A weekend in Sint-Truiden
I guess Limburg is best known for its green sceneries and warm people. But there's so much more to this region! Take Sint-Truiden for instance. Although the city is small, it holds many surprises for its visitors: beautiful biking trails, fruit cultures, lively markets and many monuments. Enough to fill an entire weekend with pleasure and discoveries. And of course, I treat you on a little fashion and a lot of fabulous food along the way.
Stay at Hotel Belle-Vie | Stationsstraat 12, 3800 Sint-Truiden
Conveniently located near the train station and just a 10 minutes walk away from the city center, you'll find Hotel Belle-Vie, a charming hotel that is held by the even more charming Chris. You can feel the building has a long history and the rustic decoration is the perfect complement to it. You'll quickly be at ease in one of the light rooms and the owner will make you feel like he's got all your needs covered.
Biking in and around Sint-Truiden
As mentioned earlier, Sint-Truiden has a few wonderful biking trails that will take you through the local fruit cultures, mainly apple and pear trees. To embark on this journey, head to the Tourist Office (Grote Markt 36) to pick up the 'Van bloesem tot oogst' biking map. As the for the bikes, you can get them near the train station for about €10,00 a day. I suggest doing the little loop that goes as follows: 135 - 134 - 185 - 186 - 358 - 187 - 188 - 135. On the Romeinse Weg, somewhere in the middle of numbers 185 and 186, make sure to get off your bikes and up the stairs to take in the views of the surrounding fields. If you start your tour at 11:30, you should arrive at the lunch spot around 13:00.
Lunch and more at Brouwerij Wilderen | Wilderenlaan 8, 3803 Wilderen
At point 188 of the biking route, make a stop to have something to eat and drink at Brouwerij Wilderen. The place has been a brewery since the 18th century and is one of the oldest buildings of the village. Obviously it has a long tradition, but it is also very modern. The renovated barn is mesmerizing and they still produce beer and various spirits today, such as gin, whisky and a local aperitif called 'Wiggle' (which I highly recommend). And if you wish to learn everything there is to know about the process of making those drinks, you can join the afternoon guided tour (every Saturday and Sunday at 15:00, book online here).
Shopping in the city center
There's always time for a little shopping and in Sint-Truiden there are a few boutiques that are definitely worth a stop. At L'Histoire De Roo (Sint-Martenplein 7) you'll find a mix of Belgian, Scandinavian, French and Spanish brands for girls and women. At Roosen (Stapelstraat 23 & 28) both women and men can find multiple labels ranging from Moschino to Ted Baker. And last but not least, Decadence De Luxe (Grote Markt 61) is the concept store you don't want to miss. A beautiful setting, nice music, plenty of trendy clothes and accessories, ... make it the place to be for fashionistas!
Dinner at Bistro 11 | Minderbroedersstraat 11, 3800 Sint-Truiden
One of the best restaurants in Sint-Truiden is Bistro 11. This lovely place has been open for 2 or 3 years and is the little baby of Saskia and David, a couple that's passionate about good food that's made with love. The open kitchen adds up to the human character of the project and the menu looks amazing. The fact that slight alterations are done according to the availability of locally sourced products is an extra asset. They even offer a 3-course vegetarian menu so I was heaven! Be aware though that it fills up real quick so book your table in advance.
City walk 'Sint-Truiden by lights'
After dinner, I suggest doing a nice digestive walk. But not just any walk! From September to February, Sint-Truiden literally lights up after sunset every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Historic buildings and monuments seem to come alive as they become the canvas for various light projections. Enlightened pavements help you find your way on the 5 km route, but it's advised to pick up the map at the Tourist Office to make the most of this experience (which is entirely free by the way).
City walk with the 'Trudo Pass'
After your delightful breakfast at Hotel Belle-Vie, I recommend discovering the city in broad day light, more specifically its monuments. But instead of just admiring them from the outside, why not go in? With the 'Trudo Pass' (€4,00, available the Tourist Office), you get a personal code that grants you access to all of the city's monuments. Among other things, you can visit the ruins of the Abbey. Not only are these ruins fascinating, you can also climb to the top of the Abbey Tower to enjoy epic panoramic views of the surroundings. Other highlights are the Academy Hall with its octagonal shape and the Emperor's Hall with 'trompe-l'oeil' paintings, but these are only open from 14:00 on Sunday so you can keep them for after lunch.
Lunch at 't Nieuwscafé | Heilig-Hartplein 5, 3800 Sint-Truiden
A hip place with a sort of club vibe in the city center is 't Nieuwscafé. This is no surprise as it actually also serves as club at nighttime. During the day, you can have lunch at the brasserie where they serve daily specials, Belgian classics and different kinds of salads, croques, etc. Also, if you're lucky with the weather, they have a great terrace!
The train will take you from Brussels to Sint-Truiden in just 1 hour. By car, it will take you approximately the same time. Chris from Hotel Belle-Vie can help you out for parking. If you want any additional information, you can always ask the people of Toerisme Limburg at the Tourist Office. For example if you'd like to do the 'Sint-Truiden by lights' walk with a guide.