15 Most Interesting Things to Do in Belgium
If you are wondering whether it is safe to travel to Belgium, then know that it is one of the countries that has been hit by the Coronavirus epidemic. 8 cases have been detected in Belgium till this date. While the authorities in Belgium are taking all the steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended to take precautionary measures while visiting Belgium. Also, we suggest that you check flight operations to and from Belgium as they might be affected amidst the virus outbreak.
Note: The Coronavirus statistics mentioned in this article are based on the updated reports available on March 3, 2020. These figures will be updated depending on how the outbreak unfolds.
Whether it is the port city of Antwerp, the canals of Bruges, the medieval architectures of Ghent, or the magnificent palaces and parks of Brussels, Belgium is one of the most bewitching places on earth. Belgium’s ravishing natural beauty, iconic places of archaeological and historical interests, and captivating shopping and dining scenes make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Royal mansions, caves, canal cruise, music festivals, and culinary treats like chocolates and waffles are some of the famous things of Belgium. Every corner of this Western European country is marked by the Renaissance impressions and sensory delights. If you are planning to explore it soon, these are some points of interest in Belgium that you would not want to miss. Have a look!
1. Attend the Flower Carpet Festival in Central Brussels
2. Taste the Award-winning Craft Beer of Belgium
Craft Beer tops the list of best Belgium things. Belgium is one of the biggest beer brewing countries in the world and its craft beer has emerged as a revolution. The beer has been a part of Belgium’s traditions and you will find over 180 types of beer in the country. One of the best craft beers that have won many accolades worldwide is Chimay Bleue. Visiting the Chimay Brewery that started in 1862, itself, is a great experience. Another beer you must try in Belgium is Karmeliet which is best-known as the “World’s Best Ale”. You would also love to try the Trappist beer called Rochefort, Ciney Blonde, Omer, and Westmalle Tripel.
3. Satiate your taste buds with the Belgian Waffles and Chocolates
If you happen to be in Belgium during the cold weather and are looking for the things to do in Belgium in winter, go for a culinary tour and enjoy a warm gin cocktail with Belgian Waffles. Introduced by Maurice Vermersch, Waffle in Belgium dates back to the year 1874 and soon the country became synonymous with this creamy delicacy. You will find waffles in almost every restaurant in Belgium. Another must-try in the country is its chocolate. There are over 300 famous chocolate shops in Belgium selling the all-time-favorite choco-brands like Godiva, Belvas, Cote d’Or, Jean Galler, Daskalidès, Leonidas, Neuhaus, Mary, and Zaabär. If you want to taste all of them, you can also go for a Belgian chocolate tour. The chocolates play an important part in Belgium’s economy as they are exported to America and France.
4. Visit Belgium’s Strange Sculptures
You will learn how creative the Belgian people are when you take a tour of the sculptures dotting the country. Belgium is home to many strange sculptures that are admiring as well as amusing. Touring Belgium’s sculptures is one of the free things to do in Belgium. The most famous sculpture, which stands as the symbol of Belgium, is Manneken Pis. The statue of this cute little boy peeing into a basin was a gift by Louis XV. Other sculptures that you will find fascinating are Agent 15, Fonske, Bandundu Water Jazz Band, La Cycliste, Zinneke, Lange Wapper, and Silvius Brabo. Similar to Manneken Pis, there is another statue called Jeanneke Pis. The sculpture of “Two women embracing” also attracts many tourists.
5. Be a Part of Belgium’s Music Festivals
Music festivals are one of the greatest tourist attractions in Belgium. The country celebrates musical treats like Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter, Sfinks, Linkerwoofer, Sfinks, Les Ardentes and more where you can see people from different cultures and distinct parts of the world gathering together and soak in the musical fun. Tomorrowland is one of the largest electronic music festivals in Belgium known for its mind-boggling light show. The rock music festival called Rock Werchter is also famous around the world. Depending upon which part of the country you are planning to explore and the time of your trip, you can attend other music festivals like Couleur Cafe, Cactus Festival, Brussels Summer Festival, and Dour.
6. Take a Walk through the Historical Buildings of Markt
One of the best things to do in Belgium at night is to enjoy a lovely stroll along the streets of Markt. Located in the heart of Bruges, Markt is also known as the Market Square and has been used as a center of shopping since 958. Take a walking or bicycle tour of the square and you will come across a large number of historical buildings, stores selling local produce, statues, and guild houses turned into restaurants. If you want to experience the traditions of Belgium, this is the best place to be. You can also enjoy a carriage ride to feel like a local. At night, the square gets laden with plenty of stores, music scenes, and wonderful lights. You can also visit the Beer Museum which is located right beside Markt.
