Top 22 Belgian sights
The Kingdom of Belgium is called the heart of Europe. Here every tourist will find something to his liking: you can explore the many architectural monuments, museums and modern culture, enjoy the stunning natural views and taste the local symbols.
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Who Should Come to Belgium and Why?
For lovers of a sedate and measured vacation, Belgium is one of the best places. Here you can stroll through the narrow old streets, beautiful castles, palaces and other interesting architectural structures. There are plenty of original museums and exhibitions, plus – you can visit events dedicated to comics, beer or, say, chocolate products.
Thanks to its mild climate, the country is available to visit almost all year round. But if possible, avoid the months with heavy rainfall – April and November.
In this country you will have a unique opportunity to visit the health treatments, promoting relaxation and improving the overall condition. The local waters are extremely useful, and fans of Spa simply must come here. Modern spa services got their name from a small Belgian town called Spa with its thermal springs.
Every weekend in the warm season in the kingdom hold festivals on different subjects: jazz, folk folklore, sand sculptures, contemporary art movements, fireworks, a variety of foods. These events will be fun for family tourists and young people alike. If you want a trip to be especially memorable, you can time it to coincide with major holidays or events: Christmas, Easter, New Year’s Eve, the Feast of Spring and Labor.
Fans of speed and extreme riding will be interested in the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, built back in the 1920s, which has been reconstructed and modernized in recent years. It is one of the fastest and most unpredictable tracks in the world.
Architectural and cultural monuments in Belgium
The Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudule
Considered one of the most important cathedrals in Brussels, it is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles. The monumental building, more than 60 meters high, is adorned with vintage stained glass windows from the 16th century and the stairs leading up to the terrace. It offers a wonderful view over the city.
Funerals of prominent statesmen and wedding ceremonies were held here. And if you come to the Cathedral on the day off, you can catch a concert of organ music.
Church of Notre Dame de la Chapelle
This church is located on one of the central squares of Brussels, and its construction dates back to the beginning of the 12th century. The Romanesque Gothic bell tower adorns the top of the church. The interior décor amazes even sophisticated tourists: colorful stained glass windows, stunning statues and church vaults.
A part of the Crucifixion made it a popular destination for pilgrims from all over the world. You can also see the tomb of the famous Flemish painter Peter Brueghel and a font created in the 15th century.
A magnificent castle with a huge picturesque park is located in Antwerp. It was built on the site of a small farm in the 16th century. At that time, the grounds were surrounded by a moat of water, reliably protecting the castle walls from enemies. At the beginning of the 20th century the building was taken over by the municipality of Antwerp, which enlarged the park zone and brought the Museum of Flemish History to the castle.
Today the castle is home to the Silver Museum and the Silverware Fair. If you want you can buy pretty interesting items as a gift to loved ones at an affordable price.
It is an impregnable fortress situated on a hundred meters high rock in Dinan. The assumed time of construction is called the IV century. During many centuries of existence the citadel was not once subjected to destruction and was rebuilt anew. There are dozens of secret passages and underground caves in the fortress. If you want to get on the rock, you can use a cable car or a long staircase.
Built on the Palace Square and is the official residence of the current monarch. It is a complex assembled from several mansions. In the Royal Palace, official receptions, concerts and meetings of foreign delegations are held.
In the summer, the building is visited by sightseeing groups, examining the halls and the decorations of the rooms. In one of the mansions is a historical museum, and before that time there was a luxury hotel for celebrities.
Represents a molecule of iron more than 100 meters high. The construction was created in 1958 and was timed to coincide with the opening of the Expo. The model symbolizes the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
Inside the “molecule” there are corridors and a high-speed elevator to the observation deck and the restaurant. There is also an exhibition devoted to developments in the field of nuclear energy.
Originally, the monument was supposed to stand for a short time and be demolished at the end of the exhibition. But for more than half a century it has been showing the scientific development of the country and the peaceful power of the atom.
