Without a doubt, the “flat country” is not a dull land! Visiting Belgium means discovering sublime places, of which here is an overview.
“With the North Sea for the last vacant lot”, “Brussels, my beauty”… From Jacques Brel to Dick Annegarn then Angèle, many artists have sung their love for Belgium. It must be said that this small country has an identity all its own, and infinitely rich. This is rooted in a mosaic of cultures, a complex history, but also a creativity and an art of living apart.
Belgium is both the splendor of the Flemish cities and the melancholy of the North Sea. It is the beating heart of the European Union, and the kingdom of comics and alternative arts. It is the cheerfulness of the Brussels night and the tranquility of the small Walloon villages. And there is so much more.
You will understand that there is a lot to do in Belgium. But today we invite you to discover the most beautiful places in the country. Sometimes obvious, other times unknown, they will give all of you a glimpse of the richness and diversity of the territory.
1. The canals of Bruges
The Flemish city of Bruges is an interlacing of canals which have earned it its nickname “Venice of the North”. This is far from being usurped, because Bruges is a real nugget and undoubtedly one of the most romantic destinations in Europe.
Here, however, the atmosphere is decidedly northern. Along the water, we discover chiseled brick facades between which the needles of Gothic monuments emerge.
In fact, Bruges, a prosperous commercial city in the Middle Ages, also offers a grandiose heritage, classified by Unesco. So, during your stroll, do not miss to visit some treasures, such as the Beguinage or the belfry.
And to travel without leaving your sofa, follow in the footsteps of Colin Farell in the thriller Bons Kisses de Bruges . The atmosphere of the city after dark is particularly captivating.
2. The Grand-Place in Brussels
The Grand-Place in Brussels is a must-see on any visit to Belgium. Indeed, this huge central square is lined with buildings, each more splendid than the next. Different architectural styles coexist harmoniously, from Gothic to Baroque, and each facade amazes!
Today, this place which was a historic epicenter of the country and saw many festivals and tragedies take place is teeming with agitation. The Grand-Place is the highlight of any visit to the old town, which nevertheless has no shortage of treasures to offer.
And to discover it in an even more breathtaking light, choose the weekend of August 15 to visit Belgium. Indeed, the place is adorned for the occasion with an incredible carpet of flowers.
Now let’s move on to Wallonia to discover one of the most picturesque villages that you will be able to visit in Belgium: Dinant.
Clinging to the foot of a rock at the very edge of the Meuse, the town offers a postcard setting. Especially when the row of pretty facades, disturbed only by the elegant silhouette of the collegiate church, is reflected on the water … In addition to this charming setting, you can visit a beautiful cave, “La Merveilleuse”, as well as a imposing citadel.
4. Villers abbey
Villers Abbey is one of the most beautiful sites to visit in Belgium, but also one of the most unusual. Founded in 1146, this monastery located in the Brabant region has known sumptuous hours. But, abandoned after the French Revolution, it gradually fell into ruins. However, it is precisely this decadence that now makes all the beauty and singularity of the place.
Indeed, today, the majestic stone walls blend perfectly with the vegetation to form a unique decor. So, when you stroll there, you think you are immersed in a romantic novel, between spleen and sublime!
5. The Bokrijk water cycle path
Do not be surprised to see a cycle path appear in this ranking of the most beautiful places to visit in Belgium. Indeed, that of Bokrijk is nothing ordinary, with its air of ribbon floating on the surface of a pond. By borrowing it, you will have the impression of cutting through peaceful waters, like a modern-day Moses.
In addition, take the time, by the way, to stroll in the area of Bokrijk, which is a true haven of peace. This natural park is also an open-air museum, which traces the life of the traditional Flemish countryside.
6. Leuven Town Hall
Less touristy than Bruges and more peaceful than Brussels, Louvain is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Belgium. It is in particular its breathtaking Town Hall that we invite you to discover.
This Gothic pearl is adorned from head to toe with stone ornaments, and no less than 236 statues! It proudly sits on a large square in the heart of the historic center, which also has many other assets.
