The Ultimate Belgium Guide

In our last blog post (Make the Best of Your Eurail Benelux Pass) we told you which cities to visit in Benelux. Now let’s go into more detail and we are starting off with Belgium!

Where to stay?

GHENT

 

 

When travelling to Belgium, many people tend to overlook this beautiful city. It’s a shame because it’s the perfect city to simply walk around and get lost in. Some people say that Ghent is the more authentic version of Bruges. There are great restaurants, hotels and bars without all the crowds that you will find in downtown Brussels. Accommodation on average will also be cheaper. Lastly, Ghent is a small train ride away from all the big cities in Belgium.

How to get there?

When landing in Belgium, follow the signs for the train station. You will find the train station below the terminal (Basement level-1). The train ride to Ghent takes about 1 hour with a change at Brussel-Zuid.

What to do?

  • St. Michael’s Church A beautiful Gothic style Roman Catholic Church.
  • St. Nicholas’ Church One of Ghent’s oldest churches. It is unique due to the tower that is not above the entrance. 
  • Belfry To see Ghent from above.
  • The City Pavilion Go visit and make your own opinion about this unusual building.
  • Graslei & Korenlei The most beautiful place in the whole city.
  • Gravensteen (Castle of Counts) A castle with an interesting past. From a count’s home to the Highest Court where victims would be tortured for a confession.
  • Take a guided boat tour The best way to experience a city is through the water.
  • Visit during the Gentse Feesten The whole city turns into a music and theater festival from mid-July until the end of the month. All shows are free except for the shows presented in the side festivals.

BRUSSELS

 

 

Brussels is unavoidable when visiting Belgium. The capital has a lot to offer and there is always something happening. Depending on how long you are staying, Brussels can be visited in a day or two.

How to get there?

Go to Gent-St-Pieters and take the train to Brussel-Centraal. The train ride only takes 30 minutes.

What to do? 

  • The Grand Place UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • The Manneken Pis World known statue is located next to The Grand Place. The statue is dressed in different costumes depending on the week. If you want to see all the possible costumes go to the Broodhuis (located on The Grand Place) and see the exhibition.
  • Belgian Comic Strip Center Go visit the museum dedicated to comic strip art. It is a must if you spend a couple of days in Brussels.
  • The Atomium Go visit the building that was originally constructed for Expo 58. Today it is a museum.
  • The Mini-Europe Don’t have time to visit the whole continent? At the foot of The Atomium, you can see mini replicas of monuments found in about 80 European cities.
  • Eat a waffle
  • Take a beer tasting tour
  • Have a beer at Delirium Café This bar serves more than 3,000 beers.
  • Walk through Galeries Saint-Hubert This luxury shopping arcade is breathtaking. Simply walk through and be amazed by the architecture.

ANTWERP

 

 

Antwerp is Belgium’s second largest city. It is fashion central. This is where you will find the cool bars, the best brands and the diamond shops. Antwerp is definitely a must when travelling to Belgium. It’s the perfect mix between a cool and historical city vibe.

How to get there?

Go to Gent-St-Pieters and take the train to Antwerpen-Centraal. The train ride takes about an hour.

What to do?

  • Admire Antwerp’s Central Station One of the most beautiful train stations in the world.
  • Grote Markt The most iconic square of the city. This is where you will find City Hall, The Tourist Office and the fountain that represents the city’s iconic legend.
  • Groenplaats Another popular square. Surrounded by great restaurants, it is a great place to start your city visit.
  • Steen Castle The castle is a medieval fortress in the city’s old town. The castle was used as a prison for over 5 centuries.
  • St. Andrews Church Beautiful church in the middle of Antwerp’s Fashion District.
  • Relax in the Botanical Garden Hide away from all the shops and take a relaxing walk in this beautiful garden.
  • Go up and see the view at the MAS Want to know what Antwerp looks like from above? The Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) has a beautiful bird’s eye view from their roof. You don’t even need to pay to enter the museum. Just go up and enjoy.

BRUGES

 

Bruges is Belgium’s worst kept secret. It’s an amazing city where fairytales are born. The only downside is that the city is often filled with tourists. Our suggestion is to go during the week so you can avoid the weekend tourists. Even if it’s a popular destination, it’s a must. Bruges is absolutely stunning and you would be disappointed if you didn’t pass through.  Let’s not forget that Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

How to get there? 

Go to Gent-St-Pieters and take the train to Bruges. The train ride takes only 20 minutes.

What to do?

  • Guided boat tour Visiting Bruges by boat is by far our favourite way of seeing the city.
  • Rozenhoedkaai Go take a picture at the most photographed spot in the whole city.
  • Belfry Tower Walk up hundreds of steps to be rewarded with a stunning view.
  • Groeningemuseum Discover Flemish works of art from during and after The French Revolution.
  • Burg square An important square filled with important buildings including City Hall.
  • City Hall One of the oldest city halls in the Low Countries.

OSTEND

 

Feeling like seeing the sea for the day? Ostend is a great coastal city with a great mix of culture and beach.

How to get there?

Go to Gent-St-Pieters and take the train to Bruges. The train ride takes about 40 minutes.

What to do?

  • Take walks along the beach
  • Do the Marvin Gaye in Ostend Walk Learn all about the legend and how he created “Sexual Healing” in Belgium.
  • Digital city walk: Ostende during World War I
  • Eat mussels and shrimp croquettes
  • Sint-Petrus-en-Pauluskerk This is Ostend’s main church.
  • Atlantic Wall Museum An open air military museum where you will find a fortification wall dating from World War I and World War II. You can also find dozens of bunkers.

NAMUR

 

Namur is the capital of Wallonia. The best thing about Namur is its Citadel. You will feel engrossed by your surroundings.

How to get there?

Go to Gent-St-Pieters and take the train to Namur. The train ride takes about 2 hours.

What to do?

  • St Aubin’s Cathedral The only late Baroque style cathedral in Belgium
  • Namur Citadel A fortress from the Roman era
  • Rue de Fer The street where you will find everything you need in Namur
  • Central Old Town Discover the inner city

 

 

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This entry was posted by sara vanhandenhove on May 3rd, 2017, and is filed under Europe,Tips. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.
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