Belgium’s Most Beautiful Cities – Top 12
Belgium is a country where even the small cities are famous for the splendor of medieval architecture combined with modern buildings. These places want to capture in the memory so that at the first opportunity to return here. In this article we have collected the most beautiful Belgian cities, which are especially attractive for tourists.
Not far from the border with the Netherlands, 20 km from the North Sea there is an incredibly beautiful Belgian city of Bruges. Walking around it, you get the impression of being in the Middle Ages. From ancient times, there have survived 54 bridges, 12 of which are wooden. They rise over the canals, so the city is often called the ‘Venice of the North’. Bruges’ historic center is its main attraction. The unusual facades, ancient streets, stone squares and unceasing clatter of horses’ hooves make you feel like you’re in the middle of a movie. Upon arrival, it is worth visiting the Lamp Museum, the Museum of Diamonds, the Archaeological Museum, the City Gate, the Tower of the Virgin, St. Anne’s Church, St. John’s Mill and other places of interest.
The capital of Belgium is truly the most beautiful city in Belgium and the heart of the country. It is home to the headquarters of the European Union. Unlike many other places, tourists do not come here to see the architectural monuments. Brussels is a city that is constantly immersed in work. It is the main economic and educational center of the country, which gives an insight into how real Belgians live. The Grand Place is the famous square with the town hall, which is included in the UNESCO list. It is here that the famous “Peeing Boy” is installed. St. Michael’s Cathedral, the Royal Square, the Mountain of Arts, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary are particularly popular with visitors.
Founded back in the 9th century the city attracts tourists who prefer a quiet and cultural vacation. Along with Bruges and Antwerp, Ghent is recognized as the most beautiful city of the country. Despite the abundance of attractions, it is better to move around Ghent on foot. These places are memorable for the Flemish style, which is felt in every corner of the small city. Tourists should look at the Church of St. Nicholas, the Cathedral of St. Bavon, St. Michael’s Bridge and the historic quarter of Patershol. Small houses with tiled roofs, old churches and bridges make the city truly fabulous.
One of the most famous cities in Belgium is famous for its diamond cutters, designer clothes and the incredible taste of Belgian chocolate. Antwerp sights begin to surprise as soon as you arrive, because the train station is considered one of the best not only in the country, but in the world. Walking around the city there is no need to make a list of places you must visit. They are found here on every corner. Among the monuments, which recommend a visit by experienced travelers, the area Grote Mark, Antwerp City Hall, the tall Guildhall, Castle Wall with a monument to the giant Wapper, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Antwerp, St. Paul Cathedral, Plantin-Moretus Museum in the printing press, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and Rubens House. This is not a complete list of places to visit in Antwerp. It will take you more than a week to see the whole city.
In the Middle Ages Leuven was a famous trading center, and today it is a famous prosperous city, where an inexhaustible flow of students goes. Today they account for about 40% of Leuven’s population. But despite its popularity among young people, the city can boast its ancient sights. There are so many of them that even a large metropolis could envy. Comfortable university buildings, which is divided by a city park, a medieval town hall and ancient cathedrals are defining in the appearance of Leuven. Every curious tourist tends to visit the historical complex of the Great Beguinage, the Old Market Square, the Botanical Garden, St. Peter’s Cathedral, the University Bell Tower, the library and the monuments of Fonske, Katmadam, the baker Dorre, the statue of the Falling Horse and the sculpture of the Shooting Cows.
Sheltered by craggy mountains, the picturesque Belgian city of Dinan stretches along the Maas River. The jewel of Babylonia has survived many a battle, but thanks to the efforts of its inhabitants the city has grown and expanded. After climbing 420 steps, at a height of 100 m tourists can visit the Citadel fortress, the observation deck of which offers a view over Dinan. Rock Bayard, Notre Dame, Leff Abbey, Gardens of Annevois, Museum of musical instruments, the House of Adolphe Saxe, the Cave of Mont Chaf in Dinan, Charles de Gaulle Bridge and other interesting places made the city one of the most visited in the country. Dinan translates as “Holy Valley” from Celtic, so here like nowhere else you can feel the religious traditions of the locals.
