10 BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN BELGIUM ( UPDATED 2020 )
Belgium, a European country, known for its indulgent chocolates, tasty beer, lovely canals, and medieval rooftops, is remarkable with friendly and welcoming people. Here time seems to move at a slower pace. Some of the best tourist attractions in Belgium are boasting designer shops, museums, galleries, and cobblestone streets.
Here are Top 10 Best Places to Visit in Belgium
Mons is famous for Belfry bells, which hails from the 80-meter tower, is known for its magical and surprising ringing. This tourist attraction in the province of Hainaut. The Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru brags a collection of statues of Jacques Du Broeucq from the 16th century. The Gothic-style Mons Town Hall is the eye-catcher. The city is a mix of architectural styles. Visitors easily traverse the city through the winding streets. The amazing reproductions of Van Gogh’s work are considered an important tourist attraction.
Dinant is located along the Meuse River in the Namur province. This city is just 65 km south of the capital city. Some of the tourist attractions of the city are the Caves of Han and the Grotto of Dinant considered Europe’s largest caves and are magnificent. The caves are there within a Wildlife Reserve with some native flora and fauna. The major tourist attraction in the city’s landmark, the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. Though the church was partially rebuilt after facing a massive landslide, it still is remarkable. Apart from Beauraing which is open daily, other Dinant’s sanctuaries are only accessible on prior appointments.
Leuven is a lively tourist attraction with 35,000 students from a total population of 100,000. It is home to the oldest Catholic university in the world. The historical section of the city vaults the Belfry on St. Peter’s Church and the Grand Beguinage. Interesting shops and galleries are laid on two endless streets. The tourist attraction of the city is Grote Market, adjacent to exceptional dining options, cafes, and street-side pubs. It is considered, as the location prefers, to be an ideal alternative to Brussels as a vacationer’s main hub to explore the rest of the country.
Mechelen is one of the vibrant tourist attractions in Belgium. In this Flander’s locale, there is a lot you can see and do including a riverboat tour and Beguinage Brewery. You can get a panoramic view of the Antwerp Port and this city from the top of the St. Rombout Cathedral’s massive tower. Carillion School, a famous tourist attraction, is a must stop. Here, students from all over the world get instruction on playing these complex instruments of bells.
Ghent as a tourist attraction is a city of history, once being considered the second largest city after Paris. It was one of the richest and powerful cities in Europe during the middle ages. While viewing the houses of rich traders and the imposing architecture of churches, the impact of the rich past can be seen. The main tourist attractions include the scenic old Graslei harbor, the Gravensteen castle, and the grand medieval cathedrals.
The best tourist attractions for hiking, biking, and camping are the rugged hills of the Ardennes. These have dense forests, cliffs, and caves. The best picks around are the castle of Bouillon, the modern Labyrinth of Barvaux, and the impressive caves of Han-Sur-Lesse. These hills hide a lot of castles, several friendly villages, and a few other sights. Wild boar, lynx, and deer reside in the forests of Ardennes. The city of Namur is a great tourist attraction in itself and has some amazing sights to explore.
Being a distinct tourist attraction, Antwerp is a city with several faces. Bruges which is historically preserved while on the other hand is Ghent which is a dynamic city, offering a mix of modern and historical life. The city as a tourist attraction is known as Diamond District. Here more than 70 percent of the rough diamond of the world are traded. The city is famous for its great food, great beer, and good times amongst lovers. Antwerp celebrates the artwork of different artists including the baroque work of Peter Paul Ruebens and the Plantin Moretus Museum resides the work of bookbinder Christoffel Plantin. This place has some architectural wonders as well, the 1351 construction and the majestic combination of Gothic architecture of the Saint Paul’s Church and baroque.
It is an excellent tourist attraction, adjacent to France, to tune out the hustle of other Belgium cities. Tournai is a quaint and lovely community. The five-towered Gothic and Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches in the world, resides in this city. The cathedral was constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries and houses the Shrine of Our Lady and also the works by Jordaens and Ruvens. You can experience a rich cultural history of more than 2000 years while exploring the city. The Museum of Fine Arts, another tourist attraction, is home to some masterpieces of primitive and contemporary artists including Campin, Rubens, and Van Gogh.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and a tourist attraction known for its diversity of sites. Established in the 13th century, the Grand Place is the center of the city. Around this central square are the terrace cafes and pubs. The other sites are stunning Gothic-style Town Hall. Shopping here amid the Galeries St. Hubert which is a centrally located glass-roof arcade having shops, cafes, and theaters.
The tourist attraction Bruges is home to medieval architecture especially on the southern side of the city. It is known as Europe’s ‘Venice of the North’, emits strongly the spirit and history of the Vikings. Bruges is a lovely city of canals and very easy to traverse. The city’s main hub is Grote’s Market Square. On the western side is the neo-gothic amid Provincial Court. The Belfry Tower is north of the Square. Not to be missed sites include the impressive Saint John’s Hospital built in 1188 and the spectacular Gruuthuse Mansion.
