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Best places to visit in Belgium

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Best places to visit in Belgium

With historic charm and modern icing this country is a complete treat. Though being a small one, it is quite densely populated. Wait did you just compared it with Asian congestion, well not even close to that. Belgium will give you lots of space, lots of spots, and to top them all, lots of reasons. Medieval towns, Modern Cities, Mug of Beer, mouth of canal, and made to delight chocolates, remain at the forefront of a Belgian Experience. To help you narrow down your choices, here we have a list of best places to visit in Belgium. However trust me, this is an underestimation to rest of em.

Bruges – Also dubbed as ‘Venice of the North’, this beautiful city of Bruges is marked across with canals. Bruges is home to a network of 80 bridges when coupled with cobbled streets will give you an enchanting experience. It is one of the most well preserved Medieval cities in Western Europe which has also got it a UNSECO World heritage site status. The architecture of the Markt Square is going to leave you spell bound. The horse carriage rides of Bruges are a must do for a memorable experience.

You have to take a note that most of the attractions are closed on Monday in Burges. It is highly recommended to take the tour of the city through canals on a jetty. Some of the still existing breweries are De Halve Maan and Bourgogne des Flandres, they are must visit. Apart from Medieval architecture, there are quaint cafes, and bicycles on streets make this city quite picturesque.

Some of the must visit spots of Burges are Beguinages, Boudewijn Seapark, Belfry Tower, Basilica of the Holy Blood, Gruuthuse Mansion, The Chocolate Museum, Frietmuseum, and historic center of Brugge.

Brussels – Brussels is the capital of Belgium, and is the headquarters of EU. The city is dotted with so many bars and restaurants, serving waffles, beers and so more that this city is a foodies paradise. When in Brussels you must try the Belgian delicacies such as Carbonnade Flamande which is beer stew and Bloempanch which is blood sausages. The Gothic houses of the city back its beauty no matter wherever you go. Brussels has a very good network of public transportation so you need not to worry about getting around.

Shaking hands while meeting people is a culture here, and also keeping both hands above on the table while eating. Some of the bars serving traditional Belgian beers are Bij Toone, A La Becasse, Moeder Lambic, and they can find a place in your itinerary. You can also hop on to visit the European parliament to see the session from a debating chamber. It is kind of an experience.

Some of the popular spots to visit in Brussels are Gothic style Town Hall, Grand Place, Tintin Museum, Saint Michel cathedral, Belgian comic strip center, and Galeries St. Hubert which is a glass roofed arcade with shopping stores, theatre, and cafes.

Ghent – Ghent is a historic city and, was once a flourishing center of trade and riches. City center of Ghent is the living proof of it. Historic city of Ghent attracts art lovers and history buffs. In middle Ages Ghent was a very wealthy city because of the production of clothes from English wool. Ghent is also an university city and the best time to visit the city is between June and October. Flemish is the main language spoken here which is similar to Dutch, though you will find English speakers too in the city.

Some of the best restaurants in the city are Bridge popular for meat stew, Frituur Tartaar popular for fries, and Chocolaterie Vandenbouhede for chocolates. Some of the bars where you can enjoy the finest of Belgian beers are Dulle Griet and Ghent Gruut Brewery. You can also try a local sweet candy which goes by the name of Gentse Neusje.

Ghent is home to over 18 Museums, and 400 historic buildings, enough to capture your days and attention. Some of the popular spots of this medieval city are Graslei harbour, Gravensteen castle, St Bavo’s Cathedral, and Belfry of Ghent.

Antwerp – Honey, the diamond ring you are wearing has over 70% chances that it was traded here. This city is more of a dynamic one. The best thing about Antwerp is that is a blend of historic charm and modern economy. The Gothic architecture reflects in Cathedral of Our Lady, and Saint Paul’s Church. It has great dining and beer scene. Antwerp is known for its Flemish dishes and craft beers. You can find restaurants serving Mediterranean and Franco Belgian fusion food. It is also home to an upcoming fashion industry.

It has many modern art galleries and has been home to works of maven artists like Rubens and Van Dyke. To indulge into some more history you must visit the gardens of Rubenshuis where Rubens once lived. Antwerp is also popular for its Flanders Festival which runs from May to November and features some classical concerts being staged across the city.

Some of the most popular touristy spots to visit in Antwerp are Museum Plantin Moretus which showcases the history of typography, Groenplaats which is a statue square with cages lined up, and Grote Markt for some historic vibes.

Mechelen – A rather smaller town, but history is in large numbers here. This place is known for its Renaissance architecture which you will see it evident near the city center or the Grote Markt. Gothic and Baroque churches adorn this place. Cathedral of St. Romuald which is a Gothic styled cathedral categorized as belfry also holds an UNESCO World Heritage Site Status. The town of Mechelen is located between Brussels and Antwerp which gives it a strategic location economically.

