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Things to do in Belgium

Things to do in  Belgium

Welcome to Belgium

Multicultural Belgium—the political center of Europe—is a small-but-important country that entices visitors with its specialty beers, tantalizing chocolate, and myriad waffles, along with an equally rich history. Belgium's location, squished between Germany and France, give it an often-outsized historical importance, with World War I and II having left notable marks; day tours from the capital make stops at historic sites related to the well-known Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Waterloo. Brussels itself boasts a warren of medieval architecture, the Houses of Parliament, and plenty of that renowned Belgian beer and chocolate that you won't want to leave without sampling. Head just an hour outside the capital, though, and big city life fades away in favor of the picturesque fields of Flanders, and secondary cities such as Antwerp and Bruges. Visitors can easily see one or both in a single day with the help of a guided tour. Antwerp's beautiful port and majestic town square open to reveal celebrated art by Rubens and the intense center of the diamond industry. Meanwhile, Bruges' quaint serenity creates a timeless fairy-tale scene where travelers can step back a few centuries via canal cruises or walking tours through the town.

Top 10 attractions in Belgium

#1
Minnewater (Lake of Love)

Minnewater (Lake of Love)

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Surrounded by a park that’s long been known as a romantic place for a stroll, Minnewater—also known as the Lake of Love—is a great place for anyone looking for some quiet time in nature. Swans are a common site on the lake, and the traditional Belgian brick houses around it make the park particularly photogenic.More
#2
Gravensteen Castle (Castle of the Counts)

Gravensteen Castle (Castle of the Counts)

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One of Belgium’s best-preserved medieval fortresses, Gravensteen Castle (also known as the Castle of the Counts) boasts thick stone walls, crenellated towers, and a history laced with intrigue and torture. Today, the landmark is a historical gem in the heart of Ghent; stop by to learn its often dark history firsthand.More
#3
Menin Gate Memorial (Ypres Memorial)

Menin Gate Memorial (Ypres Memorial)

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One of Europe’s major World War I landmarks, the Menin Gate Memorial (sometimes known as the Ypres Memorial) commemorates more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth troops who perished in the Flanders region. Many of these soldiers were never formally buried, and their names are inscribed on the historic gate in a lasting tribute.More
#4
Graslei and Korenlei

Graslei and Korenlei

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The medieval quays of Graslei and Korenlei face each other across the canalized River Leie and originally formed part of Tusschen Brugghen, the city’s thriving harbour. Their banks are lined with a rare architectural treat – the loveliest gabled guild houses and warehouses in Belgium, built between the 1200s and 1600s by rich merchants and guilds whose wealth came from trade. The streets are united by St Michael’s Bridge, from where their gabled delights can be seen at best advantage, and although considerable restoration work has taken place, these distinctive townhouses have maintained their allure.Graslei is lined by canal-side restaurants blessed with a graceful backdrop of gabled gild houses; the oldest is the Het Spijker (Stockpile House) at no. 10; other ornate façades once contained the guild houses of the stonemasons, the free boatmen and the grain measurers as well as the former customs house. Across the river from Graslei, Korenlei offers many surprises of its own, including imposing step-gabled, red-brick 16th-century houses. No. 9 is of particular interest for the gilded swans adorning the facade; in its time De Swaene has been both a brewery and a bordello. The pink-and-white Gildehuis van de Onvrije Schippers (Guild House of the Tied Boatmen) dates from 1739 and is a masterpiece of Flemish Baroque architecture.By day, tour boats leave from the quays of Graslei and Korenlei; after dark the district morphs into party central and restaurants, cafés and bars sprout along the quaysides.More
#5
In Flanders Fields Museum

In Flanders Fields Museum

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The In Flanders Fields Museum is a World War I museum is located in a famous cloth hall in the center of Ypres, Belgium. The major theme of the museum is the consequences of war. Mirrors are used to inspire visitors to examine how we look at the past, how and why we remember, and how we view the nations involved in World War I. The museum encourages visitors to reflect on the major historical events as well as the personal stories of individuals. Visitors will learn about how the war affected the lives of thousands of people of different nationalities who were involved in the war. The museum also has a heavy focus on how the war affected West Flanders and the city of Ypres.Visitors receive a poppy bracelet for a one euro deposit when they enter the museum. The bracelet has a microchip in it which tells the stories of four individuals, in the language you choose, as you walk through the exhibits in the museum. You can also climb 231 steps to the top of the bell tower for views of the city and the Ypres Salient battlefields.More
#6
Market Square (Markt)

Market Square (Markt)

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The medieval-style Markt (Market Square) is the setting for Bruges’ most photogenic landmarks, including the belfry (Belfort) and the Provinciaal Hof. At its center stands a statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who played leading roles in the Flemish resistance against the French in the 1302 Battle of the Golden Spurs.More
#7
Grand-Place (Grote Markt)

Grand-Place (Grote Markt)

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Arguably Europe’s most beautiful square, Brussels’ Grand Place—in the heart of the historic and hip city—is surrounded by nearly 40 baroque and gothic guildhalls and the stunning Brussels Town Hall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the large cobblestone square, also known as Grote Markt, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belgium.More
#8
Bastogne War Museum

Bastogne War Museum

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The Ardennes town of Bastogne is a Walloon town in southern Belgium and it was the site of one of World War II’s most notorious struggles, the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Most of the town’s attractions relate to this landmark battle, including the star-shaped Mardasson American War Memorial; the Wood of Peace, where 4,000 trees were planted on the 50th anniversary of the battle; and the Sherman tank that belonged to the US Army’s 11th Division. Opened in 2014 and housed in a striking contemporary building whose roof echoes the shape of the Mardasson memorial, the Bastogne War Museum relates the backstory of the build-up to World War II, from the US stock market crash in 1929 that heralded economic depression across the world, to the emergence of Nazi fanaticism in Germany. A collection of modern, interactive exhibits pays homage to the 76,890 US soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge through a series of personal testimonies, displays of uniforms, maps and weaponry, and graphic black-and-white footage of the battle’s aftermath. Vivid interactive displays allow visitors to experience machine-gun bombardment in a Bastogne café and gunfire in a mortar emplacement.More
#9
Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk)

Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk)

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The brick spire of the Church of Our Lady is visible across the city. Home to several important artworks, including Michelangelo’s marble Madonna and Child, the restored interior of the church is a must-visit for fans of European architecture.More
#10
Hill 60

Hill 60

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Hill 60 was a World War I battlefield in the Ypres Salent battlegrounds of Flanders named for its height at 60 meters (197 feet) above sea level. It was the site of intense fighting between British and German troops in April and May 1915. The British attack on April 17, 1915, began with the explosion of three mines which blew the top off the hill. Hundreds of soldiers died, and because of the continued fighting in this area, it was not possible to identify or even recover many of the bodies. Tunneling and mining operations were carried out here throughout the war by French, British, Australian and German troops. If tunnels caved in, soldiers who died underground were often left behind because of the difficulty of retrieving them. The remains of many soldiers from both sides of the war are still at this site.At Hill 60 is a memorial to the 1st Australian Tunneling Company. Its plaque has bullet holes from World War II when this area was briefly fought over again. Near this memorial is the 14th Light Division Memorial. The site also holds the remains of several concrete bunkers which were used by both sides. Several other memorials and monuments are located at Hill 60 to honor soldiers who fought here during World War I.More

Top activities in Belgium


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