Welcome to Belgium!
In this blog post, we will take you on a journey through the 18 BEST CITIES in Belgium to visit in 2023. We’ll highlight their distinct attractions, providing an unforgettable Belgian adventure.
From the bustling streets of Brussels to the charming canals of Bruges, from the diamond district of Antwerp to the historic city of Ghent, prepared to be AMAZED.
The Vibrant Capital City
When it comes to the best cities in Belgium, the first one that comes to mind is Brussels. As the CAPITAL OF BELGIUM, it effortlessly combines old-world charm with modernity.
As you stroll through its cobbled streets, you’ll be captivated by the captivating mix of historic landmarks and vibrant neighborhoods.
One attraction that you absolutely CAN’T MISS in Brussels is the iconic Grand Place. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the heart of the city and is surrounded by magnificent guild halls and a stunning Gothic-style Town Hall. It’s a true testament to Brussels’ rich architectural heritage.
Another symbol of the city is the futuristic Atomium. Built for the 1958 World Exposition, this unique structure offers breathtaking panoramic views of Brussels from its upper spheres.
Experience the perfect blend of history and modernity in Brussels, one of the best cities in Belgium.
No visit to Brussels would be complete without a stop at the cheeky Manneken Pis. This quirky sculpture has become a beloved symbol of the city’s spirit.
For art and history enthusiasts, Brussels is one of the cities in Belgium that has world-class museums such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Magritte Museum, and the Belgian Comic Strip Center.
Brussels also holds the title of being the CULINARY capital of Belgium. Foodies will delight in the city’s irresistible offerings, including chocolate creations from renowned chocolatiers, mouthwatering waffles topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits, and an impressive variety of artisanal beers to suit every palate.
So, prepare to indulge your senses and immerse yourself in the vibrancy of Brussels, a city that never fails to enchant and inspire.
The Picturesque Medieval City
Often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” Bruges is a stunning medieval city that will transport you back in time. With its well-preserved historic center, enchanting canals, cobblestone streets, and captivating architecture, this charming city offers an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
The heart of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you’ll be greeted by the city’s emblematic canals and medieval buildings. A stroll through these picturesque streets will reveal the true essence of this magical place.
One of the must-see attractions in Bruges is the Belfry, a soaring medieval bell tower that offers panoramic views of the city from its peak.
Did you know that a lot of people really live in those Medieval houses? Bruges is definitely one of the best cities in Belgium to live in.
Just a short walk away is the Basilica of the Holy Blood, a stunning Romanesque and Gothic church that houses a relic believed to contain the blood of Jesus Christ.
Don’t miss the vibrant Markt Square, surrounded by colorful buildings, bustling cafes, and the impressive Provincial Court.
To truly appreciate the beauty of Bruges, we highly recommend taking a boat tour along the canals. As you glide under graceful stone bridges and past quaint, ivy-covered houses, you’ll gain a unique perspective on this enchanting city and its rich history.
With its undeniable charm, Bruges is a destination that should not be missed on your visit to the best cities of Belgium.
A Youthful, Vibrant City with Medieval Charm
Ghent, a lively city brimming with history and culture, offers a unique blend of medieval charm and a thriving contemporary art scene. It is one of the best cities to live in Belgium!
Thanks to its large student population, the city boasts a youthful and dynamic atmosphere that perfectly complements its rich past.
As you wander through the cobblestone streets of Ghent, you’ll be captivated by the stunning architecture and fascinating landmarks that tell the story of the city’s illustrious history.
The Gravensteen Castle, is a well-preserved fortress dating back to the 12th century. This impressive structure invites visitors to explore its ramparts, towers, and medieval artifacts while enjoying panoramic views of the city.
Another must-visit attraction is St. Bavo’s Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic church that houses the world-renowned Ghent Altarpiece, a masterpiece by the Van Eyck brothers. This exquisite work of art is considered one of the most significant pieces in Western art history and is a sight not to be missed.
