Where to go in Belgium: 5 remarkable places to visit beyond Brussels
This is a list and video on where to go in Belgium, five remarkable places to visit beyond Brussels.
Geographically, Belgium is incredibly well-suited to explore some of the most popular places in Europe—from Paris to Amsterdam, Dusseldorf to Luxembourg. But the country has some remarkable cities itself. While Brussels is the unofficial capital of the European Union, and is a fine city to visit, the following are my top-five favorite places to visit in Belgium.
While I typically road trip around a country, on this 3-week adventure, I skipped the roads in favor of the rails. Belgium is an incredibly easy country to get around by train. All off the destinations below (with the exception of Ghent) the train stations are right in the city center, so no other transportation is required (just make sure you have your walking shoes on). The city center of Ghent is about a 30 minute walk, or about a 12 minute tram ride.
The fares are very affordable too, between $15-$20 per person (depending on the destination) and the trains are quite regular, such as every 20-30 minutes. The trains in Belgium are a great way to get around the country and I really recommend them. No parking to deal with. Fast, clean and efficient. What’s not to like.
If you wish to know where to go in Belgium beyond Brussels, read on! Oh, and don’t miss watching the video above.
Leuven is a lively university town just a 25 minute train ride from Brussels. The picturesque core of the city is small enough that you can easily see all the sights in a short day-trip. However, the charming character of Leuven may induce you into staying a couple of nights.
During the winter months, outdoor dining is at a minimum, however as spring rolls one of the sights you may want to visit is the the longest bar in the world (pictured above on the left). Winter also ushers in the cheer of the holidays with a suburb Christmas market.
Located in the French speaking, southern part of Belgium, Dinant is an exquisite village situated along the banks of the Meuse River. Dinant is known as the Saxophone city as it was home to its inventor, Adolphe Sax. Beautiful Saxophone sculptures line the Charles de Gaulle bridge, each uniquely painted to represent a city where jazz music is well known.
Beneath Dinant’s romantic facade lies a rich history that emanates from every corner. It is a city that begs to be explored above and below. While the city lies along the river banks with its most recognizable structure being the Notre Dame de Dinant Cathedral—high above the city is a fortified citadel, which can be accessed by a short gondola ride, or by walking the series of steep steps.
Antwerp is the 2nd largest city in Belgium and is known for being the world’s diamond trading hub. Its train station is one of the most impressive in all of Europe.
During the holiday season the city really comes alive with lots of Christmas lights and markets, special festive installations, holiday music and many activities, such as ice skating, amusement rides, and ethereal congratulation areas to enjoy the seasonally traditional Glühwein (or mulled wine).
Ghent is not nearly as well known as Bruges, but I would argue, equally as charming. Its pedestrianized city center is full of medieval architecture with a tributary river snaking through, adding to the allure. The city is brimming with activity, but its not over-crowded like Bruges.
One of the best ways to see the city is by one of the tour boats, which also provides a history lesson into the city’s interesting past, such as the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812 against the British and Americans. One of the most imposing structures in Ghent is the Gravensteen Castle, which was built in the 10th century, providing panoramic city views as well as a glimpse into the past.
Known as the Venice of the North, Bruges is undeniably appealing—with its distinguished canals, cobbled stone streets, large market squares with soaring towers and medieval buildings, its popularity comes as no surprise.
No matter how far you walk, no matter the direction, you’ll find your head turning back and forth to make sure you don’t miss anything. Around every corner there seems to be something new and special to see. They say Bruges is a fairy-tail city, but Disney has nothing on this place!
I hope you enjoyed this piece on the best places to visit in Belgium. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment below. Oh, and don’t miss my article and video on the top European destinations to visit in 2020. Until next time, we’ll see ya see ya on the road…
Best places to visit in Belgium?
The five best places I recommend are Leuven, Antwerp, Dinant, Ghent and Bruges. If you only have time to visit one or two places in Belgium, don't miss Ghent and Bruges.
Is Belguim expensive to visit?
Compared to an average US city, Belgium is a very expensive country to visit. It ranks as the world’s 15th most expensive. Having said that, some things, such as public transport ( like trains and buses) are really affordable.
Is Belgium safe to visit?
Brussels is probably the least safe city in Belgium, it's made up of mainly foreigners and transients. Crime in Brussels is primary petty theft and robbery. The rest of Belgium is quite safe. Like anywhere in the world, be aware of your surroundings and think smart and you'll be fine.
What language do they speak in Belgium?
In the south of Belgium and in Brussels, French is the primary language, however most other places they speak Flemish, which is a Dutch dialect.
What curency do they use in Belgium?
The Euro is the official currency in Belgium.