7. Explore Bruges on Boat
The natural beauty of Belgium can be best enjoyed by taking a boat tour of Bruges. If you are on a trip near Bruges and looking for things to do in Belgium with family, explore the city of Bruges first by walking, then on horse-carriage, and finally on a boat. Bruges is known as the Venice of North and the 30-minute boat ride through the canals is what it is most famous for. This boat tour allows you to take a snippet of the most beautiful buildings, bridges, and other natural delights of the city. You can take this tour between the months of March and November. The city has an admirable network of canals and you are really gonna enjoy it!
8. Pay Homage to the Soldiers at Flanders Fields
For all the history buffs, Flanders Fields is a must-visit in Belgium. Flanders Fields is a basically a common name given to the battlefields of the First World War. You can visit the Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial which is home to the graves of 411 American soldiers. The site comprises of 6.2 acres of land. There is a chapel at the center of the cemetery. To know more about the history of Flanders Fields, you can visit the Flanders Fields Museum. You will find it in the Market Square in Ypres.
9. Admire the Medieval Architectures of Ghent
Ghent is one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium and is home to a large number of buildings from the Middle Ages. You will have to travel to the northwest of Belgium to find this city. The most spectacular place to visit in Ghent is the 10th-century castle of Gravensteen. Another architectural masterpiece you should not miss visiting is St Bavo's Cathedral. The medieval tower called Belfry of Ghent also allures the tourists. Take a stroll by the banks of Leie River around the city center called Graslei. You would also like to shop for souvenirs from the Korenmarkt.
10. Enjoy a “European-tour” at Mini Europe
Well, if you are really running out of time and wondering what to do in Belgium in one day, head to Mini Europe. This is an amusement park in Brussels where you will find the miniatures of many famous monument and buildings in Europe. One of the most-visited places in Belgium, Mini Europe is home to over 350 buildings from 80 different cities of Europe. Some of the worth-mentioning monuments are the Tower of Pisa, Great Coastal Gate, Eiffel Tower, Prague Orloj, and the Ancient Greek Theatre. In addition to this, you will also witness some animated models like trains, cable cars, and mills.
11. Discover the Art Collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts
One of the insightful things to do in Brussels Belgium is to take a tour of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. The museum is truly a heavenly treat to the art lovers. From paintings to sculptures and drawings, Royal Museum of Fine arts houses 20,000 pieces of artwork showcasing the beliefs, culture, and creative prowess of the Belgians. The artworks in the museum’s collection are from 15th to 20th centuries. You will marvel at the famous works by the artists like Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, Jacques Jordaens, and Jan Fabre. The highlight of the museum is the surrealist paintings by René Magritte.
12. Meet the Belgian Animals at Pairi Daiza
Although Belgium is more popular for its old buildings, museums, and food, people looking for something different land on to Pairi Daiza. Visiting the zoo and botanical garden of Pairi Daiza is one of the unusual things to do in Belgium. Located in the province of Hainaut, Pairi Daiza is a picturesque abode to the animals like the giant pandas, koalas, orange-utans, white tigers, spix’ aras, and Tasmanian bears. A large number of giraffes and elephants are also found here. The zoo also has a botanical garden where you can discover the exotic flora of southern Belgium.
13. Picnic at Brussels Park
Located in the center of Brussels, the Brussels Park is where you will find an escape from all the crowd and chaos. Picnicking at Brussels Park is one of the nicest things to do in Belgium on Sunday. Sprawling over an area of 20 hectares, this is the largest urban park in the capital of Belgium. The park is said to be built between the years 1776 and 1783 and it reflects the neoclassical style. You will find many important buildings and monuments around Brussels Park. This includes the Royal Palace, Belgian House of Parliament, and the Palace of Justice. The entire park is dotted with beautiful fountains and lime trees lining the path. The monuments of Peter the Great and Narcissus also adorn the park.
14. Watch a Light-show inside the Caves of Han-sur-Lesse
Do you have an adventurous side? Then exploring the mysterious Caves of Han-sur-Lesse will be one of the most adventurous things to do in Belgium for you. Created by the underground erosion of a limestone hill by the forceful current of the Lesse River, these caves are marked by their extraordinary beauty. You will need a guide to take a nice tour of Han-sur-Lesse. You will find the LED lights inside the caves helping the visitors see vibrant colors of limestones. The light and sound show in Han-sur-Lesse is the best thing you will ever experience in Belgium.
15. Visit the Historic Home of Rubens
Finally, our list of 15 best things to do in Belgium ends with Rubenshuis, the historical house located in Antwerp. Rubenshuis or Rubens House is where the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens spent his life and created his artworks. The house, today, stands as a museum and displays a large number of paintings by Rubens and his contemporary artists. This Italian-style building has all the household things and furniture Rubens owned. You can also spend some time at the Baroque garden adjacent to the building.
Shop at the historical markets, go for a guided cave-tour, learn about the wartime history, and take an insight into the European art and royalty! Belgium will fill your heart with unforgettable memories.