Lastly, take a stroll along the Graslei, a picturesque quay lined with stunning medieval buildings reflecting in the calm waters of the Leie River. This charming area is the perfect spot to relax, enjoy a meal at one of the many cafes, or simply soak in the beauty of Ghent.
A Trendy, Cosmopolitan Hub of Fashion, Diamonds, and Art
Antwerp, a vibrant port city located in the Flanders region, is renowned for its fashion, diamonds, and vibrant art scene. This trendy and cosmopolitan city offers visitors a unique blend of rich history, cutting-edge modernity, and an infectious energy that’s hard to resist.
A visit to Antwerp would not be complete without exploring the iconic Cathedral of Our Lady, a stunning Gothic masterpiece that dominates the city’s skyline.
This magnificent church houses several works by the famous Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens, including his renowned masterpieces “The Descent from the Cross” and “The Elevation of the Cross.”
Another architectural gem is the Antwerp Central Station, often considered one of the most beautiful train stations in the world, with its impressive blend of styles, from Art Nouveau to Neo-Gothic.
When foreigners arrive at the Central Station, they immediately believe that this is one of the best cities in Belgium. Just from its train station!
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, which boasts an extensive collection of works by Flemish masters such as Rubens, Van Dyck, and Jordaens, as well as contemporary local artists.
Antwerp is also a paradise for fashion lovers, with numerous boutiques showcasing the latest trends and creations from both established designers and emerging talents.
The city’s lively nightlife offers a wide range of bars, clubs, and restaurants, catering to every taste and preference.
Lastly, don’t forget to explore the historic Diamond District, where you’ll find a dazzling array of precious stones and exquisite jewelry. Antwerp is the world’s leading diamond trade center, and a stroll through this glittering neighborhood is a must for anyone visiting the best cities in Belgium who are interested in these sparkling gems.
A Historically Significant City Known for the Battle of Waterloo
Waterloo, a city situated in Belgium’s Walloon Brabant province, is best known for its historical significance as the site of the famous Battle of Waterloo.
This pivotal event, which took place in 1815, marked the end of Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule and ushered in a new era of European history. The important event deserved a place in our selection of the best cities in Belgium.
The fascinating Waterloo Battlefield and its surrounding area provide visitors with an immersive experience of the history of this monumental conflict.
The visitor center, located at the foot of the iconic Lion’s Mound, offers engaging exhibits and multimedia presentations that delve into the battle’s strategy, key players, and lasting impact.
From here, you can also explore the meticulously preserved battlefield itself, complete with informative plaques and markers detailing the events that unfolded during the confrontation.
In addition to its historical attractions, Waterloo has a charming town center filled with delightful shops, cafes, and restaurants. Stroll through the picturesque streets, admiring the beautiful architecture and soaking in the city’s unique atmosphere. The houses in Waterloo are passed from generation to generation as the locals find they live in one of the best cities in Belgium.
Another must-visit attraction in Waterloo is the Wellington Museum, located in the former headquarters of the Duke of Wellington. This fascinating museum showcases a wide range of artifacts, documents, and artwork related to the Battle of Waterloo, offering further insight into this pivotal moment in history.
Beyond the town center, visitors can enjoy the peaceful countryside surrounding Waterloo.
Take a leisurely walk or bike ride through the scenic landscapes, dotted with charming villages and historic sites, and soak in the beauty of this storied region.
A Vibrant University Town with Historic Charm
Leuven, a university town located in the heart of Belgium, is known for its lively atmosphere, rich history, and stunning architecture.
Home to one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Europe, KU Leuven, the city has a vibrant student population that contributes to its energetic and youthful vibe. Every Year, ten thousands of students can call Leuven on of the best cities in Belgium to study in.
One of the must-see attractions in Leuven is the stunning Gothic Town Hall, a 15th-century architectural masterpiece adorned with intricate sculptures and ornate detailing. This impressive building serves as a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage and artistic prowess.
Another iconic landmark is the beautiful Leuven University Library, which houses an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and other scholarly materials.
The library’s striking Neo-Flemish Renaissance building stands as a symbol of resilience, having been rebuilt after being destroyed during both World Wars.
