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Welcome to Gerrit and the City,
your stylish travel guide through the many wonderful cities of Belgium (and more).

A weekend in Hasselt • Part one

A weekend in Hasselt • Part one

Hasselt is often referred to as the "Hoofdstad van de Smaak" (the capital of taste) and that's not without a reason. In the city famous for its jenever and speculaas, you'll find plenty of restaurants and coffee houses, but also great shopping spots. Because the city center is rather small, everything is on walking distance, which makes it a very pleasant city to wander in. Regardless of the city's size, you can fill an entire weekend with things to do. Therefore I hope you enjoy this two part city guide of Hasselt!

 Maastrichterstraat

Maastrichterstraat

Start by having lunch at Quiche Café located in the center of the city. In this small, laid-back venue you can choose between a selection of quiches and bagels for a very reasonable price. The vegetarian quiche is the best I've ever had and the owners are lovely people. Reservation is not possible but there's a good rotation of clients so you should always be able to get a table.

 Quiche Café, Botermarkt 11

Quiche Café, Botermarkt 11

 Grote Markt

Grote Markt

After lunch, start discovering Hasselt's little streets. Walk towards the Grote Markt, and then into the Havermarkt. In this street you'll find historic buildings such as the old courthouse and the old post-office, but also great decoration stores. For example, there's a Salt & Pepper Outlet (where we bought a set of wine and cocktail glasses for almost nothing) but most importantly there's a Hay boutique, my all-time favorite brand for Scandinavian design items. I wished everything on my desk could come from here!

 The old courthouse

The old courthouse

 Hay, Havermarkt 40

Hay, Havermarkt 40

If you're looking for records, you should pass by Gigaswing in the Kapelstraat. If not, head to the Alderstraat where Oui is located. If you love Scandinavian design, you basically want everything displayed in this small boutique. Sheep skins, marble plates, pastel accessories, ... You name it, the charming owner has it!

 Oui, Alderstraat 50

Oui, Alderstraat 50

 Street art on Dorpsstraat

Street art on Dorpsstraat

Hasselt has some very beautiful street art so you should always keep your eyes open and look around you. A lot of that street art is concentrated in the "underground" part of the city, around the Dorpstraat. You'll find a few great alternative venues here, such as Shanti Beans for coffee and Paplou for clothes and accessories.

 Street art on Dorpsstraat

Street art on Dorpsstraat

Shanti Beans Hasselt
 Shanti Beans, Dorpsstraat 43

Shanti Beans, Dorpsstraat 43

In the Paarsdemerstraat you can go shop until you drop at La Bottega (though it's not suitable for everyone's wallet) or you can enjoy one of the best things about Belgium at Boon - The Chocolate Experience. If you're looking for the popular shopping street, it goes right through the city from North to South (Demerstraat/Hoogstraat).

Kaai-man Hasselt
 Kaai-man, Scheepvaartkaai 16

Kaai-man, Scheepvaartkaai 16

Towards the end of the afternoon you can have an aperitif at L'Aperi Vino, before heading to one of the many restaurants Hasselt has to offer! Head to BAR tre for Italian food, Café Latino for Spanish/Mexican cuisine or De Levensboom for vegetarian. If you have a car, you can go a little outside of the city to Kaai-Man. This restaurant is located along the water and has a great industrial interior. On the menu you'll find gin tonics and meat plates to be shared. There are also a few vegetarian options.

 Koks & Tales, Schrijnwerkersstraat 9

Koks & Tales, Schrijnwerkersstraat 9

To end the evening in style, you can go for cocktails at Koks & Tales. In a small living room with 30's vibes, you can choose between a selection of original cocktails that is renewed every season. Every cocktail on the menu comes with a story to help you make a choice. Be aware that there are only 20 seats available so reservation is recommended.

 The Hasselt Courthouse, famous for its architecture inpired by trees

The Hasselt Courthouse, famous for its architecture inpired by trees

How to get there:
If you come by car, know that there are a few free parking possibilities in Hasselt. On the Kolenkaai you have 100 free spots (but it's often full) and on the Vilderstraat you have 200 (a safer option). The train will take you from Brussels to Hasselt in about 1h30 and the station is just a 10 minutes' walk away from the center.

Discover part two of the Hasselt city guide right here!

A weekend in Hasselt • Part two

A weekend in Hasselt • Part two

A day in Leuven

A day in Leuven