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Things to do in Belgium

Things to do in  Belgium

Welcome to Belgium

Multicultural Belgium—the political center of Europe—is a small-but-important country that entices visitors with its specialty beers, tantalizing chocolate, and myriad waffles, along with an equally rich history. Belgium's location, squished between Germany and France, give it an often-outsized historical importance, with World War I and II having left notable marks; day tours from the capital make stops at historic sites related to the well-known Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Waterloo. Brussels itself boasts a warren of medieval architecture, the Houses of Parliament, and plenty of that renowned Belgian beer and chocolate that you won't want to leave without sampling. Head just an hour outside the capital, though, and big city life fades away in favor of the picturesque fields of Flanders, and secondary cities such as Antwerp and Bruges. Visitors can easily see one or both in a single day with the help of a guided tour. Antwerp's beautiful port and majestic town square open to reveal celebrated art by Rubens and the intense center of the diamond industry. Meanwhile, Bruges' quaint serenity creates a timeless fairy-tale scene where travelers can step back a few centuries via canal cruises or walking tours through the town.

Top 15 attractions in Belgium

#1
Grand-Place (Grote Markt)

Grand-Place (Grote Markt)

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Arguably Europe’s most beautiful square, Brussels’ Grand Place—in the heart of the historic and hip city—is surrounded by nearly 40 baroque and gothic guildhalls and the stunning Brussels Town Hall. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the large cobblestone square, also known as Grote Markt, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Belgium.More
#2
Manneken Pis

Manneken Pis

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The Manneken Pis—sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy’s small bronze statue of a little boy urinating into a Brussels fountain—is one of Belgium’s most beloved landmarks. Built in 1619, the boy is hailed as the capital’s oldest resident and remains a favorite of both locals and tourists, with a host of myths and legends to his name.More
#3
Atomium

Atomium

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One of Brussels’ most iconic structures, the futuristic Atomium is a gargantuan structure designed to resemble an iron molecule magnified 165 billion times. It was created in 1958 for the Expo 58, and though it was originally slated for demolition, it was so popular with locals that it became a permanent feature of the city’s skyline.More
#4
Cinquantenaire Park (Parc du Cinquantenaire)

Cinquantenaire Park (Parc du Cinquantenaire)

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Spanning around 74 acres (30 hectares), sprawling Cinquantenaire Park (Parc du Cinquantenaire) was named in honor of the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence, which was celebrated there with the 1880 National. Today, the park is home to three museums, along with the Great Mosque of Brussels and a triumphal arch dating to 1905.More
#5
Market Square (Markt)

Market Square (Markt)

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The medieval-style Markt (Market Square) is the setting for Bruges’ most photogenic landmarks, including the belfry (Belfort) and the Provinciaal Hof. At its center stands a statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who played leading roles in the Flemish resistance against the French in the 1302 Battle of the Golden Spurs.More
#6
Brussels Royal Palace (Palais Royal de Bruxelles)

Brussels Royal Palace (Palais Royal de Bruxelles)

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Dating back to the 18th century and fronted by the idyllic Parc de Bruxelles (Brussels Park), the Brussels Royal Palace (Palais Royal Bruxelles) might no longer be the official residence of Belgium’s royal family, but it remains one of the capital’s most magnificent landmarks and the site of various royal and state events.More
#7
St. Nicholas’ Church (Sint-Nik­laas­kerk)

St. Nicholas’ Church (Sint-Nik­laas­kerk)

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Owner of the oldest of the three great spires that dominate the pedestrianized heart of Ghent, the St. Nicholas’ Church (Sint-Nik­laas­kerk) was constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries in an eye-catching mixture of Romanesque and Flemish Gothic architectural styles. Built of Tournai limestone, its lovely exterior is adorned with flying buttresses and spiky spires as well as an imposing central tower; all this grandeur was paid for by Ghent’s wealthy medieval merchants to signal their wealth to the rival Flanders trading cities of Bruges and Antwerp. It’s probably more beautiful inside than out, but nevertheless all eyes lead to the Baroque high altar with its twisted side columns, floodlit through stained-glass windows high above. The church is currently under restoration but faint traces of fresco can still be seen on the supporting pillars of the nave. For the best view of St Nicholas’s flying buttresses, head for the viewing platform of the Belfry a few steps away.More
#8
Burg Square

Burg Square

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Burg Square sits on the former site of a castle, which was originally built to protect the area from invading Vikings and Normans (and remained the seat of the Counts of Flanders for more than 500 years). The castle is now gone, but the charming public square that replaced it, the Burg, has been the heart of Bruges ever since.More
#9
St. Bavo's Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal)

St. Bavo's Cathedral (Sint-Baafskathedraal)

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Fronted by a Romanesque, baroque and Gothic facade, Ghent’s cavernous cathedral serves as a repository for a valuable collection of art treasures, including works by Rubens and Laurent Delvaux. Its showpiece attraction is the Van Eyck brothers’ world-renowned 24-panel altarpiece,The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.More
#10
Graslei and Korenlei