For a taste of Leuven’s lively social scene, head to the Oude Markt, a square lined with lively cafes, bars, and restaurants. Often referred to as the “longest bar in the world,” this vibrant spot is the perfect place to relax, enjoy a drink, and soak in the city’s infectious energy.
Nature lovers will enjoy exploring the city’s botanical garden, Kruidtuin, where they can wander through lush greenery, colorful flower beds, and charming ponds.
For beer enthusiasts, a visit to the Stella Artois Brewery is a must, offering a fascinating glimpse into the history and production of this world-famous Belgian beer.
Leuven promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking to immerse themselves in authentic Belgian culture.
A Picturesque Gem at the Confluence of Two Rivers
Nestled at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre rivers, Namur is a picturesque city in the Wallonia region of Belgium.
With its scenic landscapes, rich history, and charming atmosphere, this delightful destination offers a serene retreat for travelers seeking to experience the beauty of Belgium’s countryside.
Dominating the city’s skyline is the impressive Namur Citadel, an ancient fortress perched atop a hill overlooking the rivers.
This historic landmark invites visitors to explore its ramparts, underground passages, and fascinating exhibitions, providing a glimpse into the city’s storied past.
The panoramic views from the citadel are truly breathtaking, offering a stunning perspective on the surrounding landscape.
While stroll through the historic old town, you’ll discover charming narrow streets, beautiful churches, and quaint squares.
The Place d’Armes, a lovely square lined with cafes and restaurants, is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a leisurely meal while soaking in the city’s charm.
Lastly, for a unique way to appreciate Namur’s picturesque setting, consider taking a boat cruise on the Meuse River.
As you glide along the tranquil waters, you’ll be treated to captivating views of the city, lush greenery, and the beautiful countryside that extends beyond Namur’s borders.
A Hidden Gem Rich in History and Architectural Treasures
Mechelen, a charming city located between Brussels and Antwerp, is often overlooked by tourists but we believe it is one of the best cities in Belgium as it offers a wealth of history and architectural treasures waiting to be discovered.
This hidden gem has a rich cultural heritage, a vibrant art scene, and a picturesque network of canals, providing visitors with an authentic Belgian experience away from the typical tourist hotspots.
One of Mechelen’s most iconic landmarks is St. Rumbold’s Cathedral, a stunning Gothic church that towers over the cityscape. The cathedral is home to a remarkable collection of art, including the famous “Crucifixion” triptych by Flemish master Anthony van Dyck.
For a truly unforgettable experience, climb the 500 steps to the top of the cathedral’s skywalk for panoramic views of the city and beyond.
Another must-see attraction is the UNESCO-listed Belfry, a symbol of civic pride and an outstanding example of Flemish architectural ingenuity. Admire the beautiful carillon and explore the intriguing exhibits that delve into the city’s rich history.
The heart of Mechelen is the beautiful Grote Markt, a square surrounded by magnificent guild houses and the City Hall.
This lively spot is the perfect place to savor a meal at one of the many cafes or restaurants while soaking in the city’s historic atmosphere.
Lastly, Mechelen also has a vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries and museums showcasing works by local and international artists.
The city’s charming canals provide a picturesque backdrop for strolls, while the various museums offer fascinating insights into the region’s history, art, and culture.
A Popular Coastal City with Sandy Beaches and Lively Promenade
Our list wouldn’t be complete without having Ostend in our selection of the best cities in Belgium. This coastal city on the North Sea is known for its sandy beaches, lively promenade, and relaxing atmosphere.
As a popular seaside destination in Belgium, Ostend offers visitors the perfect blend of beachside relaxation, vibrant cultural events, and fascinating maritime heritage.
The city’s beautiful sandy beaches stretch along the coastline, providing ample space to soak up the sun, take a refreshing dip in the sea, or indulge in various water sports.
The lively promenade, lined with cafes, restaurants, and shops, is perfect for strolls while taking in the stunning sea views.
