No trip to Europe is complete (for me) without a visit to my friend, P in Vaals (pronounced as Faals). Vaals is a really small European town and not on the typical touristy trail (at least not for Indians) but I visit it on every trip to meet with my friends P and J and now most importantly the adorable little M. But apart from spending time with them, Vaals also has some interesting things to see and do. So here’s a quick guide on 5 things to do in Vaals if you ever find yourself in this beautiful small town in Netherlands.
Three Land Point – This is a point in Vaals where 3 countries Belgium, Germany and Netherlands meet. This common point is referred to as Drielandenpunt (“Three-Country Point”) in Dutch, or Dreiländereck (“Three-Country Corner”) in German, or Trois Frontières (“Three Borders”) in French. There is a circle here with demarcations to show each country along with their individual flags and we had a nice time jumping all around and deciding at that stroke of a second as to which country we wanted to be in. 🙂 This is also a famous tourist spot with a children’s park, a few places to eat, a viewing point, two towers etc.
Scale the highest point in Netherlands called “Vaalsberg” or “Mount Vaals” – Near the Three Land Point is the highest point in the Netherlands. Though its nothing much but still something to say as achieved 🙂
Explore the quaint town – I feel that the best way to see Europe is by visiting its small unknown towns and just walking around them. This actually helps you understand the local culture, customs and people. Since these towns are not touristy they actually provide an authentic experience of the place at dirt cheap prices. In Vaals we loved just walking around and seeing the sights, the local houses, gardens, flowers, decorations, buildings, people, etc etc. Basically seeing nothing yet seeing a lot of things.
Walk through the beautiful fields or one / many of the nature trails in a small forest – All around Vaals are numerous fields with many walking paths and gates that you can wander through. You can see the farmers’ houses, barns, cows – basically everything that we read in an Enid Blyton book. There is also a horse riding school in one of them. From Vaalsberg too there are numerous nature trails leading into each of these three countries and some that circle around covering all of them. We walked through some of them and loved the greenery all around and the solitude. It’s also a feeling of freedom to be able to just walk through these forests and not feel unsafe even for a minute.
Visit and photograph the red Roman-Catholic church – This is a beautiful church in the centre of town built by H. Paulus Bekering in 1892-1893. It was designed by J. Kayser in a neo-Gothic style with elements of Gothicism from northern Germany. I loved its majestic spires and the red glazed bricks. It is also a perfect spot for photography and I managed to capture quite a few good shots. Though I have never been able to see it from inside, I am sure that’s nice too.
Have you ever been to any such small non touristy town in Europe? If yes, do share your stories. Else do stop by one such small non touristy town in Europe, on your next trip, and get a taste of actual Europe.