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Things To Do In Belgium
Belgium is the land of chocolates and waffles and fries and beer, the country that is home to diamond merchants from all over the world and a population that speaks a mix of French and Dutch. This West-European country is really an upcoming tourist destination and makes for a great holiday with Instagram-worthy backdrops to click photos and make videos. From palaces to beaches, castles to hills, Belgium has too much variety. Looking for things to do in Belgium? Here’s our list of priorities.
When in Belgium, do make sure to visit the city of Bruges. Why, it features in the top things to do around here. What is the reason you say? Well, the city is a marvel of medieval era, with its cobble stoned streets and the old city centre named Markt, the lovely churches and canals that are lined by cute homes with slanting roofs. Its port named Zeebrugge is one of the most important fishing centre and harbour of Flanders region and deserves a walk in the morning. So the best thing to do in Bruges is to just pull up your camera or phone and keep walking.
Tour the Grand Place of Brussels
The Grand Place, also known as the Grote Markt, is the highlighting factor of the capital city of Belgium. Brussels is a city with Grand Place for its heart, a central market square where people from all walks of life come to enjoy their country’s heritage and admire the lavishness of the City Town Hall and the Museum of Brussels. Tourists will find a piece of the city’s culture here, with its history, festivals, food and people all exploding in a big bang. This place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Waffle snd chocolates
Well, these may be decadent delicacies elsewhere; but in Belgium, Waffles and Chocolates are a thing to do. Yes. You can start scourging the streets of Antwerp or Brussels or Bruges or any other city of Belgium - and there will be at least one street vendor baking away dozens of waffles per minute, drizzling warm gooey honey or maple syrup or dark melted chocolate upon it. You will also soon realise that Chocolatiers are another key set of people in this country, people who create, curate and sell chocolates. The best chocolate brands to gorge on here are Godiva, Neuhaus, Chocolatier Frederic Blondeel and GuyLian.
Explore Castles and Palaces
It is said that Belgium has more castles and palaces per square kilometre than any other country in the world. So it is only natural to go on palace tours when in Belgium. Do visit the city of Ghent for its brilliantly fortified Gravensteen Castle, check out the Royal Palace in Brussels, Prince-Bishop’s Palace in Liege, Belvedere Castle and the Royal Castle in Laeken and Altena Castle near Antwerp.
What is a beguinage? It is a housing complex that was built in the ancient era for women of religion, those nuns who lived in the society without shunning it or taking vows. These women were called beguines and their community home was called beguinage. Most renowned beguinages are in France and Netherlands but Belgium is also a tough contender. You will find some lovely beguinages that are now UNESCO World Heritage Sites and show you a different way of community life. Visit the town of Leuven for the Grand Beguinage and the Beguinage of Antwerp.
World War tour
Seeing the intact structures of Belgium’s palaces and churches and castles and homes, one might be forgiven the mistake of believing that this country didn’t see much destruction during the World Wars. That is, however, not true. It suffered just as much, being at the Flemish borders of France and right next to Germany. Both wars left deep scars on Belgium, scars you can see on World War tours here. Visit the Flanders Battlefields, with its burial sites, museums and memorials. Explore the Breendonk Fortress and Ardennes for the sites of battle of Bulge and Ypres.
Read Comic books
You read it right, Belgium is THE place to get lost in the world of comic books. The country after all has given the world some of the best, most cherished comics of all times - Tintin and The Smurfs. As the country is a mine of talented writers and illustrators, Belgium keeps churning out modern comics as well. So it’d be a shame if you went to Belgium without a copy of Tintin rolled in your backpocket. If you are a fan of these comics, visit the Comics Art Museum in Brussels, showcasing different eras of Comic Strip-making, especially covering the era of 1929-1958, of Spirou and Tintin.
Go Kayaking and Hiking
Belgium isn't all sightseeing and no adventure. You can go kayaking in Ardennes city, in River Lesse, which takes you downstream on a safe shallow current with minimal effort. You can hire boats or kayaks from the bank and enjoy summer afternoons meandering the waves. Or you can go up the Waterloo Mountain in Braine-l'Alleud on a hike, climb to the place where Napoleon was defeated after the Battle of Waterloo. It is known as the Lion’s Mound.