Ostend is also home to an array of vibrant cultural events throughout the year, including music festivals, art exhibitions, and theater performances.
The city’s rich maritime heritage can be explored through its historic harbor, fishing traditions, and captivating museums.
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Mu.ZEE, is an impressive art museum dedicated to Belgian art from the 19th century to the present day. The museum has an extensive collection of works by renowned artists such as James Ensor, Léon Spilliaert, and Constant Permeke.
For those interested in history, exploring Fort Napoleon is a must. This well-preserved fortress, built during the Napoleonic era, offers guided tours that delve into its fascinating past and provide panoramic views of the surrounding area.
Finally, don’t forget to sample Ostend’s delicious seafood at the local fish market, where you’ll find an array of fresh catches and mouthwatering dishes prepared by skilled chefs.
With its inviting sandy beaches, lively atmosphere, and rich cultural offerings, Ostend is a delightful coastal destination that promises a memorable experience for visitors seeking the perfect seaside escape in Belgium.
A Picturesque Town Along the Scenic Meuse River
Dinant, a charming town nestled along the scenic Meuse River and surrounded by towering cliffs, is a true gem in the heart of Belgium’s Wallonia region.
With its idyllic setting, rich history, and captivating attractions, Dinant offers visitors a delightful escape into a picturesque world.
One of the town’s most iconic landmarks is the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, a stunning 13th-century Gothic church perched on the banks of the Meuse River. The church’s distinctive onion-shaped bell tower and beautiful stained-glass windows make it a must-see attraction in Dinant.
Another fascinating site is the Citadel of Dinant, an ancient fortress overlooking the town from atop a cliff. Accessible by cable car or a steep climb up the 408 steps, the citadel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and a fascinating insight into the region’s military history.
Music enthusiasts will be delighted to discover the saxophone museum, dedicated to Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone and a native of Dinant.
The museum showcases a collection of original instruments, while the town itself pays homage to Sax with a series of colorful, oversized saxophone sculptures adorning its streets.
Lastly, taking a stroll through Dinant’s charming streets, lined with quaint shops and cozy cafes, is a delightful way to experience the town’s unique atmosphere.
Don’t forget to sample the local cuisine, which includes the famous “coque de Dinant” a hard, sweet biscuit made from honey and flour.
A Vibrant Multicultural City with Rich Industrial Heritage
Liège, one of the most dynamic and multicultural cities in Belgium, is known for its rich industrial heritage, lively atmosphere, and diverse cultural offerings.
With a fascinating blend of historic charm and modern innovation, Liège offers visitors a unique and engaging experience in the heart of Belgium.
One of the city’s most striking attractions is the Liège-Guillemins Railway Station, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. This stunning piece of modern architecture, featuring a massive glass and steel canopy, serves as a symbol of the city’s progressive spirit and commitment to innovation.
Another must-see landmark is the Prince-Bishops’ Palace, an impressive building that once served as the residence of the powerful prince-bishops who ruled the region for centuries.
Today, the palace houses the provincial government offices and the courtyard is open to the public, offering a glimpse into Liège’s storied past.
For a truly unique experience, climb the Montagne de Bueren staircase, a steep flight of 374 steps that leads to an incredible panoramic view of the city. This historic staircase, built in the 19th century, is not only a popular tourist attraction but also an important part of Liège’s cultural heritage.
The historic district of Le Carré is a vibrant area filled with narrow streets, trendy boutiques, and lively bars and restaurants. Exploring this bustling neighborhood is a great way to immerse yourself in Liège’s energetic atmosphere and experience its diverse cultural scene.
Art lovers should not miss the La Boverie art museum, which is an impressive collection of works ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary art. The museum is housed in a beautiful park and features both permanent exhibits and temporary shows by renowned artists from around the world.
Finally, no visit to Liège would be complete without indulging in the city’s famous waffles, known as “gaufres de Liège.” These delicious treats, made from a rich, buttery dough and studded with pearl sugar, are best enjoyed warmly by a street vendor or local bakery.
