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Top 5 Places to Go in Belgium

Belgium is a much understood, and underestimated, country by many Americans.The country of Belgium has two main people groups, the Dutch-speakers and the French-speakers.Belgium has seen much conflict over the years, especially in WWI and WWII, when Germany invaded France through Belgium.Luckily the historic towns and cityscapes have been preserved.While being only about 3,000 square miles larger than Maryland, this small country has much to offer to the European traveler.

1. Brussels

One of the first stops in historic Brussels, has to be the world famous Grand Place.With many buildings in the baroque and gothic styles, this section of the town is listed a UNESCO world heritage site!And, even if you don’t know what that is, you can pretend you do and impress your friends with your knowledge of European Historic Landmarks!

If you happen to be in Belgium around Christmas time, Brussels is known for its festivals.During the month of December, it is difficult to find a spot in the Grand Place where there aren’t festivities.This iconic winter wonderland is a sight that may ruin celebrating the season anywhere but here.

Bonus:

I’m sure the chocolate lovers are wondering, ‘what about the Belgian Chocolate????’Well, have no fear!All over Brussels are dozens upon dozens of places to buy this world famous delight!Some of the more touristy places, such as Chocopolis, are actually considered to have some of the best quality chocolate as well!

Also, just a few blocks from the Grand Place, if you are looking for authentic Belgian Waffles, try a small restaurant called Dandoy!

2. Bruges

Bruges is sometimes referred to as the ‘Venice of the north’.This is because Bruges also has a plethora of canals and bridges.But beyond that, Bruges also has historic churches, well-known museums, and world-renowned architecture. Bruges too is listed as a world heritage site.Bruges was once a world economic giant but has since slowed.The pace of life in Bruges provides a much need relaxing juxtaposition to European cities such as Amsterdam, Paris, and London.

As stated by Martin McDonagh in his film In Bruges, Bruges is a “%$#@!*# fairy tale place.”It is a place that you can just wander from street to street and enjoy not knowing what is around the corner.Whether you are sitting in a café enjoying the site of people passing by, or you are visiting the brilliant architecture of the ‘old town’ district, Bruges is one of the most iconic.

3. Ghent

Ghent is similar to Bruges in architecture style and overall feel of the city; however, Ghent is a less popular tourist destination.Some would say this is a downfall of Ghent because it has less attractions and not as many museums and historic sights.Those in the know, however, understand that this is a place where you can see some of the most authentic Belgian Culture.

Some of what sets Ghent apart are the castles.The most famous one is the castle of Count Flounders, or the Chateau of the Counts of the Gravensteen.A tour of the Castle only lasts for one to two hours and is ideal for a part of a quick trip to the city. Because of Ghent’s location, only about thirty miles from Brussels, it would be easy to take a day trip to Ghent while staying nearby.

Bonus for Ghent:During the summer, there is a 10 day music festival for all of those music junkies out there.

4. The Herge Museum

This museum is in the University Town of Louvain-la-Neuve honors the author of the world famous TinTin books and adventures, Herge.These stories have recently been immortalized on the silver screen of Hollywood with the movie The Adventures of TinTin, created by Steven Speilberg.

5. Antwerp

Antwerp is the largest city in Belgium, almost twice as large as any other city. For painters, there is a museum in Antwerp called the Plantin Moretus Museum that examines the history of painting and follows it up to present. Antwerp’s diamond district is largest and most successful diamond selling locations in the world.People travel from all over the world to scope out this extensive collection of Jewelry.And for those really into diamonds, the Diamond Museum of Antwerp chronicles the world and history of the origin of diamonds and manufacturing.

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Comments
One Response to “Top 5 Places to Go in Belgium”
  1. Glad that Belgium made it on the list of “Top Places To Go In Europe”, but I’m surprised that Louvain-la-Neuve is on this list! I thought this would be the last place anyone would think about visiting in Belgium, ha! I’d add Dinant to the list though, charming little place 😉

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