Namur has grown up around a fortress that for centuries defended the Romans at the crossroads of trade routes. Its eventful history has given this beautiful city many sights and monuments. The best place to start is at the seafront, which is paved with beautiful tiles and enclosed by wrought iron parapets. The Citadel’s observation deck overlooks the city. During a walking tour, you can find time to see the Church of Saint Loup, the Cathedral, the Armory Square, Namur Castle, the Royal Theatre and the Temple of the Melpomene. Lovers of natural beauty will appreciate the Ardennes Forest, which is considered the pride of Belgium. On its territory, ancient monasteries and mysterious grottos are buried in the green of coniferous and deciduous trees.
For Belgians, the city of Mons has a special significance. Since 2002, it has been considered the main cultural center of Babylonia. The nontrivial Belgian corner of the city impresses with its calm and measured atmosphere. As in many other Belgian cities, its churches and cathedrals, centuries old, are worth a visit. The city’s main square, the Grand Place, is no less beautiful than Antwerp’s or Brussels’. Rallies and events are often held here, where you can feel the rhythm of the city. Among the places of remembrance, the Château de l’Avre, the Collegiate Church of St. Vadroux, the François Duesberg Museum, the Mons Memorial Museum, the Parc des Beffroyes and the Château de Beloille are particularly memorable. Each year, Mons is visited by competitors in men’s tennis for the Ethias Trophy tournament.
Small but very beautiful Belgian town with a population of 12 thousand people is known for the festival of humorists and the famous Trappist beer brewed by the monks of Notre Dame abbey. The city’s name translates as “hard rock. The territory of the city keeps the mysteries of the many ruins of ancient structures from the XI century. Famous attractions are considered the Museum of the Underworld, the Church of Our Lady, the Museum of the Belgian Railways, an ostrich farm and numerous caves. In one of these caves runs an old streetcar. Along the 18-kilometer asphalt road there is a bike path, which is especially to the liking of families with children.
Located in the province of Luxembourg is the fortified town of Bouillon, which is famous for its beautiful mountain scenery. Tourists associate this place with the famous Bouillon Castle. Every year on the territory of the castle put on extravaganza shows with the participation of unusual birds. There are only three streets in Buillon, which are cut by the river Semua. Medieval architecture of the houses and sedate life of the local people will appeal to travelers who do not like the noise and bustle of big cities.
A Belgian town, Tournai is best known for its stunning Romanesque cathedral. Walking through the streets, it is easy to imagine life in the capital of the kingdom of the Franks. In the Middle Ages it was home to weavers known throughout the country. The most popular attraction in Tournai is the imposing Cathedral of the Virgin Mary with a large collection of statues and a treasure museum. During a trip to the city it is worth climbing the mountain Saint Hubert to get a bird’s eye view of the old city. The Plaçe de Lille, the Church of Saint-Jacques, the Pont de Trois bridge over the Scheldt river, and the City Museum of Fine Arts are a must-see.
At first sight Kortrijk seems to be an unremarkable Belgian city, but there are several buildings in the city that attract tourists. The late Gothic and early Renaissance town hall and the medieval bell tower in the central square are a real oasis of calm and serenity in the center of the city. Kortrijk is also famous for its annual Easter Fair which lasts for 18 days. When tourists come here, the first thing they do is visit the St. Elizabeth Beguinage. Narrow streets with snow-white houses and orange roofs create a special atmosphere.
Belgium is an amazing country, because each city in it is attractive in its own way. Visiting the most beautiful cities of Belgium every tourist will find something close to his heart.
12 must-see places in Belgium
Belgium offers everything you need for a good vacation. In addition to miles of sandy beaches on the Flemish coast, it is the beautiful medieval cities of Flanders that delight tourists with their colorful mix of historic buildings and trendy modern cafes and boutiques. Explore the sights of Belgium and get to know this extraordinary country better.
1. Grote Markt/Grand Place, Brussels
1. Grote Markt/Grand Place, Brussels
The capital of Belgium, Brussels, has a lot to offer to tourists visiting a European country for the first time. One of the most famous landmarks is undoubtedly the Grote Markt , also called in French the Grand Place . Its central square is surrounded by impressive buildings and at night it creates a unique atmosphere.