A Charming City Blending History, Culture, and Art
Mons, a charming city in Belgium’s Wallonia region, offers visitors a delightful mix of history, culture, and art.
With its picturesque streets, impressive landmarks, and vibrant cultural scene, Mons is a captivating destination that will enchant travelers seeking an authentic Belgian experience.
One of the city’s most iconic attractions is the UNESCO-listed Belfry of Mons, a stunning 87-meter-tall tower dating back to the 17th century.
Mons, is one of the only cities in Belgium with a baroque-style belfry in Belgium, this landmark offers breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings, providing visitors with a unique perspective on Mons’ rich heritage.
The historic Grand Place, a lively square surrounded by beautiful buildings, is the heart of Mons. This spot is the perfect place to relax at one of the many cafes or restaurants, enjoy a local beer, and soak in the city’s charming atmosphere.
Another architectural gem in Mons is the magnificent Sainte-Waudru Collegiate Church, a 15th-century Gothic masterpiece adorned with intricate sculptures and stunning stained-glass windows. The church is also home to a remarkable collection of religious art and artifacts, making it a must-see for art and history enthusiasts alike.
Mons boasts a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and events throughout the year. The Mons Memorial Museum, dedicated to the city’s military history, offers a fascinating insight into the region’s past and the impact of war on its inhabitants.
Additionally, the city is home to the Mons International Love Film Festival, an annual event showcasing romantic films from around the world.
A City Rich in Architectural Heritage and History
Tournai, one of the oldest cities in Belgium, is a treasure trove of architectural heritage, boasting an impressive array of historic buildings that reflect its rich past.
Nestled along the banks of the Scheldt River in the Wallonia region, Tournai offers visitors a fascinating journey through time as they explore its charming streets and remarkable landmarks.
The UNESCO-listed Tournai Cathedral, also known as Notre Dame de Tournai, is undoubtedly the city’s most iconic attraction.
This magnificent 12th-century Gothic masterpiece features five soaring bell towers and houses an impressive collection of religious art, including the famous “Christ on the Cross” painting by Flemish master Rogier van der Weyden.
Another important landmark in Tournai is the historic Belfry, a 72-meter-tall tower that dates back to the 12th century. As the oldest belfry in Belgium, it stands as a symbol of civic pride and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.
The charming main square, Place de Lille, is the perfect spot to relax and soak in the city’s atmosphere. Surrounded by beautiful buildings, this lively square is home to numerous cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it a bustling hub of activity in the heart of Tournai.
Art enthusiasts should not miss the Museum of Fine Arts, designed by renowned architect Victor Horta. The museum has an outstanding collection of works by artists such as Rubens, Manet, and Monet, as well as a variety of sculptures, ceramics, and decorative arts.
Lastly, a stroll along the picturesque Scheldt River is another delightful way to experience Tournai’s charm. Be sure to visit the Pont des Trous, a historic bridge and fortified gate that once formed part of the city’s medieval defense system.
A Lively City Celebrating Shopping, Culinary Delights, and Jenever Culture
Hasselt, one of the best cities in Belgium, and more specifically, in the Limburg province, is known for its vibrant shopping scene, delicious culinary delights, and rich jenever (Belgian gin) culture.
With a lively atmosphere and an array of exciting attractions, Hasselt offers visitors a delightful mix of entertainment, history, and gastronomic experiences.
One of the city’s most enchanting attractions is the beautiful Japanese Garden, the largest of its kind in Europe.
This serene oasis, created in collaboration with Hasselt’s sister city Itami, features stunning landscapes, traditional tea houses, and tranquil ponds, providing a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle.
The lively main square, Grote Markt, is the heart of Hasselt, surrounded by charming cafes, restaurants, and shops. This hub is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a meal or a local beer while soaking in the city’s vibrant atmosphere.
Fashion enthusiasts should not miss the Fashion Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of clothing and accessories from various periods, as well as temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary designers.
