A Traveler’s Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Belgium

A Traveler’s Guide to the Best Places to Visit in Belgium

Breathtaking Belgium: Your Ultimate Travel Companion!

Photo by Olga Subach on Unsplash
WRITTEN BYDarlene Aberin
PUBLISHED ONNovember 27, 2023

As a wanderlust spirit, you're forever pursuing destinations that are steeped in history, enlivened with culture, and adorned with nature's wonders. Look no further as we invite you to embark on an enchanting journey through Belgium, a country known for its medieval towns, captivating art, delectable cuisine, and, of course, outstanding beer. In this comprehensive guide, we will unveil the best places to visit in Belgium, each offering a unique blend of experiences to sate your travel yearnings.

Why Visit Belgium?

Belgium, a gem tucked in the heart of Europe, is an unparalleled blend of history, culture, gastronomy, and beautiful landscapes. Let's explore why Belgium should definitely be on your dream destination list.

Historical Richness

Belgium's history is as varied and fascinating as the country itself. From the grandeur of the Grand Palace in Brussels, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to the battlegrounds in Ypres and Waterloo that echo the resonances of World Wars, the country offers a deep dive into history for history enthusiasts.

Architectural Marvels

Belgian cities boast an impressive collection of architectural styles, from medieval to Art Nouveau. The intricately detailed Belfry of Bruges, the sleek designs of Antwerp's contemporary constructions, and the grandeur of the Cinquantenaire in Brussels, Belgium, are a delight for the architectural admirer.

Belgian Waffles and Chocolates

Foodies look no further--Belgium is home to the world's finest chocolates, delicious waffles, and patisseries. A visit to Belgium is incomplete without strolling along Bruges' cobbled streets with a warm, sugar-dusted Belgian waffle in hand or visiting one of Brussels' premier chocolatiers for a decadent sweet fix.

Unparalleled Beer Culture

Belgium's beer culture is legendary. The country offers an immense variety of beers, ranging from the classic Trappist and Abbey to lambic and fruit beers, each with their own unique flavor. Several breweries also offer tours, taking you behind the scenes of the intricate and careful crafting process.

Artistic Heritage

Belgium's art scene is vibrant and wide-ranging. It's the homeland of many renowned artists like Rene Magritte, Peter Paul Rubens, and Victor Horta. Museums and galleries, such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, the Magritte Museum, or the Horta Museum, offer the art aficionado a unique journey through the creative heritage of the country.

So, whether you're a history buff, a food fanatic, a beer enthusiast, or an art lover, Belgium has got something enchanting for everyone that makes it a must-visit hotspot.

Top Cities to Visit in Belgium

Belgium, the heart of Europe, hosts an array of cities, each bearing its own unique charm and allure. From the bustling city life of Brussels to the timeless tranquility of Bruge and the vibrant cultural scene of Antwerp - each city is a treasure trove of experiences. Let's walk through each of these captivating cities to find what makes them stand out.


Brussels, the capital city, is often seen as the gateway to Europe. Teeming with life and culture, this city is home to the awe-inspiring Grand Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site resplendent with ornate guildhalls. Indulge in the gastronomical delights at Rue des Bouchers, visit the iconic Atomium, or marvel at the diverse range of artworks at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. From eclectic markets to contemporary art spaces, the city is a truly cosmopolitan hub bursting with energy and creativity.


A visit to Bruges feels like stepping back in time. Picture this - cobbled alleys, serene canals, and well-preserved medieval buildings - a true embodiment of fairy tale perfection. Climb the Belfry Tower for panoramic views of the city, visit the beguiling Begijnhof, a tranquil haven once for beguines, sample delightful Belgian chocolates at the Choco-Story Museum, or simply sit by the canal, embracing Bruges charming town.


Antwerp, famous for its diamonds, fashion, and arts, maintains a perfect balance between contemporary chic and historical elegance. Visit the Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest in the world, enjoy Baroque masterpieces at the Rubens House or tour the Antwerp Fashion Museum to understand the city's solid sartorial reputation. The vibrant nightlife, the bustling shopping streets, and the Diamond District further enhance the city's allure.

Each of these cities offers something unique, from Brussels's multifaceted cosmopolitanism and Bruges's storybook charm to Antwerp's eclectic blend of art and fashion, making Belgium an enticing place for every traveler.

Historical Sites in Belgium

Belgium is steeped in rich history, with traces from various epochs preserved meticulously in its historic center. These sites bear silent testimony to centuries of evolution, conflicts, achievements, and resilience. Here, we explore some of the most renowned historical sites in Belgium - Waterloo and the Battlefields of Flanders.


Waterloo stands as an emblematic site in the tapestry of European history. It is here that the famous Battle of Waterloo took place in 1815, marking the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. Today, visitors can explore the battlefield, brought to life through multi-dimensional presentations at the visitor center, 'Memorial 1815.' Climb atop the Lion's Mound, an artificial hill commanding a fantastic overview of the battlefield, or visit the Wellington Museum to delve deep into the Napoleonic era.

