Visiting the ‘abandoned’ town of Doel, Belgium: A reflection on visiting Doel

Visiting the ‘abandoned’ town of Doel, Belgium: A reflection on visiting Doel

As soon as I read about an abandoned town in Belgium that had been left to rot, Belgium, both my husband and I felt this dark urge to visit Doel, Belgium. I’m a naturally curious person and for me, I sometimes have to see a place to feel the emotions rather than letting others tell me how something is.  Finally, we made it to Doel, Belgium last month.  However, it wasn’t what I expected.  (more…)

A Europe Itinerary for 2 months in Europe: Your perfect itinerary for Europe

A Europe Itinerary for 2 months in Europe: Your perfect itinerary for Europe

On my first trip to Europe, I made a lot of mistakes as I was trying to see many capital cities as possible in the shortest possible time. Halfway through my Europe trip, I was exhausted and I felt like I had barely seen any nature or small cities. I’ve been very fortunate to have taken multiple European backpacking trips and I’ve been living in Europe for nearly three years now.  I hope that I can help a bit with helping you create your perfect European itinerary that mixes capital cities with cultural centers and stunning nature to show you the best of Europe in two months! You’ll find a downloadable excel to help you plan your own European trip at the end!

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17 beautiful cities in Belgium besides Brussels that you won’t want to miss!

17 beautiful cities in Belgium besides Brussels that you won’t want to miss!

If you’re visiting Belgium, you’ve definitely heard of Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp, and Bruges…but there’s way more beautiful cities in Belgium.  This post is focused on beautiful cities in the Wallonia region, which is the French speaking part of Belgium. Wallonia Belgium is often ignored by travelers, which I don’t understand as someone who has traveled in Wallonia and Flanders.  It’s full of beautiful Belgian cities with few other tourists and delicious food (WAFFLES!).  Keep reading for the most beautiful cities in Belgium besides Brussels and lots of beautiful photos of Belgium’s Wallonia region. (more…)

Durbuy Belgium: The most beautiful day trip from Brussels

Durbuy Belgium: The most beautiful day trip from Brussels

​Durbuy, Belgium is a beautiful Belgian city in the province of Luxembourg in Wallonia (the southern part of Belgium).  Before seeing a photo of Durbuy online, I had never heard of this picture perfect Belgian city, however, when I took a road trip through Belgium, we hightailed it to Durbuy to ensure that we had time to explore this beautiful Belgian town.  Keep reading for the best things to do in Durbuy, Belgium, one of the most beautiful places in Belgium!

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Day Trips from Brussels: Villers Abbey in Wallonia, Belgium

Day Trips from Brussels: Villers Abbey in Wallonia, Belgium

After reading about Abbaye de Villers after seeing some photos when researching day trips from Brussels, I had to visit this beautiful Belgian abbey! Villers Abbey is located in Villers-la-Ville within French part of Belgium, called Wallonia, and I consider one of the best things to see in Belgium.  This beautiful abbey is in ruins, which part of its charm, however keep reading for reasons to visit Villers Abbey, including amazing abbey beer, and beautiful photos of Abbaye de villers. 

I first read about Villers Abbey on Atlas Obscura.  I have a love for abandoned places and after seeing one photo of Abbaye Villers when researching day trips from Brussels, I was sold.    My husband, my in-laws, and I had a blast running around this sprawling complex of beautifully preserved ruins with dreamy fall foliage​ (we visited in November).

About Villers Abbey  / Abbaye de Villers

Villers abbey (Abbaye de Villers) is a Cistercian abbey dating back to the 1100s, however the abbey was abandoned in 1796.  The abbey is quite large and it’s thought that up to 100 monks lived at the abbey at one point, however restoration efforts didn’t begin until the late 1700s.  The abbey is still absolutely beautiful and perfect for architecture/history/ruin lovers looking for a nice day trip from Brussels.  

Where is Villers Abbey?

Villers Abbey is located in the town of Villers-La-Ville, only 40 minutes south of Brussels, making it the perfect day trip from Brussels.    It’s a twelve minute drive from the Hergé museum, which documents the life and work of George Remi, the author of Tintin. (It would be very doable to combine the two with giving yourself at least 2-3 hours to explore Villers Abbey.)

Admission to Villers Abbey

Admission to Villers Abbey costs 8 euros for adults, 3 euros for children (6-12), 6 euros for students/seniors citizens, and free for disabled people, young kids, and teachers. (At time of publishing.)

Viller Abbey Hours

They are open most days from 10am to 5/6pm (depending on the day) with closures around Christmas.   I was surprised how empty the abbey was.  However, if you happen to visit Villers Abbey on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll be surrounded by bridal parties taking their wedding photos in the abbey.  You’ll probably end up crashing the back of someone’s photo, but don’t worry too much about it.

If you love Belgian beer…

Villers Abbey has its own microbrewery with some amazing locally produced beer based on the monks’ archives of beer recipes using organic ingredients and traditional methods.   My husband loved the 9% triple (Abbaye de Villers IX) while I went for the blonde 5% Authentique (Abbaye de Villers V).  I recommend stocking up if you’re a beer lover.  There’s also a restaurant if you want a bite.

How long it takes to visit Abbaye de Villers

If you visit, realize that this abbey is HUGE, so it will take you at least three hours to explore it properly between the chapel, the “gardens”, the exterior, and the viewpoint.  Similarly, there’s even secret passages underneath the structures, so if you’re into that (like my husband), you’ll be pleased 😉 ​ (Some are not allowed to be accessed, so just check the signs carefully before you enter.
Keep track of members of your party as Villers Abbey is giant.  (We lost my mother-in-law for an hour.)

How to get to Villers Abbey

You can get there by car, which gives you more flexibility.  Similarly, you can take the train to Villers-la-Ville, which leaves you 2km from the abbey.
Although Villers Abbey does not include chocolate, it showcases a rich part of Belgian history: its monasteries, so if you’re looking for some beautiful and different things to see in Belgium, I highly recommend visiting Villers Abbey.

Have you heard of Villers Abbey?

Read more about amazing day trips from Brussels in Wallonia!

The Best Chocolate Tour in Brussels

Visit Beautiful Mons Belgium with its UNESCO recognized Doudou Festival

Discover the life of Van Gogh in Belgium