Traveling to Belgium for a swim / log #004
Water quality is dubious, French speakers are required to wear caps and you could get fined 350 euro. But despite all that, for a great swim you should consider booking a train ticket to Belgium.
Around here, spring is finally setting in. A reason to go for walks and dream about possible travel destinations. If you’ve been thinking of where to go swimming this year, let me convince you to book a trip to Belgium.
I’ve split up my list of recommendations into two parts, starting with some indoor places today, and following up with outdoor swimming in the following post.
Historic swimming pools
Indoor pools can be found in most places in Belgium. When visiting, I love going into the local pool and discovering its charm. During the interbellum, many pools were added to Belgium’s growing cities. Some of these historic pools can still be visited today. Be aware, in Brussels and Wallonia a swimming cap is required for every swimmer.
In Ghent, next to great museums and great venues for music, you can find the beautiful Van Eyck. With limited opening hours for the public (schools use it during the day) it’s best to check their website before heading there.
In Brussels, one of my favourite places to swim is the recently renovated Sint Joost pool, close to Bruxelles-Nord station. Watch out for those slippery stairs though.
In the Marollen, you can find the Piscine du Centre, a bright but often crowded art deco pool.
Another of Brussels’ beauties can be found near Bruxelles-Midi, Victor Boin.
In Antwerp visit the carefully renovated Veldstraat pool. This is the pool where I go for weekly training sessions to improve my technique. Details like the fittings on the changing cabins’ doors and the tiles in the entrance make this a great place for a swim.
In need of a renovation, Jan Guilini pool in Bruges is currently still open to the public, so make sure to take a look.
The best lanes for a training session
Sometimes you just need a nice clean pool to put in some distance. Here are some of Belgium’s 50-meter pools to choose from.
Olympic pool Wezenberg, a competition pool in the south of Antwerp.
Ostend’s newly built Brigit Becue pool is great for training while spending time on the seaside.
On the outskirts of Ghent, you can find the Rozenbroeken pool. Next to the 50m pool, there’s a recreation pool and many other facilities here, a great place to visit with kids, on one of the grey Belgian days.
No longer swimmable, but worth a visit
You can visit the art deco Villa Empain in Brussels’ beautiful Boitsfort area. Exhibitions are hosted here, and having a sandwich on the side of the pool can make you feel like you are one of the rich residents.
Just across the Belgian border in Roubaix, you can find Musée La Piscine. The former French pool was converted into a wonderful museum.
Hidden away near Namur, you can find the beautiful Bibliothèque d'Andenne, an art deco pool converted into a local library.
This is not sponsored by the Belgian tourist agency, although they should have considered it.
All about the pools in Brussels: http://patrimoine.brussels/liens/publications-numeriques/versions-pdf/bvah/piscines-et-bains-publics-a-bruxelles
Quick view of the pool on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CojyhTcKabq/
In spring ‘23, they are hosting the Maillol exhibition (created for Musee d'Orsay in Paris): https://www.roubaix-lapiscine.com/expositions/exposition-maillol/
More information about the former pool: https://lephare-andenne.be/le-phare-historique/