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Belgium, a small country sandwiched between Germany and France, has every right to be proud of its cultural offerings. Everything from fantasy castles in the Middle Ages to huge natural reserves and frightening ghost villages may be found here. In European history, as well as in world history, Belgium has played a significant role. If you're a history enthusiast, you'll find a slew of historical sites dedicated to World War I or II. The European Union is headquartered there as well. Embracing both old-world charm and cutting-edge trends is what makes Belgium so special.
Whether you're looking for old-world castles and palaces or modern architecture, retail malls, or amusement parks, this European treasure has it all. For an unforgettable adventure, book your Belgium car hire in advance with Enjoy Travel for the best deals and a relaxing trip! Prices start from just €26 per day for car hire in Belgium.
Guide to Belgium
Belgium is a European nation located in the northwest of the continent. It is Europe's sixth most populous country despite its tiny size. The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, France, and the South Sea all border it. The North Sea lies to the northwest. The city of Brussels is Belgium's capital and largest city.
Climate in Belgium
The climate in Belgium is mild due to the country's location on the coast. With a climate influenced by the Atlantic and the North Sea, it has mild summers and cold winters. When easterly winds blow, it's possible to have more continental weather. This time of year is hot and dry, but the winters may be bitterly frigid. The rainy season lasts from April to September, with a dry spell in between.
After the Belgian Revolution of 1830, when the country separated from the Netherlands, Belgium became what it is today. Because of its strategic location along three important rivers, it has enjoyed considerable prosperity and good trade and political ties with its larger neighbours since the mediaeval period. It has also served as a battleground for European powers, garnering it the nickname "Battlefield of Europe. ".
Because of the two World Wars that occurred in the 20th century, that reputation has only grown in stature. It was one of the founding members of the European Union's original six. Furthermore, it is a founding member of the Eurozone as well as NATO, the OECD, and the World Trade Organization. Many important international organisations, such as NATO, have their headquarters in Brussels.
Belgium is known for its exquisite chocolates and you may see them being created at Choco-Story - The Chocolate Museum in Bruges. A father and son run the museum and Belcolade, a chocolate manufacturer known for its premium Belgian chocolates. Visit the museum's displays to understand how cocoa beans become chocolate, and about the cultures that contributed to the development of chocolate as we know it today.
Things To Do in Belgium
Stroll through the magnificent Grand Place
The Grand Palace in Belgium's ancient and modern capital city is a famous tourist destination. Due to its outstanding depiction of late-17th century architecture, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. The Gothic Hôtel de Ville, the city's mediaeval town hall, is arguably the plaza’s most striking structure. During the Flower Carpet Festival in August, Brussels' Grand Place is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world (every other year). The vast cobblestone plaza is always crowded with people and a great place to people-watch while you munch on a delicious Belgian waffle. The location is stunning, especially at night. The square and all of its charming buildings are beautifully illuminated at night. You could even see a light and music display if you're lucky. Aside from that, there's a fantastic flower market there every day.
Take a trip into the future at the Atomium
A trip to Brussels would be incomplete without a tour to the Atomium, a must-see attraction. The structure resembles a 165 billion-fold enlargement of a single iron crystal unit. At the centre are nine glass spheres, each representing one of the nine elements in the periodic table. The Atomium was built in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair, and before long, the Belgians had fallen in love with this 335-foot huge steel structure and had it preserved as part of the cityscape. Some of the steel spheres have been opened up for exploration since the renovations were completed. They feature a gallery, a café, and a bunk room for children to spend the night. Mini-Europe, a theme park with tiny reproductions of European landmarks, is located at the base of the Atomium.
Have a chuckle at the amusing Manneken Pis
The Manneken Pis is a Belgian icon that you must visit while you're in town. Artist Jerome Duquesnoy created this tiny bronze statue in 1619, depicting a young child peeing into a fountain in the Belgian capital. Dubbed the capital's oldest inhabitant, the boy's story is rife with myth and folklore. The current statue is a re-creation from 1965. The Manneken Pis is a beloved part of the city for Belgians because it represents their sense of humour (known locally as zwanze) and their freedom of thought.
Visiting fascinating museums in Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium's second-largest city and site of the country's busiest port, is a natural choice for visitors. The city was one of Europe's most significant in the 16th century, with one of the most important ports. Despite the fact that the city was devastated during World War II, many of its mediaeval charm and landmarks may still be found today. Travellers to Europe will find everything they need in Antwerp, from world-class museums and art to stunning architecture and delectable cuisine.
