Have you ever thought you can also dive in a pool? Boring? It depends on the place! Nemo 33, near Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, is definitely an exciting place worth checking for when you can’t travel to warm tropical waters. At first, scuba diving in a swimming pool was not really on the top of my list of places I wanted to go scuba diving. Yet, because I made several good friends at the first World adventure Divers gathering which happened there, it has always been good fun and I love going back especially if I’m landlocked in Europe during wintertime. Even if it’s not a natural dive site, it could count as some of the best diving in Europe.
Nemo 33, a 33 m deep diving pool in Belgium
Nemo 33 in Brussels, Belgium, is the most amazing diving pool and the deepest one in the world… Well, it used to be since the opening of Y-40 in Italy in June 2014.
It is supposed to be 33m deep but my dive computer said 34,4m before they installed a platform so last time I went there I had a maximum depth of 32,4m! The freshwater is heated by solar panels at 33°C so you can dive there in swimming suits even in the middle of the winter.
This pool is a real underwater amusement park equipped with a tunnel, caves with air pockets and windows looking at the bar. The pool has a total volume of 2,500 m3 of lightly chlorinated spring water and has several depths: a platform at a depth of 5 m, a second platform at 10 m and the pit down to 33 m.
One of the advantages of diving there is the price of the entrance (25 €) which includes gear so you don’t need to bring anything but your swim suit (for information Y-40 in Italy is much more expensive with a single entrance at 35€)!
Update 2017: On the 10 m deep platform, Nemo 33 installed a sphere where they offer a dinner service inside thanks to waterproof boxes allowing to pass the dishes. Nemo 33 may no longer be the deepest diving pool in the world but it is now the only underwater restaurant in the world.
Diving in Nemo 33, World Adventure Divers’ favourite meet up place in Europe
Nemo 33 is kind of an unofficial World Adventure Divers’ headquarters in Europe. I have organised already 4 gatherings there. Brussels, being the capital of Europe, it makes it easy for all our my European friends to join. Since its expansion in 2012, there is now a large space for groups next to a dive shop in addition to the restaurant area.
Be careful, Nemo 33 is a very popular place, so I recommend booking for your group or coming early in the morning to get the last spots of the day.
The Thai food served at the restaurant is incredibly tasty and they have home-made cakes to die for. The cocktail menu is also worth a try and especially the Aqua Lung cocktail! But only if you’re finished diving and if you’re not driving home!
Dive in Nemo 33 & visit Brussels
Beyond Nemo 33, Brussels is an incredibly cultural city to discover the time of a long weekend (I recommend a minimum of 3 days if you are spending an entire diving day at Nemo 33).
I listed below my favourite things to do in Brussels :
- Tasting chocolate from the best chocolate maker in Europe: Pierre Marcolini, in Place des Sablons or the Queen Gallery near the Grand Place.
- Drinking Belgian beers at Delirium Tremens, this bar offers 2000 other beers on their menu, or at the Mort Subite for a cosier atmosphere.
- Walking around the city looking for Art Nouveau style buildings, the many comic strip mural paintings or around Place du Jeu de Balle flea market.
- Visiting the Magritte Museum, the Comic Strip Museum (Musée de la Bande-Dessinée). or the Jubilee Park with its majestic gate and park behind.
How to go to Brussels and Nemo 33?
Brussels can be easily reached by Thalys high-speed train from Amsterdam or Paris to Brussels Midi Station. Book your train ticket 3 months in advance to get the best fares.
Nemo 33 is the south suburbs of Brussels, in the town of Uccle. You can easily get there by tram. Have a look at the map above to find your way or use the journey planner of Brussels’ public transportation website.
Where to stay in Brussels?
I tried many different hotels in different areas in 6 trips to Brussels, but I finally think the first one where I stayed on my first trip is definitely the best.
The Hotel Bloom is located next to the Botanical Garden and is a 15-minute walk to the historic centre of Brussels. It’s a design hotel with great deals to grab if you book online. Good to know, the tram station “Rogier” of line 4 is very close and goes directly to Nemo 33 in 40 minutes.
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