Belgium’s most beautiful cities
Belgian cities attract beautiful castles, churches and other historical and architectural monuments. In each of the following cities the tourist can learn a lot of interesting things. Many after visiting Belgium dream to come back to the country again, because it is impossible for a couple of weeks or even a month to see all the sights and beautiful nature.
Top 10 the most beautiful cities in Belgium
- Antwerp. Due to the great variety of attractions in the Benelux, this city has become one of the most popular.
- Bruges. The city is located 17 km from the coast and offers interesting sights, including the popular courtyard of the béguines.
- Brussels. A city where you can spend all your vacation days just sightseeing.
- Rochefort. A city with many curious medieval sights.
- Ghent. One of the best cities to visit for sophisticated tourists.
- Ronse. Colorful, diverse and surprising for its inhabitants.
- Dinan. A fantastic medieval fairy tale.
- Bouillon. Neighbor of France, where you can see forests, meadows and rivers from a bird’s eye view.
- Durbuy. One of the smallest towns in the world to see in just one day.
- Spa. A city with unique architecture and world famous for its hot springs.
Antwerp – the most beautiful in the Benelux.
Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, which make up the union of Benelux, are constantly competing for the title of the best country for tourists. All have many tourist itineraries that will interest every tourist, but only Belgium has Antwerp.
In this city you can see the Cathedral of Our Lady, which is famous for its 123-meter high top. It makes the building visible from any point of the historic center. The architects originally chose the Gothic style, but before that there was a Romanesque church on the site of the Cathedral of Our Lady. Later, the cathedral survived a Calvinist attack, which eventually led to it being rebuilt again. Its interior now combines several trends at once:
Nowhere else in the world is there anything like it – the Cathedral of Our Lady of Antwerp is considered the most unique religious building in Europe and the planet. That’s why it regularly makes it to the top of the most interesting sights in the European Union. If you go to Antwerp, then you probably heard about Paul Rubens. He was not just a painter, but also a great diplomat. Many museums and galleries have exhibitions devoted to him, where you can see original paintings. The most popular of these remains the Rubens House. Here the maestro created and engaged in diplomatic work. The house became a museum, in which the furniture and works of art have been preserved. Also worth a visit is the Grote Markt, the famous triangular square, which is called the center of the city. Hurry to book your seats in the cafeterias, because when the weather is nice the terraces are crowded with locals and tourists. The beauty of the historic center and the Grote Markt in particular is breathtaking. The town hall alone, built in the 16th century, is fascinating with its combination of Flemish and Italian styles. Everyone can walk into the town hall to see the huge frescos and halls, richly decorated by Belgian masters.
In the ranking of famous attractions in Antwerp are the Guild Houses, most of which were seriously damaged by fires. The houses have been restored, making their exteriors true works of art. For example, on the facade of the Spanish House you can see St. Joris and the Dragon. This scene depicts an epic battle between man and beast.
Bruges is a great place in West Flanders
The province of West Flanders has a town with the unremarkable name Bruges, which literally translates as “port.” One of the most notable sights of the city is the Royal Court of Beguines. It is popular with many tourists because of the interesting architecture of the houses, built in the early 17th century. All the houses are painted in white. Once lived here beguines faded into oblivion, but in each house you can find a lot of interesting things. For example, house number 1 is furnished as it was in the 17th century. The beauty of the courtyard is given by Lake Minnewater, in which white swans swim.
The famous basilica of the Holy Blood of Christ will also be interesting to visit. Its lower church is built in the Romanesque style, and in it you can find a picture of Mary, which was painted back in the early 14th century. Over time, the Basilica of the Holy Blood of Christ has undergone a number of changes and has become closer to the Gothic style. At the basilica there is a museum with many beautiful exhibits, if you want to see the blood of Christ, get ready for a truly amazing sight. The canvas with the blood is in a chest that was elaborately decorated by the jeweler Jan Krabbe. As much as 30 kilograms of gold and silver, a scattering of precious stones adorn the casket. It makes an astonishing and awe-inspiring impression. The procession when the casket is carried through the town on Ascension Day looks especially solemn.
For the beauty of the Market Square go to the center. The heart of Bruges shelters many historic buildings, some more than 800 years old. On the square you can see the Belfort, relax in a cafe or enjoy a delicious dinner in a restaurant. The most popular attraction for tourists visiting Market Square is a carriage ride.
