Belgium is a paradise for your perfect vacation and knowing the places to visit in Belgium would be the icing on the cake. It is a wonderful country situated in Western Europe where tourists are drawn to its natural beauty, rich history, high-class culture, and architecture.
It is one of the smallest European countries, but it has a lot to boast, such as the world-famous chocolate, waffles, and beer. Not to mention, the country has a great football spirit.
It has a vibrant nightlife and a culture that you should not miss.
Whether you are planning a quick vacation or settling in this country, this article will help you decide which city/destination might be best for you.
You’ll find a comprehensive list of places to visit in Belgium ranging from famous cities like Antwerp, Brussels, and Bruges to low-key destinations like Durbuy and Namur.
1. Places to Visit in Belgium: Bruges
Situated in northwestern Belgium, Bruges makes it the first on the list of top places to visit in Belgium. It has medieval towns and beautiful canals that boast immense history.
Burges used to be the center of Flemish art and textiles. Now, it has many attractions that make it a center of tourism.
The first site to visit in Bruges is the Old Town. It is a medieval town with canals and beautiful buildings with old architecture. Here, you can see Gothic and Romanesque churches.
Visit the Church of Our Lady to see the Michelangelo sculpture and the Basilica of the Holy Blood.
Also, visit the Markt Square Belfry- a 13th-century bell tower that shows beautiful views of Bruges. Huis Bouchoute and the Provinciaal Hof are other attractions in Market Square.
Other attractions in Bruges are the Gruuthuse Mansion, Saint John’s Hospital, and the Burg Square.
The Burg Square houses the Town Hall, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Liberty of Bruges.
Besides, you can wander the cobblestone streets and try delicious chocolates and waffles. If you want to relax and look at the scenery, go on a canal cruise or book a horse-drawn carriage ride.
If you want to learn about the art history of this city, go to the Groeninge Museum. It has lots of excellent paintings made by old Flemish masters.
You can also visit the Sint-Jansspitaal. It is a 12th-century building that houses the old medical instruments of the hospital.
2. Places to Visit in Belgium: Ghent
Ghent is a historical city that is also one of the richest and most powerful in Europe. You can see its rich history in the architecture of its buildings and churches.
Go to the old city of Ghent to see the historical guildhouses and markets along the Graseli Canal. Visit the ancient House of Masons, House of the Free Boatmen, Customs House, and the oldest of them all, the Romanesque Koornstapelhuis.
Also, visit the Old Market area near the canals to see the Groot Vleeshuis (Meat Market) constructed in 1410, Vismarkt (Fish Market) in 1689, and Korenmarkt (Wheat Market). There are plenty of cafes and restaurants in this area in case you want to grab a bite.
You should also check out impressive churches such as the Cathedral of St. Bavo, with spectacular architecture. It houses a Romanesque crypt, a 16th-century nave, and a 13th-century High Gothic choir.
Another church to check out is Saint Michael’s Church. It is a 15th-century church made with Belgian sandstone. While visiting this church, you can go to Saint Michael’s Bridge and enjoy the views.
If you want to learn about this city’s history, visit the Museum Voor Volkskunde. It features reconstructed homes and workshops that date back to 1900.
The Museum of Ghent is also an excellent place to see the exhibits of the city’s heritage.
3. Places to Visit in Belgium: Brussels
The capital city of Belgium- Brussels, is the headquarters of many European institutions. And Brussels not making it to the list of the best places to visit in Belgium? Well, that can’t happen!
The first stop in Brussels is the old town’s Grand Place, as it has many historic guild houses and the iconic Manneken pis. Founded in the 13th century, the Grand Place has terrace cafes and pubs that make it a great place to relax after your tour.
Visit the Koningsplein to check out the palace that housed the Belgian royal family. Here, you can also see the Coudenberg Palace Archaeological Site. It is where the palace’s foundations and ancient streets are shown.
If you want to visit museums, the Museum of Ancient Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Magritte Museum, the Belgian Army Museum, and the BELvue Museum are some of the best museums in Mont des Arts Brussels.
