Belgium

Things to do in Mons

The stunning Belgian town of Mons is as breathtaking today as when it first captured the attention of the likes of Victor Hugo and Vincent Van Gogh in the 1800s.

Mons' historical centre held strong throughout the conflicts during World War I, and its beautiful streets are still home to some incredible examples of baroque and gothic architecture.

An old-time town with a modern heart, the title of European Capital of the Year 2015 acknowledged its status as muse to creatives, and you can be inspired by this beautiful town too with these wonderful things to do in Mons.

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Mons Belgium

Things to do in Mons

See Mons' Main Square

The best way to explore Mons is on foot, but be prepared for some steep slopes, as its name is a derivative of "mont", the French word for mountain, which is definitely a clue to the inclines that you may experience!

The narrow, winding streets will lead you past cosy boulangeries and unique boutiques to the buzzing historic centre – the Main Square – which is home to the City Hall. This impressive building has stood here since the 14th century, and boasts a variety of architectural styles which have been added over the centuries.

The City Hall’s main entrance is guarded by a small iron statue of a monkey, le Singe du Grand Garde, and touching its head with your left hand is said to bring good luck, so remember to try this before you leave!

City Hall Main Square in Mons

Mons Belfry UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Mons belfry

There's no need to worry about getting lost on your adventures around Mons, as the town's towering belfry will always guide you safely back to the centre. The 17th century World Heritage site, once described by Victor Hugo as "a coffeepot flanked by four smaller teapots", is the only baroque-style belfry in Belgium.

Time your trip to coincide with Trinity Weekend, which is eight weeks after Easter, and continue to immerse yourself in history with the raucous celebrations of Ducasse de Mons. With its origins dating back to the Middle Ages, the highlight of this festival in the Main Square is a vibrant tribute to St George and the dragon.

Museums in Mons

If you are looking for cultural things to do in Mons, visit its unique museums. One of which is the Decorative Arts Museum, home to unusual rare objects from around the world, including a fascinating collection of exotic clocks.

Another favourite is the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru, a fantastic gothic building from the 15th century adorned with remarkable statues by famed Mons architect Jacques du Broecq, and home to an incredible collection of gold and silverware.

Journey just 10 minutes south west by car and you'll be in Cuesmes. This is where you can visit Van Gogh's house, which pays an amazing tribute to one of the world's most famous artists with superb reproductions and an immersive audio-visual experience.

Saint Waudra Church in Mons Belgium

Chateau de Beloeil in Flanders, Belgium

Attractions around Mons

For something a bit different, drive north for half an hour to Pairi Daiza. Once the grounds of an ancient abbey, this beautiful park is now home to an award-winning zoo specialising in the conservation of many endangered species. Over 4000 animals roam the majestic greenery, including white tigers, giant pandas, orangutans, and elephants.

Continue west for a further 25 minutes to find Beloeil Castle, which has been home to the Princess de Ligne for six centuries. The castle houses a beautiful collection of art, and a library containing over 20,000 books and manuscripts. The surrounding gardens are some of the most immaculate in Europe, hosting an annual flower show in the spring.

Discover these great things to do in Mons for yourself by booking your Hull to Zeebrugge crossing today, and start planning your perfect Belgian trip.

If you are looking for cultural things to do in Mons, visit its unique museums. One of which is the Decorative Arts Museum, home to unusual rare objects from around the world.

Featured blog post A Day in Mons

Check out our guide to how to spend a day in Mons - a city full of art, architecture and history.

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