Battlefields of Flanders

The Battlefields of Flanders, scattered across the region of Flanders, serve as a poignant reminder of World War I's devastating toll. Ypres, one of the hardest hit towns, houses the 'In Flanders Fields Museum,' offering sobering insights into the war's horrors. The nightly Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate, a memorial inscribed with the names of missing soldiers, is an emotional tribute to the fallen. A visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world, and Passchendaele's memorial museum furthers the understanding of the war's impact.

Taking a journey through these sites is not just about revisiting past events; it's about acknowledging the depth of the human spirit - the resilience in times of devastating adversities and the continuous process of remembering, healing, and moving on.

Belgian Natural Beauty

A country of remarkable diversity, Belgium isn't only about historical sites and urban experiences. Here, natural beauty abounds, offering refreshing retreats amid forests, national parks, and lakes. In this section, let's escape the hustle and bustle of city life and dive into some of Belgium's captivating natural attractions, including the Ardennes and the High Fens.


The Ardennes, a lush highland region stretching across southern Belgium, offers some of the country's most pristine and stunning landscapes. It features:

  • Forests & Wildlife: Dense forests of oak and beech are home to a rich variety of wildlife, including deer and wild boar.
  • Outdoor Adventures: Perfect for adventure enthusiasts, offering activities such as bike riding, hiking, and kayaking.
  • Historic Castles: Amid the natural beauty, you'll find historic gems, such as the medieval castle in Bouillon.

High Fens

High Fens, or Hautes Fagnes, is the largest nature reserve in Belgium. This stunning moorland plateau offers a unique ecosystem and features:

  • Bogs and Fens: A unique, protected landscape of blanket bogs, fens, and ancient woodlands.
  • Distinctive Flora and Fauna: A habitat for a diverse range of plant species and birds, making it a paradise for bird-watchers and nature photographers.
  • Trails and Walks: Numerous marked trails and walking routes in the tranquil wilderness are ideal for hiking and winter sports.

Whether you're craving an adrenaline-fueled adventure, seeking tranquility, or simply looking for a picturesque city for your next walk, Belgium's natural beauty provides a sense of peace and inspiration, a welcome escape from the everyday routine.

Experience Belgian Cuisine

Belgium's rich culinary landscape is a feast for both the eyes and the palate. It's not just about world-renowned Belgian chocolate and waffles - you'll also be captivated with crispy fries, enticing beer, and other local delicacies. Let's take you on a gastronomic tour of Belgium's best offerings and where to find them.

Belgian Chocolate

Belgium produces some of the finest chocolates in the world. With more than 2,000 chocolatiers across the country, Brussels stands out for its Chocolatier Row or the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert. Don't miss out on Pierre Marcolini, considered one of the country's top chocolate artisans.


Waffles are a staple of Belgian cuisine: there's the crispy and sweet Brussels waffles or the local favorite Liège waffles, with their caramelized sugar. For the best experience, head to Maison Dandoy in Brussels, which is famous for its handmade waffles.

Belgian Fries

Despite the name 'French fries,' these golden, crispy delights are quintessentially Belgian. The fries are typically served in a paper cone with a dollop of mayonnaise on top - simply irresistible! Friterie Tabora in Brussels and Frituur No.1 in Antwerp are two must-visit spots for authentic Belgian fries.

Belgian Beer

Belgian beer is celebrated worldwide for its quality and diversity, with more than 1,500 varieties, including Trappists, abbey beers, lambics, and more. Visit Brussels' Delirium Café, known for its extensive beer list, or De Garre in Bruges, a hidden gem serving exclusive house brew. For a more immersive experience, tour one of the numerous breweries such as Chimay or Orval.

Travel Restrictions and Visa Requirements for Belgium

Whether you're planning a brisk business trip or a leisurely holiday tour to Belgium, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the current travel restrictions, visa requirements, and the necessity of an International Driving Permit for Belgium if you intend to drive. Given the ongoing COVID-19 situation, certain measures are in place to ensure the health and safety of both visitors and residents. Additionally, travel requirements, including those for the International Driving Permit, vary depending on the nationality of the visitors.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Due to the fluidity of the COVID-19 global pandemic, travel restrictions to Belgium are subject to change based on the health situation.

  • Check for Updates: Obtain the most current information from trusted sources like the official Belgian government website or airline websites before making travel plans.
  • Health Regulations: Various health and safety regulations are in place, including mask mandates, requirements for negative PCR tests, and potentially mandatory quarantines upon arrival, depending on the country of origin. Also, COVID-19 vaccination certificates or recovery certificates may be required.

Visa Requirements

The visa policy for Belgium is majorly influenced by the country being a Schengen state, and the requirements differ based on visitors' nationality.

  • For EU Nationals: If you are an EU national, a visa is not required for entry into Belgium. A valid identification card or passport suffices.
  • For Non-EU Nationals: Many non-EU nationals need to apply for a Schengen Visa prior to traveling to Belgium, especially for stays longer than 90 days. Some countries have visa exemption agreements - you can check this information on the Belgian Foreign Affairs website.
  • Application Process: A visa application typically includes filling out the application form, providing necessary documentation (including proof of financial means, travel insurance, accommodation, etc.), and attending an interview at the Belgian embassy or consulate in your home country.