If you want to chill, go to Parc du Cinquantenaire. It is a beautiful park established in 1880.
If you want to do some shopping, Galeries St. Hubert is the place to go.
4. Places to Visit in Belgium: Antwerp
Different from Brussels and Bruges, Antwerp is a city of its own. It is a dynamic city that is renowned as the center for craftsmen and artists. Antwerp has a balance of history and modern life.
Visit the old town’s Grand Place to check out historical guild houses, the old Town Hall, and the Butcher’s Hall.
Visit the Plantin Mretus Museum and the Rubens’ House which are located nearby.
Speaking of museums, the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) is a great place to see local and global history exhibits. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts houses fine arts made by famous artists like Van Dyck, Rubens, and Jordaens.
If you are with family, go to the Chocolate Nation, where you can learn about Belgian chocolate and try some of its delicious products. If you aren’t feeling the sugar rush, visit the Antwerp Zoo to see over 6,000 animals, ancient temples, and art decor.
To see some of the splendid architecture of the city, visit Saint Paul’s Church. Constructed between 1517 and 1639, this church houses paintings of prominent artists like Jordaens, Van Dyck, and Rubens.
Antwerp’s Cathedral of Our Lady is also a site to see in Antwerp. It is Belgium’s largest Gothic church.
Also known as the Diamond District for housing the world’s 70% of rough diamonds, Antwerp celebrates excellent food and nightlife.
Its Red Light district has excellent beer bars and clubs where you can dance your heart out.
5. Places to Visit in Belgium: Durbuy
Located 2 hours from Brussels, Durbuy is a charming medieval town that sits in the Wallonia Ardennes.
Take a stroll at its cobblestone lanes and cottages that are full of rhododendrons and poppy blooms. Besides, Durbuy also offers a fine dining experience in its medieval center.
Visit the la Ferme du Chene- a 14th-century brewery where the beer is produced.
Check out the half-timbered houses and go to the Topiary Park to relax.
If you want to do some outdoor activities, go kayaking or rafting at the Ourthe River.
When you are in Durbuy, I suggest you also visit the Rue des Récollets, Amblève, and Cave Comblain.
6. Places to Visit in Belgium: Ypres
Ypres is a thriving city that has seen a lot in the past. It is where one of the most destructive battles of World War I took place. Today, it is a favorite among tourists who wish to know about the history and pay their respects to the people who have lost their lives.
To do so, go to the Menin Gate Memorial and the Flanders Fields Museum which has a vast exhibit of World War I.
Visit the Grote Markt that houses Lakenhalle. It is a Cloth Hall that used to be the center of the town. You can now enjoy the sounds of the 49 bells ringing from its belfry.
Here, you can also see the Nieuw Vleeshuis (Meat Hall) and the Old Townhall.
Besides, taking a stroll along the Yperlee River is also an excellent way to explore this city.
7. Places to Visit in Belgium: The Hoge Kempen National Park
Situated between Genk and the Meuse River valley in the Limburg region, the Hoge Kempen National Park is 60 square kilometers of natural getaway that has everything from hills, and pine forests to clear lakes.
It houses lots of animals, including roe deer, slippery snake, and European beewolf.
It is the first national park in Belgium and the most serenading one too. Lavender flowers on the hiking trails make the exploration more fun.
Besides, there are also many biking tracks where you can ride your bicycles.
You can camp in the national park as well. Doing so will let you submerge in the fresh air and beauty of wild Belgium.
If you don’t want to camp, lodging arrangements are also available for a comfortable stay. Win-Win right?
8. Places to Visit in Belgium: Leuven
Leuven is another city that is one of the best historical places to visit in Belgium. It faced significant destruction during both World Wars. But amidst this, the city flaunts many historic buildings for tourists to see.
The other reason that people love traveling to this city is its breweries.
Leuven houses the world’s oldest Catholic university. It is Europe’s most respected institution that houses students from all over the world and has many ancient buildings.