Of course, we should not forget the famous City Hall, built in the early 15th century. It is an example of the work of Jan Rutgers, who took care of the facades of the town hall so that it welcomes every visitor with dignity. And inside you’ll find an interesting tour and examples of unique paintings.
Brussels is a unique city
Brussels remains the most popular city in Belgium. Tourists find innovative ideas in cultural recreation here and don’t forget the ancient monuments. One of the most interesting sights of the capital was the Atomium – a huge construction, which is a crystal lattice of iron. The bright illumination at night creates a unique avant-garde image of the installation, but it is no less spectacular during the day.
On the Grand Square, listed as one of the most beautiful squares in the world, you can walk for hours. The square itself is surrounded by the town hall, built in the late Gothic style. Here you can also find the guild houses with facades decorated with gilding. Where else in the world can you find such Flemish Baroque buildings? Every visitor of the Belgian capital can take a walk in the Park of the 50th anniversary. It has very interesting sights. For example, the Royal Museum with works of art known throughout Europe, a separate museum dedicated to cars and the Museum of the armed forces.
In the Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudule, you can see an example of the combination of early and late Gothic. The majestic cathedral is over 100 meters long and is complemented by two tall towers. In the cathedral you can visit the collection of Nicolas Rombu, who painted many pictures.
Brussels residents consider the Royal Domain to be the most grandiose attraction of their city. It really can be ranked among the top most beautiful places in Belgium. The Royal Domain is a park with the famous Villa Belvedere, the Royal Terraces, the Palace, the Chinese Pavilion and the Japanese Tower. Let us focus separately on the palace. It is located opposite another palace called the Palace of Nations. If you intend to visit this place, you should come at the end of July. The palace will be open until early September.
Back to the Atomium. Near this attraction, discussed above, there is a park with a little Europe, as well as lots of rides. That’s why local guidebooks recommend going here with kids. A tour of the park will be informative and interesting.
Rochefort, one of the main tourist centers in Belgium
Rochefort is located in the picturesque province of Namur. The city has become popular among tourists who love medieval sites. There are few of them, but all preserved almost in pristine condition. Moreover, in Rochefort you can visit places where there are not medieval, but old houses next to beautiful new buildings.
The most popular attraction of the city is the cave of An-sur-Les. From all over the world millions of people come to this cave, because it is at the top of the rating of the most beautiful cave complexes in the world. For an hour and a half you can take a ride on the tourist streetcar, which goes around the entire province of Namur. There is another interesting attraction – the Castle of Lavaux-Saint-Ann. This diamond-shaped castle has massive towers. It was erected in the 14th century, with a moat dug around the castle. Each tower has a unique tour. For example, the central one has loopholes. The most interesting phenomenon is the acoustics of the halls, which allows you to create a crowd effect of just three people if they start talking at the same time.
Ghent – City of beautiful castles and squares
Looking for a truly unique city? Ghent is ideal! It’s considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Every street in this city is worthy to be depicted in a picture. Photographers spend hours walking around Ghent, admiring the Grasleys promenade. It is worth a visit in the first place. The uniqueness of the waterfront is in the location. Grasleigh is located in the medieval port. Along the waterfront are the guild houses. There are many cafes, but you can sit right on the shore along with a glass of wine.
If you’re crazy about contemporary art, visit the S.M.A.K. Museum. It has pop art and minimalist works collected since the end of World War II. The Freidachmarkt square is an iconic place in Ghent. Guilds regularly clashed there, which often ended in bloodshed.
The Castle Gravensten is almost completely preserved in its original form. Its most interesting elements are the gates, walls and stables. The castle is over 800 years old and is considered one of the most important for the whole of Flanders. The royal families living in Gravensten ruled the region from here.
The church of St. Nicholas is also ranked as a medieval building. The date of its foundation is considered to be the 13th century. The lantern tower, located in the immediate vicinity of the church, creates a special illumination around it. The famous Ghent tower row, including the Cathedral of St. Bavon, the Belfort Bell Tower of St. Nicholas are located here. By the way, the Belfort Bell Tower is often seen on posters in Belgium, and this is no coincidence, because at the end of the last century it was listed as a world heritage site.
St. Bavon’s Cathedral is part of the bishopric of Ghent. It combines different architectural styles. Connoisseurs will guess Gothic, Baroque and Romanesque. The interior decoration of the cathedral is available to visit, any tourist can look at the “Adoration of the Lamb of God”, which is considered the best creation among the Flemish artists of the 15th century.
