Belgium is a hidden gem among the countries of northwestern Europe. The country, famous for its delicious beers, fries, waffles, and chocolate, has a wide range of cities with a combination of rich history, architecture, and grandeur. It might be small as compared to its attractive neighbors-France and Germany, but does that even matter? Exploring the lovely lanes of Belgium while munching on the famous waffles sounds pretty amazing, right?
Number 10: Ypres
Ypres, a beautiful city in West Flanders, makes the memories of World War I turn alive in the minds of the visitors as soon as they step their feet in this historic place. Although several buildings of Ypres were completely destroyed during the First World War, several historic landmarks remain strong. This war city is surrounded by the Ypres Salient battlefields where you can explore the various memorials, cemeteries, and war museums that have been established as a symbol of respect for the dead heroes. The famous Grote Markt and the gigantic Lakenhalle or Cloth Hall are amazing buildings that had once been the symbol of prospering industry of Ypres. Climb the tower to get fantastic views over Flanders. Explore the Flanders Field Museum and get ready to immerse yourself in the glorifying past.
Number 9: Mons
Mons is the pretty capital of Hainaut Province, located in Belgium’s Walloon Region. The Grand Place, located here, is a must-visit. It is a huge cobblestone structure that is dotted with cute cafés. You can also treat your taste buds to a plethora of tasty local foods. If you visit the City Hall, a lucky monkey will be waiting for you. Well, this place is quirky because, it is believed that, if you touch it with your left hand, the monkey may grant your wishes. Tasting Trappist beer is a must while at Mons. You can visit La Pompe Benoit to have this drink. Here too, you can pay a visit to the beautiful 17th-century baroque belfry and enjoy the pleasant views of the city. Visiting the city during the Doudou Festival is thrilling because you get to watch some really eccentric customs of slaying dragons and conducting a street fight that features cows’ bladders. Now, that’s insane, isn’t it?
Number 8: Durbuy
Durbuy is a small yet pretty place in Ardennes. The cobblestone streets, along with the presence of several Neolithic monuments located west of the village makes it an attractive place for the tourists. Le Labyrinthe, a beautiful theme park, is a must-visit. Indulge in outdoor activities at the Adventure Valley in Durbuy. If you visit this small town at the end of November, you will get to experience the vibrancy of the Christmas market. It is a really big one and continues till the beginning of January. If you wish to cover a little more distance, you can reach Ardennes which is going to be the perfect destination for mountain lovers. This beautiful hilly area is the hub of adventure sports. Here, you can go camping, hiking, trekking, and lots of other thrilling activities. This place with its rugged terrain had also been a spot of battle when both the World Wars were wreaking havoc. The rich green vegetation of the place, along with the beautiful cliffs, make this place worth visiting. Take beautiful pictures against the picturesque valleys and enjoy.
Number 7: Liege or ‘Luik’
Running along the beautiful Meuse River, Liege is an urban landmark that offers a series of pretty sights for tourists. Pay a visit to the iconic Bueren Mountain or Montagne de Bueren to get a beautiful view of the city. The charming public space of Parc Boverie is an extremely popular spot. The enchanting gardens and lush green laws, along with the presence of the famous museum- La Boverie, make it both a nature and art lovers’ paradise. The iconic Curtius Museum presents a great array of artefacts and splendid, decorative items that belong to the pre-historic age. The Glass Museum also deserves a special mention because you get to see striking pieces of glass items that belong to the primitive age of the 5th century. The churches of Liege exude divine beauty, so make sure you explore at least one of the cathedrals located here like St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Number 6: Mechelen
This small, spectacular Belgian city is located at a point between Antwerp and Brussels. The Gothic and Baroque churches are a must-visit, while you are here. Earlier, it was renowned for being a great artistic production site during the Northern Renaissance. In fact, even in today’s time, the quaint boutiques and cute artisans’ shops add to the specialty of the city and continue to be thronged by the tourists throughout the year. Visit the famous St. Rumbold’s Cathedral, and climb the tower attached to it to get a pleasant view of the surrounding city. Such a sight will impress you, for sure!
