Living in a city has many benefits. Hungry at 2 o’clock in the morning? The night shop is just a short walk away. A last-minute craving to go and watch a movie? Hop on the metro or your bike and 10 minutes later, you’re at the cinema with a bowl of popcorn in hand. A little tipsy after that afterwork drink with friends? You haven’t got a car anyway, so calling a cab to take you home safely doesn’t seem like such a waste. Honestly, we could go on and on when it comes to why city life is great.
However, you can’t deny that living in a city – especially one as big as Brussels – also comes with a few downsides. For example, it’s hard to get a moment of real peace, as there’s always a siren going somewhere or a train passing by. And compared to when you’re living in the countryside, getting your daily dose of nature can be quite challenging. When the summer arrives and temperatures rise, the amount of downsides only increases, as the heat brings out the worst odours in the city and as it seems like cooling down isn’t something to count on in the near future.
Therefore it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many city dwellers try their best to spend at least some of their summer time elsewhere. Maybe that means renting a holiday home with friends, maybe that means paying a visit to your parents who are living amidst nature, maybe it’s hopping on a crowded train for a weekend at the coast. But what if you haven’t got the time nor budget for a weekend, week or month away? How to survive summer heat in the city? Well, a fresh dive certainly won’t hurt and therefore we’ve listed some of the best places to go for an outdoor swim in and around Brussels.
If you’re on a strict budget and you want to stay as close to Brussels as possible, FLOW is without a doubt the best option for you. Located at the Albert Canal in Anderlecht, this open air swimming pool opens on July 2nd for the duration of the summer holidays. The pool works with a reservation system which opens 24 hours in advance so you’ll have to be quick if you want to grab a spot. If you go in person, reservations and access are completely free, if you book your spot via the website, you’ll be charged a small reservation fee. There’s also a bar at the pool and every now and then, yoga and aqua gym classes will take place at the location as well.
Just outside of Brussels lies the famous Thermae wellness complex. A great spot year-round thanks to the many saunas and spas but during the summer months, there’s an extra bonus to be found here: the outdoor swimming pool. Sure, you’ll have to pay around 30 euros to get in but given the fact you’ll be able to enjoy many other amenities as well, it’s well worth it. If you’re convinced, you could even buy a summer pass giving you access to the complex 5 times over the summer months (this would also make a GREAT present in our opinion).
Sporty spices living somewhere around Uccle probably already know about this gem but if you don’t, it’s time to change that. The so-called health club offers everything from a gym to a tennis court, from a spa to a swimming pool. There’s even a kids club making sure your little ones are well-entertained while you enjoy some time off. There are multiple pools onsite but the open air one, spanning over 20 meters, is without a doubt our favourite. The only downside? You have to be a member at the club to get access.
If you’re longing for a beach but you find the actual coast too far, try to go an pay a visit to the artificial beach Hofstade. The sandy beach spans over a whopping 650 meters and lies in a natural protected area, making it perfect for a day or an afternoon of water fun. The swimming area is only open from April (when the weather allows) or May to September but that’s the time we want to cool off anyway. Thanks to the bar and the offer of nautical sports on-site, one thing’s for sure: you won’t have the time to get bored.
If you’re living closer to Wallonia, Rénipont Plage is the place to go. This natural swimming pool gets its water from a local source, the Ry d’Heuchaux, making the water conditions near to perfect. The pool lies inside a 9 hectares big natural area, meaning you will be able to relax in the best conditions. And the little guinguette next to it means you can grab a bite to eat or a drink whenever you like. Cooling off at its best.