Belgium is a small country in Western Europe, known for its rich history, unique culture, and stunning architecture. It is bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg, and is home to two distinct regions: Flanders, where Flemish (Dutch) is spoken, and Wallonia, where French is the primary language. Belgium is also the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.
- Top places to visit in Belgium
- Belgian Cuisine
- Belgian Culture and Heritage
- Top Museums in Belgium
- Festivals & Events
- How to Travel in Belgium
Top places to visit in Belgium
Brussels: The Heart of Belgium
Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and the headquarters of the European Union. It is a cosmopolitan city that boasts of stunning architecture, art, and culture. One of the must-visit attractions in Brussels is the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features beautiful 17th-century guildhalls and the iconic Town Hall. Other notable landmarks in Brussels include the Atomium, the Manneken Pis statue, the Royal Palace of Brussels, and the Horta Museum.
Bruges: The Venice of the North
Bruges, a city in the Flanders region of Belgium, is often called the “Venice of the North” for its network of canals and charming old-world architecture. It is also known for its delicious chocolate and lace-making tradition. Must-see attractions in Bruges include the Belfry Tower, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Groeningemuseum, a museum that houses an extensive collection of Flemish art.
Ghent: A Hidden Gem
Ghent is a vibrant city located in the Flemish region of Belgium. Often overshadowed by Brussels and Bruges, Ghent is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. One of the must-visit attractions in Ghent is the Castle of the Counts (Gravensteen in Flemish), a medieval fortress that houses a museum dedicated to torture and justice. Other notable landmarks in Ghent include the St. Bavo’s Cathedral, the Ghent Altarpiece, and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Antwerp: The Diamond Capital
Antwerp is a city in northern Belgium that is known for its diamond trade and cultural heritage. The city boasts of stunning architecture, art, and fashion. One of the must-visit attractions in Antwerp is the Cathedral of Our Lady, a Gothic cathedral that features impressive stained glass windows and paintings by Rubens. Other notable landmarks in Antwerp include the Plantin-Moretus Museum, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum Aan de Stroom.
Flanders and Wallonia: The Two Regions of Belgium
Belgium is divided into two regions, Flanders and Wallonia, each with its own distinct language, culture, and heritage. Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium, while Wallonia is the French-speaking southern region of Belgium. Both regions offer a unique blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty.
More places to visit
Belgium offers many other unique attractions to explore, including the Belfries of Belgium, which are iconic bell towers found throughout the country and symbolize Belgian architecture. Visitors can also discover lesser-known cities such as Leuven, Mechelen, Ostend, and Ypres, which offer charming architecture and cultural attractions. For those seeking outdoor activities, The Ardennes region provides hiking, cycling, and other adventures, while The Belgian Coast offers beautiful beaches and seaside resorts. Additionally, history buffs can visit Waterloo, home to a famous battlefield that marked a turning point in European history.
Belgium is a food lover’s paradise. Belgian beer, Belgian chocolate, Belgian waffles, and Belgian fries are some of the most popular dishes that are loved by people all around the world. Belgian chocolate is particularly famous for its rich flavor and smooth texture. The country is also known for its traditional waffles, which are light and crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The famous Belgian beers are world-renowned, with over 1,500 varieties available in the country. Belgian fries, also known as “frites,” are a staple dish that is often served with mayonnaise.
Belgian Culture and Heritage
Belgium has a rich and diverse culture and heritage, with a long history of artistic and creative expression. One of the most notable examples is Flemish Art, which includes masterpieces by artists such as Jan van Eyck and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. In addition to visual art, Belgian comic books have become a global phenomenon, with beloved characters such as Tintin and The Smurfs capturing the imaginations of readers young and old.
Top Museums in Belgium
Belgium is home to some of the most fascinating museums in Europe, and visitors will find no shortage of options to explore. Chocolate lovers should make a stop at the Chocolate Museum Brussels to learn about the history and production of Belgian chocolate. Art enthusiasts will be amazed by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, which houses an extensive collection of art from Belgium and beyond. The Magritte Museum is a must-see for lovers of surrealism, as it’s dedicated to the works of Belgian painter René Magritte.
Those interested in architecture will appreciate the Horta Museum in Brussels, dedicated to the works of famous Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. The Plantin-Moretus Museum in Antwerp is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the world’s oldest printing press. Finally, comic book fans won’t want to miss the Hergé Museum dedicated to the works of the famous Belgian cartoonist who created the beloved character Tintin. For art lovers, the Groeninge Museum in Brussels also offers a fascinating collection of works by Flemish painters.
Festivals & Events
Gentse Feesten is a 10-day festival that takes place in the city of Ghent. The festival features live music, street performers, and plenty of food and drink. Tomorrowland is a music festival that takes place in Boom, a town in the Antwerp province. The festival attracts thousands of people from all around the world and is known for its impressive lineup of international DJs.
How to Travel in Belgium
Belgium has a well-developed transportation system that makes it easy to travel within the country. Here are some tips on how to get around:
- Belgian Railways:The Belgian Railways (SNCB) operate trains throughout the country, making it easy to travel between cities and towns. Trains are clean, comfortable, and efficient, and tickets can be purchased online or at train stations.
- Buses are also a popular way to travel within Belgium, particularly for shorter distances or to reach destinations that are not served by trains. Buses are operated by several companies, including De Lijn and TEC.
- Car Rental: Renting a car is also an option for those who want to explore Belgium at their own pace. Rental cars are available at major airports and train stations, as well as at rental agencies throughout the country.
Belgium is a small country with a lot to offer, from stunning architecture and delicious cuisine to world-class museums and beautiful natural landscapes. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or just want to sample some of the famous Belgian beer and chocolate, there’s something for everyone in Belgium.