Want to know what to do in Belgium? This guide will help you to explore the country of beer, chocolate, fries and waffles, and help you pick which things to do or don’t.
As an avid craft beer lover I’m actually very fond of Belgium as it is without a doubt the #1 beer country in the world. There are so many different local beers and there’s so little time to taste them all 😀 But that’s of course not the only reason for visiting Belgium, although strolling through Bruges after a few ‘Brugse Zotten’ really seemed to make the experience even more magnificent.
‘Did you know Belgium actually has three official languages? Most know about Dutch and French but there’s also a small portion of the country that speaks German (about 1%)’
But let’s get on with it, here are the best things to do in Belgium, also including the most popular tourist attractions!
1. Taste the wide variety of craft beers
Belgium is the absolute number 1 when it comes to craft beers and every region you visit will have some great local beers you should definitely try out! There’s many beer bars with a big selection of different beers, try to find one near you and let the host/owner make some suggestions you should try (they are likely eager to help you out and honored to be asked for their suggestion). Be advised that some of the beers have quite a high percentage of alcohol and a few of them might knock you off your feet. Some of my favorites are the Leffe Brown, the St. Bernardus Abt 12 and the Westmalle Tripel.
Another great activity would be to visit one of the brewery’s, there are often tours you can book.
2. Eat some of the tasty Belgian Chocolate
Almost every village in Belgium has their own chocolate shop where recipes have often been handed down for generations. This culture of chocolate making and perfecting is appreciated all over the world. Belgian chocolate is known for being the best chocolate you can get. And there’s no shortage of it as Belgium is said to produce around 220,000 tons of chocolate per year.
3. Enjoy a Belgian Waffle
Be sure to enjoy a Belgian waffle during your visit, wether this be from one of the waffle stands or in a cafe together with a cup of coffee. The Belgian waffle is a little thicker then a normal waffle and can have toppings like whipped cream, icing sugar, strawberries and jam.
4. A canal cruise in Bruges
The many canals in Bruges make for people often referring to it as the Venice of the North, but in my opinion it would better to call Venice the Bruges of the south! Bruges is in so many ways one of the most enjoyable cities of Belgium and cruising through it by boat on the canals is a great way to enjoy it’s beauty. A city that should be high on your bucket list.
5. Visit the Grand Place in Brussels
The Grand Place in Brussels is absolutely stuning with it’s historic buildings.
6. Visit to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is an art museum in Brussels.
7. Visit the In Flanders Fields Museum in Lakenhallen
The In Flanders Fields Museum is the perfect place to learn about World War I in Europe.
8. Enjoy the city of Ghent
Being located closely to Bruges this is city is ideal for as well a day trip as a complete city trip. It’s less known then Bruges but certainly just as beautiful, one of the hidden gems in Europe.
9. Relax in Spa
If you want to relax and enjoy a little pampering then surely you’re going to want to visit the town of Spa, from which all spas take their name!
10. Visit the Manneken Pis landmark in Brussels
Although just a small bronze sculpture, it’s a world renown landmark that’s a perfect picture opportunity.
11. The Atomium
The Atomium is a building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.
Mini-Europe is a miniature park located in Bruparck at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels.
13. Castle Gravensteen
The Gravensteen is a castle in Ghent originating from the Middle Ages. The name means “castle of the counts” in Dutch. Gravensteen is situated at an altitude of 9 meters.
14. Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History is a military museum that occupies the two northernmost halls of the historic complex in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, Belgium.
15. The Rubenshuis in Antwerp
The Rubenshuis is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp. It is now a museum.
16. Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are a vast complex of monumental heated greenhouses in the park of the Royal Palace of Laeken in the north of Brussels. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the city.
17. Pairi Daiza
Pairi Daiza is a privately owned 55-hectare zoo and botanical garden located in Brugelette in the province of Hainaut in Belgium. The animal theme park is located on the site of the former Cistercian Cambron Abbey, and is home to over 4,000 animals.
AutoWorld is a vintage car museum in the center of Brussels, Belgium, located in the southern hall of the Cinquantenaire Park.
19. Castle of Vêves
The Castle of Vêves occupies a rocky platform just outside the village of Celles, in the province of Namur, Belgium. It is classified as Major Heritage of Wallonia.
20. Antwerp Zoo
Antwerp Zoo is a zoo in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium, located right next to the Antwerpen-Centraal railway station. It is the oldest animal park in the country, and one of the oldest in the world, established on 21 July 1843.
21. Mont des Arts
The Kunstberg, meaning “hill/mount of the arts”, is a historic site in the center of Brussels.
22. Ypres Cloth Hall
The Cloth Hall is a large cloth hall, a medieval commercial building, in Ypres, Belgium. It was one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages, when it served as the main market and warehouse.
Bobbejaanland is a theme park in Lichtaart, Belgium. It was founded by Bobbejaan Schoepen, a Flemish singer, guitarist, and entertainer who enjoyed international popularity in the fifties and early sixties. After 15 years he got weary of touring.
24. Royal Museum for Central Africa
The Royal Museum for Central Africa or RMCA, colloquially known as the Africa Museum, is an ethnography and natural history museum situated in Tervuren in Flemish Brabant, Belgium, just outside of Brussels.
25. Curtius Museum
The Curtius Museum is a museum of archaeology and decorative arts, located on the bank of the Meuse River in Liège, classified as a Major Heritage of Wallonia.
And here’s Ned’s Tip for #26: Visit Luxembourg. On the border of Belgium, France and Germany, this tiny Grand-Duchy is less than two hours from Brussels but well worth the visit. Check out this post for more.