas in Belgium

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
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  1. Comment by Marc Poelmans

    Marc Poelmans June 11, 2012 at 17:20

    I’ve only started exploring spas fairly recently (the past two years), and I’m thrilled to see Boetfort on your fav list. It is by far my favorite from the ones I have visited in Belgium, and perhaps only topped in possibilities by some of the German spas. If I read your comments correctly, it seems you didn’t venture into the nude section, do correct me if I’m wrong here. So perhaps I can add that “the other side” is much bigger in size. The pool is very nice (with a big jacuzzi in the middle), there are two other jacuzzis left and right of the pool, a lot more saunas (even one underground set up as a mine shaft, with a cold pool right outside) and the steam room is one of the biggest I’ve been to, set in one of the cellars of the farmhouse. There are two relaxation rooms as well. Okay, I think it’s pretty obvious I really like this place! The only drawback for me is the occasional noise from one of the airplanes taking off from Brussels airport.

    There are a few great private spas around Brussels as well, I usually go to AquaHeaven, they have two locations, in Vilvoorde and Leuven. Every private room has a special theme and has at least a pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna.

    And you’re right, it’s always spa season in Belgium!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison June 11, 2012 at 17:27

      Thanks for the feedback Marc! You are really tempting me to shuck off my Canadian inhibitions and explore “the other side” 🙂 I have heard about AquaHeaven so we may just have to check that out next. Honestly I can’t decide what I prefer, visiting the spa to enjoy the summer sun (when we actually have it) or using it to warm up from the cold Belgian winter!

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