Lier is a city of about 36,000 inhabitants (2018) in the province of Antwerp, Belgium. Lier is often overlooked by many international tourists, but can make an interesting day out from Antwerp or Mechelen. The town is southeast of the regional capital city of Antwerp.
- 1 Visit Lier, Grote Markt 58, ☏ . November-March: M-F. April-October: daily. The only tourist office of the town.
Lier is connected by rail to a number of major Belgian cities, including Antwerp, Mechelen, Turnhout, Herentals, Aarschot, Leuven and Brussels. The connection to Antwerp is especially good, from which any other destination within Belgium can easily be reached. To plan your trip, you can consult the website of NMBS, the national railway company, for national and international travels. The train station is fairly close to the city centre, only some 10 minutes in walking distance.
- 1 Lier station, Leopoldplein. The railway station of Lier is northwest of the town centre.
The Flemish national bus company, De Lijn, operates bus lines to Lier from Mechelen, Herentals and other neighbouring towns. For more information regarding different timetables (only available in Dutch): https://www.delijn.be.
Lier can be conveniently reached by car. It's halfway between the E19 (Antwerp to Brussels) and E313 (Antwerp to Liège). They are not really close to Lier, but there is a well-developed network of national roads connecting the town with the highways and other close-by cities, like the N10 to Antwerp, N14 to Mechelen and N13 to the E313. Like many towns in Belgium it is a problem, however, to park your car in the city centre.
The public transport company De Lijn runs bus lines through Lier.
Best method to discover Lier. Most places of interest are in the centre of the city and lay only a couple of minutes from each other.
Much of the surrounding area can be accessed by cycle routes and the Nete Canal towpath. Riding a bicycle is not permitted in the market, although many of the locals bring bikes to the market, not to ride, but to use as pack-horses for their shopping.
- 1 Zimmertoren (Zimmerplein). Small tower with astronomical display. The central dial shows the current civil time (accounting for daylight saving time). The 12 outer dials display the zodiac, which day of the week the year begins & ends on, the side of the earth that is facing the sun (with a globe proudly displaying the outline of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a former Belgian colony), the month, the day, the tide, the phase of the moon & the sidereal time (whether the stars are visible, i.e. local time without accounting for daylight saving time). Entrance €3.
- 2 Beguinage (Begijnhof), Begijnhofstraat. UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 3 St. Gummarus Church, Heilige-Geeststraat 5. 14th-century Gothic church.
- 4 Town Hall, Grote Markt 58. Built in the 18th century in Rococo style. The belfry tower dates back to 1369, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 5 Prisoners Gate (Gevangenenpoort), Zimmerplein. The only remaining city gate of Lier, as there used to be 5 city gates in the first city ramparts. The gate was built in 1375. From the 16th century until 1930 it functioned as a prison, which explains the current name for the gate.
- 6 Spuihuis, Sionsvest. Building erected on a sluice north of the city centre. The building was built in the 16th century.
- 7 Belgian military cemetery, Mechelsesteenweg. The final resting place of 531 soldiers of the two World Wars. Most of them (490) fell during the First World War. There are also 32 British and 9 Canadian soldiers buried here. They got hospitalized in the military hospital of Lier but passed away of their wounds after the liberation of the city on September 4, 1944.
Lier holds a weekly market (Saturday, morning to mid-afternoon) of produce sold from the back of trucks. Departments include one in the Grote Markt selling meat, & also a department called "tuinbouw" (gardening), located in Zimmerplein, which sells vegetables: home vegetable breeding was a popular hobby for Belgians during the industrial revolution, & the nation has capitalised on this pedigree to become one of the largest per-capita exporters of vegetable produce in the world.
The Lier tourist office offers a picknick package full of regional specialities. You can pick it up there and enjoy it wherever you want. Orders by e-mail at least 2 days in advance to email@example.com.
A regional dish of Lier is Liers vlaaike. It is a spicy cake made of candy syrup and a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and cloves. It has been around for more than 300 years and is one of the oldest pastries in the area. Since 2013 it has been included on the EU list of authentic regional products.
- Quite a few restaurants around Zimmerplein, Grote Markt and the street in between (Eikelstraat). Mostly French and Italian cuisine.
- 1 Baja Sardinia, Eikelstraat 6 (Eikelstraat), ☏ . Fairly good Italian food. Normal prices. Fast service.
- 2 Toscana (Zimmerplein). Basic Italian cuisine. Affordable prices. Not very busy. Great gelato (ice cream).
- 3 Bar Muza, Gasthuisvest 52, ☏ . Cozy restaurant in a small park right in the city center. Perfect outdoor seating in summer. This is also a nice place for an afternoon drink.
Most of the nightlife is centered around Zimmerplein in local pubs.
- 1 Café Latino, Zimmerplein 9, ☏ . M-Th 17:30-00:00, F-Su 11:30-00:00. Latino inspired bar with cocktails and small dishes.
- 2 De Mort, Grote Markt 28. Daily from 19:00. Somehow hidden this atmospheric brown bar is an interesting place to have a beer. Signposted Mister 100 Billiard Lounge.
- 1 Bed Muzet, Volmolenstraat 65, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. The only hostel in Lier. Offers rooms for 1 up to 6 people. Housed in a part of a former convent building.
- 2 Hof van Aragon, Aragonstraat 6, ☏ , email@example.com. Offers rooms with breakfast buffet or half board. Conveniently located in the city centre. From €87.
- 3 Best Western Zimmerhotel, Aarschotsesteenweg 4, ☏ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 11:00. Medium size hotel, for business customers and tourists. Nice and big rooms. Breakfast only. No bar. Prices include use of the fitness center next door.
- Antwerp — second largest city of Belgium with a thriving diamond, shopping and fashion scene.
- Mechelen — compact historical city between the major cities of Antwerp and Brussels.