Learn about the history of printing at the Museum Plantin-Moretus. With its historic building and stunning courtyard, the property has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to the world's oldest printing press, a library dating back to the 17th century, and an amazing art collection, it's easy to see why the Museum Plantin-Moretus is so well regarded. Continue on to the Red Star Line Museum, which chronicles the stories of many Belgian migrants who boarded Red Star Line ships and went to the United States for economic reasons. These interesting exhibits make extensive use of photographs and other memorabilia to tell the storey of the journey from Belgium to the United States. Finally, spend the day at the MAS museum learning about Antwerp's maritime history and its position as a port city. The MAS museum also has temporary exhibits, and you can get some of the greatest views of the city by using the elevators to get up to the open-top roof.
Enjoy both history and nature at Waterloo
For history buffs, the nearby town of Waterloo is a must-visit destination. Napoleon Bonaparte was finally defeated on June 18, 1815, in Belgium at the Battle of Waterloo, putting an end to his conquest of most of Europe in the early 19th century. To memorialise this, a man-made hill was constructed in the flatlands nearby. A lion sculpture graces the memorial's summit, at the top of which there are 226 steps, providing breathtaking views over the battlefield. Our recommendation is to visit the Sonian Forest while in Waterloo, a 4,421-hectare forest that extends all the way to Brussels' southeast corner. It's mostly made up of European beeches and oaks, some of which are well over a century old. Bosmuseum Jan van Ruusbroec or Musée de la Forêt, located within the forest, features exhibits on the forest's flora, wildlife, history, and management. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sonian Forest was designated as such by the organisation in 2017.
Take a day trip to charming Bruges
With its romantic atmosphere, Michelin stars, and nostalgic vibe, Bruges seduces. Urban tales and ghost stories just scratch the surface of what lies underneath the city's crumbling façade. One of the most striking features of Bruges is the city's central market square's 83-meter-high Belfry. The original building was destroyed by a fire in the bell tower, which was built in 1240, and by two lightning strikes. However, UNESCO has officially recognised it as a World Heritage Site. For an aerial view of the city and an up-close look at the mind-boggling mechanical system housing the carillon's 47 bells, climb the carillon's 366 spiralling stairs. As a result of its numerous canals, Bruges is known as the "Venice of the North." While cruising on a boat, you'll see magnificent bridges and attractive gardens.
Deep dive into Ghent’s intriguing medieval past
Gravensteen Castle in Ghent, Belgium, is a well-preserved mediaeval stronghold. It's also one of the best-preserved moated fortresses in Europe. Count Philip of Alsace built this massive fortification, known as the Castle of Counts. With strong towering walls and crenellated towers, this castle has seen its share of evil. A beautiful moat still surrounds the castle, which is now available to the public. Behind a plexiglass wall, only a few of the instruments of torture are still visible. You may also ascend to the castle's roof for stunning views of the city.
St. Bavo's magnificent church is another must-see for tourists. It attracts a considerable number of tourists each year because of its impressively high Gothic choir, Romanesque crypt, and stained-glass windows. Most visitors, however, are mesmerised by the interior's Flemish masterpiece, known as the Altar of Ghent. After you've seen the artwork, explore the cathedral's massive crypt, which has tombs and stunning wall murals.
Eating Out in Belgium
Belgium is well-known for its delectable Belgian chocolate, waffles, beer, and other delicacies. Restaurants in towns like Brussels and Bruges serve classic Belgian fare to a wide range of diners. A selection of some of our favourites may be seen below.
Belgica offers large servings of traditional dishes like meatballs with Flemish tomato puree, as well as cool Belgian beers. There is a cosy atmosphere in the Park Restaurant, which is housed inside a mansion. French fries and steak are among the delightful European fusion dishes available here. In Pomperlut, there are antique chandeliers and a massive fireplace, giving it a rustic character. It used to be a farm before it was transformed into an upscale fine dining experience. As far as we’re aware, Bruneau is the city's oldest dining establishment, and dishes from all around Europe and Belgium are served here. Both the creative cuisine and the romantic atmosphere have won the restaurant two Michelin stars. You're sure to be blown away.
There are 5 airports in Belgium, and they are all within driving distance of Antwerp, Liege, or Brussels. Brussels Airport (BRU), the country's primary international airport, is most likely where you’ll be flying in if coming from abroad. It's a 12-kilometre drive northeast of Brussels to get there.
Getting Around Belgium
A tiny nation with an efficient public transportation system, Belgium is a great place to visit. The rail network is substantial, and local bus services are available as well. Most large cities have subways and tramways. Taxis, bike rentals, and vehicle rental agencies abound in every city.
However, many visitors travelling across Belgium still opt to hire a car for maximum flexibility, comfort, and convenience.
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