The beguinages of the town of Mechelen also hold an UNESCO World Heritage site status for their beauty. The town is also home to one of the oldest breweries of Belgium which goes by the name of Het Anker and is a must visit. Boat rides on canals is also highly recommended. The vehicle free areas of Mechelen, and lovely boutique shops will look like fantasy come true.

The carillon schools is world’s oldest and largest school that teaches to play church bells is here. Kids too will find some joy in the Toy Museum. Also must have are the moon shaped cookies and chocolates.

Tournai – The city of Tournai has a rich history of over 2000 years and is one of the oldest cities of Belgium. In the backdrop of French border, this rich cultural city boasts of one of the world’s most beautiful churches Notre Dame Cathedral. It was built with the precisely Scheldt Gothic style of architecture whose history dates back to 12th century. It has the oldest Belgian belfry from whose top thee view of city is pretty lovely and was built in 1188 which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The city of Tournai was historically a textile trading center with a huge influence on the neighboring regions. Museum of Tapestry and Textile Art which is located in the city of Tournai is a great place to learn about the history of textile trading in the city. One of the popular places for Belgian beers in the city is Le Moine Austere.

Some of the popular spots to visit in the city of Tournai are Pont des Trous Bridge which dates back to 13th century, The shrine of our Lady, Henry VIII’s Tower and Museum of fine arts which showcases one of the best masterpieces from artists.

Leuven – The city of the Leuven is also called as the Jewel of the River Dyle. The architectural marvels of the city range from historic Gothic Stadhuis (Town Hall) to Grand Beguinage. The Old market Square will cheer you, and too many restaurants will make your belly feel smaller. The city of Leuven is also home to best Belgian Breweries. The city has a great beer drinking scene and you will get plenty of avenues to indulge in the Belgian brew. Must visit brewery here is Stella Artois, which is also a part of AB InBev.

Officially, Leuven is an University town. It is home to oldest Catholic University of World, which goes by the name of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and was founded in the early 15th century. It is estimated that more than one third of the city population is of students, and evidently you can expect a younger crowd over here.

Some of the most popular spots in the city of Leuven that you must visit are St. Peters Church which dates back to 15th century, Park Abbey which is also home to new museum PARCUM, and Botanical garden which is oldest in Belgium.

Mons – Mons is a French speaking city of Belgium. Once you visit Mons you will start believing in Harmony, after hearing the Melodious sounds of Mons Belfry bells. The statues of Collegiate Church of Sainte Waudru will make you look over and over again. It also has the house of legend of all times Van Gough. The ‘Grand Large’ lake which is situated just outside the perimeters of the city of Mons is a great place to visit and is also surrounded by mini golf park, go karting arena and a water park.

Cobblestoned square of the city keeps buzzing throughout the day which keeps the life moving in here. You can also indulge in chocolate making workshops in the city which will give you a hands on experience in the chocolate making art of Belgians. The city of Mons is also popular for its vineyards that specialize in the production of sparkling wine.

Some of the popular bars and restaurants of the city are Brasse Temps which is a brewery specialized in serving different flavors of beers, Masu restaurant is another highly recommended restaurant and twenty buns which is another popular eatery.

Dinant – Set on the banks of Meuse River, this city is worth a visit to watch caves of Han, Grotto of Dinant, and Collegiate Church of Notre Dame which dates back to the 13th century . Must we mention it has Europe’s largest caves, and is blessed with exotic flora and fauna that makes a perfect day for outdoor adventure! The quaint city can also be enjoyed sitting in a riverside cafe which is an ideal example of Europe’s small city experience.

To indulge in some unique experience you must also visit the popular Adolph Sax House which is the place where inventor of Saxophone grew up. It has been converted into a museum which showcases the history of the musical instrument. Another must visit place to indulge in local traditional experience is Museum of Meuse Medieval Heritage which showcases the brass ware work of the region.

Some of the must eat in Dinant are the Flamiche which is kind of a cheese tart and the popular honey flavored Dinant Biscuits. Another must visit place is the Maredsous Abbey which is known for its beers recognized globally.

Charleroi – Travelling is incomplete without photography, and Belgium trip is unfinished business without a trip to Charleroi by shutterbugs. It has Europe’s largest Photography museum. The city Charleroi which is Belgium’s third largest city is popularly known for its Bois du Cazier coal mine, which also has earned the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Charleroi also has a museum of Fine Arts. The city also boasts of an unique glass museum which is dedicated to the craftsmanship of the local region.

The city is also popular for its Ronquieres Festival which happens between August and September and is a music festival which is meant for uprising performers and artists. The regions surrounding the Sambre River are dotted with numerous bars and restaurants which make it a perfect spot to drop by. The Sunday markets of Charleroi are centuries old and must visit.

Other attractions include Jules Destrée house, City Hall of Charleroi, Cartier Chateau, Town hall, and Saint-Vierge-Marie Church. This city might be small but is locally packed and is totally worth a visit.

I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like.

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