Belgium is one of the most prosperous European countries with excellent tourist services. The sights of Belgium are perfectly preserved medieval monuments, among which Gothic castles especially attract tourists. High standard of living in Belgium is directly reflected in the attitude of the state to the historical and cultural sites. It is possible to say that the cult of iconic objects of history prevails here. They are treated as a national treasure.
If you want a vacation to make a lasting impression, consider contacting the experts in excursions. Guides in Belgium are multilingual and responsible - all you have to do is tell them where you want to go, and the guide will make sure the trip goes perfectly.
Modern Belgium is of interest to many travelers. This is largely due to the medieval castles and squares that have been lucky enough to survive to this day. Asking yourself what to see in Belgium, do not forget about the Belfry Palace and Gall Tower. The Belgians consider the year 1040 to be the date of their construction, and the square in Bruges to be their location. The tower is visible from everywhere, compositionally it dominates the square.
The architectural monument refers to medieval objects. In earlier centuries it was nothing more than a covered marketplace. Trade was active here because many trade routes had always passed through Belgium. The realistic uniqueness of the medieval architecture can be felt here to the touch. The building is monumental and made of solid stone. Because of the modest color scheme, typical of the Middle Ages, the palace and bell tower look a bit gloomy.
The façades are mainly brown and beige, but on closer inspection tourists admire the architectural and decorative details on the walls of the ancient buildings. The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, traffic is prohibited on it.
Official website: https://www.visitbruges
The cathedral has a dedication. The structure was erected in honor of St. Bavon. It’s interesting for those who haven’t decided what to visit in Belgium. The construction work took a very long time, at different stages it was stopped and resumed again. It is believed that the year of construction of the cathedral is 1569. After the old abbey of St. Bavon was dissolved, the church became collegiate. This occurred after the rebellion against Charles 5. The diocese was founded later, in 1559. Tourists will be interested to know that it was in the church of St. Bavon that Charles 5 was baptized.
The Ghent altar is the treasury of the cathedral. Its architecture responds to a certain theme. It is based on the worship of a lamb. On the altar stands a defenseless and touching Lamb, bearing the symbol of Christ.
The work of Jan and Hubert van Eyck was successful, and the altar is considered a masterpiece of religious art. In its composition, in restrained shades found its reflection of the work of the Northern Renaissance.
Official website: http://www.sintbaafskathedraal
The museum recreates the atmosphere of front-line Ypres. Renovated in 2012, the museum exposition contains authentic documents and attributes of the time. Here you can see maps, weapons, uniforms and personal belongings of soldiers.
The organizers used interactive technology, including sound systems, touch screens and video projection facilities. Software was provided by OCULAR.
The bloody battle of World War I at Ypres is presented to visitors on a relief interactive map. In doing so, the image is augmented by the stories of doctors, soldiers, nurses and priests. True stories of personal tragedies are presented in interactive kiosks.
John McCrae’s poem “In the Fields of Flanders” is dedicated to the tragedy of World War I. It commemorates the memory of A. Helmer, who died during the battle of Ypres. The poem is relevant to modern history with the sad image of the red poppy, which is seen as a symbol of burning sorrow for all those killed in military conflicts.
Official website: http://www.inflandersfields
The castle became a model of fortification construction. It was erected in the 9th century during the reign of Count Baudouiné I of the Iron Hand. The functional purpose of the defensive construction was to protect against the Vikings, who were famous for their discipline and extreme cruelty. In the 10th century the fortress was rebuilt by order of Count Arnulf I. The construction material was wood.
All fortifications were erected around the main building, located on a hill. Over the centuries, the castle underwent numerous modernizations. In the 12th century, at the command of Count Robert I of Frisia the tower was rebuilt. The new architects arranged the three-storey building, which included luxurious halls with stone stairways. A distinctive feature of this tower was the presence of restrooms and stoves. It was accessible only to the most wealthy owners.
The castle retained its administrative function throughout all subsequent centuries. In the twentieth century it became one of the main attractions of Belgium. The 800th anniversary of the castle was celebrated in 1980.