Visit the Grote Markt to check out Saint Peter’s Church and the excellent Brabant Gothic architectural sight of the Museum of Religious Art.
Talking about museums, the M-Museum Leuven is a great place to check out the local arts and crafts.
To see the historic house that was constructed in the 13th century, go to the Groot Begijnhof. However, if you want to be amidst nature, go to the Leuven Botanical Garden Kruidtuin.
Also, visit the old City Hall to see the beautiful facades with 236 figures.
Leuven also has street-side pubs, cafes, and hotels that are some of the best in the world.
9. Places to Visit in Belgium: Mons
A former European Capital of Culture, Mons is the capital of the Hainaut province located near the French border. It is renowned for the Belfry bells that hail from a 270-foot tower.
Wandering the streets of Mons gives you a sight of the rich architectural buildings.
The Grand Place Square is also a place to be when in Mons. Then visit the Gothic-style town hall. It is where the Baroque-style Belfry bells and the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru are situated.
Go to the Van Gogh House to see the reproductions of his artworks. Musee des Beaux-Arts is a place to be if you want to check out more artworks of Belgian and French artists.
If you happen to visit the city in the spring season, you will get to attend the Ducasse festivities. Attending this festival is a must because of its local religious traditions, biblical re-enactments, horse parades, and pitched battles between St. George and the dragon.
If you want to learn about the city’s history, go to the Mons Folklore Museum. The Mons Memorial Museum is also a great place to learn about how the city was affected during WWI and WWII.
10. Places to Visit in Belgium: Spa
Spa is a quaint town located in the heart of Liege in eastern Belgium and it is rated as one of the top places to visit in Belgium because of…..SPA!
The spa has healing mineral waters that date way back to the 14th century. You can go to the Thermes baths and have a great view of the downtown streets.
It is a great place to unwind while getting the health benefits from the water of the hot springs. Besides, there are also many beautiful buildings, casinos, and luxury hotels where you can visit.
Plus, the annual Grand Prix is also held in its neighboring village-Francorchamps. So if you’re attending that event, come here for some relaxation time.
If you want to explore more of this city, there are many attractions such as Musee de la Ville d’Eaux, Saint Remacle Church, and the Church of Notre Dame.
11. Places to Visit in Belgium: Namur
Known as the capital city of the Wallonia region, Namur offers such beauty that it is incomparable with other cities. Sandwiched at the convergence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers, this city is renowned for its citadel that overlooks the city.
The citadel was once a medieval fortress. It now plays a significant role in beautifying this city.
There are picturesque gardens with a view of the rivers and the city.
When you are here, visit the Felicien Rops Museum. It houses the artworks of Namur’s erotic artists from the 19th century.
Saint-Loup church is also an architecturally pleasing site that has a richly carved ceiling and marble columns.
Other attractions to visit in Namur are the Rue de Fer, Museum of Ancient Art, Cathedral of Saint Aubain, and Diocesan Museum.
12. Places to Visit in Belgium: Liege
Located in the Wallonia region, Liege is the third-largest city in Belgium. This city is known for its gastronomy scene, splendid nightlife, and top-rated museums. Many churches and art galleries make traveling in Liege pleasant.
The first place to visit in Liege is Montagne de Bueren (Bueren Mountain). You can reach here by climbing a series of 374 steps. You will see excellent views after you reach the top. The stairs are lit with candles during October.
You can also go to the Coteaux de la Citadelle. Also, visit the Museum of Fine Arts named La Boverie and have a picnic at the Parc de la Boverie-the most significant public space of Liege.
There are many other museums in Liege, such as the Quai de Maestricht, The Curtius Museum, and the Glass Museum.
If you want to visit some historical sites, go to Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It was founded in 971 on the Place de la Cathedrale. The Basilique Saint-Martin and Church of Saint-Barthelemy are also two of the best historical sites to visit in this city.
Besides, plan your vacation to Liege during the time of festivities to get the most out of your trip.
13. Places to Visit in Belgium: The Ardennes
Love adventure? Then the Ardennes is the place to be.