A trip to Hasselt wouldn’t be complete without exploring its famous jenever culture. Visit a traditional distillery, such as the Jenever Museum, to learn about the history and production of this Belgian gin and sample its many varieties. Cities in Belgium that have Jenever Musea don’t come in packs, so be sure not to miss this one!
Be sure to try the local specialty, “speculaas jenever” which combines the flavors of this iconic spirit with the popular spiced biscuit.
Hasselt’s vibrant shopping streets offer a diverse range of boutiques, department stores, and designer shops, making it a paradise for those seeking a unique shopping experience. From high-end fashion to local crafts, there’s something for everyone in this lively city.
Hasselt is a lively and engaging destination that promises a memorable experience for travelers seeking the excitement and charm of cities in Belgium that aren’t very known.
A Historic City with a Modern Edge Celebrating Textile Industry and Design
Kortrijk, among the many cities in Belgium known for its history in the West Flanders region, is renowned for its textile industry and passion for design.
With a fascinating blend of ancient charm and modern innovation, Kortrijk offers visitors an engaging journey through time as they explore its rich heritage and contemporary attractions.
One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the medieval Broel Towers, a pair of impressive fortifications that once formed part of Kortrijk’s ancient city walls. These towers, dating back to the 12th and 14th centuries, stand as a testament to the city’s storied past and provide a striking contrast to its modern skyline.
The Grand Beguinage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is another must-see attraction in Kortrijk. This well-preserved complex of houses, chapels, and gardens was once home to a community of religious women known as beguines.
Today, visitors can stroll through its picturesque streets and take a step back in time to experience the tranquility of this historic site.
For those seeking a taste of Kortrijk’s contemporary spirit, Buda Island is a vibrant hub of creativity and innovation. This unique district, situated on an island in the River Leie, is home to a thriving community of artists, designers, and entrepreneurs.
Here, visitors can discover art galleries, design studios, and trendy cafes, all set against the backdrop of Kortrijk’s stunning waterfront.
History enthusiasts should not miss the Kortrijk 1302 museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the famous Battle of the Golden Spurs that took place in the city in 1302. The museum features interactive exhibits and artifacts that bring this pivotal event in Belgian history to life.
The Grote Markt, Kortrijk’s main square, is the perfect location to soak in the city’s atmosphere. Surrounded by beautiful historic buildings, this lively spot offers a wide range of cafes, restaurants, and shops, making it an ideal place to relax and enjoy the local cuisine.
Lastly, Kortrijk also has a vibrant cultural calendar, with numerous events and festivals taking place throughout the year. From the annual Kortrijk Design Week to the city’s lively music scene, there is always something exciting happening in this dynamic city.
A City Marked by World War I with Poignant Historical Sites and Memorials
Ypres, another one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium located West Flanders region, is deeply marked by its World War I history. Known for its poignant historical sites and memorials, Ypres serves as a powerful reminder of the devastating impact of war and offers visitors a moving and educational experience.
One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is the Menin Gate Memorial, an imposing structure dedicated to the British and Commonwealth soldiers who went missing in action during WWI. Bearing the names of more than 54,000 fallen soldiers, the memorial is a testament to the enormous loss suffered during the conflict.
The In Flanders Fields Museum, located in the beautifully restored Cloth Hall, provides an immersive journey into the Great War’s history. Through interactive exhibits, personal stories, and artifacts, the museum offers a deeper understanding of the war’s impact on the people and the landscape of Ypres.
The Cloth Hall itself is another significant attraction in Ypres. Once a thriving center of the medieval cloth trade, this magnificent Gothic building was almost destroyed during the war.
Its painstaking reconstruction stands as a symbol of Ypres’ resilience and determination to preserve its heritage.
A visit to Ypres would not be complete without attending the Last Post ceremony, held every evening at 8 pm under the Menin Gate Memorial.
This daily tribute, performed by local buglers, honors the memory of those who gave their lives in the Great War and serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made.
The Ramparts Cemetery, located along the city’s historic fortifications, offers a peaceful and contemplative space to remember the fallen soldiers.
