Why a visit to Belgium is a must
Belgium’s location to the north of Europe makes it a prime destination for anyone wanting a quick weekend getaway or a chance to explore one of the continent’s most relaxing countries. Sharing a border with the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg and Germany gives Belgium a rich personality as the influence of each nation overlaps. The opportunity to travel between them is also an attractive bonus.
For many, a holiday in Belgium isn’t complete without indulging in the country’s revered food and drink. Europe’s famous café-culture thrives there, and a walk through one of its cities gives you plenty of opportunities to pull up a chair and simply unwind with a coffee or beer. Gastronomic treats are readily available, whether you want a quick indulgent bite or a first-rate meal to be remembered. The capital, Brussels, is home to Belga Queen, serving modern cuisine within a stunning former bank building. Try flamiche, a savoury tart, in Dinant or an indulgent waffle from one of the many waffle shops.
The art you see on your plate complements the beautiful architecture of Belgium’s urban areas and its rural parts. The towering cathedral in Tournai soars above red-roofed buildings and casts a shadow over the main square. Spa sits in a quiet wooded valley surrounded by rolling hills and tranquil rivers. Travel to Liège for the Coteaux de la Citadelle walk, which takes you through peaceful courtyards and orchards and leads you to Montagne de Bueren. This 374-step stairway leads up to a superb view of the city.
Liège is also known for its artistic flair, of which the Château de Jehay is a prime example. The building itself has a striking chequerboard finish while inside the furnishings are ornate. It incorporates Gothic and Renaissance styles, with certain areas originating in the 17th century. Antwerp is another location with art at its core. The Museum of Modern Art is for those who appreciate contemporary works, while photography enthusiasts should head to the Fotomuseum. The country played a large role in World War II, particularly Bastogne in the Ardennes. Bastogne Historical Centre, Bastogne Ardennes 44 and Au Pays d’Ardenne tell the story of this period and other significant moments from Belgium’s past.
Belgium’s nightlife caters for most tastes, from its lively nightclubs to more laid-back ‘brown pubs’. You don’t need to walk far to find a bar in Brussels, and Theatre Royal de Toone is definitely worth a visit to sample one (or multiple) Belgian beers. In Bruges, 2be Beer Wall includes just that, a seemingly endless wall of bottled beer. Ghent is another dynamic destination that is sure to satisfy those uninterested in an early night. Culture Club was declared the best nightclub in Europe by Face Magazine.