Belgium is all about a harmonious fusion of old-world charm and modern culture and trends. From vintage castles, mansions, museums, and churches to modern architecture, shopping arcades and amusements; this European gem is the home of many spectacular places for all types of vacationers. And if you are planning a trip to this mesmeric country, here’s a complete list of places to visit in Belgium.
Belfry of Bruges
Visitors need to be in good physical shape if they want to climb the Belfry of Bruges as it is 366 steep, narrow steps to the top. Those who complete the climb of this important symbol of Bruges will be rewarded with great views of the city. The medieval bell tower dates back to 1240, built at a time when Bruges was a major player in the cloth industry. It was rebuilt after being destroyed by fire 40 years later, with other fires occurring in the centuries following. Bells still chime out from the tower today.
The Grand Place (or Grote Markt) is a must-see for visitors to Brussels. Indeed, this central square is the city’s main landmark. Surrounded by the town hall and guild halls, the square isn’t very big, as squares around the world go but the old buildings that line its sides make it very special. The Grand Place dates back to the 11th century when markets were held. Nowadays, every two years in August, an enormous “flower carpet” is set up in the Grand Place for a few days. A million colourful begonias are set up in patterns covering a large part of the square
Looking at the 12th-century Gravensteen Castle, one can almost picture knights in shining armour riding white horses out the gates. Which wouldn’t be too far off, as the castle was patterned after the ones that the knights saw on the Second Crusade in the Middle Ages. Over the centuries it was used as a prison and factory, with houses built in the courtyard. Scheduled to be demolished, the city of Ghent rescued it in 1885 and renovated it. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Belgium. Inside is a museum of torture devices used in Ghent over the ages.
Bouillon Castle sits on a hill overlooking the city of Bouillon. It is believed to date back to the Romans, though it is first mentioned in the late 10th century. One of its early owners sold it to finance his participation in the First Crusade. The castle has three drawbridges, dungeons and a torture chamber that visitors will see as they make their way down from the top. The castle, considered one of the best in Belgium, has a unique, layered defence system designed to protect it from invaders