With its beautifully maintained graves and serene surroundings, the cemetery provides a quiet place for reflection and remembrance.
Lastly, for those interested in further exploring the region’s WWI history, a visit to the Ypres Salient battlefields is highly recommended.
Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to discover the strategic importance of these sites and gain a deeper appreciation for the challenges faced by those who fought in the trenches.
A Charming and Romantic Town in the Belgian Ardennes, Known as the “Smallest City in the World”
Durbuy, nestled in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes, is a charming and romantic town often referred to as the “smallest city in the world.”
With its picturesque medieval streets, enchanting castle, and breathtaking natural surroundings, Durbuy offers visitors a truly magical experience as one of the most amazing cities in Belgium.
Strolling through the narrow, cobblestone streets of Durbuy’s old town is like stepping back in time.
The beautifully preserved medieval buildings, with colorful flowers and ivy, create a fairy-tale atmosphere that enchants visitors and invites them to explore every hidden corner.
The romantic Castle of Durbuy, an impressive 11th-century fortress, overlooks the town and the meandering River Ourthe.
Although not open to the public, the castle’s majestic presence adds to the town’s charm and allure, providing a stunning backdrop for photographs.
For breathtaking views of Durbuy (one of the best nature cities in Belgium) and its surroundings, head to the Belvédère, a scenic lookout point perched on a hill above the town. From here, you can admire the picturesque village, the winding river, and the lush forests of the Belgian Ardennes.
Nature lovers will enjoy exploring Topiary Park, home to over 250 meticulously sculpted boxwood shrubs in various shapes and sizes. This unique garden, the largest of its kind in Europe, offers a whimsical and artistic experience amidst the beauty of the Ardennes landscape.
Durbuy’s stunning location in the heart of the Belgian Ardennes makes it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The town and its surroundings offer a wide range of activities, including kayaking on the River Ourthe, hiking through the lush forests, and even rock climbing for the more adventurous.
Durbuy is a captivating destination that promises a memorable experience for travelers seeking the magic and tranquility of the cities in Belgium Ardennes.
An Industrial City Transformed into a Cultural Hub Focused on Innovation and Creativity
Genk, once a thriving industrial city in Belgium’s Limburg province, has successfully transformed itself into a cultural hub with a strong focus on innovation and creativity.
This dynamic city now offers visitors an exciting blend of art, history, nature, and modern attractions.
One of the key attractions in Genk is the C-mine site, a former coal mining complex that has been repurposed into a vibrant center for art, design, and technology.
With its impressive mixture of historic industrial buildings and contemporary architecture, C-mine offers an array of exhibitions, workshops, and events that showcase the city’s creative spirit and commitment to innovation.
The Open-Air Museum Bokrijk is another fascinating attraction in Genk (one of the best cities in Belgium), providing a unique insight into the region’s rural history and traditional craftsmanship.
This expansive living museum features over 100 authentic buildings from the 17th to the 20th centuries, including farmhouses, windmills, and chapels, as well as demonstrations of traditional skills such as bread baking and pottery making.
Nature lovers will be enchanted by the beautiful Molenvijver Park, a lush green oasis surrounding a serene lake in the heart of the city. The park offers picturesque walking paths, charming bridges, and plenty of spots to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings.
Lastly, the Europlanetarium, located in the nearby town of Houthalen-Helchteren, is a must-visit for those interested in astronomy and space exploration. This state-of-the-art facility offers fascinating exhibitions, interactive displays, and an impressive 360° projection dome that transports visitors on a journey through the cosmos.
It’s a wrap for this blog post!
As Belgians, creating a list with the best cities in Belgium was quite challenging as there is so much to discover here!
We hope you found a few gems in here to plan your visit to Belgium!
Let us know in the comments which cities in Belgium you will visit!
What are some of the most popular cities to visit in Belgium?
Cities in Belgium each have their own unique charm and character. Here are some of the most popular cities to visit in Belgium:
- Brussels – The capital city of Belgium and home to many famous landmarks such as the Grand Place and Manneken Pis.
