There are 15 places to visit in Belgium.
Belgium, a real gem of the European Low Countries, is small but packs a big punch! From the Francophone villages of Wallonia in the south to the Flemish diamond towns and North Sea coast, this nation has everything from buzzing European parliaments to sobering war memorials. We look at all the best places to visit in Belgium here, including the lively capital, the Ardennes wilds, and historically-rich Mons, among other spots.
Belgium might be small, but it really packs a punch! From the Francophone villages of Wallonia in the south to the Flemish diamond towns and North Sea coastline of the north, this country operates everything from bustling European parliaments to sombre war memorials. We look at the best destinations in Belgium, covering everything from the lively capital to the wilds of the Ardennes to culturally-rich Mons, and more!
Bruges is a wonderful city.
The film In Bruges catapulted him to fame, and this pop-up cut-out of a medieval town in the heartlands of Flemish Belgium rarely fails to impress. Its old centre is a charming maze of winding cobbled streets, lined with Low Countries' townhouse apses. Gargoyles lean against belfries and twisted gargoyles as they peak over the Grote Markt in this town. There are also chip merchants hawking Belgian frites (believed to be double-fried) and Irish pubs (believed to have an unexpectedly lively nightlife), while romantic gondolas paddle the canals. Don't forget the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a Gothic masterpiece that is said to contain a vial of Christ's congealed blood! For more information about Bruges, please see our guide!
Ghent is a city in Belgium.
Ghent is currently one of the most popular destinations in Belgium, alongside Antwerp and Brussels. It was once one of Europe's most prominent city states. In modern times, it has taken a step back; avoiding the nation's beautiful position on the confluence of the Scheldt and Leie Rivers and the chocolate box old town area (the country's largest pedestrianised urban district). Visitors come to Ghent to experience its Flemish townhouse avenues on Graslei docks, its Gothic variety, or its Gravensteen castle walls. Others sip Belgian brews on the riverside pubs, or gobble moules frites in the narrow alleys. Read more about our top things to do in Ghent.
There are a few things to do in Durbuy.
In the Wallonia Ardennes Mountains, Durbuy enthralls guests with rustic cobblestone lanes lined with rhododendron, ivy, and poppies. Visitors can dine at accomplished fine-dining restaurants or local Belgian beer establishments in the medieval centre of Durbuy, which sits between Rue des Récollets. Summer brings a lot of people to Durbuy's craft boutiques, which proclaim themselves to be the world's smallest town, whereas winter gives a wilder feel to the banks of the river that runs through pretty Luxembourg.
In 2012, Antwerp ranked 4th in the Global Power City Index, a ranking of the 60 most powerful cities in the world.
Antwerp has earned its rep as a diamond trading centre and a moneyed city as the second city of Belgium. The city has grandiose Flemish buildings, winding medieval streets overshadowed by the looming Gothic Cathedral of Antwerp, the city's famous old Rubens house, and the wonderfully gaudy Red Light District, where Toots Thielemans tunes echo down the beer bars, where everything is hopping. The Het Zuid neighbourhood is Antwerp's active modern edge, where coffee shops mingle with antique shops, fixie riders glide by graffiti artists, and MUHA's acclaimed avant-garde art gallery. Check our Antwerp post to find out what to do!
There are 5 of them.
The battlefield of Ypres in the Westhoek region of Belgium is renowned as the location of one of the bloodiest and most destructive battles of World War I. Between 1914 and 1918, French, Canadian, British, ANZAC, and other allied troops dug-out the rolling fields of Ypres as they struggled for control of West Flanders and tried to push German lines back over the Passendale Ridge. The bloodbath is commemorated by the Menin Gate Memorial and the In Flanders Fields Museum, which has been acclaimed as Europe's greatest World War I museum.
Hoge Kempen National Park is 6th.
The wild hinterland of Eastern Flanders is well represented in Belgium's only national park, a real patchwork of natural beauty covering 60 square kilometres near Limburg. In addition to the rolling heath and undulating hills, misty pine forests and mirror-like lakes, the park is home to packs of wild deer and lavender and thistle blossoms. Because there are more than 200 kilometres of winding hiking trails and countless bridal paths and biking tracks as well, outdoorsy visitors to the Low Countries like this one are sure to be impressed.
Leuven is a college town and municipality in Belgium.
Despite Leuven's 800-year-old university, a student population of more than 25,000 beer-drinking erudite Belgians, and the Grand Béguinage district (a UNESCO-recognized area of cobbled streets, charming red-brick buildings, and Flemish façades), Leuven is flourishing. It is no surprise that travelers are eager to explore the beautiful streets that weave around the Grote Markt beneath the filigree Gothic spires of one stunning City Hall, especially since some come for the beer—the InBev brewery (one of the world's largest breweries) is headquartered here, in addition to a plethora of beer pubs offering ancient Trappist ales and abbey beers.