Official website: https://gravensteen.stad.gent
The monument was built in the 12th century. It is the oldest structure that has been preserved for posterity in almost pristine condition. According to the tradition of that time, the monument is located on the market square. The chapel has two floors, and their architectural execution is different. The lower level reflects the Romanesque style.
The upper part looks more like a fortification, with loophole windows, rounded columns and high pointed towers. The Chapel completes the attractions of Belgium and is direct proof of the careful attitude of the modern authorities towards historical monuments. The facades could be described as ascetic were it not for the exquisite ornamentation in the stone and the beautiful stone lattices on the oval windows.
The metal decorative elements of the upper level give the impression of flying lace. They somewhat smooth out the heavy visual perception of the medieval structure. The courtyard is paved with stone. The rumbling echo of footsteps in it remains as resounding as in former times.
Official website: http://www.holyblood
If you’re wondering what to visit in Belgium, consider the Maas Valley. The journey along the river promises to be really interesting. Here you can admire the ancient limestone, which rises almost vertically above the fast river. Dense forests and plains have become a haven for small, cozy villages. The Maas Valley has many hiking trails.
In addition to hiking trails, you can choose to ride a bicycle. Along the bike trails you can see many of Belgium’s landmarks. There are many beautiful citadels on top of the limestone cliffs, about which the tour guides speak passionately. The waterfront itself is organized according to the architecture of European towns. It is impeccably clean, the sidewalk is not just cleaned, but washed daily with special shampoos.
Ecological purity is felt in the special freshness of the air and transparency of the river. The buildings on the embankment have no more than 5 floors. These are compact and very comfortable buildings, among which there are hotel lodges with excellent service.
The Grand Place remembers the noise of the market trade. It was laid out in the 13th century, and its purpose was to provide comfortable trade for wealthy merchants. Market rows were arranged all around the perimeter of the square. In modern parlance, the square had a large carrying capacity. It was paved with solid paving stones, which could easily withstand the highest mechanical loads.
Besides trading rows, knightly tournaments were also held on the square. Show trials were also held here. The square corresponds to the Gothic style. The buildings that surround its perimeter have stylish columns and lattice windows on their facades. Each building is crowned with a pointed tower or cupola, in keeping with Gothic tradition. Grand Place should be visited by everyone who is interested in sightseeing in Belgium.
It is interesting that in Belgium there is an original and beautiful custom to decorate the Grand Place with a carpet of flowers every even numbered year. To look at this fascinating spectacle tourists come from all over the world. The old buildings surrounding the square are so beloved in Belgium that they were given their own separate names: the Wolfman, the Trolley, the Fox.
Grand Place, like any structure of the Middle Ages, has more than once withstood the attacks of enemies. In 1695, for example, the square was besieged by French troops, who thoroughly destroyed it. But over time, artistic carvings, statuettes and garlands of stones reappeared on the buildings surrounding the square. The square is now protected by the state.
The cozy and clean town is located 20 kilometers from the border with France. The city is called a university town, it does not have impressive medieval castles and paved squares. For tourists Mons is interesting with its old buildings and a special European coziness. The city has a main historical symbol - the Baroque bell tower, which rises to 80 meters. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that in all Europe it is the only bell tower made in Baroque style.
It has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you have not decided what to see in Belgium, think of this small town. Of other attractions, you can visit the modern museums WAM and Pass. Here you can learn about the features of the exhibits, the geographical location of the city and its modern development.
The sights of Belgium would be incomplete without a visit to St. Peter’s Church. According to legend, the church was built on the site of a wooden church that was built in 987. When the church was rebuilt after a fire in the 12th century, it retained its Romanesque architectural style. But now it is made of stone. Its prototype is the Basilica of Our Lady in Maastricht.
Over time, the architectural style began to change actively. Belgium often used the Gothic trend in the creation of religious buildings. St. Peter’s Church was no exception.