Best time to visit Belgium
Belgium is neither too cold nor too hot. Thanks to the quintessential sea-climate, the weather is not that dry either. May to September is the ideal time to visit Belgium. Although you can visit cities like Bruges, Antwerp, Leuven, etc. all year round. The peak season is from June to August. The temperature of Belgium does not go above 25 degrees centigrade even on hotter days. However, it is magical during winter. It does not snow heavily here. A bit of snow drizzle during the festive season of December does not sound bad either.
However, we feel the best seasons in Belgium are Spring and Autumn. Spring covers the months of April, May, and June. However, autumn spreads in September and October. The crowd is less and the price of accommodation and transport also goes down during this season.
How to get around in Belgium
The public transportation system is on the point within Belgium. Tram is one of the major modes of transport in most of the cities like Brussels, Antwerp. Moreover, Brussels has the only metro connectivity within the country. Public buses also run in the following cities.
A transportation pass is a great way to save money. One pass a day will save money and you can have unlimited rides in a day. It is available within Belgium. Each city has its tariff. It ranges from $7 to $ 9. However, avoid taxis. They are expensive and with a great public transport system, taxis are unrecommended.
The train is another mode of transport that you can avail of to go from one city to another. Tickets will cost you not more than $20. Intercity buses are also available within Belgium. The major bus services that are available are Flixbus, Eurolines, DeLijn are the famous ones, apart from STIB-MIVB.
Accommodation in Belgium
Belgium has different types of accommodations available for different types of travelers. For budget travelers, the dormitory rooms are available across the country for just $20. Most of the hotels come with a breakfast facility. A private room will cost you around $50, with basic amenities. Airbnb is quite popular within the country. They offer different kinds of accommodations in different cities in Belgium.
How to travel cheap in Belgium
If you are on a budget trip to Belgium, you must be worried about how to travel at a low cost. Belgium of the best places in Europe to travel on a budget. Here are a few tips that might help you to save a few bucks.
Check out couchsurf
Couchsurf is like a boon to budget travelers. It connects you to the locals who will not only let you stay for free but will also help you to travel around as a local guide. Locals know their place the most, if they offer you to guide, that is the best thing indeed.
Beer is the cheapest form of alcohol over here in Belgium. You will see microbreweries every here and there. Just a few euros and you get to take a dip into one of the finest craft beer brewed locally.
Eat local food
Eat local street food. Belgium is famous for chocolates and slices of bread. Eat sandwiches, fries, kebabs from street-side shops to save a few bucks.
If you are planning to travel from one city to another, check out rideshare for cheaper travels. If you are a solo traveler or a couple, this is one of the best ways to save a few bucks. But for availing of Rideshare, you will have to have a flexible schedule. Ridesharing service like BlaBlaCar is quite popular. They have verified drivers and are super safe to travel. Not just you get to save money, you also get to meet new people. What more would you want?
Avail public transport
Avoid taxis and go for public transport. We are impressed by the public transport system in Belgium. They are tourist-friendly. They are pocket-friendly too.
Go on a walking tour
Take a walking tour to explore the cities. The best way to explore a city is by walking down the lanes that are filled with the local culture. In all the cities of Belgium, most of the tourist attractions are reachable by walking down the road. At times you get to see fantastic views which otherwise you might have missed. Furthermore, walking does not need money.
Belgium is one of the safest countries. Travel solo, or with your partner or family or friends, Belgium will never disappoint you. However, beware of petty scams and crime. They are not that common. But bad luck may get you into things like that.
We suggest you listen to your instinct. If you feel uncomfortable with a lane or feel shady about a cabbie, don’t avail of those. That is the best way to handle crime while traveling.
Belgium has the perfect temperature to travel, that too, almost throughout the year here are a few things that you must carry if you are traveling to Belgium
1. First thing first, pack your documents. These pieces of paper are one of the most important things if you are traveling to different countries.
2. Carry comfortable clothes. If you are traveling during the peak season you may carry some fancy clothes. Shorts, pants, t-shirts, are comfortable wears while traveling.
3. Toiletries are an important packing point. Even though most of the hotels might offer you complimentary items, but it is always good to carry one along. Dental floss, sanitary napkins, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, etc. will decrease the plastic waste.
4. Medicines and creams are also important things. Carry an anti-bacterial cream, hand sanitizer, several masks, band-aids, etc. apart from your regular medicines, if you have any.
Belgium is one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. Not just natural beauty, there are many places to visit in Belgium. Now that you have learned almost everything about Belgium, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags already. Visit Belgium, you are going to love it.