The waterfront in Ghent looks like a living illustration from an architectural history book. On it there are buildings dating back to the 12th-19th centuries. They are created in a variety of styles: Gothic, Baroque, Classicism and Renaissance. Tourists like to stroll leisurely along this promenade, to feed the seagulls while admiring the sea scenery, or to take a ride on the tourist boats.
A glass and steel building from 2009 in Liège. This work of art was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava who specializes in offbeat architecture.
The station draws attention from afar with its light, curved roof of bulletproof, UV-resistant glass. The peculiarity of the structure is also the fact that even in case of severe damage the glass roof will not fall off, but will be securely held by a special film.
The most interesting places in Belgium
Battle of Waterloo Panorama
In the small town of Waterloo there is a circular panorama dedicated to the final battle of Napoleon I. It is an artistic canvas created by Louis Demoulin. The height of the painting is 12 meters, length – about 100 feet. View the composition can be hours, discovering new, unseen before details.
The exposition is supplemented with sound effects of the battle: the noise of guns, commands of commanders, the soldiers’ conversations. Panorama is open all year round. A visit to it will be remembered not only by history buffs, but also by those who simply want to learn something new.
The city was founded in the ninth century, and its popularity in the tourist environment is due to the preserved atmosphere of the Middle Ages and seclusion. The main attractions are concentrated in the central square: the Town Hall and the Palace of Justice are true works of art.
It’s also home to various buildings erected by professional guilds and decorated with images of birds and animals. Here is one of the oldest churches of Belgium – St. Walpurgis, built in the same IX century.
Royal Opera House “La Monnaie”
The building is located half a kilometer from the main square of Brussels. It was erected at the end of the 17th century, and the theater has a seating capacity of 1,150. In 2011, La Monnaie was named one of the best opera houses. Marius Petipa performed here and staged such notable figures as Maurice Béjart.
Rubenshuis is considered one of the most important museums in Belgium, because it was here that the painter Peter Rubens lived, creating his immortal creations. After his death more than 300 paintings, sculptures, jewelry and valuable statuettes were discovered in the house.
At the end of the 30s of the 20th century the house was bought by the city of Antwerp and turned into a museum. With authentic pieces of furniture from the time of Rubens and his paintings, the atmosphere of the place has been preserved.
This place is a must visit for all lovers of sweets. The museum is located on the central square of Brussels and its visit can be included in your walks through the city streets. It was created by one of the family members of the famous confectioner Pierre Draps.
When you visit the exposition, you will learn about the technology and intricacies of making everyone’s favorite delicacy, try handmade chocolates and buy real Belgian chocolate.
This popular tourist route runs along one of Brussels’ main streets. In the 17th century it was home to butchers’ and sausage-makers’ shops, so it was one of the dirtiest and smelliest places in the city.
The buildings on this street are decorated with antique pediments and interesting sculptures. The funniest statue is the “Peeing Girl” and the “Spitting Girl” fountain.
Museum of Costume and Lace
Brussels lace is known far beyond the country’s borders. It was a long and painstaking process, and cost prohibitive, so only the wealthiest members of the Flemish nobility could afford it.
In the museum you can see an antique collection of lace products and vintage costumes. The attraction is located right next to the Pissing Boy Fountain.
Belgian parks and natural attractions
Lake of Love
Located in a park in the city of Bruges. The colorful lake used to be a river, flooding nearby houses and streets. After a dam and locks were installed, it became a small picturesque lake. You can take boat rides and catamarans on it, and watch the swans swim.
The lake is especially popular with lovers and photographers. On its shore are several buildings in the Gothic style and a small stone bridge, where couples confess their love to each other.
Is an exhibition of miniature European monuments in the open air. There is also a huge collection of figurines of people, animals and vehicles powered by electricity.
By pressing a few buttons next to the models, tourists can see the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a volcanic eruption, spinning mills, sailing ships coming into port. All items in the exhibition are allowed to touch. During the summer, on weekends, the park puts on fireworks.
