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Belgium

Land of Castles and Timeless Tales

Belgium beckons travelers with a captivating blend of old-world charm and modern allure. From the cobblestone streets of medieval towns to the bustling cityscapes of cosmopolitan hubs, this small yet diverse country offers a rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be explored.

Step into a land where ancient castles stand sentinel amidst rolling green hills, and Gothic cathedrals soar majestically against the skyline. Wander through enchanting towns like Bruges and Ghent, where centuries-old buildings whisper tales of bygone eras, and picturesque canals weave through the historic center.

Where, What and How?

Accommodation – Major cities like Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, and Ghent offer an array of accommodation options, ranging from historic properties to modern establishments. For a more intimate and personalized experience, consider staying in a charming bed and breakfast.

Food – A Belgian classic, moules frites consists of fresh mussels cooked in a flavorful broth of white wine, garlic, and herbs, served with crispy golden fries. Light, airy, and topped with an array of sweet delights, Belgian waffles are a must-try treat. Similar to stoofvlees but with a Flemish twist, carbonnade flamande is a sweet and tangy beef stew made with onions, beer, and spices, simmered until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender. Finally, with over 1,500 different types of beer produced in Belgium, beer is an integral part of the country’s culinary culture.

Transportation – The Belgian national railway company, NMBS/SNCB, operates an extensive network of trains connecting major cities, towns, and regions across the country. While public transportation is highly efficient, some travelers may choose to rent a car for exploring rural areas and remote destinations.

 

My favorites

Ghent: This is my favorite city in Belgium. The city’s well-preserved medieval center is a sight to behold, with majestic cathedrals, imposing castles, and grand merchant houses lining its cobblestone streets. The iconic Gravensteen Castle, dating back to the 12th century, stands as a testament to Ghent’s medieval past, while the Belfry of Ghent offers panoramic views of the cityscape from its lofty heights.
Bruges: Often referred to as the “Venice of the North,” is a fairytale city nestled in the northwest of Belgium, renowned for its romantic canals, medieval architecture, and enchanting atmosphere. Stepping into Bruges feels like stepping back in time, as its well-preserved historic center transports visitors to a bygone era of cobblestone streets, quaint squares, and centuries-old buildings.
Namur: This city’s historic center is a treasure trove of architectural wonders, with ancient fortifications, medieval churches, and elegant townhouses lining its cobblestone streets. The imposing Citadel of Namur, perched atop a hill overlooking the city, provides panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and serves as a reminder of Namur’s strategic importance throughout history.
Dinant: Surrounded by towering cliffs and lush forests, Dinant offers visitors a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The town’s skyline is dominated by the imposing Citadel of Dinant, a historic fortress perched atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the river.
Ardennes: A picturesque region located in the southeastern part of Belgium, offers travelers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and cultural heritage. This enchanting area is characterized by rolling hills, dense forests, meandering rivers, and charming villages, making it a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Brussels: The vibrant capital of Belgium and the European Union, is a cosmopolitan city brimming with cultural treasures, architectural marvels, and culinary delights. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with stunning landmarks such as the Grand Place, a magnificent square surrounded by ornate guild houses and the iconic Town Hall. Visitors can wander through narrow cobblestone streets, discovering hidden gems like the Manneken Pis statue and the majestic Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula.
Antwerp: This is a city of contrasts, blending rich history with modern innovation and a thriving cultural scene. The majestic Cathedral of Our Lady, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dominates the skyline with its towering spire, while the medieval Grote Markt square bustles with life and activity.
Leuven: The city’s most iconic landmark is the stunning Gothic-style Leuven Town Hall, a masterpiece of Flemish architecture adorned with intricate carvings and statues. In my opinion this building alone makes it worth the visit, especially if you are in Brussels (30 minutes by train).

Money Saving Tips

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Public Transportation Passes Consider purchasing a multi-day or multi-journey transportation pass, such as the MOBIB card or the Brussels Card, which offer discounted fares on buses, trams, and trains within specific regions or cities.
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Walking and Cycling Many Belgian cities are pedestrian-friendly and have extensive cycling infrastructure, making walking and cycling convenient and cost-effective ways to explore.
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Budget-Friendly Dining Seek out budget-friendly dining options such as street food stalls, food markets, and ethnic restaurants, which often offer delicious meals at lower prices compared to touristy restaurants.
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Accommodation Alternatives Consider staying in budget-friendly accommodations such as hostels, guesthouses, or vacation rentals, especially outside major tourist areas or during off-peak seasons.
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