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If you want a little bit of Italy in our own country, Belgium, than you need to discover Maasmechelen. The city located in Limburg has a lot of Italian influences and breaths the same hospitality as in the South and warm Italy. Why? Because back in 1907 they started coal mining in the area and Italian families settled in Maasmechelen and the cities around. Still nowadays you find a lot of delicious Italian restaurants that definitely deserve a visit when you're there.

So a lot of us, I speak for the Dutch and Belgian people (maybe German as well?) know Maasmechelen for the Outlet village. I've written a post about it some time ago, read it here. But there's is so much more to do and to discover yet that I can't wait to share with you. It's also close to Hasselt (BE), Maastricht (NL) and Aachen (DE), so plan a citytrip in Maasmechelen and you will get 3other cities extra to discover!

*. Where to stay?
During my trips I've stayed at 'Terhills' hotel (picture on top of the post) which is located at 200m from the Outlet Village and has a cinema just next to it in case you would like to enjoy a movie. The hotel itself has luxurious decorated rooms (with free WIFI, television and a spacious bathroom) which makes you feel like a shopping queen after a day at the Village. And if you're in need for a drink, just go to the bar. The staff is the most friendly team I've ever met while staying in a hotel and they get a 10+ for the service. 

An extra tip: if you want that extra touch of luxury, just ask breakfast in bed. It's delicious and the perfect way to wake up.

If you prefer a good B&B, I can recommend you 'Basil' and 'Haerlekijn'.

*. What to do?
As I said before, Maasmechelen is well known for their Outlet village, and most of the people are going their for a good shopping spree. But there is a lot more! At the tourist information centre (50m from the hotel and just in front of the Village), you can rent a bike and find all the informations you need. Like for example for the 'Connecterra' nature park where you can discover a breathtaking view. For the walking-die-hards they have a route of a couple of hours and for those (just like me) that like to walk a shorter route, they have the option as well. All passing by the most important points of the park. The picture I'm showing you here is from Google. Unfortunately it was raining the day I went so I couldn't take pictures. But I will definitely go next time. Or let's go together?

For those who like to discover the cities around, you can rent a Vespa in Leut (just next to Maasmechelen) and enjoy a ride through Limburg. This activity is definitely on my to-do-list and I can't wait to jump on a Vespa and drive to Maasmechelen or Hasselt. Did you get excited for a tour? Book it here.

*. Where to go for dinner?
In a lovely Italian restaurant of course! My recommendation? Da Lidia (Rijksweg 215) in the centre of Maasmechelen. The restaurant started back in 1973 and has a Gault Millau star. You can enjoy dinner on Wednesday and Thursday at their Grand Cafe and during the weekend in their restaurant. If the weather is good, the terrace is open as well where the best cocktails and apero drinks are served. 

The son of Lidia, Alessandro, gave me a warm welcome. I started with an Aperol and some  Italian antipasta on their terrace as we had one of our first good weather days. The dinner itself was a 'Filetto della Primavera', a piece of ox meat with spring herbs. For dessert they served a mix, 'Dolce Alessandro': tiramisu, semifredo al limone, ice cream al torroncino and some panna cotta. Heaven on earth for me! 

Eating at the terrace gave me the feeling of being on holidays. All people were smiling, talking to each other and at the end of the evening I even made new connections. The vibe over there is so relaxed and warm that hours are passing by without noticing it. Call them at the number +32 89 76 41 34 for a reservation. And of course give them a little hello from me if you go there. But the most important: enjoy your dinner!

*. Where to go for a cosy lunch?
I love a good burger after a shopping spree. So if you spend the day at the Village, you can stop at 'Ellis Gourmet Burger' for a cosy lunch. Right now I'm even trying to do all the Ellis restaurants as I love their burgers so much, haha! Check for Maasmechelen. 

From vegetarian burgers to a own speciality and a juicy  bacon-cheese burger, they have it all. The side dishes like the Jack Potato or onion rings can't be missed as well and if you trust me: end with a banana milkshake. DE-LI-CIOUS. 

So know it's time that you discover Maasmechelen and to let me know how you spended your time over there. A big thanks to Maasmechelen for making me feel at home every time I'm there! And see you soon again. #pinkypromise

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