Walibi is located in Wawr and includes an amusement park and a water park. Not only the little visitors, but also their parents will enjoy their time here. Everyone can find something to his or her liking: from a roller coaster to a pool with artificial waves and natural green vegetation.
It will be great to come here on Halloween – the experience will be enough for many years. In summer, the park is open on weekends until 11 pm. There are often a variety of themed shows and fireworks displays.
It is a favorite place for walks and recreation for residents of Brussels. The round orangery, decorated with sculptures by local artists, is an important part of the garden. Citizens often gather here for picnics and cultural events.
Its founder is Bobbeyan Schupen, formerly a popular Belgian singer, who invested his own money to open the park. There are more than 40 attractions for children, youth and adults. And on the territory of Bobbeyanland there are souvenir outlets and cozy cafes.
Zoo Pairi Daisa
The zoo is located in the province of Eno, and its total area is 65 hectares. It is one of the few zoos where pandas are kept. However, the total number of different animal species here reaches 5000.
The area is divided into thematic sections, complemented by various sculptures and exotic constructions, for example, Chinese temples or statues of African culture. And you can take a stroll through the Rose Garden to admire the view and scent of the queen of flowers.
The main inhabitants of the sea base in Ostend are shrimps, lobsters, crabs and clams. The aquarium is a huge glass showcase where everyone can admire the marine inhabitants of the North Seas.
In the other rooms you can find information about the history of sea creatures, educational information about ecology and casts of shells of prehistoric mollusks.
Attractions in Belgium
The Kingdom of Belgium is located in northwestern Europe. In the Middle Ages it was part of the Duchy of Burgundy. The rails of the first railroad were laid exactly there. Despite the rainy climate, winters are mild, and summers are not very hot. Belgium has many minerals, including crystalline deposits, hard coal, and marble. Roe deer and fallow deer can be found in the wooded area, and the scientific and artistic activities have been world famous since the Renaissance.
Tip! Belgium produces more than 800 varieties of delicious beer, which are a must-try.
List of sights
Rue Brederode 16, 1000 Bruxelles
Markt 7, 8000 Brugge
Avenue de l’Atomium, 1020, Bruxelles
Ykelle 1330, Bruxelles
Avenue de l’Etuve, 46
Hoveniersstraat 53, 2018 Antwerpen
Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5
Museum of Modern Art in Ghent
Jan Hoetplein, 1.
Botermarkt 1, 9000 Gent
Street grass and cereal street
Street grass and cereal street, Ghent
Historic Centre of Bruges
Steenplein 1, 2000 Antwerpen
Menenpoort, Kauwekijnstraat 1, 8900 Ieper
Bouillon, Boulevard Heynen
Belfry Palace and Gall Tower
Sint-Baafsplein, 9000, Gent
Tip! Download the free app “Belgium 2017” with an offline map, a guide, an online guide and descriptions of the most popular excursions.
Places every tourist should visit
Belgium is a small country, but it has many historical places that are a must-see. With the help of the table, you can not only make a travel plan for Belgium, but also calculate the financial cost of visiting the most amazing places in this country.
For centuries, this imposing structure has been considered the primary residence of Belgium’s rulers. You can get into the palace all year round. Once inside, tourists will be amazed by the rich decoration of the rooms, some of which are museums. Particular attention should be paid to the Throne Room, where once used to be held lavish balls and the Imperial Chamber, in which even the flowers grow from the gilded tubs.
The cost of a ticket is 7 euros.
The ornamental mazes of the rose garden bushes especially attract children.
The historic center of Bruges is famous for its bell tower. In ancient times kings used this building to store jewels, and because it was high it also served as a watchtower. There are exactly 366 steps to the observation deck and from there you can see the city as if in the palm of your hand. The nearby area is occupied by shops that settled here in the 17th century.
The ticket price is 10 euros for adults and 7 euros for children.
The phrase “crimson chime” is borrowed from the Belgians, because it is a country of bells.