The market square is an ideal starting point for a sightseeing tour of Brussels. Here you can stroll along the cobblestones to admire the facades of the early New Age guild houses. For many centuries, the Grand Place and the multi-storey Baroque buildings have been an emblem of the city and have even been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Right on the market is the imposing town hall, as well as the Broodhuis (in French: Maison du Roi), the current museum of the city. Here you can learn about the history of medieval Brussels.
2. Manneken-Pis, Brussels.
2. Manneken-Pis, Brussels
It’s a very rare occasion when a small figurine has become as popular as the Piss Boy. A 61-centimeter bronze statue, the work of sculptor Jerome Duquesnoux. It was erected in 1619 and is today one of the main monuments of Belgium. The history of the peeing boy is not quite clear. The legend says that the statue was erected in honor of a boy who one night managed to put out a burning fuse of enemy fire with a stream of urine directed at him. So the young boy saved the city from the enemy. For more than 400 years the small bronze monument has attracted many visitors. The different costumes decorating the statue can be seen in a special museum MannekenPis .
3. the Atomium, Brussels
One of the most unusual species in Belgium is the Atomium , 102 meters high . Its structure was built for the 1958 World’s Fair and was originally intended to operate for a limited time. However, the huge atomic model made such an indelible impression that it was not dismantled and is now one of the most visible and impressive elements of the Belgian capital. The iron model is meant to symbolize the peaceful management of nuclear power and its positive effects. The monument can be viewed inside and the panoramic restaurant will tell you about the history of the sculpture. Just take the elevator and you have a beautiful view of the city. If the weather is good, you can even see the Antwerp from a height of 92 meters . The Atomium is a mixture of a museum, an architectural attraction and a large playground for the whole family.
4. Bell Tower and Market Square, Bruges
4. Belfry and Market Square, Bruges
One of the most remarkable sights of the city is the city of Bruges. Visitors are attracted by the imposing bell tower (Belfort), which is located in the middle of the beautiful Bruges market square. Not every tourist dares to climb the 336 stairs of the tower to admire the surroundings. But the view from a bird’s eye view is breathtaking and visitors to the medieval tower do not regret the difficult climb. The market square, which is located at the foot of the cultural monument, should also be on the list of visitors. It’s surrounded by many beautifully restored saber houses, the houses of the Provincial Palace and has been a popular sight in the city for more than 500 years.
5. eilandier and port, antwerp
5. Eilandier and Port, Antwerp
Antwerp is located right on the river Escalde and has one of the largest ports in Europe . Numerous container ships and cruise ships dock here and offer fantastic views while touring. The “Museum aan de Strum” ( MAS ) from the outside is already an impressive building. The building seems to be chipped at the seams. Here you can learn about the history of the port city and seafaring and get to know the world’s ports. Finish the tour with a walk through the beautiful Eilandjes district to admire the stunning architecture of the boats on the pier.
6. Belgian Chocolate
6. Belgian chocolate
One of the characteristics of Flanders is its typical Belgian chocolate. Tourists can see for themselves the quality of the sweetness by visiting the large traditional and modern chocolate stores, where they can taste the range. The most visited factory is The Chocolate Line . Here the team of chocolatier Dominique Persoone will show you in great detail the production of chocolates and let you taste them. In addition to the classic varieties, there are also unusual chocolates with a wide variety of flavors. For example, apple pralines flavored with caramel, balsamic apple cider vinegar and Granny Smith, or almond pralines with roasted onions. All these delicacies will help you immerse yourself in the world of candy making. And the Choco Story Museum in Bruges will enhance the experience. Here you can learn why chocolate has been popular for 5,500 years. The exhibition is interesting and perfect for families.
7. Royal Palace, Brussels
7. Royal Palace, Brussels
Belgium is a federal hereditary monarchy , and the royal family continues to act in an advisory capacity. This explains why Brussels has a Royal Palace . It is also meant to be visited. It is located opposite the Palais des Nations in the center of Brussels . In addition to the official residence of the royal couple and their offices and receptions, it also houses the workrooms of some political officials. Even from the outside, the palace is impressive. When the royal family is on vacation, one can also visit the apartments. The royal couple leaves between mid/late July and early September.
