I first went to Belgium as a child, but don't remember much about it. In college, I did a summer abroad program and spent a few wonderful days in Brussels. It was at the end of our trip and we had been backpacking around Europe for two weeks. We were grungy and ragged and our program checked us into a fancy hotel while we waited for our return flight home. I'm sure the hotel staff wasn't thrilled to have a bunch of tattered college students running around their hotel, but they were all kind and helpful. We spent a couple of days exploring the city and visiting some of the beautiful flower markets. I wish we had been able to visit Bruges, Ghent, and some of the other beautiful towns.
Even with Belgium's smaller size, the nation is jam-packed with things to do and see. There are a ton of historic sites and exciting attractions. So, where should you even begin to explore once you arrive? No matter what kind of exploration you seek, Belgium has it. Here are some of the best and most popular places to visit…
1. Grand Place, Brussels. Beautiful architecture and historical sites, encompass Grand Place. The busy square is where you'll find access to many of the attractions. Hint: go on the balcony of town hall to get the most magnificent view of the town. This was one of my favorite spots in the city.
2. The Battlefields of Flanders. Historically significant, The Battlefield of Flanders is a must-see. Walk among the thousands of tombstones and endless cemeteries to pay your respect to the fallen soldiers.
3. The Canals and Belfry of Bruges. Travel by canal or walkthrough Bruges to take in its magnificence. Take pleasure in the charming bridges and hidden gardens.
4. Ghent's Gravensteen and Old Town. This monumental fort once homed the counts of Flanders. This moated fortress is one of the last of its kind. You can't miss the opportunity to explore its massive stone walls while it still stands strong.
5. Horta Museum and Town Houses. As one of Victor Horta's surviving buildings from the early 20th century, you must take the time to visit. Check out the original stained glass mosaics, meticulous woodwork, and detailed decorations.
6. Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Ghent. This Gothic and Romanesque structure is one to behold. Its beauty makes it one of the most significant tourist attractions.
7. Basilica of the Holy Blood, Bruges. The Cathedral of Saint Bravo may be breathtaking, but if there is one church that you intend to visit, make it the Basilica of Holy Blood. Why is that? Well, this stunning church holds a truly influential religious history.
8. Grand Place, Antwerp. Also known as the Grote Markt, you can expect to see some of Belgium's most significant examples of guild house architecture. Visit the 16th century Town Hall as well as the Coopers' House and Grocers' House.
9. Meuse Valley. In the south part of the nation is where you can indulge in Belgium's peaceful countryside. Meuse Valley sits along a beautiful river that captures the country's thick forests, old-fashioned towns, limestone cliffs, and other natural sites.
10. Mons Old Town. This town is fun to explore. See ornate, architecturally detailed structures as you make your way through the center of town. There are many opportunities for sightseeing so take advantage of them.
Belgium is a wonderful place to getaway. It will encourage you to create memories you won't ever forget. So, get ready to plan your trip and contact me for more information. Together, we will design the perfect itinerary for your visit to one of the world's most beautiful countries.