7. The giant’s tomb
Now let’s head for one of the most beautiful natural panoramas to see in Belgium. To discover it, you will have to reach the Botassart viewpoint, next to the village of the same name. From there, an astonishing valley awaits you.
At its heart, the river forms a loop that embraces a wooded hill. It is this astonishing bushy dome that we nickname “the giant’s tomb”, and you will easily guess why!
If you like unspoiled places, Lissewege will be a lovely change of scenery to do in Belgium. Indeed, this small village today attached to Bruges seems straight out of another time.
Its small white houses with tiled roofs, aligned along a peaceful and flowery canal, are as picturesque as you want. Take time for a coffee on the terrace of a tavern to fully appreciate the charm of Lissewege!
9. The historic center of Ghent
It is difficult to choose only a few cities to present to you, as Belgium is full of flamboyant cities. But Ghent has a special place in our hearts! From its sumptuous past, the city has kept a host of remarkable monuments and elegant houses.
In addition, it also knows how to play the card of charm, with its canals and cobbled streets. Finally, the historic heart of this great student city vibrates with a particularly lively atmosphere.
10. The High Fens
The Hautes Fagnes are perhaps the prettiest nature reserve to visit in Belgium. Moreover, in this natural park stands proudly the (small) highest point of the Benelux , 649 meters high !
Between woods and hills, the Hautes Fagnes offer varied landscapes in which to stroll. But the most singular are its immense peat bogs, among the largest in Europe.
11. The invisible church of Looz
Jacques Brel sang about his “flat country” that he had “cathedrals for unique mountains”. However, in Looz, nature meets religious architecture in a disturbing landscape.
Standing on green meadows, the church of Looz is one of the most impressive trompe-l’oeil you will ever see. Its aerial structure is made up of floating lines that fade or meet depending on the angle from which you observe them. The discovery of this poetic and playful work is perhaps the best unusual walk to do in Belgium!
12. The Zwin
The Zwin is a nature reserve located on the border between Belgium and the Netherlands. Although today silted up, it corresponds to an old arm of the sea and has retained a certain humidity. It is therefore a marshy area that looks like a peat bog that we invite you to discover.
Beneath its modest appearance, it becomes magical on days when a beautiful light cradles the yellowed grass and the bluish meanders. In addition, its unique biotope makes a paradise for birds, which you will have plenty of time to observe!
13. The northern beaches
Cradled by the winds, lined with elegant resorts or austere buildings, the beaches of Belgium have a unique melancholy charm. Here, the decor is not garish, the water is tinged with emerald and the spray tickles the clouds.
Everything invites you to dream, to the point that you may find yourself wandering. And then to find, like Alain Bashung, that “memories make floating islands in Ostend”.
14. The Sahara of Lommel
Who would have believed it: you can visit a small Sahara in Belgium! It is in any case the nickname given to the expanses of sand of Lommel. But these pretty dunes, far from being arid, are adorned with conifers or strips of moor, and give way to small ponds.
In addition, in this miniature desert, you will perhaps discover some works of land art in total harmony with the landscape.
15. The Atomium and the park of Laeken
Symbol of Brussels, the Atomium marks the Belgian landscape with its eccentric silhouette. This extraordinary work will delight lovers of spectacular architecture!
In addition, it is located at the entrance to the park of Laeken, a beautiful and large English garden. And this park shelters, among other pearls, the royal castle of Laeken and its superb greenhouses.
16. The Waterloo Monument
Certainly, the Waterloo mound (also called the Lion’s Mound) will especially appeal to people sensitive to the charm of desolate landscapes. But this imposing mound topped with a lion statue is undoubtedly an impressive monument.
Of course, the legend of the battle helps to make the place gripping. And at sunset, it takes on a certain poetry. So, for all these reasons, this memorial site is one of the places to visit in Belgium!
A country of many-sided contrasts, Belgium knows how to be as warm as it is melancholy. Thus, its most beautiful sites oscillate between pomp and splendor, or poetry and gentleness. One thing is certain, in any case: you will love to visit Belgium!