A small & simple guide to Belgium (Europe)

 

Nestled in the heart of Western Europe, Belgium is a country that seamlessly blends rich history, stunning architecture, mouthwatering cuisine, and vibrant cultural experiences. From the medieval streets of Bruges to the cosmopolitan vibe of Brussels, Belgium offers a diverse range of activities for every type of traveler. In this guide, we’ll explore the myriad things to do in Belgium, ensuring that your visit to this charming country is nothing short of unforgettable.

Discovering the Architectural Marvels of Brussels

Begin your Belgian adventure in the capital city of Brussels, where architectural wonders seamlessly blend with modern urban vibes. Start your exploration at the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the central square of Brussels. Admire the opulent guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the iconic Manneken Pis statue.

The Atomium is another must-visit landmark, originally constructed for the 1958 World Expo. This futuristic structure offers panoramic views of the city from its spheres and provides a glimpse into Belgium’s post-war modernist architecture.

 

Indulging in Culinary Delights

Belgium is renowned for its delectable cuisine, with a particular focus on chocolate, waffles, and beer. Take a stroll through Brussels and treat yourself to a mouthwatering assortment of chocolates from renowned chocolatiers like Neuhaus and Godiva. Don’t forget to visit the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate to learn about the history and production of this sweet delicacy.

For waffle enthusiasts, indulge in the crispy and light Belgian waffles, available in street-side stalls and charming cafes. Pair your waffle with a scoop of artisanal ice cream or a drizzle of warm Belgian chocolate.

Beer lovers can explore the countless varieties of Belgian beer, each with its unique flavors and brewing traditions. Visit a local brewery or join a beer tasting tour to experience the rich tapestry of Belgian brewing culture.

Exploring the Enchanting Canals of Bruges

Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges is a fairytale-like city with its winding canals, cobblestone streets, and medieval architecture. Begin your journey in the Markt, the main square surrounded by historic buildings and the imposing Belfry of Bruges.

Take a boat tour along the canals to admire the picturesque views of Bruges’ medieval charm. Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood to witness a revered relic and explore the Groeningemuseum, home to a remarkable collection of Flemish Primitive and Renaissance art.

Experiencing Art and Culture in Ghent

Ghent, another gem in Belgium, offers a perfect blend of history, art, and vibrant city life. Begin your exploration at Gravensteen, a medieval castle located in the heart of the city. Wander through the Old Town and marvel at the impressive architecture of Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, home to the famous Ghent Altarpiece painted by the Van Eyck brothers.

The Ghent City Museum (STAM) provides a comprehensive overview of the city’s history, while the Museum of Fine Arts (MSK) showcases an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures. Don’t miss the vibrant graffiti street art scene in the Werregarenstraat, also known as Graffitistraatje.

Connecting with Nature in Ardennes

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life by heading to the picturesque Ardennes region. Known for its dense forests, rolling hills, and charming villages, Ardennes is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Explore the Hoge Kempen National Park for hiking and cycling trails, or embark on a kayaking adventure along the River Lesse.

Visit the enchanting town of Durbuy, often referred to as the smallest city in the world. Stroll through its medieval streets, enjoy local cuisine in cozy restaurants, and savor the tranquility of this idyllic destination.

 

Unraveling History in Antwerp

Antwerp, a vibrant city with a rich maritime history, is a treasure trove for history buffs. Begin your journey at the Cathedral of Our Lady, home to masterpieces by the artist Peter Paul Rubens. Explore the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS), an architectural marvel that delves into the city’s maritime and cultural history.

Antwerp is also a fashion capital, and the ModeMuseum (MoMu) offers a fascinating insight into the world of Belgian fashion. Take a leisurely stroll along the River Scheldt and visit the impressive Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world.

Tracing World War History in Ypres

For those interested in World War I history, Ypres is a significant destination. The town was a major battleground during the war, and the In Flanders Fields Museum provides a comprehensive overview of the conflict. Attend the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, a moving tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Great War.

Explore the preserved trenches at the Sanctuary Wood Museum Hill 62, gaining a firsthand understanding of the harsh realities faced by soldiers during this tumultuous period in history.

Enjoying the Beaches of Oostende

Belgium’s coastline may not be as famous as some of its European counterparts, but the seaside town of Oostende offers a delightful beach experience. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores, enjoy the fresh sea breeze, and indulge in seafood delicacies at one of the many beachfront restaurants.

Visit the Mercator Ship Museum to explore a beautifully preserved 20th-century sailing ship. Oostende also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year, making it a dynamic and lively coastal destination.

Embracing Festivals and Celebrations

Belgium is known for its lively festivals and celebrations, showcasing the country’s vibrant cultural scene. Plan your visit during the colorful Carnival of Binche, where locals don elaborate costumes and partake in lively processions. Alternatively, experience the medieval charm of the Ommegang Festival in Brussels, reenacting historical events with grand parades and performances.

For music enthusiasts, the Tomorrowland music festival in Boom is a world-renowned electronic dance music event that attracts visitors from around the globe. Immerse yourself in the pulsating beats and vibrant atmosphere of this iconic festival.

Soaking in Relaxation at Spa

Belgium is the birthplace of the word “spa,” and the town of Spa is renowned for its natural mineral springs and wellness facilities. Indulge in a relaxing spa treatment, unwind in thermal baths, and enjoy the tranquility of this spa town surrounded by lush greenery.

Take a leisurely walk in the Parc de Sept Heures, a beautiful park that offers a peaceful escape from the stresses of everyday life. Spa is the perfect destination for those seeking rejuvenation and a serene retreat.

 

 

Belgium’s diverse offerings make it a captivating destination for travelers with varied interests. From the architectural wonders of Brussels to the medieval charm of Bruges, the historical significance of Ypres, and the natural beauty of Ardennes, Belgium promises a tapestry of experiences. Indulge in delectable chocolates, savor crispy waffles, and explore the rich brewing tradition of Belgian beers.

 

With its vibrant cultural scene, lively festivals, and picturesque landscapes, Belgium invites you to embark on a journey that combines history, art, nature, and gastronomy in a way that is truly unique and unforgettable. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the many wonders of this enchanting country!