Did you know that there’s actually a town called Spa, which gives its name to the up-beat pampering places we so love to visit today? Water therapy and body healing treatments have been around for a long, long time, most likely originating in ancient Rome, but it’s the small town of Spa, in the northern Ardennes, Belgium, which gave the modern day ‘spa’ its name.
The healing hot mineral springs which lie 22 miles southeast of Liege, have had the reputation for restoring health for centuries, but boomed in the 18th century when European monarchs and celebrities began to descend on the town to take the waters. Famous guests include French playwright and novelist, Victor Hugo, and Russian Empire ruler, Peter the Great. To accommodate these wealthy visitors, new pavilions, small palaces and even two casinos were constructed.
The word ‘spa’ is an acronym for the Latin phrase, ‘salus per aquae’ and the nine springs are not only rich in iron but also offer a wonderfully relaxing experience. Nowadays the spa has been updated, offering a more hedonistic choice of hydro massages, Jacuzzis and treatments. The charming town also hosts the annual Formula One Belgium Grand Prix and offers some casino action.
So why not visit a historical ‘spa’ and experience its healing wonders plus a little R&R for yourself? Travelling to Belgium by car, train or plane is so easy, just a short hop over the Channel and it makes a great place for a weekend break!