Europe Travel

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top 10 Places to Visit in Belgium and Why

Belgium is a small and beautiful country in northwestern Europe and offers many places of interest for every tourist. There are many interesting architectural buildings, monuments, museums to visit and nature lovers can enjoy their time in the beautiful parks, on the beach or even in the hilly Ardennes.










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The top ten places to visit in this lovely country of Europe depend on the interest of every traveler and will vary from person to person. Most everyone will surely pick some of these places in their top ten of places to visit in Belgium:

1. Bruges

Bruges can be considered as the most popular city of Belgium and its historic center is recognized by the UNESCO as World heritage center. This charming and medieval city, also called the Venice of the North, has preserved its authenticity and dominated by many historical buildings, the romantic Minnewater Park and its picturesque canals.

Most of the streets in Bruges are narrow and covered with cobblestones. It is difficult driving in this beautiful city of Belgium and it is often difficult to find a parking. It is impossible to sum up all the beauties of Bruges but you may never miss the Belfry Tower, the Market square, the Church of Our Lady and the Beguinage.

You can view the Belfry Tower already when you are on the Market square which is surrounded by medieval buildings. The Belfry Tower has a height of 88 meters and you can reach the top after a climb of 88 steps. From there, you have a beautiful panoramic view on the entire city. The Church of Our Lady is likely the most famous church in Bruges and especially visit for viewing the painting of the Madonna by Michelangelo and the Gothic tombs of Burgundy.

A boat trip on the Reie can’t be missed in Bruges. It is a tour of 30 minutes where you tour around the most beautiful places of Bruges and a guide will inform you about the history and interesting stories of Bruges. The Minnewater Park is the most romantic place is Bruges and you always see swans swimming on this lake.

2. Antwerp

Antwerp is the second largest city of Belgium and also called the city of diamond and fashion. If you are searching for a Valentine’s Day gift for your love, Antwerp is the perfect place for you. The World Diamond Center is located in Antwerp and 70% of all diamonds arrive through Antwerp in Belgium.

The Cathedral of Our Lady is the most important building in Antwerp and can be considered as one of the most famous gothic cathedrals of Europe. The cathedral has a height of 123 meter and you can view this building from almost any place in Antwerp. The town square can be considered as the heart of Antwerp and you can view the Brabo Fountain with the statue of Silvius Brabo. This Roman soldier killed the giant Antigoon who asked exaggerated tolls from the sailors. He has cut his hands and throws this in the River Scheldt.

3. Brussels

Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a highlight for every traveler who wants to visit historical buildings, museums and important monuments. The Grand Place Square can be considered as the heart of this beautiful city in Belgium. It is one of the most beautiful squares in the world and surrounded by baroque guildhouses, neo-gothic buildings and museums. The town hall is the most impressive building on the Grand Place square and built in gothic style. Many events are organized on the Grand Place Square and one of the most beautiful ones is the Flower Carpet which has been organized every two years in the third week of August. This Flower carpet is created from more than eight hundred thousand begonias and covers more than three hundred square meters.
The most famous statue in Brussels is Manneke Pis and well known worldwide. It is a bronze statue of a little man of 58cm who urinates in the fountain’s basin. When celebrations take place in Brussels, Manneke Pis is dressed in different costumes. This statue can be considered as the symbol of Brussels.

It is impossible to visit all important buildings in Brussels and even to sum them up all. The Saint Michael and Saint Gudula cathedral, originally built in Romanesque style but transformed to gothic style may never be missed. It is impressive through the glass-stained windows and portraits of several kings. Brussels is also the place to be for the best Belgium chocolate from chocolatier Neuhaus.

4. Ghent

Ghent can be considered as the flower city of Belgium. Begonias and azaleas from Ghent are sold in most countries of the world. The Floralies of Ghent is a popular event which takes every 5 year place and exhibit a variety of different flowers and plants. The Citadel Park is a beautiful park where you can view a statue of king Boudewijn I and surrounded by many plants and flowers.
The Gravensteen is a popular monument in Ghent and also called “the castle of the count”. It is a castle and constructed by Philip of Alsasse. This famous building is a “must see” in Ghent and it is maybe recommended to choose for a guided tour. A panoramic view from the top is worth your time to visit. The Belfry tower is another important building in Ghent and has a height of 91 meters. The Saint Baafscathedral houses paintings of the famous Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck. Most everyone will visit this cathedral to admire The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb of this painter.

5. Ostend

Ostend is the largest city of the Belgian coast and a popular place for people who like to spend some time on the beach at the Nordsea. When you walk along the beach you always see some birds flying in the air. It is a perfect place for bicycling or walking in one of their parks.


The Leopold park is the most famous park in Ostend and popular because of its famous Floral Clock. This clock is made from 20.000 different plants and looks adorable through the variety of the different colors of these flowers and plants. When you visit this Floral Clock in summer, you can see the exact date. Another important park is the Maria Hendrick Park where you find a beautiful lake (Mirror Lake).

