I’m happy to announce another guest post on this blog, this time by Elisabeth from CurlyGirlAbroad. Definitely check out her blog, and enjoy this great post about visiting Belgium!
Hi I’m Elisabeth, writer of the blog CurlyGirlAbroad. (www.curlygirlabroad.wordpress.com) I’ve been asked if I wanted to do a guest post about Belgium, the country where I was born and raised. I’m hoping that people can see that Belgium has more to offer than chocolate and waffles, and that it’s a great travel destination! Here are five places to visit in Belgium:
For me, this is the prettiest city in Belgium. It’s not crowded with tourists like Bruges is. The center offers beautiful medieval architecture, a bonus (or for me at least), it’s also car free!
One of the city’s highlights is the Saint Bavo Cathedral with the beautiful Ghent Altarpiece. There is also a castle located in the city, t’Gravensteen, which is worth a visit.
Ghent has three béguinages, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. In July you have a festival named ‘Gentse Feesten’, I would recommend you to experience the city during this festival.
Probably the most famous and popular, but for a reason, is Bruges. Called ‘the Venice of the north’. Also here, the center is World Heritage site of UNESCO. The landmark of Bruges is the belfry, which dates back from the 13th century.
You should also stop by: the béguinage (my favorite!), the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a boat tour on the canals, Minnewaterpark, and the Groeningemuseum.
Brussels, heart of Europe, is the capital of Belgium. I feel like this is also the perfect place to start if you want to explore Belgium. Almost every train in the country will stop in Brussels, which means you can easily get anywhere. I will try to say very shortly what Brussels has to offer.
What you definitely need to see is the Grand Place. This central market square dates back from the 13th century. The square surrounds you by beautiful guild houses. Every two years, in August, they set up a flower carpet for a few days.
The Town Hall is definitely an eye catcher. The façade of this medieval building with many statues which represent nobles, saints etc. There is quit a sad story that is being told about the architect of this building. If you stand in front of it you’ll notice that the tower (which is 96 meters high, 315ft) isn’t located in the middle. The story goes that the architect was so sad that the tower was standing more towards the right instead of in the middle, that he threw himself of the tower. Of course this is a story, I guess we’ll never be sure if it’s right or not. The Grand Place is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
My personal favorites: The Palace of Justice, the Art Mountain and the Green Walk. The Palace of Justice is immense. From here you also have a beautiful view on the lower city. Do not forget to take a look inside!
The Art Mountain will offer you the Music Instruments Museum, Bozar, René Magritte Museum, The Royal Museums of Fine Arts, St. Jacobs-church, the ancient palace Coudenberg and Museum Belvue.
The green walk will show you a different side of Brussels, the green side! It takes you all the way around Brussels. Some parts are prettier than others. Tip: pass along the Sonian Forest, the Atomium and Rouge-Cloître Abbey.
Antwerp is a very vibrant and fashionable city. Famous for its designers ‘The Antwerp Six’ and diamonds. But Antwerp also has many historic buildings, a beautiful train station, the second biggest harbor of Europe…
My favorite spot: The House of Rubens!
Difficult to only pick five things (I am terrible at making choices). But, my number five is Dinant. Challenge yourself to climb all the way to the citadel, enjoy the river by taking a stroll, or go hike in nature.