In Ghent and museum lovers will find themselves. For them, the Museum of Fine Arts is always open. The magnificent collection of sculptures and paintings from the Middle Ages to the 20th century leaves no one indifferent.
It is easy to fall in love with Belgium. Its beautiful cities are always at the top of the list. You’ll find interesting tours, unique Belgian culture and delicious cuisine waiting for you almost everywhere. Not only tourists, but also locals love to enjoy fresh produce and admire the local beauties. Do not miss the chance to see one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
The 10 most beautiful cities in Belgium
Belgium has not only Brussels and Bruges to offer travelers, but also many picturesque small towns. This ranking of the 10 most beautiful cities in Belgium includes a number of really beautiful places. For example, the smallest city in the world, Durbuy, or the fairytale town of Dinant on the River Meuse.
Dinant is one of the most beautiful towns in the Belgian region of Wallonia. Set in a winding river valley, the town with its fairy-tale medieval houses looks fantastic. The streets of Dinant right up to the rocky cliff along the banks of the river Meuse. The city is home to Belgium’s most famous beer, Leffe, as well as the birthplace of saxophone inventor Adolphe Sa.
The medieval port town of Damme is located on the outskirts of Bruges on the banks of the Damse Waart canal. The picturesque tree-lined canal flows through the city and out into the neighboring Netherlands. The ‘literary city’ Damm is home to a monthly book market and many bookstores. Among its famous residents is the 13th-century Flemish poet Jacob van Marlant, whose monument stands in the town square.
Nestled amongst the rolling hills and green forests of the Belgian Ardennes, Spa has been famous for its springs of warm spring water, whose healing powers have attracted visitors since the 1st century. Often called the Pearl of the Ardennes, Spa became a haven for intellectuals in the 19th century, with literary greats such as Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas. Thanks to such famous guests, the city earned the nickname ‘Café de l’Europe’.
The beautiful city of Bouillon is located on the banks of the river Semois, just a few kilometers from the French border. Bouillon is famous for its imposing castle on a rocky bend of the river overlooking the city. The castle traces its history back to the 8th century, when the first part was built. Other attractions include dozens of miles of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the lush forests of the Semoy Valley.
City of DeHaan.
Nicknamed one of Flanders’ most beautiful settlements, De Haan is the most picturesque town on the Belgian coast. Although parts of De Haan date back to the Middle Ages, most of the town was built in the late 19th century when King Leopold II decreed the construction of a spa town. The winding streets of De Haan are filled with beautiful Belle Epoque buildings, one of which the legendary Albert Einstein was born and lived in before emigrating to the United States.
Located in rural West Flanders, Verne is an idyllic little town whose beautiful buildings are a must-see attraction in Belgium for architecture lovers. The Grand Market on the town square is the main center of Vernet, where the town hall and other monuments are located. Behind the Grand Market is the pretty little Walburga Park and the impressive Late Medieval St. Walburga Church.
In the heart of Wallonia among the Belgian Ardennes lurks the smallest town in the world. Durbuy, with its charming architecture and weaving of cobbled streets, is also considered one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium. A stroll through its streets will take you to quaint stores and taste different Belgian beers. Above the banks of the River Urt towers the majestic 17th century Derbuy Castle. It is not only one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium, but also one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.
The idyllic medieval town of Rochefort on the banks of the Lomme River has retained much of its historic beauty and charm despite the many conflicts during the French Revolution and World War II. The Rue de Behogne is the site of most events in the city and leads to the ruins of Château Comtal, a medieval castle on top of a hill. Beer lovers will admire Rochefort’s rich brewing history. Beer has been brewed in this town since 1595, including the famous Trappist variety.
Not far from the German border is the beautiful Belgian town of Malmedy, which dates back to the early medieval period. Since then, the city has retained its charm and many historic buildings, including the beautiful Malmedy Cathedral from the 1770s. For centuries, it has hosted the four-day Cwarme Carnival Festival, one of Belgium’s most famous festivals. During this time, the city attracts thousands of tourists from all over Europe and other parts of the world.
The southernmost city of Torny has a much warmer climate than the northern areas of the country. The picturesque village with its winding streets and pretty buildings is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium. Torny is situated on the banks of a charming river, which gives it a romantic atmosphere.
Read on for more things to do and places to visit in Belgium. Share your impressions and leave feedback in the comments.