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Pouhon Géronstère was one of the busiest and liveliest spring of Spa in the 17th century. Its waters cured Peter the Great of his digestive problems.

City of Spa

Spa, the eponymous spa town; also called the “Café of Europe” and the “Pearl of the Ardennes” has, since the 16th century, played a precursory role in the recognition of the medical properties of water, becoming internationally-renowned with its waters distributed all over Europe, and contributing the word “spa” to the English vocabulary.

Spa is the meeting-place for lovers of well-being, nature, culture, sport and motor racing, with a spa centre dedicated to well-being, a unique nature conservation area covering over 13,000 hectares, internationally famous music and theatre festivals, a permanent exhibition of the works of Joan Miro, trail circuits, the Spa Formula 1 Grand Prix, and more.

The “blue gold” flows in abundance from the town’s many springs, the most famous of which is the Pouhon Pierre le Grand. At every corner of Spa, you find springs commonly dubbed ‘pouhons’ which visitors can access freely. The full circuit comprises the following pouhons: ‘Pierre-le-Grand and Prince de Condé’ (down town), ‘la source du Tonnelet’, ‘Fontaines de la Sauvenière et de Groesbeck’, ‘source de Barisart’ and ‘Fontaine Géronstère’, with the two latter located (at about 300m to 450m) of altitude in the woods nearby.

Old themal bath – © HP LESUISSE
Old themal bath – © HP LESUISSE

Long ago, the local populations attributed these pouhons’ therapeutic benefits to some miraculous intervention. Later, several agreements enabled a scientific study of the sources and fountains, thereby classifying them according to their properties and the illnesses they cured. Today, they are recommended for several therapies.

150 years ago, ‘Thermes de Spa’ were inaugurated in the town. At the peak of evolution, this establishment offered balneotherapy cares, thanks to the soothing effects of these natural mineral water sources that are, today, scientifically approved: peat treatment, carbon dioxide bath, spa showers… Located on the hills towering the town, the Thermes de Spa upholds and updates this old knowledge and tradition.

Thermes de Spa – © Thermes de Spa
Thermes de Spa – © Thermes de Spa

Pouhon Pierre le Grand houses the Tourist Office and the celebrated Spa «Livre d’Or», the work of artist Antoine Fontaine, nine metres long and representing in joyous chronological disorder 92 famous people who have taken the waters at Spa. Interactive animations show the wealth of Spa through its prestigious past as well as the current dynamism of the thermal city. It also hosts an exceptional exhibition that showcases more than one hundred original works of the Spanish master Joan Miró, including watercolours, lithographs, drawings, engravings, collages and ceramics. After Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca in Spain and Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Spa is the 4th city in the world to host a permanent exhibition dedicated to the Spanish master.

Spa is also home to the oldest Casino in the world, which has been superbly modernised for the pleasure of gaming enthusiasts.

Since 2010, as a founding member, Spa has been part of the European cultural route of historic spa towns that has developed a network of 30 or so partners across 13 European countries. Today, "The Great Spas of Europe" is a synergy of 11 European thermal towns wishing to preserve their thermal culture through its components: springs, thermal baths, casino, theatre and concert hall, covered galleries, clear laid out walkways… These were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2021.

How to Get There

Driving into Spa is recommended as the route is easy and the roads are excellent. From Brussels, you will need to take the E40 towards the city of Liège. Spa is just 26 kilometres from Liège via the E42. You can also take the E25 Liege-Luxembourg route, exit n°45 – Sprimont and follow the N62 for about 10 kilometres. There are buses that come from Verviers to Spa - You could take the train into Spa, less than an hour journey from Liege - During summer time, a tourist train takes you to the sites of tourist interest.

**When to Visit **

The city of Spa enjoys a warm temperate climate where the dominant is a weather neither hot nor cold with fast alternations between sun and rain, but also sometimes periods of grey weather with overcast sky. All seasons have qualities to explore: the spring blooms are ideal for walking in the parks, the summer offers many festivities, and while the fall allow to discover the nature in all its splendor, the winter provides snow and the opportunity to experience joys of cross-country skiing.

How to Visit
Walking is the best way to enjoy the natural beauty of the city of Spa and explore the numerous walking trails in the town and in the vicinity. It is also easy to hire a bicycle and explore the biking trails in the surrounding nature. To overcome the steep slope in the landscape rent an electric bike or a Vespa presents a popular alternative.


City of Spa