6. Hasselt

Hasselt is likely the most sociable city in Belgium and also called the city of the taste. It is the perfect place for shopping and enjoying from different delicatessen of Hasselt. It is located at the Demer River and the Albert Canal. The market square is impressive and you can admire the Town hall, built in gothic style, and the statue of Katrien and Hendrick who represent the two first habitants of Hasselt.

The Japanese garden in Hasselt is the largest authentic garden of Europe and constructed with the help of the Japanese city Itamy. This garden is 2,5 ha large and is divided in different areas. A typical feature of this garden is the rich use of rocks. There is also a waterfall which has been inspired by the one in Kyoto.

7. Leuven

Leuven is the university city of Belgium. The statue “Fonske” represent a student who is reading a book and has a glass of beer in his right hand. This statue can be considered as the symbol of the University of Leuven. It is wonderful to visit this city in June when students are lying in the sun to study for their examination. The University of Leuven (K.U.Leuven) is the oldest catholic university in the world and is likely the most important building in Leuven. The ground floor of the main hall is in gothic style.

The Saint Peter’s church is surely your visit worth, especially for the decoration inside, and is built in gothic style. The botanical garden “Hortus Botanicus Lovaniensis” may not be missed and contains plants of therapeutic power, herb gardens, greenhouses and some statues.

8. The Haspengouw

The Haspengouw is a beautiful region in Belgium and especially popular for its beautiful landscape. There are many farms and agriculture is the main activity in this area of Belgium. A visit to this region in Belgium can best be done when you can see the blossoms of fruit trees. Sint Truiden is the market center of the fruit industry in Belgium. You can even see some statues of fruit (apple, pear) on the Market square of this city.

Tongeren is another beautiful city in the Haspengouw and besides the beautiful landscape well known for the statue of Ambiorix. You can also visit many impressive remains of the Romans in this city, for example the Roman wall, the Gallo museum and it is possible to make a tour with the Ambiorix tourist train where you can view the most beautiful sights of Tongeren.

9. Kortrijk

Kortrijk is a city which holds many remains of the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. An important monument is the Maiden and is located in the Groeningepark. You can enter this park when you go under the Groeningegate. The Groeningegate is an arc de triomphe which commemorates the Battle of the Gulden Spurs.

Kortrijk is a wonderful place in Belgium and lies on the river Leie. This river enters Kortrijk on the site of the Broeltowers which are remains of the former city fortifications. The Belfry tower (located on the Market square) and the Beguinage are two important monuments which are recognized by the UNESCO as world heritage center.

Kortrijk is a beautiful city to visit and most monuments are located on a short distance from each other.

10. Knokke

Knokke is a popular place on the Belgian coast which attracts every year many tourists. People can walk along the beach but they likely also prefer to visit “the butterfly garden” and “the Zwin” which can be considered as the two top attractions of Knokke. Nobody may miss to walk along the Zoutestraat and the Kustlaan which are the most famous shopping streets in Knokke.

The butterfly garden is a place where you enter first a forest of exotic plants. There are more than 300 butterflies from different countries which flutter and flit where ever you go in this garden. It is possible some will land on your hand and it is amazing to see the variety of different colors of these beautiful insects.
The Zwin can be considered as the most beautiful nature reserve at the Belgian coast. Every year, many thousands of birds reach the Zwin to lay their eggs and even looking for food. With a little bit of luck, you can view some rare birds like the little egret, the avocet and the harrier. When you enter the Zwin, you come first in a place where you can view some birds in cages, for example owls and some others. A little bit further, you come along a park with many pelicans. You can spend hours in this natural park without boring one minute.

Belgium offers more interesting places to visit and some may even belong to your top ten places to visit in Europe. It is really difficult to narrow this list to only ten places and everyone will have other preferences but most everyone will pick some of these places in their top ten list of Belgium. Belgium is really a wonderful country with beautiful architecture, many beautiful parks and excellent food.

Europe TravelMore information about Belgium here

8 comments:

Well being Belgian I think only Bruges and Brussels worth a visit, except if you spend a 2 weeks holidays in Belgium but who does? And half of the cities listed in here are bland cities with no charm whatsoever and surely do not worth a day of anyone's hard earned holidays.
Also the list has only Flemish cities - which is less than half of the country. For nature lover, go to south of Belgium (Wallonia). So, all in all, I think for most tourist visiting Belgium in a few days, they should go to Bruges, Brussels and something like Namur or Dinant or even deeper south if you have time. So you will have a mix of seeing architecturally rich city like Bruges and the countryside which is lovely.
As Belgium is centrally located, go to another country instead of spending times in Hasselt, Ostend and the likes. For example, North of France as a much nicer coast than the over crowded Belgian one which is just a huge strip of ugly concrete facing the sea.

hope someday i can visit the wonderful place "BELGIUM"....

Very nice information. Thanks for sharing..

Thanks for sharing the wonderful information....

Nice information. Thanks for sharing..

Thanks for the blog,it was really informative,next time hope to keep all this points in mind while Travelling to Belgium

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