Maasmechelen beyond the shopping paradise
A weekend Maasmechelen only ideal for shopping addicts? Think again! My mission is pretty simple: I am going to discover Maasmechelen beyond the shopping paradise! Let’s explore natural parks, water sports, local products and mouth-watering Italian dishes.
Nature, water and hills
The highlight of natural highlights is without any doubt the National Park Hoge Kempen, the 60 square kilometers nature reserve in East Limburg between Genk and the Meuse River. Located in Maasmechelen, Connecterra is one of the six gateways to National Park Hoge Kempen. It used to be the location of the Eisden mining site, actively used for coal mining until its closure in 1987. Nowadays you can enjoy a surprising change of the landscape, full of lakes and hills with spectacular panoramic views.
Next to the Terhills hotel, two major mine shaft towers await visitors. You can even climb up one of the towers and gaze at the hills around you (the hills are actually spoil tips, made of waste materials from the mining activities). Impressive! Afterwards, take one of the many walking routes and follow the signs on the roads. Along the trail, you can easily rest on one of the banks or take pictures of the amazing panoramas. The shortest route is 1.4 km, the longest one 10.9 km, so there are even possibilities for less experienced hikers. Along the way, you will pass Terhills Cablepark. This lake in the middle of Connecterra offers plenty of practice for both beginning and experienced water-skiers and wakeboarders.
- Address: Zetellaan 54, Maasmechelen
- There’s only a small free parking right outside the entrance gate, but you can leave your car at the large free parking lot next to Maasmechelen Village. From there it’s only a 5-minute walk to Connecterra.
- Next to Connecterra is the Terhills hotel, located in the former mine’s management building. Read about our experience here.
- Open 7 days a week. From April till September: 10h-18h. From October till March: 10h-17h
- Price: 3 EUR for a day ticket
Local food & drinks
Limburg is renowned in Belgium for its delicious Italian cuisine thanks to its mining history. 2 restaurants are worth trying when you’re around. The first is a brand new hotspot in the area, Osteria Cellini. Marco Cellini is quite a name in the neighborhood as he has been working as chef for many years in several Limburg kitchens. After a break, he decided to start his own restaurant right next to his house. Although the restaurant only opened its doors this summer, every weekend is already booked for the next coming months! Expect a quite remarkable Italian bistro that catches your eye with its cozy and modern interior. The interior is eclectic with a great eye for detail. You will find the same style reflected in your plate: opt for various small dishes to share. Fresh and high-quality ingredients are key here!
For the second restaurant, we go back to Marco Cellini’s roots: restaurant Da Lidia. This is a traditional and authentic Italian restaurant that stands out thanks to the warm welcome of Marco’s sister. The restaurant has a traditional, very colorful part and another part with a completely different atmosphere resembling a very stylish Italian lounge. In the open kitchen you can see the hard-working chef, preparing tasty Italian dishes with fresh ingredients. Don’t forget to take a look at their comprehensive and interesting wine list!
If you’re still hungry for some sweets, try one of Bart Janssens’s creations. This Belgian chocolate artist is fond of creating exceptional and delicious pralines and chocolate figures. In the meantime, his famous red and pink pumps (made of white chocolate) are relished by people from all over the world!
- Address Osteria Cellini: Sint-Pietersstraat 77, 3630 Leut (Maasmechelen)
- Address Da Lidia: Rijksweg 215, 3630 Maasmechelen
- Address B-art chocolates: Rijksweg 289 3630 Maasmechelen