- Bruges – Known for its picturesque canals, medieval architecture, and delicious chocolate.
- Antwerp – A bustling city with a rich history and a thriving fashion and diamond industry.
- Ghent – A university town with a lively atmosphere, stunning architecture, and plenty of cultural attractions.
- Leuven – Another vibrant university city known for its beer culture and beautiful Gothic-style Town Hall.
- Namur – The capital of the Wallonia region, known for its stunning citadel and charming old town.
- Mechelen – A small city with a rich history, beautiful architecture, and a famous carillon tradition.
- Ostend – A seaside city with a long sandy beach, lively promenade, and plenty of seafood restaurants.
- Hasselt – Known for its shopping opportunities, museums, and annual Jeneverfeesten (gin festival).
- Durbuy – A charming medieval town in the Belgian Ardennes with cobbled streets, quaint shops, and outdoor activities.
What are the best ways to get around in cities in Belgium?
Cities in Belgium have efficient and well-connected transportation systems, making it easy for travelers to get around. Here are some of the best ways to explore Belgium’s cities:
- Walking – Many Belgian cities are compact and pedestrian-friendly, making walking a great option for sightseeing.
- Public Transportation – Cities like Brussels and Antwerp have reliable metro, tram, and bus networks that cover most major attractions.
- Bicycles – Belgium is a bike-friendly country, with many cities offering bike rentals and dedicated cycling paths.
- Taxis – Taxis are readily available in all Belgian cities, though they can be more expensive than other modes of transportation.
- Car Rental – Renting a car is a great option for traveling to smaller towns or exploring the countryside, but may not be necessary for city visits. Ultimately, the best way to get around will depend on your personal preferences and the specific city you are visiting.
Are there any cultural events or festivals held in cities in Belgium?
Yes, cities in Belgium are known for their lively cultural events and festivals throughout the year. Some popular ones include:
- Carnival in Aalst – a colorful and joyous celebration with parades, costumes, music, and dancing.
- Ghent Festival – a 10-day music and street theater festival held in July with over a million visitors each year.
- Brussels Beer Weekend – a celebration of Belgian beer with over 350 varieties to taste.
- Ommegang Festival in Brussels – a historical reenactment of medieval times, complete with knights, horses, and an authentic feast.
- Tomorrowland Music Festival in Boom – one of the biggest electronic dance music festivals in the world.
- Christmas Markets in various cities – a beloved tradition in Belgium, with festive markets selling local crafts, food, and drinks.
- Carnival of Binche – a UNESCO-listed event where locals dress up as Gilles and throw oranges to ward off winter.
What kind of food is popular in the best cities in Belgian?
Belgian cuisine is diverse and delicious, with influences from French, Dutch, and German cooking. Some popular dishes and food items in cities of Belgium include:
- Moules-frites (mussels with fries) – a classic dish often served with white wine or beer.
- Stoofvlees or Carbonnade flamande (beef stew) – a hearty and flavorful stew cooked with beer.
- Belgian waffles – a must-try street food, topped with chocolate, fruit, whipped cream, or other sweet toppings.
- Frites (fries) – crispy and golden French fries served with a variety of sauces like mayonnaise or Andalouse sauce.
- Speculoos (spiced cookies) – crunchy biscuits made with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
- Belgian chocolates – world-renowned for their high-quality and variety of flavors.
- Waterzooi (creamy fish or chicken stew) – a specialty dish from Ghent made with cream, vegetables, and herbs.
What are some of the most interesting facts about cities in Belgium?
There are many interesting facts and tidbits to discover about cities in Belgium, including:
- Brussels is known as the “Capital of Europe,” as it hosts the headquarters of many international organizations like NATO and the European Union.
- Belgium has over 3,000 castles, making it one of the most castle-dense countries in the world.
- Belgium produces over 220,000 tons of chocolate per year.
- Cities of Belgium are known for their impressive beer culture, with over 1,500 different beers to choose from.
- Belgian cities have a rich art history, with famous painters like Rubens, Van Eyck, and Magritte hailing from the country.