Belgium

Belgium

  • About

    Belgium is a leisurely country of seemingly endless cafés, myriad varieties of fine beers and chocolate, world class art and architecture, stunning castles and chateaus and beautiful rolling landscapes is a sumptuous and still relatively undiscovered treasure of Europe. Rich with wildlife Belgium is an ideal destination for those who enjoy tasteful surroundings and experiences. Belgium is a welcoming country with a unique heritage. Divided by two separate cultures, the Flemish north and Walloon south, both speaking their own language, Belgium has a reputation as a classy European holiday destination. Its capital Brussels is also the capital of Europe.

  • Geography

    Situated between Holland, Germany, Luxembourg and France, Belgium is one of Europe's smallest countries. The north is very flat, making it ideal for cycling, and the south, which includes the beautiful Ardennes national park and the rugged North Sea coastline. Lower Belgium includes a major network of canals. The major cities of Belgium, along with Brussels, include Antwerp, Bruges, Dinant, Charleroi, Mons and Oostende.

  • Did You Know?

    Belgium is credited with inventing oil painting. The work of artists such as Brueghel and Rubens are some of the finest examples.

  • Attractions

    Musée de la Ville de Bruxelles

    Brussels City Museum tells the incredible history of Brussels leading up to its important role today. Also includes an eccentric collection put together over several hundred years of over 600 costumes donated to the Manneken Pis.

    Royal Museum of Fine Art, Antwerp

    Vast collection of paintings from the 14th Century, including Rubens, Van Dijck and Jordaens. Set in a majestic neoclassical building complete with Corinthian columns.

    Galleries St. Hubert

    Grand 19th Century shopping arcade near the Grand Place. Includes cinemas, cafés, bookshops and a theatre. You can also indulge in some chocolate tasting at the original Neuhaus shop, famous for Belgium Pralines.

    Tongeren

    Oldest town in Belgium. Originally a major Roman stronghold it includes the remains of a 4th Century Roman tower, Roman walls and cloisters.

    Gravensteen Castle, Ghent

    Belgium has over 3,000 castles, about 300 of which are open to the public. Gravensteen is one of the most popular. It is one of the strongest moated fortresses in Europe built in the 12th Century.

    Waterloo

    The battle of Waterloo secured the defeat of the Emperor Napoleon courtesy of the Duke of Wellington. The Lion of Waterloo victory monument is a huge man made hill topped by a 28 ton lion. Lots of memorial attractions are at hand, including the Wellington Museum.

    The Groeninge Museum, Flanders

    Flemish art museum dedicated to major examples from all eras of Belgium considerable art legacy.

    The Diamond Museum, Antwerp

    Antwerp has long been the world centre for the diamond business. This museum traces the production process from mining to finished product.

    Planckendael

    Belgium's largest animal park, covering 40 hectares, includes dwarf chimpanzees and koalas.

    Spa

    Historic town famous since Roman times for its baths and beautiful architecture. It is where the word spa gained its meaning.

    Menin Gate, Ypres

    Many visitors wish to pay their respects at this memorial inscribed with the names of 55,000 British and Commonwealth troops who died during World War One on Flanders fields. A bugler sounds the last post every evening at 8pm. There are numerous war memorials in the area, including the authentic trenches in Sanctuary Wood and the bunker of John McCrae, the site where he wrote the memorable poem In Flanders Fields.

    Grand Place Brussels

    Entering via narrow side alleys this magnificent central square creates a massive visual impact. Full of baroque buildings, cafes and restaurants it's a beauty. Every December and January it's transformed into an ice rink and during even years it is covered in a carpet of flowers for three days in August. It's also home to the famous statue/fountain - Manneken Pis.

    The Hôtel de Ville

    Gothic masterpiece town hall dating from the 15th Century is the main building in the Grand Place.

    The Ardennes

    With steep river valleys and dense forests the Ardennes covers the eastern third of Belgium. Its renowned for good food and popular with cycling and hiking tourists. It's also perfect driving country.

  • Travel

    Brussels airport is Belgium's main international airport - 14km north east of Brussels. Brussels is also well connected to mainland Europe by bus and rail. The country's rail network is efficient and comprehensive. Car/passenger ferries operate to and from Britain. Cycling is popular in the flat north and many roads have separate lanes for bikes, making touring extremely pleasant. Boat hire is another option as there are lots of rivers and canals from which you can explore the country.

  • Bruges

    Regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe it is no surprise that Bruges is the most visited city in Belgium. Known as the Venice of the North, due to its network of canals and 50 bridges which span them, Bruges was once a major port. Now its streets are packed with restaurants and cafés, superb museums and churches. Bruges contains some of the best preserved medieval architecture in Europe.

  • Did You Know?

    Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate each year and has over 2,000 chocolate shops. Belgium also has over 400 different types of beer.

  • History

    Much of Belgium enjoyed a golden age of prosperity and artistry under the French Duke of Burgundy during the 14th Century. This was a boom time for cloth trading Flemish towns - Ypres, Bruges and Ghent with Antwerp becoming one of the greatest ports in Europe.

  • Belgium - Key Facts

    • Country - Belgium
    • Population %u2013 10,400000
    • Time Zone - GMT 1
    • Capital City: Brussels
    • Currency - Euro

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