Number 5: Leuven or Louvain
Situated to the east of Brussels, Leuven is a small and charming city that is a blending spot of history, culture and modernity. The beautiful old City hall and the St. Peter’s Church towering over the main square is a popular site that you just can’t ignore. It is also a true specimen of Brabant Gothic architecture. A few streets away, you’ll find the M-Museum featuring excellent art collections starting from local crafts to paintings and sculptures belonging to the classical, as well as, the present times. Relax your mind by visiting the Botanical Garden named ‘Kruidtuin’ which was created long back in the 18th century, by the Leuven University students. If you are in Leuven… definitely consider visiting the Brewery of Stella Artois. Rooted in its homeland of Leuven, the world’s largest brewery offers guided tours in the weekends to a maximum of 30 persons at a time. You have to pay 12 Euros to enter including the tour, tasting & a gift. We assure you, this will be a surprising experience! Looking for a great and awesome coffee shop while being in Leuven? Check out the best coffee shops in Leuven.
Number 4: Bruges
This dreamy, picturesque Belgian city serves as the perfect gateway to a romantic destination. The cobblestoned pathways and narrow canals add to the beauty of Bruges. The cafe-lined streets and medieval churches are special attractions of this spectacular city. Nicknamed The Venice of the North, Burges gives you the golden opportunity to enjoy a fun-filled boat ride in the canals. Treat your eyes to the stellar collection of paintings by the Old Flemish Masters at the Groeninge Museums. You can visit the Markt and climb the Belfort Van Brugge for a panoramic view of the city surrounding you. There are 366 steps, climbing which you can reach the top. It might be exhausting but the view out there is surely worth the trouble.
Number 3: Brussels
Brussels is the famous Belgian city where the headquarters of the EU is located. This beautiful multicultural place is always bustling with activity. The Royal Palace, the official residence of the Belgian royal family, is a famous attraction here. Brussels is the abode of several famous museums such as the Magritte Museum, BELvue Museum, etc., and all of these are present at a single location-Mont des Arts. Learn more about the history of Belgium and enrich your knowledge from the grand collection featured here. Enjoy the glitzy nightlife of Brussels by visiting the several bars located here, and treating yourself to the diverse delicious dishes offered at the cosy restaurants of this lovely city.
Number 2: Antwerp
The best time to visit this lovely city is autumn because it doesn’t stay much crowded during this period, and you can also enjoy pleasant weather that will make things all the more charming. Explore the iconic guild houses by visiting the Grand Place or ‘Grote Markt’. The historic sites of the Plantin-Moretus Museum and Rubens’ House feature stellar collections. If you ever get exhausted by all the exploring and strolling, do remember to stop by the famous Chocolate Nation to learn more about the famous Belgian Chocolate, and also to have as much as you want. Bringing your kids along? Well, make sure to visit Antwerp Zoo which is packed with 6000 animals. This very place also features remarkable architecture in the form of imitations of iconic temples of the past.
Number 1: Ghent
Located at the meeting point of the pretty Leie and The Schelde rivers, the port city of Ghent has to be on your bucket list for reasons that we will be sharing with you now. This hidden gem boasts charming streets that are visitors’ hot favourite. Several guild houses and bustling markets running along the Graslei Canal add to the attractiveness of the city. The exquisite Cathedral of St. Bavo is a true example of Gothic architecture. Saint Michael’s Church and Saint Michael’s Bridge are majestic structures, against which you can take some beautiful pictures of yourself. If you wish to gain peace of mind, visiting Ghent will be the best decision of your life because it is not too crowded and congested. Rather, you can embrace the beauty and serenity of Ghent in the best way possible.
Top 10 Best Cities to Visit in Belgium on a Map
There are so many more places to explore! If you have some other great suggestions… Let us know in the COMMENTS section below.