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  • Writer's pictureanusha gopalakrishnan

Discovering the Medieval Thuin - Belgium’s Hidden Gem


Hello everyone! I'm back with another entry. This time, I'll take you to a different corner of Europe; Thuin, Belgium.  


We flew to Belgium with Ryanair, landing at Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Since we arrived at Charleroi around midday, we decided to spend the day exploring the city and its nearby areas.


While researching things to do around Charleroi on Google, this particular suggestion i.e. Thuin caught my eye. This charming city, located in the Hainaut region, boasts a rich medieval past. Its UNESCO-listed belfry, picturesque narrow streets, and enchanting hanging gardens are sure to captivate you.


After browsing several photos online, we were sold and decided to take the trip.


How to get to Thuin from South Charleroi Airport?

There are several ways to get to this charming medieval village:


1.       Take a Bus to Charleroi-Sud Station followed by a train to Thuin:


From Brussels South Charleroi Airport, take a bus (Line A) to Charleroi-Sud train station. The bus ride takes about 20 minutes. From Charleroi-Sud station, take a direct train to Thuin. The train journey takes around 20-30 minutes. The route is one of the most scenic I have ever experienced, with a calming effect that made the entire journey a treat.


2.       Take a bus from Brussels South Charleroi Airport to Thuin

Alternatively, you can take a bus from the airport to Thuin. Check the local bus schedules for specific routes and times.


3.       By Taxi

You can hire a taxi directly from the airport. The taxi ride takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic.


4.       By Car

Rent a car from Brussels South Charleroi Airport. The drive to Thuin takes about 30 minutes via the N54 highway.


Must See Attractions in Thuin


Thuin Belfry (Beffroi de Thuin)

A UNESCO World Heritage site offering panoramic views of the town and surrounding countryside.


Hanging Gardens (Jardins Suspendus)

Terraced gardens that provide a unique and picturesque walking experience with stunning views.


Saint-Théodard Church

 A historic church with beautiful architecture and an impressive interior.


Thuin's Old Town

Wander through the narrow, cobbled streets of Thuin's old town, exploring its medieval buildings and charming atmosphere.

Sambre River

Enjoy a relaxing walk along the Sambre River, taking in the natural beauty and tranquility of the area.


If you have more time you should also visit the following:


Aulne Abbey (Abbaye d'Aulne): The ruins of a Cistercian abbey located along the Sambre River, offering a glimpse into the region's history and serene surroundings.

We opted not to visit it because, to be honest, we've explored many ruins over the past year, particularly since we are living in Jordan, and we didn't feel inclined to see another one. However, if you're a history enthusiast, it's definitely worth checking out.

Thuin Tramway Museum (ASVi): A museum dedicated to the history of the local tramway, featuring vintage trams and a scenic tram ride through the area.

We didn't include this in our plans because we simply wanted to unwind and enjoy the scenery. We weren't in the mood for sightseeing; instead, we preferred to wander aimlessly and relax. Sometimes, doing nothing at all is the best option.


Getting around Thuin


Thuin is a relatively small city; therefore its compact size makes it perfect for exploring on foot. Many of the city's attractions, shops, and restaurants are within walking distance of each other, allowing you to soak in the charm of the medieval streets and picturesque surroundings.

The primary language spoken in Thuin, Belgium, is French. As Thuin is located in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, French is the official language used in daily communication, government, education, and commerce.


Conversation with locals can be a little challenging as English is not widely spoken in this region, making interactions difficult.

We were in the mood for something hearty, so we decided to grab some burgers at Snack Gozee, one of the few open joints. The person at the counter had limited English proficiency, but from her accent, we guessed she was Turkish. Tevan took a chance and asked her in Turkish, to which she excitedly confirmed. She was incredibly friendly and helpful, and the service was excellent. The food was good too and the beers were just what we needed.

We were lucky that we met someone who could speak the language we spoke.


Operating hours of the establishments of Thuin city


The operating hours of specific establishments in Thuin, such as shops, restaurants, and attractions, may vary depending on the day of the week, the season, and individual business preferences.

Most shops in Thuin typically operate from Monday to Saturday, with opening hours ranging from around 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Some shops may close for a few hours in the afternoon (usually between 12:00 PM and 2:00 PM) for lunch. On Sundays, many shops are closed or have limited hours.

Interestingly, during our visit, many establishments were closed despite it being a Tuesday afternoon. It was a bit disappointing, but the stunning views of the city compensated for the closures. Therefore it's a good idea to plan ahead and confirm the operating hours of any establishments or attractions you wish to visit in Thuin to ensure they are open during your visit.


Is Thuin worth a visit?


Absolutely, Thuin is definitely worth a visit! This charming Belgian city offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that will appeal to everyone especially if you are an outdoorsy person who loves adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do in Thuin, from hiking and cycling along scenic trails to boating and fishing on the river. The city's proximity to nature makes it an ideal destination for outdoor adventures.

Thuin's picturesque old town is dotted with medieval buildings, cobblestone streets, and historic landmarks, including the UNESCO-listed Belfry. Visitors can wander through the city's narrow alleyways and admire its well-preserved architecture.


Overall, whether you're interested in history, nature, culture, or gastronomy, Thuin has something to offer every visitor. Its laid-back atmosphere, friendly locals, and stunning views make it a hidden gem worth discovering.


What to Wear When visiting Thuin?

 

I'm including this subcategory here because I truly believe that how you dress can significantly impact your trip. Let me share my experience with you.


I wanted to look chic for my photos, so I opted for a plaid skater skirt (without stockings) and knee-high boots. Feeling cute, I threw on a light spring jacket, the only one I brought because the weather app indicated it would be warm, around 17-18 degrees Celsius.


Everything was fine until we disembarked the train in Thuin. The wind was blowing fiercely, causing my skirt to fly up multiple times, resulting in embarrassing Marilyn Monroe moments. After waiting a bit for the wind to calm down, we started walking.


But not even two minutes later, the wind picked up again with a vengeance. I was not enjoying myself at this point and found myself walking in a semi-crouched position, feeling annoyed. I hadn't expected such intense winds, and I was freezing. However, I powered through.


The wind calmed down towards the end of the day, and I began to feel more comfortable. I had only ever experienced this in Santorini, but I told myself never again.


So, the important takeaway from this episode is to dress comfortably. Girls, consider wearing pants, especially during spring, or wear leggings underneath to avoid flashing everyone. Lastly, prioritize comfortable walking shoes, as Thuin is situated on hilly terrain.


I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it was really frustrating. Haha, but nothing some fries and Belgian beer couldn't solve.

Till the next the adventure, toodles!

 

 

 

 

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