Belgium effortlessly blends the historic with the new. From countless castles and medieval belfries to innovative art museums and hip cafes. And with some of the best comfort food on offer, you will need to pack an empty stomach for gorging on waffles, chocolate, frites and piles of steaming mussels, all washed down with the country’s famous frothy beer. Belgium’s town squares bristle with soaring spires and warm-brick gables.
Its museums house lush paintings celebrating the glories of everyday life. From funky urban neighbourhoods to tranquil convents, from old-fashioned lace to high-powered European politics, little Belgium delights. Belgium travel experiences go beyond its fine products, with a rich history in the centre of Western Europe as well as a booming contemporary culture. It sits comfortably as a progressive and popular country nestled in the heart of it all.
10 Must-See Places in Belgium
1. Bruges – Bruges is often called the “Venice of the North” and this lovely city of canals is most probably mesmerizing with the same charm of the Italian iconic one. In addition to the laidback vibe and unique beauty, the spirit and history of the Vikings emit strongly in Bruges where glorious medieval architecture and neo-gothic style are leaving their one-of-a-kind traces.
2. Brussels – Belgium’s capital is truly the beating heart of the European politic affairs as it houses the headquarters of a serious number of European institutions. Brussels is most probably the main place visited by tourists and home to a great diversity of sites and places of interest. Terrace cafes and pubs add to the whole atmosphere of a lively and modern city while the juxtaposition of the Gothic style architecture reminds of Belgium’s past and history.
3. Ghent – Ghent can be called Belgium’s best-kept secret as the city is hardly ever overcrowded with tourists but definitely deserves a visit because of the rich and impressive history and culture it houses. Back in the time Ghent used to be one of the richest cities in Europe and was once considered the second largest northern city after Paris. The impact of this rich past can be easily noticed by the stunning cityscape and the imposing architecture around.
4. Antwerp – Antwerp is, indeed, one of the most popular Belgium cities among tourists and a city with many faces which make it even more interesting to the visitor. While Antwerp does not boost the same historical significance as Ghent and Bruges, it is a dynamic and eclectic place offering a curious mix of history and modern-day lifestyle. Antwerp is known as the Diamond City as 70% of the world’s rough diamonds are traded here.
5. Ardennes – The rugged hills of the Ardennes are the perfect destination for hikers, bikers, and adventurous people when in Belgium. With many dense forests, cliffs, and caves, as well as an impressive wildlife and a lot of beautiful castles, this area of Belgium has some fine sites and great outdoor opportunities for everyone.
6. Mechelen – Despite that Mechelen town does not draw the tourism as much as the other Belgium cities mentioned, it is still a vibrant, charming, and beautiful town that should definitely fit into your plans when visiting the country. The riverboat tours and the Beguinage Brewery tour, a trip to the top of the St. Rombout Cathedral’s massive power and the magnificent Carillion School, there is so much to be done and enjoy in the small Mechelen.
7. Tournai – Tournai is a great town for escaping the hassle and hectic lifestyle of the big cities in Belgium. Laidback, relaxed, and charming, this city offers more than 2000 worth of history to explore, starting with what is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the world – the five-towered Notre Dame Cathedral – and continuing with oldest in the country town Belfry with the most remarkable views of Tournai.
8. Leuven – Leuven is a home to the oldest Catholic university in the world and despite being a small city with residents who are mostly students, there is a lot to do and enjoy in Leuven. The two main streets will lead your way through many good restaurants, cafes, and interesting galleries, while the historical part of the city will impress you with sites such as The Belfry on St. Peter’s Church and the Grand Beguinage.
9. Dinant – Located in the Namur province just 65 km south of Brussels, Dinant is a small city nestled along the sparkling and breath-taking Meuse River and offers some of the most jaw-dropping views in the country. Relaxed and charming, Dinant welcomes you to explore some interesting natural attractions such as The Caves of Han and the Grotto of Dinant along with the city’s main landmark, The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame.
10. Mons – Mons is the capital of the Hainaut province and best known for the beautiful ringing of the town’s glorious Belfry bells that are installed in an 80-meter-high tower. The city is easy to navigate around and explore even more sites as well as a beautiful and rich mixture of architectural styles.