Visit Genk, a town in Belgium in the Limburg province! Known to have some history rooted in Celtic culture, the once small village of Genk was converted to Christianity in the tenth century. First named Geneche, the town had small beginnings and wasn’t formally a city until the year 2000, Genk wasn’t really known until the early 1900s when a good quantity of coal was discovered in the region. It wasn’t long before the coal miners came to Genk for work.
The city soon grew with the mass movement of immigrants, and when the coal drive finally settled in the late 1960s, Genk merely adapted its industrial pursuits to more suitable industries: successful car manufacturing.
Top places to visit in Genk
The Bokrijk in Genk, near Hasselt, draws a lot of tourists every year. Bokrijk is basically an open-air museum offering travelers the opportunity to experience the architectural design specific to the nineteenth century. Inside the Bokrijk museum, visitors can see reconstructions of the traditional Flemish houses that once existed in Flanders. There is also a variety of fun activities at the Bokrijk, plus re-enactments for viewing. Thanks to the fact that the Bokrijk is a large open-air museum, the site is full of lush parks, wooded areas, grasslands, and small bodies of water.
Travelers also enjoy exploring the De Maten, a stunning nature reserve near Genk. There are 35 ponds in De Maten and various species of fish are bred in them in an attempt to promote aquatic life. Waterbirds have adapted to the environment of De Maten and plants have flourished as well, including cotton grass, sundew, and roth. Finally, De Maten is home to several species of dragonflies and tree frogs. Please note that De Maten is closed to visitors during the breeding season.
Open from the end of March to the beginning of November, from Tuesday to Sunday between 10.00 and 18.00. Admission costs are €12.5 for adults, €10.5 for seniors, € 2 for children between the ages of 3 and 12.
Address: Bokrijklaan 1, 3600 Genk, Belgia | See on map
Best things to do in Genk, Belgium
When you visit Genk, you might want to attend the Motives Festival, an annual festival that focuses on jazz music. The Motives Festival is renowned for its line-up of great jazz musicians and past performers include Joshua Redman, Leafcutter John, and the Esbjrn Svensson Trio, just to name a few.
In the heart of Genk, you can go on a full-day shopping spree in the city’s three shopping centers. They are actually referred to as Centre 1, 2, or 3, and they have shops selling souvenirs, hardware, household products, grocery stores, books, and the like. After a fine day of shopping when you visit Genk, you can relax and go to a café.
And if you go to Molenvijvers Park when you visit Genk, you’ll be fascinated by the Sundial displays. There are 12 unique sundials in Molenvijvers Park and my favorite looks like an ancient book. This park is really an unforgettable one-of-a-kind experience and I can’t recommend it enough!
Another interesting thing to do when you visit Genk is to discover the Europlanetarum in the Kattevennen, a place that gives travelers a wonderful opportunity to learn about astronomy. You’ll get to see rare displays about space, stars, planets and more. There’s also a fine laser show and you can watch videos on a 360-degree dome ceiling, just like staring out into space.
Whether exploring one of the many recreational locations or discovering historic monuments, there’s always something to do when you visit Genk. Filled with plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining, and uncovering the countryside, Genk is an ideal destination for travelers.
Eating and drinking in Genk, Belgium
There is definitely no shortage of delicious food and drink when you visit Genk. At El Greco, an amazing Greek Restaurant at 68A Hoevenzavellaan, you can try lovely vegetarian dishes. Plus, a full bar and a great wine list are available to those looking to quench their thirst.
Another excellent choice is Ganghista, located at 1 Stationsstraat. You’ll find both Dutch and Belgian cuisine here. I strongly suggest trying their seafood dishes.
And last but not least, you should go to Troje at 36-38 Centrumlaan if you like French cuisine.
What to see after you visit Genk
Since Genk is located in central Limburg, it gives you easy access to other fantastic destinations in the region. For example, after you visit Genk, you could visit Hasselt in the Flemish region of Belgium. There, you can see one of the largest outdoor skate parks in Belgium, the Abbey of Herckenrode in Kuringen, a multitude of historic buildings and museums, a Japanese Garden, Hasselt’s Kapermolenpark, the Kiewit Cathedral of Sint-Quintinus, and the Virga-Jesse Basilica, among many other tourist attractions.
Your Genk travel guide
Olivia Peeters is a sustainable travel enthusiast from Belgium. She is happiest while sailing, hiking, cycling, or doing anything else outdoor.
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