Small towns of Belgium

This page is about smaller towns and cities that we passed by or just visited briefly on our way to Brussels, Antwerp and Graspop. Many small towns in Belgium are grey, industrial and sleepy but there are also some pearls. Most cities with about 30 000 inhabitans feel smaller then they are. Probably because the people in Belgium don't walk or go by bike much, it is a very motorized country, so the streets are pretty dead while the traffic can be pretty intense at times (this is the same in bigger cites). On the other hand, I must admit that we didn't go to the immediate centers of these towns, so perhaps they are more lively then they appear.



Population: 82 000

We passed by Mechelen briefly by train on our way from Brussels to Antwerp, heading for Mol and Graspopl. Mechelen is an industrial center, as well as a center for Flemish renaissance art. The cathedral is the most prominent building, and there are many historic buildings and churches.

Mechelen   Mechelen   Mechelen, St Rumboldt 's Cathedral

Mechelen   Mechelen station    



Population: 34 800

We passed Mol briefly to change from bus to train on our way to Graspop in Dessel. This is an important transportation hub for most Graspop visitors. Mol is situated in the Antwerp province, and just like Lommel it feels smaller then it is. People in Belgium don't walk or go by bike much, it is a very motorized country, so the streets are pretty dead while the traffic can be pretty intense at times.



Population: 33 400

Lommel is situated in the Belgian province Limburg, just next to the Dutch border. The only reason we went to the small town Lommel was because we found a cheap hotel to stay at for one night before the Graspop festival. Actually Mol was closer, but we didn't find available hotels there. It has 33 000 inhabitants, but feels much smaller. We didn't visit the immediate town center however, so it is hard ot judge. Just when we arrived, it turned out our hotel was a 30 minutes walk from the train station (that is in the outskirts), and it was raining cats and dogs, and thunderstorms! The citizens of this town were really friendly however, an elderly butcher was kind to drive us to the hotel in his van! The staff at our hotel, Plaza, was also really nice. The largest problem was that someone jumped on the railway track the day after, so we had to wait for 3 hours in this boring train station with no available taxis or bus connections, nearly missing concerts on the festival!

Lommel...easy to get there, hard to get away...   We had a meal at Lommel's own Mc Donalds   Looking towards the church and town center of Lommel

Hotel Plaza in Lommel was our choice for the Graspop festival! The hotel was very cheap, but the staff was very friendly. Breakfast (not included) was really good and served in the nice lobby/dining area. The rooms were small and simple.

Hotel Plaza in Lommel   Hotel Plaza in Lommel   Hotel Plaza in Lommel



Population: 34 200

Lier is a small city near Antwerp, with a beautful old town that we unfortunately didn't visit. It is also a nightlife center in the Flanders. It is home to several beer brand, and the Van Hool bus brand. The only reason we came to Lier was because of the train strike! We were heading for Antwerp from Graspop/Lommel on our last day on the Belgium trip, but the train stopped in Lier, that is situated right next to Antwerp. From there we had to take the bus to the outskirts of Antwerp, and there change to another bus to the central station. We met some Australians on the way. I took some pictures during our brief stay in Lier.

Lier   Lier   Lier

Lier   River between Mechelen and Antwerp