Hasselt, the capital city of the province of Limburg in Belgium, is located about 44 miles east of Brussels. One of Hasselt's twin claims to fame is a flavored gin called Jenever, which is made locally in factories here. The other famous thing about the city is an authentic Japanese Garden about 10 minutes outside the city in the Kiewit Nature Domain. If you get a car for hire in Hasselt, you will have the opportunity to visit many heritage sites and museums.
You could spend a week sightseeing in Hasselt and still not be able to cover all the attractions. Book your car rental in Hasselt right now and prepare a short-list of the best attractions to visit. You can start with the Grote Markt, which is something like the main town square with terraces and sidewalk cafes where you can hang out and sip on a coffee or the local gin called Jenever. If you find Jenever interesting, they even have a museum dedicated to the drink and its history. You may also want to visit the Herkenrode Abbey, with its peaceful reflection center and the Spalbeek Chapel, with its 14th century paintings and a beautiful old cemetery.
The Japanese Garden will undoubtedly be the highlight of your visit to Hasselt. It is just inside the ring road, about 10 minutes from the city center. It is opposite the Koning Boudewijnlaan stop near the water tower. The garden was established in 1992 as a mark of friendship between Hasselt and the city of Itami, Japan. It is the largest Japanese Garden in Europe. If you like gardens in general, you may also want to see the Herkenrode herb garden and the very picturesque and romantic garden of Dina Deferme.
The top rated four-star hotels in Hasselt include the Radisson Blu Hotel and the Holiday Inn. The three-star list includes a Holiday Inn Express, Parkhote,l and the Hassotel. At the budget end, you have the Ibis Hasselt Centrum and the Century Hotel.
One route you can take for a short drive, day trip or countryside exploration is the N75. Get a car for rent in Hasselt and head for Bokrijk, which has an incredible open-air museum about Flemish rural life and the countryside. Next stop is the bustling city of Genk, and then the Hoge Kempen National Park. This is right at the Netherlands border, and you can easily continue your trip with a hop across the border to Maastricht. If you would rather plan a day trip directly to one of Belgium's big cities, your options include Brussels, Antwerp, and Liege. All destinations mentioned in this section can be reached within one hour at most.
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