COUVIN, just 5km south from Mariembourg, was one of the first settlements in Hainaut to be industrialized, its narrow streets choked by forges and smelting works as early as the eighteenth century. In the event, Couvin was soon marginalized by the big cities further north, but it has battled gainfully on as a pint-sized manufacturing centre. Tourism has also had an impact, as the town lies at the heart of a popular holiday area, a quiet rural district whose forests and farmland are liberally sprinkled with country cottages and second homes. Long and slim, and bisected by the River Eau Noire, Couvin is short on specific sights, but it does possess a good-looking if small old quarter, set on top of a rocky hill high above the river and main road, where you’ll find the boringly modern main square, place du Général Piron. About 3km north of town, in a lovely spot that’s difficult to reach without your own transport, tours of the Grottes de Neptune (wwww.grottesdeneptune.be) last an hour and take you part of the way by boat on an underground river, before wowing you with some typically dramatic music and light shows.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Belgium features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

20 fascinating second cities

20 fascinating second cities

Barcelona, Spain It's usually the capital cities that get all the attention, but what about a country's second city? These are twenty of our favourite second c…

02 Oct 2014 • Rebecca Hallett camera_alt Gallery
Map: beer from around the world

Map: beer from around the world

Beer-lovers rejoice: the British Government recently announced that a pint of beer in the UK will be a whole one penny cheaper than before. Not exactly saving a…

31 Mar 2014 • Charles Parkes insert_drive_file Article
10 of the world's more unusual restaurants

10 of the world's more unusual restaurants

1. s’ Baggers, Nuremburg, Germany Making slow service and difficult waiters a thing of the past, this fully-automated restaurant in Nuremberg boasts hassle-f…

17 Feb 2014 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month