Best of Belgium
Dainty Belgium is the perfect country for a road or rail trip; it is pint sized and bursting with plenty of noteworthy towns and cities that are waiting to be explored.
Below is a selection of the best reasons to visit Belgium
- It’s easy to get there – by train and by car
Travelling between Belgium and the Netherlands is really easy. Getting to Antwerp from the Hook of Holland by train takes less than two hours, whilst the train to the capital city takes just over two hours. You can enjoy the scenic route and the incredible landscape.
One of the perks of travelling by ferry is the ability to bring your car. Travelling from the Hook into Belgium in the comfort of your car is just as simple and convenient, and allows you the freedom to stop off at some wonderful Dutch towns on your way to the border.
- And easy to travel around when you get there!
Getting around Belgian cities is very convenient. You can hop on the tram in Ghent, Brussels, and Antwerp, or use the metro in Brussels for a seamless journey in the city.
Metro system is affordable and easy to use. Those over the age of 26 can purchase a 10-journey pass for just 83 euros, whilst those under 25 can enjoy 10 journeys for just 53 euros with the Go Pass 10.
- It has romantic cities
With quaint canals, market squares and beautiful belfries, Belgium’s cities each have a unique charm. In fairy tale Bruges (known as the Venice of the North) you’ll find buckets of medieval charm, with quiet cobbled streets, peaceful canals and the iconic belfry, where you can get gorgeous panoramic views across the city. The entire city centre is so well preserved it actually became an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Lesser-known Ghent is a great destination for foodies, and is known as the vegetarian capital of Europe due to its many vegetarian restaurants. It’s also home to Gravensteen, which houses the Arms Museum and Museum of Judicial Objects. Trendy Antwerp is bursting with museums and art galleries, including the fashion museum MoMu. Speaking of fashion, those looking for their shopping fix should head to the Kloosterstraat, for vintage and antique treasures. Finally, the capital, Brussels, can’t be missed on a trip to this beautiful country. With some of the country’s grandest architecture, be sure to visit The Grand Place, Royal Palace of Brussels and the Triumphal Arch.
Outside of the main cities, there’s plenty more to be explored. Mecehlen and Leuven are both a short journey out of Brussels and make great day or half day visits. Mecehlen is home to one of the oldest working breweries in the world, whilst university town Leuven is supposedly home to the world’s longest bar! Spa toward the south of the country is home to the first thermal baths that were said to have healing properties, and as a result is the town where the term spa originates.
- It’s a foodie paradise
Belgium may not be an obvious foodie destination, but there are plenty of great reasons for food lovers to head to Belgium. Belgium has an ever-growing number of Michelin starred restaurants up and down the country, with great spots not just reserved for the bigger cities. There is a range of delicious national dishes that visitors can also enjoy. Moules-frites (or mussels and chips for the uninitiated) is one of Belgium’s national dishes, and frites on their own are sold across Belgium at street vendors, markets and restaurants. Complete a trip to Belgium with famous chocolate and waffles. Nowhere does waffles like the Belgians, and they are best served with lashings of cream, fruit and Nutella, or some delicious melted Belgian chocolate.
Belgian beer is somewhat of an institution. From Trappist beers that are brewed by monks (Belgium is home to six of the 11 remaining Trappist breweries in the world) to lambic fruit beers or Belgian ales, there is something for everyone. There are a number of breweries across the country that offer tours, or you could just kick back in a cosy Belgian pub and enjoy a glass of your favourite tipple. Proost!
- It’s great for history buffs
With a huge number of museums, galleries and historical buildings across the destination, there’s no doubt that history lovers will adore Belgium. Beyond the medieval architecture, Ypres in western Flanders is packed with history. This small town was home to three major battles during World War I, as it is set in a key location between France and then Nazi Germany. Whilst during the war the town was heavily bombed and largely ruined. Today it has been rebuilt and is home to the poignant Menin Gate war memorial. Every evening at 8pm, buglers play the Last Post to remember those lost in the war. Visitors can also explore In Flanders Fields Museum to learn about the history of WWI, or explore some of the many war memorials and cemeteries that surround Ypres.