8. Gravensteen Castle, Ghent
8. Gravensteen Castle, Ghent
A list of the most beautiful places in Belgium would not be complete without the impressive Castle Gravensteen (Castle of the Count) in Ghent. As early as the ninth century, the Flemish Count Baldwin II built the first fortifications in Ghent as protection against enemies. Over the centuries it was rebuilt several times, and became an imposing limestone castle. This magnificent building served more as a prison than a place of residence, and in the eighteenth century it even became a textile factory. After many changes and reconstructions, the castle now belongs to the state of Belgium and the city of Ghent. Today it is an unusual open-air museum that you can explore with an audioguide.
9. MIMA, Brussels
9. MIMA, Brussels
One of the extraordinary places is the Millennium Iconic Art Museum , or MIMA for short . Opened in 2016, the exhibition hall presents various works of contemporary art. The building is more than 100 years old and is located on the Molenbeek promenade.
The works exhibited here make the museum special because the concept of MIMA’s founders is unique. To make access to contemporary art easier, especially for younger visitors, the exhibition rooms have been designed along the lines of video games. The halls lead visitors through bottom-up presentations. The purpose of these tours is to make it easier for all visitors to access the artwork. Only during the viewings are the detailed and complex structures of the works displayed. Twice a year there is a new exhibition with celebrated titles such as ZOO , DREAM BOX or GET UP , STAND UP . Paintings, sculptures and art installations are on display. A visit to Mima surprises visitors and gives them a new perspective on contemporary art.
10. St. Bavon’s Cathedral, Ghent
10. St. Bavon’s Cathedral, Ghent
The next stop on the sightseeing tour is again the beautiful Flemish city of Ghent whose Saint Bavon’s Cathedral is one of the most impressive ecclesiastical buildings in Belgium. The square and tall tower of the cathedral are visible from afar. They have been a prominent element of the center of Ghent since its completion in 1559. Art history buffs will rejoice at the variety of interiors on display. There is a Rococo pulpit and many other art treasures, such as the world-famous Ghent altar, in addition to the Baroque marble high altar. The Cathedral of St. Bavon can be visited daily.
11. Rubens House, Antwerp
11. Maison Rubens, Antwerp
In Antwerp you can find the city palace of the famous Baroque painter Pedro Pablo Rubens. The artist, who lived more than 400 years ago, stood out for his paintings and works of art. He is still considered one of the most extraordinary artists in the world. Visiting Rubens Knstlerhaus , you can learn the history of the works on display here. Walking through the garden, tourists get to the studio where the artist created some of his most important and famous paintings. The combination of the art exhibition and the depiction of Rubens’ home and life makes for an unforgettable visit to Antwerp.
12. comics museum, Brussels
12. comics museum, Brussels
Brussels is considered the capital of comics, so it’s no surprise that there’s the Comics Museum, the Centre Belge de la Bende-Dessinet. Fans of Tintin, Lucky Luke and Marsupilami can immerse themselves in the world of childhood. For more than 30 years, the museum has been showcasing the evolution of comic art, honoring famous cartoonists and exhibiting works of famous and unknown artists in its halls. And after a walk around the city, tourists will admire the comic strips on the walls of buildings.
13.What else can I see in Belgium?
13.What else is there to see in Belgium?
Chips, chocolate and beer are probably what most people think of when planning a trip to Belgium . But French fries are also one of the country’s national dishes and were even invented here. By the way, it is traditionally fried in beef tallow rather than vegetable oil, so the Belgian version of French fries has an unusual taste. Tourists are also attracted to Belgian beer . It usually contains a lot of alcohol, so you should drink it carefully. The most famous brands are Leffe , Affligem , Chimay and Duvel .
The Belgian chocolate is valued all over the world. And this is not by chance. Belgian chocolate makers have committed to a code that preserves the high taste of chocolate. In addition, the cocoa content of Belgian chocolate is much higher than that of domestic producers.