Ancient architects had planned a 70-meter tower, but the plan was not fated to come true. The thing is that in this place soils are unstable, which could hardly withstand such a massive construction.
In our time, destructive wars (World War I and World War II) have had their devastating effect. St. Peter’s Church was destroyed almost to the ground, but every time it was reborn even more beautiful.
Tourists will be interested to see in Belgium the famous work “The Last Supper” by Dirk Bauts. In addition to this masterpiece, there are works by artists of the 15th century. The guides in Belgium pay special attention not only to the external composition of the church, but also to its interior decoration. The church is decorated in the classical Gothic traditions. It causes invariable interest of tourists.
The municipality of Waterloo can be fully attributed to the attractions of Belgium. The city is 15 km from Brussels, and almost half of its population is made up of foreigners. What is interesting for tourists of Waterloo? Of course, the legendary Battle of Waterloo when Napoleon was crushed by the 7th coalition, led by the Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal Blücher.
The stone lion, facing France on a massive pedestal, is the memory of that bloody battle. The monument was erected by order of the King of the Netherlands. The king dedicated the monument to his son, the Prince of Orange. The prince was wounded during that battle, but doctors managed to save his life. In addition, Waterloo has a rich Wellington Museum and the beautiful Catholic Church of St. Joseph. There is a legend that Wellington won the battle because of his long prayers in this church before the battle.
It is obvious that there is something to see for every category of tourists, from families with children and pensioners to young people and those who want to explore the local culture more deeply.The acquaintance with this amazing country is worth continuing by going on excursions in Belgium to the following tourist sites.
What to see in Belgium? Everyone chooses a trip according to his or her own preferences. Some are attracted by the bustling cities, some are fans of medieval castles. There are also travelers who are interested only in museums and only from a scientific point of view. In contrast to the tourist routes through capitals and luxury hotels, the Semua Valley invites those who appreciate the pristine beauty of nature.
Most of the time there are guided walking tours in the valley, with professional guides who can tell you about the peculiarities of the area in a passionate way. But just as interesting will be a trip on the river by boat. The scenery surrounding the travelers can be called divine. The gentle green banks and silk grass of the valley leave a lasting impression on tourists. The valley is especially beautiful in spring, when there are so many beautiful wildflowers in bloom.
Notre Dame Cathedral is known to anyone interested in sightseeing in Belgium. Currently, the cathedral is the residence of the bishop. Notre Dame is an iconic architectural and religious site in Europe. The Romanesque architecture characteristic of the cathedral can be traced in the pointed towers and the ascetic gray tones of the facade.
The building is 58 meters high and 36 meters wide. The reason for the creation of Notre Dame was a fire in the 12th century, which destroyed the bishop’s church complex.
The main building of the cathedral was erected in 1191. The ancillary rooms, towers and choirs were added along with it. Later Bishop Gautier de Marvy ordered to rebuild the religious building in accordance with Gothic style canons. Notre Dame in its present form was finally completed in 1325, when two more side chapels were added.
Belgians are hard hit by a major robbery in 2008 when more than 10 religious objects were stolen from the cathedral. Among them were two bishop’s rings and eight bowls. Also missing were three crosses, one of which contained a piece of the Cross of Christ. Historians estimate the stolen valuables at 40 million euros. In 2000 the cathedral became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Notre Dame is a particular source of pride for Belgians.
The city of Liège is rightly considered the cultural capital of Belgium. During the Middle Ages there was a fierce struggle between nobility and clergy for Liège. It was a fight to the death, as the memories of the tragic events of 1312 bear witness. That year, supporters of the nobility were burned alive in the Church of St. Martin.
In addition to religious wars, Liège was shaken by economic and political upheavals. In the 15th century, the Netherlands tried to annex Liège several times, but the city bravely defended its independence. Charles the Bold twice raided the city. In 1468, Liège was almost destroyed because of this, but later rebuilt.
