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Belgium Travel Guide

Best Places to Visit in Belgium

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Tourism Overview   Best Places to Visit   Overview Map    Detailed Map  Itineraries  Additional Resources

 



 

Belgium Tourism Overview   

Belgium

  The Belfry in Bruges dominates the city and is a popular meeting place in this city known as Venice of the North.

Many Tourists visit Belgium as an add-on to vacations Germany, France or the Netherlands. 

Belgium offers a number of interesting places to visit and the county is  well known for its history, terrific food and good quality museums. Of course, Belgium is world famous for its chocolates and deserts, although we know several travelers who have developed a distinct attachment to Belgium's robust beers.

Brussels and Bruges are the two most exciting stops in Belgium.  One offers big-city adventures while the other emotes small town charms.  Antwerp and Ghent, also, have  unique charms and attract many travelers. 

In addition, the Ardennes attracts those interested in World War II's  historic pivot point known as the "Battle of the Bulge".

Belgium, a country of diverse regions, is comprised of Flanders, Wallonia, and the Capital region of Brussels. The large, relatively flat plain known as Flanders is home to Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent.  Wallonia contains the hilly, forested Ardennes and the cities of Liege, Namur, and Tournai.  Brussels is the diplomatic center of Europe, as it is home to both the European Union and NATO.

Read our sections on Belgium Travel Information and Belgium Facts to complete your basic preparation for vacationing in Belgium.

We have created a new map of the Best Places to Visit in Belgium, based on Google Maps. The maps can be used for creating routes between towns. In addition, the satellite imagery lets you see more detail about places. especially in Brussels, which features enhanced imagery.

 

The world famous Mannekin-Pis  in Brussels, Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

Best Places to Visit in Belgium Top of Page
 

    Bruges 

    • Considered by some to be the "Venice of the North", Bruges (also Brugge) is known for its well-preserved Old Town that has UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Once the leading trading center of Europe and, also, the world's richest city, today's slow-paced Bruges is a tourist's delight. 

    • The city is famous for its canals, humpbacked bridges, historic churches, museums, and outstanding architecture.

    • Bruges is compact and made for walking, boating, wandering, and relaxing.  Be sure to see the canals at night and make time to  visit the Belfry and the Memling Museum.

    • See our detailed guide to the best places to visit in Bruges to see photos and descriptions of what there is to see and do when you visit.

            

  • Brussels

    • Although its history covers over a thousand years of activity, Brussels is a contemporary, cosmopolitan and cultured city. 

      • A good place to start you tour of Brussels is the Grand  Place (Grote Markt), which will lead you to notice the Gothic and Classical architectures of the city's  churches and palaces (Palais des Nation, Royal Palace, and House of Parliament). 

      • Art is prominent in Brussels and a visit to the Royal Museum of Fine Art is a must. 

      • If you are a "chocoholic" prepare for a taste treat

        • Read our detailed Guide to Brussels for the locations of the best chocolatiers in this dynamic and interesting city.

      • Finally, remember the saying, "if you are in Brussels, you must try the Mussels", as they are one of the many famous  culinary treats to be found in this city of excellent restaurants.

     

  • Ghent

    • Ghent is a historic, industrial city with an interesting, compact, medieval core. The Old Town is one that is worth your time and the historic center is a fun place to wander for an afternoon.

      • Be sure to visit the Castle of the Counts of Flanders and its museum, the famous Belfry, and the the ancient Cloth Hall.

      • Visit the Cathedral of Saint Bavo for its beauty and the marvelous religious art that it contains.

      • For more detail, see our Ghent Travel Guide.

        

  • Antwerp   

    • Antwerp's is now the second largest port in Europe.  The city  is a large, working, industrial complex focused on international trade. While most of Antwerp has little warmth, its historic center has a delightful mixture of charming architectural styles.  While most travelers have only limited interest in touring the city's  Diamond District, it does add a certain  allure to this working city.

    • There are a number of important attractions in Antwerp.   Be sure to see:

      • The gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, is an important cathedral that played a central role in the history of the Low Countries. Click for information from the official site.

      • the Plantin Moretus Museum is an interesting venue focused on the history of printing.  See its site for more information.

      • the Koninklijk Museum offers fine art by Rubens, Memling, Fouquet and others. (Address: Leopold De Waelplaats, B-2000 Antwerpen).

      • The Diamond Museum introduces you to the fascinating world of diamonds, from origin to manufacturing. (Address: Koningin Astridplein 19-23
        2018 Antwerpen)

     

  • If you are going to spend several days in Belgium and have already visited Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp, you might want to consider visiting these locations.

    • Tournai (and its stunning Notre-Dame Cathedral).


    • Namur (an old Roman town with its fortress the Citadel protecting the intersection of the Sambre and Meuse rivers).


    • The Ardennes is an interesting area to tour, if you are interested in the history of World War II

      • The Ardennes is a beacon for many who have read about the epic and pivotal World War II "Battle of the Bulge" that took place here during December, 1944 and January 1945.  If you have an interest in this topic, a detailed explanation of the Battle of the Bulge (and exceptionally detailed maps), can be found here

      • Bastogne was the center of military activity during the Battle of the Bulge and we have centered our map symbol for the area on this town .

    • The Hergé Museum (Museé Hergé)

      • Located in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium ( a "new" university town about 30 KM southeast of Brussels) the museum honoring the famous author of the beloved TinTin adventures opened its doors to the public in 2009.
      • Celebrating the art and stories of Georges Remi, better known as Hergé,  the three-story museum presents his work across eight display rooms.  Be prepared to see images of TinTin's dog Snowy, Professor Calculus, and his fisherman friend Captain Haddock.
      • We suspect the museum will be popular with fans, since the books have sold over 200,000,000 copies in over sixty languages.  In addition, Steven Spielberg is planning a movie based on TinTin, which should increase the size of the fan base.
      • The website of the museum is here (in EN, FR, NL) and you can download a brochure that includes descriptions in several languages.  The Museé is located at Rue du Labrador 26, (an address mentioned in Secrets of the Unicorn), but until maps and GPS units are updated to include the change in name, you will need to look for Boulevard du Nord (the former name of the street).

 

Additional Resources

The official tourism website of Belgium is Visit Belgium.  It provides additional details on the best places to visit in Belgium that we recommend, as well as information on places that did not make our list.

For country facts on Belgium, as well as travel information related to visas, driving rules, safety, medical conditions, visas and other travel-related information, see this page on Belgium Travel from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department.  Regardless of your home country, we think you will find the information provided to be useful when planning a trip to Belgium.

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index or Googling ThereArePlaces.


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Map of the Best Places to Visit in Belgium

      

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The canals in Brugge are spectacular at night

 

The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

 

A view of the Count's Castle from the Canal in Ghent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antwerp Cathedral and Square - Antwerp, Bel;gium

 

 

 
Climate

Cool, temperate, and rainy; summer temperatures average 77°F, winters average 45°F.  Annual extremes (rarely attained) are 10°F and 100°F.

 

 

 

First Time Tour   Top of Page
  If you are planning your first trip to Belgium, we recommend a two-day stop in Bruges (or a long weekend), followed by two-days in Brussels.  If you are interested in Belgium and have sampled Bruges and Brussels, visit Ghent. We think you will enjoy the experience.  Belgium is a great "add-on destination for trips involving a multi-country tour.  
Editor's Choice    
  Our personal list of favorite places in Belgium includes:
  • Bruges

  • Brussels

 
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