Best things to do in Belgium
Find out more about those top places in Belgium
One of the easiest cities to fall in love is Brussels, the official capital of Belgium. Brussels is located in the central portion of the country and has a mix of French and Flemish communities. It is the largest city in Belgium with a population of about 1.2 million.
Like most European cities Brussels is very welcoming to tourists and there are many places to explore such as the iconic Atomium, the Royal museums of Arts, Basilica of Sacred Arts and Autoworld. A visit to Brussels is definitely worth making for anyone seeking to explore Europe.
The Atomium is a historical landmark built as the main pavilion and icon for the 1958 world’s fair of Brussels. Located in Heysel Park in the west of the city, it was designed by architects Andre and Jean Polak and engineer Andre Waterkeyn. The atomium, which stands 102 m tall, is an accurate depiction of an iron molecule when enlarged 165 billion times. Tourist are allowed to go to the top of the monument for a quick view.
Established in 1803, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts are a group of art museums dedicated to display the works of past and present Belgium artists. The museums contain over 20,000 sculptures, paintings and drawings that date as far back as the 15th century. The Royal Museums of Fine Arts are Oldmasters Museum, Magritte Museum, Fin-de Siècle Museum, Wiertz Museum and Meunier Museum.
Known as the official residence of the King and Queen of Belgium, it is a stunning neoclassical architectural masterpiece. Completed in 1934, it was the vision of King Leopold II and was built on the grounds where the Coudenberg Palace was located. Although the official resident of the monarchs, the King and Queen usually prefer to stay at their home in Laeken, the palace is open to tourist during the summer months.
One fun fact to note is that the Royal Palace of Brussels is that it has a facade 50% longer than that of the Buckingham Palace.
Situated in the Southern hall of the Cinquantenaire Park is Autoworld. It is a haven for all vintage car lovers. The museum holds over 250 vintage cars of different shapes and sizes mostly from the 19th century. Visitors can partake in some interactive games and watch the restoration of the cars in the museum on specific days. Some cars displayed include a 1907 Model K Cadillac and a 1911 Model K Cadillac.
The church dedicated to the sacred heart, was completed in 1970 having survived two world wars. Basilica of Sacred Heart is the fifth largest in the world, with a length of 165 meters and width of 107 meters. Designed by architect Albert Van Huffel it can accommodate 3500 worshipers and it is known for it's 8 stained glasses depicting the Life of Jesus.
If there is anything the Belgians are famous for it is their beer, they are responsible from some of the best beer brewing styles and traditions. A typical visit to any part of Belgium is incomplete without trying out the beer of that region and Brussels is no different. There are various types to choose from such as Trappist beers, Wheat beers, Bock and Lambic beer. They can be found in any Beer hall, Pub, Restaurant and Bar around the city.
Belgium is often referred to as the Chocolate capital of the world. It is widely accepted that the Belgians have the best chocolate in world. There are speculations why that is, some say it is because they had access to cocoa before most parts of world, others say it is the method in which it is produced. Whatever the reasons why, Belgium is your number one stop for great chocolate. Go on a chocolate tour and try out Pralines, Truffles and Gianduja. There are many Chocolate stores in Brussels, so they should not be hard to find.
The city of Bruges is a fantastic city to visit on an itinerary of European countries. Bruges known for its historical and medieval buildings, cobblestone streets and canals is one of those cities that will remain with you for a long while. There is a plethora of things to do in Bruges, so it might take more than a visit to explore the full city.
Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, explore the scary Bruges Torture Museum, see the Madonna with Child statue and of course take a trip round the city on the Canal boat tour.
The Basilica of the Holy Blood is one of the most sacred places in Belgium. It is famous for being the location for the venerated relic of the Holy Blood collected by Joseph of Arimathea. The Basilica which was established in 1157, consist of two chapels; a lower and upper chapel. The lower chapel is a less decorated Romanesque structure that is dedicated to St. Basil the Great, while the Upper layer is built with a Gothic Style and is where the famous relic is kept.
Not a place for the softhearted, the Bruges Torture Museum also called the De Oude Steen is unlike most museums you will see on your travels. The museum which is situated in an underground bunker has torture devices that date as far back as the 13th century. The museum features over 100 instruments of torture, arranged in chronological order of when they were used. A visit to the Torture Museum will no doubt improve your knowledge of the origin and effects of torture instruments.
Known as the only notable Sculpture of the famous artist Michelangelo to have left Italy during his lifetime. The Madonna with child sculpture is situated in the Church of Our Lady in Bruges and it is a depiction of Mary with the Child Jesus. The Marble sculpture which is 200 meters high was made early in 16th century and was said to have made its way to Bruges after wealthy cloth Merchants Giovanni and Allessandro Moscheroni purchased it in Italy.
One of Bruges most popular monuments is the Belfry Tower, located at the center of the city, it was built around 1240. The medieval bell tower was so significant in the old days that it was used to notify citizens about major events. Tourists visiting would have to climb a 366 steps stairway to get to the top of the tower.
Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the North due to the fact that the city is surrounded by water bodies, both natural and man made. It has a Canal Boat tour which is very popular amongst tourist because it gives visitors a chance to see the city in a different way. The Canal ride is usually accompanied by commentary from the helmsman who gives out information on each part of the city the boat passes through.