The 16th century is considered a golden time for the city. During the reign of Erar of the Lamarck family, the city developed a real cult of gunsmiths. It was also during this time that the city experienced the rise of steel centers. Contemporaneous historians believe that without the constant struggles between the city’s citizens and its bishops, Liège would have been the largest economic center in the country.
But the dominance of the bishops came to an end in 1789. From then on it became the administrative center. At the time of the French domination, the townspeople showed great strength in the fight for Belgian independence. You can say that it was Liège that became a stronghold of the guerrilla war of 1830. Choosing what to visit in Belgium, it makes sense to get acquainted with the heroic history of this glorious city.
The “Manneken-Pis” is a funny, ironic and touching statue in Brussels, near the Grand Place. The sculpture is a childish figure mounted on a pedestal. Historians found the first mention of such a statue in the fifteenth century or even earlier - at the end of the 14th century. According to legend, it has a reference to the events of the Grimbergen War.
The legend says that the cradle with the son of the ruler Gottfried III of Leuven was hanging on a tree, and the sight of the little boy, the future monarch, served as a kind of inspiration to the warriors. Legend has it that the boy urinated on the soldiers, transmitting his power to them.
Another legend has it that a certain boy extinguished the flames of enemy ammunition in such a simple way. The modern version was created by sculptor Jérôme Duquesnoy, who presented his amusing masterpiece to the city in 1619. There is an appealing power in this monument. Perhaps its charm lies in the many heroic tales that surround the boy?
This landmark in Belgium has been repeatedly attempted by looters. After the statue disappeared without a trace in 1960, a replica replaced it, and the event itself became the occasion for the feature film “Saïda a enlevé Manneken-Pis”.
Official website: https://www.brussels.be
Charleroi is one of the major cities of Belgium, 50 km from Brussels. It is a major air and rail hub of the country. The population is not large, just over 200 thousand people live here. The key direction of the economy is steel production. The city was founded in 1666.
At that time, the fortress of Charnois was erected on this site, later renamed at the behest of King Charles 2. Today the city is one of the five most beautiful cities in the country, which gives reason to rank it among the attractions of Belgium. It is interesting, that one of the stadiums of the city was used during the European Soccer Championship in 2000.
Antwerp is the second most famous Belgian city after Brussels, the birthplace of famous artists like Rubens and Van Dyck, the largest port and the place where historical and modern attractions meet. Antwerp is the center of diamond trade in Europe and it has its own diamond quarter, where there are lots of jewelry stores, workshops, commercial exchanges and a huge number of precious stones of different colors, shapes and sizes. But contrary to expectations, you won’t find any semblance of the golden land of Eldorado here- the neighborhood is occupied by ordinary, mostly residential buildings, and the jewelry shops huddle on the first floors.
A veritable treasure trove for visitors to Belgium is the capital city of Brussels. The pompous streets are occupied by monumental architectural creations - luxurious palaces, historical shopping galleries, and museums full of priceless artifacts. Among the city’s most iconic sites are Brussels City Hall, the Royal Palace, the Stock Exchange building, Notre Dame du Sablon Cathedral, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. A striking contrast to the Gothic, Empire and Baroque facades glimpsed everywhere is the modern monument of the molecule. It is the Atomium, a construction in the form of a model of a molecule enlarged billions of times. Giant atoms are connected by tubes, within which entire corridors run. The unusual monument was timed to coincide with the opening of the World Exhibition of Achievements.
Official website: http://www.atomium
While placing on its territories the most important attractions of Belgium, Brussels has not neglected the creativity of local talents. This includes the famous Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. The neoclassical building from 2009, located on the Royal Square, houses a permanent exhibition of more than two hundred of the artist’s works. Sketches, sculptures, photo experiments, short surrealist films and other works by the artist complement the collection of paintings in the most enigmatic surrealist style. The museum itself is officially part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts complex.
