Tour Guide Sara Ficarelli is fluent in Italian, Spanish, English and French. She has led thousands of tourists around various parts of Belgium in the last six years. Here, Sara describes her favourite locations in Belgium.
“I fell in love with Belgium several years ago. After obtaining my Master’s degree in tourism at the University of Venice I started to work as a tourist professional in Belgium in 2014. I started my career as tour leader and travel assistant, before becoming a tour guide. I focus my tours on art, history and society. I am also part of the freelance teams in some of the major museums of Brussels, such as the Fine Arts Museums of Belgium and Train World. My passion for tourism motivated me to start a PhD on tourist practices in Brussels at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Currently I am writing my thesis while waiting for my beloved tourists to come back to Belgium.”
Favourite city: Brussels
“I can say without any hesitation that Brussels is absolutely my favourite city in Belgium. I love Brussels so much that I soon got used to the traffic and the public works. Let’s say it was love at first sight. Brussels has an incredible architectural variety: Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Gothic… and so many museums and libraries that it is impossible to get bored: I find the city so inspiring.”
Favourite Museum: Old Masters Museum
“Choosing one favourite museum has been difficult as Belgium has so many jewels. But I have to admit that the Old Masters Museum still makes my heart beat faster every time. People can admire paintings of Bruegel, Rubens, David … and it covers a period running from the 15th to the 18th centuries.”
Favourite nature walk: Silsombos, Kortenberg
“I love Brussels but sometimes it is good to have a break from city life. A lovely place to go for a walk is the Silsombos. In between countryside and woods, this place allows me to breathe some fresh air and stay in contact with nature.”
Bar with the best view: Karma Beach, Blankenberge
“Having a cocktail at the Karma Beach while admiring the sunset on the sea is probably one of my favourite activities. Sometimes when I finish my working day in Bruges, I catch the train and enjoy a special moment at this bar. I appreciate this place for its special location (directly on the beach) and the good music.”
Favourite natural area: The Lommel Sahara
“I love to walk around the Lommel Sahara and enjoy the special atmosphere created by the pine forest and the sand dunes. Thanks to the surprising landscape of this natural reserve, you can feel emerged in another dimension.”
Favourite city in Flanders: Antwerp
“If you love art, Antwerp is the place to be. There are so many gems: the Cathedral, the Rubens House, the Snijders&Rockox House, and many more. What fascinates me the most is the contrast between the vibrant urban life and the peaceful historical city centre. I like to walk from the stunning Central Station to the remarkable Grote Markt.”
Favourite city in Wallonia: Liège
“Liège has a fascinating history and an incredible variety of museums, neighbourhoods and cityscapes. When I’m there, I always try to spend some time inside the Grand Curtius Museum or The Boverie Museum. I also like to walk along the Meuse and around Place Saint-Lambert. Last but not least, Liège has an incredible Art Nouveau and Art Deco heritage.”
Favourite Beer: Orval
“Beer is one of the reasons I like Belgium so much. Orval is an original Trappist which I like on account of its fruity and bitter taste but also for its history.”
Favourite Belgian historical character: Margaret of Austria
“Belgian history has so many VIPs. I find the biographies of the historical characters a very interesting way of learning. Even better if the historical character is a woman. Talking about Margaret of Austria is a must, especially in Mechelen, where you can find her statue.”
Favourite railway station: Schaerbeek
“Easily reachable from everywhere in Belgium, Schaerbeek railway station is a delight to the eye and a jewel of Belgian railway architecture. From inside the old building it’s possible to have access to the incredible Train World Museum.”
Thanks Sara for sharing your favourite locations in Belgium! I hope that you will soon be able to re-start guiding tourists around these and other places.
For more information on Sara’s activities, check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. And once the COVID restrictions are over, why not ask her to give you or your group a tour?
Would you like to share your favourite locations in Belgium? Drop me a line and introduce yourself!
To get more suggestions on where to go in Belgium, add your email below to subscribe to Discovering Belgium.