Pairi Daiza

Zoo in Hainaut

Set on the grounds of a former Cistercian Abbey, this 65-hectare park is home to more than 5000 animals (including pandas, koalas, gorillas and lemurs) living in beautifully designed settings with elements from every corner of the globe. You'll find a recreated African stilt village, the red desert outback of Australia, East Asian temples (plus the largest Chinese garden in Europe) and a spooky belfry where free-flying bats glide overhead. There are ample dining and drinking spots, including a charming canal-side brasserie with good Trappist beers.

Get an early start and plan to make a full day of it, as there's much to see here including unique animal encounters – like spying falconry demonstrations, feeding the goats or watching Sumatran elephants being bathed.

On Friday and Saturday nights from July to late August, the park stays open until 11pm with eclectic world-music groups playing all around the park. Save cash by buying tickets (€2 cheaper) online. You can reach the park by train on the Mons-Ath line. Disembark at Cambron-Casteau train station, a 10-minute walk from Pairi Daiza.

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