Official website: https://www.fine-arts-museum
If the question of what attractions are in the capital of Belgium is easy to find in any tourist guide, do not forget that there are other cities and districts in Belgium, worthy of attention. For example, in the small Belgian commune town of Ukkel not so long ago opened a training center for deep-sea swimming. It is unique in that within its walls is the deepest swimming pool in the world, which has a well depth of 35 meters. The pool is filled with 2.5 thousand cubic meters of fresh purified water, and its walls have numerous windows through which you can watch the swimmers at different depths. The complex was created not only to teach scuba diving, but also for recreation and filming.
Official website: http://www.nemo-33m
Among the other famous sites of Antwerp worth mentioning are the Cathedral of Our Lady of Antwerp with paintings of famous artists, the Museum of Fine Arts with works of local and European painters, the large city port and the railway station, recognized as one of the most important landmarks of the city. Antwerp Central was repeatedly ranked in the forefront of the most beautiful railway stations in the world. Its building, erected at the beginning of the last century, has an impressive facade similar to the facades of magnificent medieval palaces. The interior decoration is striking in its luxury and scale - the walls and ceiling are decorated with more than twenty kinds of marble and other precious stones.
The main tower of the city of Bruges, which has become its symbol, is a beautiful neo-Gothic structure in the center of the Market Square. The first bell tower on the site dates back to the 13th century, when it was used to monitor the approaches to the city. Since then, the tower was repeatedly erected, destroyed and restored again. Today on its bell tower there are 47 bells, which issue a beautiful sound through the carillon. Particularly intrepid travelers strive to climb the 366 steps to the top of the tower to enjoy panoramic views from the peak of the site. From here, the 83 meters high, the Netherlands can be seen especially well, because of the close proximity of the bell tower to the border with this country.
Asked what to see in Belgium in a week, it is worth making a plan of the most interesting tourist sites, not too distant from each other. For example, just 30 kilometers from the Belgian capital is a small and cozy town with nice colorful houses and paved streets. This is Leuven, located on the banks of the River Diehl - a world of noisy students, green squares and beautiful old buildings. The oldest and most prestigious university in the country is here, so tens of thousands of domestic and international students come to the city every year to study. The Leuven tourist office, which organizes walking tours around the city, the elegant stone and lace city hall, the Great Beguinage district with hundreds of unique old houses, and a beautiful botanical garden are among the places of interest of Leuven.
Official website: https://www.leuven
In the Belgian province of Namur you can visit a mysterious and enchanting natural monument, the karst cave of An-sur-Les, formed by the dissolution of limestone rocks by the waters of the River Forest. The river worked its way underground at a depth of about one kilometer and washed out an impressive cavity in the stony rock. To get inside the cave you can take a special sightseeing streetcar, running from the center of the village of the same name. Inside the cave is always high humidity and low temperature - about +13 degrees. The total length of the internal tunnels is more than 15 km. The hall of stalactites, called the “Minaret” deserves special attention. Vaults of the hall are full of stalactites and stalagmites, whose age reaches 12 thousand years!
Official site: http://www.grotte
Spring is the perfect time to travel through the Belgian countryside: optimum temperatures and sunny weather provide perfect conditions for tourism. When choosing what to see in Belgium in May, it is worth including a visit to Lake of Love in your trip plan. One of the most beautiful parks of Belgium - Minnuoter, which is especially transformed in spring, has an artificial lake, created in the 13th century as a reservoir. Once a port with access to the sea and the most important trade routes, it is now a great place for walks in May, when the young greenery pleases with its rich colors, and the air has a comfortable temperature. Since the 15th century, swans have been bred here, and even today they gradually swim through the quiet waters of the lake.
When choosing the attractions of Belgium for children, we recommend to pay attention to an interesting natural object - the Swan forest, located very close to the capital. This forest spreads over a small area of 40 square kilometers - an ideal place for walks with children, because here you can not just take a walk, but also meet some of the forest inhabitants, such as squirrels, hares, different types of birds. You can also go horseback riding, have a picnic outdoors, play soccer, basketball, Frisbee, badminton, and other sports games in the territory of the sports school located here. In addition, the wooded area has a large and clean lake where you can fish. You can get to the forest from the city by subway.