Located in southern Belgium, the Ardennes is one of the most picturesque hiking spots in Europe. Besides hiking, biking, and camping are also famous among the tourists in the Ardennes.
Hiking in the Ardennes will show you impressive sites such as the Chateau de Bouillon, Labyrinth of Barvaux, and the caves of Han-sur-lesse, to name a few.
There are beautiful canoeing rivers along the Lesse River. The dense woodlands and the rugged hills will also show you wild animals such as wild boars, deer, and lynx. Besides, you will also meet friendly villagers on the trails.
14. Places to Visit in Belgium: Bastogne
Bastogne is a city in southern Belgium with a rich history that goes back to when Gallic tribes waged war with the Roman centurions.
It was in Bastogne that Germans planned the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Go to Central Place to see the U.S. Sherman tank and General McAuliffe’s statue, which are placed to remember the dark history.
There is also a Bastogne War Museum where you can learn about WWII events with the help of interactive displays. The Colossal Mardasson Memorial and the Bastogne Barracks also commemorated this pivotal moment in an excellent way.
Also, visit the Wood of Peace to pay your respects to the American veterans, Belgian combatants, soldiers, and civilians who sacrificed their lives for the city.
Thus, a visit to Bastogne will give you a different experience than that of other cities.
15. Places to Visit in Belgium: Ostend
Situated on the Belgian coast, Ostend is one of the country’s largest cities, renowned for its sandy beaches and the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum. If you want to play in the sun, this is where you should go.
Ostend has a vibrant atmosphere that gets the tourists vibing. There are plenty of seaside hotels, the best nightclubs, and English tearooms along Langestraat that are waiting to serve you.
If you still want to learn about the history of this city, visit the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum which houses stories about the German fortification of the European seaboard.
You can wander the narrow streets of Het Visschersplein and check out Gothic Churches like Saint Petris and Saint Paulus. Buy some local produce at the market when you’re strolling around.
If you are in Ostend with kids, go to the aquariums or marine-related expos to see the North Sea’s incredible water creatures.
16. Places to Visit in Belgium: Dinant
If I had one word to describe Dinant, it’d be extraordinary. If you have to ask me why it is because of its setting between a dramatic cliff and a river. It sure looks like a painting came to life,
Located on the banks of the Meuse River, Dinant is a picturesque town that is also one of the best places to visit in Belgium. This city is renowned for its natural cages and caverns. Some of the famous ones are the Caves of Han and the Grotto of Dinant.
The city’s beauty is increased by the ancient fortified citadel and the historic buildings.
Dinant is also the birthplace of the man who invented the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. You can visit his house when you are in town.
Dinant also has a wildlife reserve where you can witness exotic biodiversity. It is also one of the best sightseeing spots.
Also, try the tasty Flamiche, crispy honey biscuits.
If you are here for a week or two, visit the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge, La Citadelle, and Parc de Furfooz.
Is Belgium Safe to Travel?
Belgium is somewhat of a safe country to travel in. Safety in this country depends on how cautious you are while traveling.
Like any other European country, Belgium’s more prominent cities have higher crime rates than rural areas.
Petty crimes such as muggings, pickpocketing, and bag snatching are prevalent in tourist spots.
Be attentive to your belongings while using public transportation such as trains, metros, and buses. Sometimes you may be the victim of professional thieves who plot to steal from you.
If you have a car, keep your belongings out of sight and park in secure areas.
Terrorism also has been a rising issue in Belgium. There have been many cases of terrorist attacks in major tourist areas too. Always stay alert and report anything suspicious to the police.
As a tourist, always carry your identification ID, such as a passport.
So here we have it, the top 16 best places to visit in Belgium. As you see, the country sure has a lot of history ranging from medieval times to the world wars. There is nature, and there is a hardcore party scene.
Belgium sure is a country worth visiting.
Let us know which cities are you going to keep on your bucket list? If you’ve already been to Belgium, let us know about your experience in the comment below.
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