Navigating the intricacies of travel restrictions and visa requirements can be daunting, but with careful planning and regular updates, you can ensure a seamless journey. As you prepare to immerse in the rich cultural mosaic of Belgium, don't forget the first step: a well-informed and safe travel plan.

Estimating Your Trip's Cost

Budgeting for your Belgian adventure is an essential part of planning for any traveler. One of the most important things to know before traveling is the cost, which can vary substantially depending on personal preferences and choices. Here's an overview of the average costs you might incur pertaining to accommodation, dining, tourist spot entrance fees, and transportation.


Whether you're searching for luxurious comfort hotel or budget-friendly options, Belgium provides a wide range of accommodations.

  • Luxury / Upscale Hotels: For high-end establishments, the price may range from €150 - €300 per night.
  • Mid-Range Hotels: Comfortable three-star hotels usually cost between €75 and €150 per night.
  • Budget Hostels / Guesthouses: Affordable options can range from €20 to €60 per night.


Belgium offers a world of culinary delights, with something to suit every palate and pocket.

  • High-End Restaurants: Expect to pay around €50 - €100 per person for a fine dining experience.
  • Mid-Range Dining: For average meal prices at local restaurants or cafés, expect to pay €15 - €30 per person.
  • Fast Food / Street Food: You can get a taste of Belgian staples like waffles, fries, or sandwiches for less than €10.

Entrance Fees for Tourist Spots

Many tourist attractions do come with entrance fees.

  • Major Museums / Landmarks: Access to most museums or historical landmarks may range from €8 - €15.
  • You might want to consider getting a city tourist card offering free or discounted entrance to various attractions, which can be cost-effective for an action-packed itinerary.


Getting around Belgium is fairly straightforward with its efficient public transport system.

  • Trains / Buses: A single train or bus ticket for inner-city travel is around €2 - €3, while intercity travel may cost upwards of €15 - €20.
  • Taxis / Rideshares: For more convenience, a taxi or rideshare may cost approximately €15 - €20 for a 10-minute ride.

Remember, these are merely average estimates, and actual costs can fluctuate depending on a variety of factors. Budgeting your trip to Belgium will give you a level of financial confidence and allow you to focus on immersing yourself in all the experiences this fascinating country has to offer.

Tips for Traveling in Belgium

Belgium is certainly a charming country to explore, especially when driving in Belgium, but like any travel adventure, it becomes even more rewarding with a handful of practical tips. Here, we provide some insider recommendations that can help your journey through Belgium by car be as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Planning Ahead

Whilst spontaneous trips can be thrilling, some level of planning is helpful when visiting Belgium.

  • Season: Consider the best time to visit Belgium while planning your trip. Summers can be busy and vibrant, making it a great season for those who enjoy lively atmospheres, whilst the winter hosts fantastic Christmas markets, ideal for experiencing Belgium's festive charm.
  • Itinerary: Belgium is compact, making it feasible to visit several cities during your stay. Prioritize what interests you most.

Language Basics

Belgium is linguistically diverse, with French, Dutch, and German as its official languages.

  • Basics: Learning some basic phrases in Dutch or French can prove useful, especially in local markets and towns outside tourist centers.
  • English: A large number of Belgians are proficient in English, particularly in the major cities.


Belgium boasts a superb public transportation network.

  • Train Travel: Trains are an efficient way to travel between cities. Consider using the Belgian Rail website to check schedules and prices.
  • City Trajectories: For shorter distances within cities, trams and buses are often the best choice.

Food and Drinks

Belgium is a culinary paradise. Don't miss the traditional treats!

  • Try Local Delicacies: Belgian fries, waffles, chocolate, and beer are not to be missed.
  • Tipping: Service charges are typically included in the bill, but it's customary to leave loose change as a tip.

Cash or Card

Credit cards are widely accepted, but it's good to have some cash on hand.

  • Cash Machines: ATMs are plentiful and easily accessible throughout cities.
  • Small Purchases: Some smaller stores, markets, or bars may not accept card payments for small amounts.

Traveling to Belgium is a journey rich in history, culture, and culinary delights. These handy tips and insights can certainly enhance your Belgian voyage, helping you to navigate through cities, interact with locals, and sample the best of what Belgium has to offer.


Our voyage through Belgium brings us to the end of this traveler's guide, steering you through the country's top attractions. With beautiful cities and towns rich in architectural grandeur and a myriad of natural wonders, Belgium proves to be more than just waffles, chocolate, and beer. It's a destination that satisfies the soulful yearning for history, the appetite for splendid cuisine, and the thirst for magnificent landscapes.

This country, small in size but gigantic in allure, offers an unforgettable journey in each of its corners. From Brussels to Bruges, Antwerp to Ghent, and beyond, we hope this guide inspires you to explore Belgium's unforgettable ambiance and ensures that you're the director of your own unique Belgian story.

Get your International Driving Permit in 8 minutes

Instant approval

Valid for 1-3 years

Worldwide express shipping

Back to Top