A unique structure was created back in 1958. The Atomium is an enlarged molecule of iron billions of times. This monument was built to celebrate scientific breakthroughs in physics and nuclear research. Visitors can move between the spheres on mobile pods. The central molecule is a fashionable restaurant, and the uppermost one is an observation deck.
The ticket price for adults is 15 euros, and for children 8 euros.
In 2003, the spheres were restored and their cladding was replaced from aluminum to steel.
The Belgians created the deepest pool in the world back in 2004. Two platforms, 5 and 10 meters deep, plunge into the underwater world, and the improvised tunnels, which are full of dangers, are only for the daredevils. This complex welcomes tourists every day and is considered the setting for many scuba diving films. Tourists can not only dive in the pool, but also follow the dives of experienced divers.
The cost of the ticket is 15 euros.
In one of the caves swimmer is waiting for a meeting with a giant shark, which is very similar to the real one.
According to tourists – this is the most colorful station on the entire planet. It is located in the central square of Brussels and is easily accessible by land transport and subway. The vast area features gilded statues and columns. The marble floor reflects the lights of the train station, which never sleeps. It is one of the few places where it is very difficult to get lost, and the colorful carriages of some trains lift the spirits of travelers.
There are flags of all nations around the perimeter of the station.
The Belgians are reverent about this monument and there are many interesting and sometimes unbelievable stories associated with it. Some claim that a local boy once saved the bridge from being blown up because he peed on a fuse of explosives, while others say that this boy is the son of a famous Belgian merchant. The inhabitants dress up this monument in festive clothes when there is an occasion. For example, when the FIFA World Cup was held, he proudly wore the uniform of a Belgian footballer.
The monument was created back in the 15th century.
Antwerp is the Belgian city of diamond artisans. There are over 13,000 specialists and about 500 workshops in its small area. Jews in particular excel in this profession. In the diamond quarter you can buy uncut stones and finished jewelry. The quarter is constantly patrolled by law enforcement officers and tourists can not only buy stones, but also visit other stores and local restaurants.
Belgium ranks first in the world in diamond processing.
In this miniature park you can see all the sights of the world in a scaled-down version. There are a total of 350 buildings in the theme park, which tell the story of 80 cities on the planet. Buildings are especially impressive in the evening, when the lights come on. Every detail was recreated with professional precision.
A child’s ticket costs 12 euros, and an adult’s costs 15.
Some of the constructions are made of plastic, and the new ones are already made of stone.
Fields of Flanders
These fields are the remnants of the First World War, which broke the peace in Belgium for almost 4 years. Here you can see not only the slabs and crosses of people who heroically gave their lives during this period, but also trenches and bullet marks on wooden structures. Red poppies grow everywhere and the Belgians believe they symbolize those bloody events. Next to the fields is a museum that immerses you in the era of that time.
There are more than 12,000 graves and monuments on the fields of Flanders.
The Stoclet is the home of a wealthy banker, which was created in the early 20th century. Its uniqueness is that the architects mixed several different styles and built a mansion unlike any other structure. It is surrounded by an amazing garden, which is carefully tended by several gardeners. Inside the palace you can see paintings by famous artists and sculptures.
The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Museum of Modern Art in Ghent
The first museum to house the work of contemporary artists. The Art Nouveau style has long been accepted worldwide and permanent exhibitions take place in this building. Tourists can appreciate the creativity, which reflects the culture of the century. The museum houses several works of Nobel Prize winners.
Tickets cost 12 euros for adults and 2 euros for those under 25 years old.
Ghent Town Hall
Every traveler who visits the Town Hall says that it is a true work of art. From the outside it is a 16th century palace, and inside it is hand-painted by renowned artists. The Gothic style is monumental.
The cost of the ticket is 5 euros.
Elegant interior and a lot of rooms will occupy the attention of tourists for the whole day.
