Visit Belgium

Belgium

Overview

Say “Belgium” and people think of beer, chocolate, waffles and maybe the European Union, which has its parliament and various institutions in the Belgian capital of Brussels.

 

A very common misperception is that the country is too dull to bother visiting. The truth, however, is that Belgium is a wonderfully diverse and beautiful country with some of the best food in the world.

 

Belgians pride themselves on being the most European of Europeans. After all, the country is made up of four separate parts: the Dutch speaking part of Flanders (the language is sometimes mistakenly called “Flemish”), the French speaking part of Wallonia, the agglomeration of Brussels (mixed Dutch and French), and a small German part in the East. Thankfully the national motto is “Strength through unity”.

Sites to See

If you like the urban lifestyle, make sure to visit the beautiful historic cities of Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. Marvel at the impressive Gothic cathedrals and luxuriously decorated squares and town houses from the Golden Age of the Low Lands. If it’s art you’re after, you’re sure to appreciate the Northern Renaissance paintings by Pieter Breugel and Peter Paul Rubens which decorate many museum walls.

 

Many battles in World War I were fought in the Southwest of the country. In the area around the city of Ypres you will find many memorials, museums and, of course, impressive war cemeteries.

Cuisine

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Pralines or the pure stuff. Delicious!

 

And beer. Lots and lots of beer. Whatever your preference, you can be sure that the Belgians brew it. They are particularly famed for their Trappist and Abbey beers, but also create beautiful blond and brown ales, as well as specialty brews such as extra-hop-flavored, strawberry, peach or cherry beer. 

 

Last but not least, the waffles! Most highly recommended are those found in Liège or the famous crispy Brussels variety (best consumed with fresh fruit, vanilla ice-cream and lots of whipped cream on top).

Famous People

Jean-Claude van Damme (a.k.a. the “Muscles from Brussels”), the best cyclist in history Eddy Merckx, Hollywood diva Audrey Hepburn, painter Peter Paul Rubens, and current EU president Herman van Rompuy all hail from Belgium.

Casinos in Belgium

When in Belgium, make sure to visit the legendary Casino Blankenberge and Casino de Middelkerke on the rugged North Sea coast. Also worthy of a visit is the Grand Casino Brussels, which is indeed very grand.

Upcoming Events Across Europe

  • Rhine in Flames, Germany

    Germany’s most famous waterway gets lit up by fireworks displays every Saturday night in May. The illuminating spectacle takes place all along various points on the Rhine River each weekend. Each town along the river celebrates with events and festivals which include music, dancing, and great food. There’s no better way to brighten up your weekend German getaway.

  • Cannes Film Festival, France

    The Super Bowl of cinema, the Cannes Film Festival is arguably Europe’s biggest event of the calendar year. Tens of thousands flock to the French Riviera to catch a glimpse of some of the world’s top actors walking the red carpet steps. Glitz and glamour rule the day as films of all genres take center stage from May 11–22.

  • Chelsea Flower Show, England

    Put on by the Royal Horticultural Society from May 24–28, be prepared to be greeted by 11 acres of the UK's finest flowers, gardens, and nursery exhibits. You’ll surely develop a passion for plants as you stroll through the vibrant, blooming event grounds.