Brussels is ranked 8th.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and one of its most popular destinations. Its historic Grand Place is the heart of Europe's contemporary politics, drawing lawmakers from across Europe and the world. The Baroque, Gothic, fin-de-siècle, and Beaux-Arts styles all converge in this famous square, which is home to apses and spires. Brussels is brimming with Belgian beer bars serving Trappist brews and frothy ales, chocolatiers, waffle restaurants, and double-fried Belgian frites, as well as fine art museums featuring Bruegel and Rubens. You can find a list of the areas in our Brussels guide.
The well-preserved townhouses of Mons, which are a combination of Luxembourg and German architecture, rise on the southwestern slopes of the hills, near the border with France. The photogenic facades of one of Belgium's most picturesque town halls are juxtaposed with the Baroque belfry on Grand Place Square. It is also the home of the former house of Dutch post-impressionist Vincent Van Gogh. Ducasse festivities in the spring feature spectacular displays of local religious customs, including biblical re-enactments, pitched battles between St George and the dragon, and more.
A day at the spa is the perfect way to relax and unwind.
The charming little town in the heart of Liege province that invented the 'spa' prefix for destinations renowned for their bubbling mineral springs is famous for its majestic facades and Belle Epoch architecture. Since the 14th century, healing waters have been said to cure everything from impotence to leprosy. The baths that look down on downtown streets, once frequented by Dumas, Victor Hugo, and the fictional Hercule Poirot among others, are open for business. Nice work.
. The Battle of Namur occurred on May 22, 1477, during the reign of Louis XI of France.
Despite its official designation as a regional capital, Namur disguises its laid-back, historic ambiance through a patchwork of traditional Mosan-style homes made of grey brick and stoic black slate, meandering cobblestone lanes, and charming riverside promenades. The undisputed mainstay of the region is the expansive, medieval Citadelle that towers above the Sambre River. More than 1,000 years old, it remains one of Europe's largest strongholds, and it includes hundreds of escape tunnels and ramparts that were used until World War II. After exploring the castle complex, visitors may visit the cobbled Place du Vieux Marché; a pleasant European square brimming with alfresco cafés and Belgian beer pubs.
A lord or lord's representative.
The Meuse River flows through grassy valleys and woods north of Liege, which is one of the less-visited cities in Belgium. There are a number of things to see and do before exploring the wilds of the Ardennes if you spend a little extra time in Liege, particularly if you wish to see the beautiful medieval Old Town area that cascades down from the intriguing Citadel of Liege to the riverbanks, where you will find the flying buttresses of a reconstructed city cathedral, the Musée des Beaux-Arts, and the eclectic Bonapartist collections of the Curtius Museum, amongst others. Nightlife also ranges from student-led jazz bars to Low Country pubs in the Victorian and Art Deco homes of Le Carré.
It's a tough course.
The Ardennes region in southern Belgium, which is famed for its scenic walking trails, sits between the Meuse River valleys and the wild Eifel Plateau on the German–Belgian border. The Ardennes range from the city of Namur to the Fens on the German–Belgian border. Visitors can walk its trails to castles like Chateau de Bouillon, take part in the Mardi Gras festivities in Malmedy, enjoy canoeing on the River Lesse, wander through the Ourthe caves and caves, hike through the Rochefort forests, hike through Dinant's rugged cliffs, and walk through beautiful valleys that lead to winding rivers. The forests are also misty and stretch for miles and miles.
S: In addition to Liverpool, Ostend is also the site of one of the world's largest contemporary art biennials.
Escape inland cities and towns in Belgium for a bracing North Sea breeze as you stroll along the windswept coast of West Flanders, just a short train ride from Bruges. It is popular with locals from June to August because of its buzzing atmosphere and sandy beaches. It's surprisingly simple to fall for this one's cookie-cutter seaside hotels, English tearooms, and hedonistic clubs on Langestraat, which tells the tale of the German fortification of Europe's seaboard. You can also discover history here, particularly at the notorious Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum, which tells the story of German fortification of the European seaboard. To relate the town's indelible connection to the North Sea, aquariums and other marine-themed expos are displayed.
In the battle of the Bulge, the Allies lost 15,000 men defending Bastogne against 200,000 German troops.
Bastogne, a small town 15,000 inhabitants in Luxembourg's southern border, has a long history of warfare between Gauls and Roman centurions as well as a long history. Bastogne is now better known as the focal point of the 20th century's most violent and tragic episodes. In 1944, German troops planned the Battle of the Bulge from Bastogne, and the town subsequently housed the heroic 101st Airborne Division as they were surrounded by Axis troops. The Bastogne War Museum, the Mardasson Memorial, and the Bastogne Barracks commemorate this decisive moment on the Western Front.
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