The description of VISIT BELGIUM
Listen visit Belgium info best places to visit Belgium best Belgium destinations.
A real gem of the European Low Countries, Belgium might be small but boy does it pack a punch! Ranging from the Francophone villages of Wallonia in the south to the Flemish diamond towns and North Sea coast, this nation hosts everything from buzzing European parliaments to sobering war memorials between its borders. Here, we take a look at all the best places to visit in Belgium, checking off the energetic capital, the wilds of the Ardennes, culturally-rich Mons and plenty, plenty more along the way!
Catapulted to fame by the 2008 hit film In Bruges, this pop-up cut-out of a medieval town in the heartlands of Flemish Belgium rarely fails to impress. Its old centre is an enchanting labyrinth of winding stony streets, each fringed with the rising apses of Low Country townhouses. Here, soaring belfries clad in Gothic carvings and twisted gargoyles peak above the Grote Markt; chip merchants tout double-fried cones of Belgian frites next to ubiquitous Irish pubs (there’s an unexpectedly lively nightlife), and romantic gondolas drift up and down the canals. Oh, and don’t miss the Basilica of the Holy Blood – a Gothic masterpiece that’s said to house a vial of Christ’s congealed blood!
It’s just a matter of time before Ghent begins to vie against Antwerp and Brussels for the top spot on lists of Belgium’s must-see metropolitan destinations. Once one of the most powerful city states in Europe, it opted to take something of a backseat in the modern age; preferring to hide its gorgeous location on the confluence of the Scheldt and Leie and that chocolate box old town area (the largest pedestrianised urban zone in the country). Today, travelers head in to explore the postcard-perfect rows of Flemish townhouses that line the Graslei docks, or delve into the Gothic medley that rises with the bulwarks of the Gravensteen castle. Others sip Belgian brews in the riverside pubs, or devour platters of moules frites amidst the tight-knit alleyways.
Nestled deep in a wooded valley in the midst of the Wallonia Ardennes, Durbuy enchants visitors with a rustic web of winding cobblestone lanes and bucolic cottages dressed in rhododendron, ivy vines and poppy blooms. A clutch of hearty and welcoming Belgian beer joints rubs shoulders with accomplished fine-dining restaurants between the streets of the medieval centre, while narrow lanes like Rue des Récollets are a real treat for strollers. Summertime brings booming crowds to the craft boutiques of the self-proclaimed ‘smallest town in the world’, while winter gives a wilder hue to the riparian setting in the middle of pretty Luxembourg province.
Cool, confident and classically subversive, Antwerp has really honed its rep as the second city of Belgium. A booming diamond trading centre and moneyed to the hilt, the town touts grandiose Flemish houses, winding medieval streets overshadowed by the looming Gothicism of the city Cathedral, the glorious old home of Rubens, and an endearingly gaudy Red Light district where Toots Thielemans tunes echo past candlelit beer bars. And then – of course – there’s the Het Zuid neighbourhood; Antwerp’s sleepless modern edge, where bohemian coffee shops rub shoulders with antique emporiums, fixie riders glide past graffiti artists and the acclaimed MUHKA art gallery offers cutting-edge avant-garde.
Etched into the minds of many as the site of one of the most bloody and destructive battles of the First World War, little Ypres in the midst of the Westhoek is a real must for any history buffs making their way through Belgium. From 1914 onwards, the rolling fields around this ancient city were dug-out by French, Canadian, British, ANZAC and other allied troops as they vied for control of West Flanders and attempted to push German lines back over the infamous Passendale Ridge.