Street grass and cereal street
These streets are separated by the River Lys, and the Belgians consider it the most picturesque area of the city. Tourists can take a leisurely stroll along the embankments or buy herbs. It is there you can see the famous church cloisters of Ghent: the Church of St. Nicholas and the Church of St. Michael the Archangel. Be sure to visit one of several restaurants and enjoy the national cuisine.
The streets of Ghent have been the center of commerce since the Middle Ages.
The name of this town is on everyone’s lips. It’s listed in all the history books. Waterloo is 5 km from Brussels. Tourists are invited not only to visit the museum of Wellington and Napoleon, but also to visit the site of the great battle. Must-see St. Joseph’s Church.
The cost of a ticket to the museum is 7 euros. Entrance to the panorama, memorial and cinema – 16 euros.
It is worth a visit to the local cinema, where they offer to watch a documentary about the great battle.
The Castle of the Counts
This castle has long been home to the blue-blooded lords of Flanders. The castle not only defended itself against Viking raids, but also served for a time as a courthouse and prison. Despite the raids, the castle has survived to this day in its original form. Tourists can visit two museums, which tell about the wars and court battles of the Middle Ages.
The cost of the ticket for seniors is 10 euros, for young people – 6 euros.
Ticket sales end one hour before closing of the castle.
Historic Centre of Bruges
Medieval Bruges offers visits to several historic quarters. Tourists can stroll through the central squares: the Burg and Markt. There are opportunities to visit museums and national cuisine restaurants. According to the reviews of travelers for 100 euros you can walk to all the worthy places of Bruges: the Town Hall, the Palace of Justice, the Church of Our Lady and the Museum of National Art.
These quarters are considered the main attraction of the country.
The fortress is the oldest in Belgium. It was once inhabited by knights, and for a period of time the castle was used as a prison. Not all of the building has survived to this day, part of the fortress was demolished back in the Middle Ages. Now there are two museums: the Archaeology Museum and the National Seamen’s Museum.
The cost of adult ticket is 15 euros, persons under 18 years old – 5 euros.
The entrance to the castle is decorated by a Belgian folklore character.
The First World War has affected many countries, including Belgium. Millions of soldiers and officers died in this terrible bloody war. Menen Gate is located in the city of Ypres, and is an arch. It was built in honor of the Belgian soldiers who defended their homeland during the war. At the very top of the structure sits a lion proudly.
The arch is decorated with plaques bearing the names of war heroes.
The 11th-century castle has been through many difficult times and has been restored. It became what people see today at the end of the 16th century. The moats, dungeons and pristine nature have been preserved. The castle stands on the border with France and was once visited by Napoleon and Louis XIV.
The cost of adult ticket – 7 euros, children – 5 euros.
Tourists are especially fascinated by the torture chambers, which tell about the harsh times of the Middle Ages.
Belfry Palace and Gall Tower
In the historic center of Bruges there is a unique palace created in the 11th century. The Gall Tower is tall enough to be seen from afar. Some would consider this building gloomy and rude, but this architecture is of the austere Medieval period. A huge hall with high ceilings and a dining table for a meal take us back a few centuries.
Working hours: from 10 am to 6 pm.
The cost of an adult ticket is 8 euros, children’s – 3 euros.
The interior of the palace tells about the simple life of the knights.
Tip: If after viewing all the proposed places, there is time left, you can go to the city of Leuven, and look at the main attraction – Leuven Town Hall.
Expert Opinion and Tourist Reviews
“I am proud of my country and its attractions. Especially I admire the ancient palaces and castles. I always wanted to glorify my homeland and have traveled not only to my country, but also visited Tibet and Congo. When I say that Belgium is a great country, I am objective in my statements.”
Renowned Belgian traveler Constant de Decken
Edouard, 33, of Moscow. “My work involves traveling all over the world and I have been to Belgium three times. During each trip I discovered something new about this country. The Town Hall and the Menin Gate are particularly grand.”
That’s interesting! Few people know that spas get their name from the Belgian spa, famous for its mineral springs.