Graslei and Korenlei

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The medieval quays of Graslei and Korenlei face each other across the canalized River Leie and originally formed part of Tusschen Brugghen, the city’s thriving harbour. Their banks are lined with a rare architectural treat – the loveliest gabled guild houses and warehouses in Belgium, built between the 1200s and 1600s by rich merchants and guilds whose wealth came from trade. The streets are united by St Michael’s Bridge, from where their gabled delights can be seen at best advantage, and although considerable restoration work has taken place, these distinctive townhouses have maintained their allure.Graslei is lined by canal-side restaurants blessed with a graceful backdrop of gabled gild houses; the oldest is the Het Spijker (Stockpile House) at no. 10; other ornate façades once contained the guild houses of the stonemasons, the free boatmen and the grain measurers as well as the former customs house. Across the river from Graslei, Korenlei offers many surprises of its own, including imposing step-gabled, red-brick 16th-century houses. No. 9 is of particular interest for the gilded swans adorning the facade; in its time De Swaene has been both a brewery and a bordello. The pink-and-white Gildehuis van de Onvrije Schippers (Guild House of the Tied Boatmen) dates from 1739 and is a masterpiece of Flemish Baroque architecture.By day, tour boats leave from the quays of Graslei and Korenlei; after dark the district morphs into party central and restaurants, cafés and bars sprout along the quaysides.More
#11
Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk)

Church of Our Lady (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk)

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The brick spire of the Church of Our Lady is visible across the city. Home to several important artworks, including Michelangelo’s marble Madonna and Child, the restored interior of the church is a must-visit for fans of European architecture.More
#12
Minnewater (Lake of Love)

Minnewater (Lake of Love)

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Surrounded by a park that’s long been known as a romantic place for a stroll, Minnewater—also known as the Lake of Love—is a great place for anyone looking for some quiet time in nature. Swans are a common site on the lake, and the traditional Belgian brick houses around it make the park particularly photogenic.More
#13
Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde (Begijnhof)

Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde (Begijnhof)

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Bruges’ Princely Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde is one of the most famous and best preserved of Belgium’s UNESCO-listed Beguinages. One of the town’s most-visited attractions, it offers a glimpse into the European Beguine movement of the Middle Ages.More
#14
Duvelorium

Duvelorium

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Located inside the Historium Brugge building in the center of Bruges, the Duvelorium Grand Beer Café offers a relaxing space to have a drink and a bite following a Historium tour. Belgian-beer aficionados will want to spend some time at the bar, which is open to the general public and offers excellent people watching and Market Square views.More
#15
Historic Centre of Bruges (Historisch Centrum van Brugge)

Historic Centre of Bruges (Historisch Centrum van Brugge)

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Bruges often tops the list of Europe’s most picturesque cities, and its Historic Center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, abounds with photo opportunities. A warren of cobbled lanes and scenic canals opens out onto grand medieval squares framed by colorful old buildings and dramatic Gothic facades.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Brussels

How to Spend 3 Days in Brussels

Bruges Tours from Brussels

Bruges Tours from Brussels

Top activities in Belgium

Luxembourg and Dinant Day Trip from Brussels
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Bruges and Ghent Day Trip from Brussels
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Hungry Mary's Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour in Brussels
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The glory of Holland: Amsterdam and windmills galore
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Bruges Day Trip from Brussels
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Legends of Brussels - Historical Walking Tour of Brussels
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Brussels Chocolate Workshop

Brussels Chocolate Workshop

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Private Historical Tour: The Highlights of Bruges
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Antwerp and Ghent Day Trip from Brussels With Atomium Photo Stop
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Belgian Chocolate Workshop in Bruges
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The Waffles -n Beer Workshop

The Waffles -n Beer Workshop

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Recent reviews from experiences in Belgium

star-5
A lovely day
Genell_H, Jun 2022
Bruges and Ghent - Belgium's Fairytale Cities - from Brussels
Good way to see more of Belgium than just Brussels.
star-5
Great experience with spectacular weather
Gianluca_P, Jun 2022
Bruges and Ghent - Belgium's Fairytale Cities - from Brussels
Bruges is an authentic gem and maybe deserves more time to visit, but if you don't have time and want to visit new places in Belgium that's the right experience to go.
star-5
Good tour if you are limited on time
Brandy_H, May 2022
Bruges and Ghent Day Trip from Brussels
I paid to to see the tour not to sit in traffic.
star-5
Exciting & Fast-Paced Day Trip
Kaitlin_P, Apr 2022
Bruges and Ghent Day Trip from Brussels
This was my first time in Belgium and I was staying in Leuven for a short trip, so it was a great way to see two other cities in one day.
star-5
Great Tour
LAURA_O, Jul 2019
Brussels Small-Group Chocolate Appreciation Tour
The tour was a great way to see Brussels while experiencing some chocolate tastings and learning about the history of the famous chocolate makers of Belgium.
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The tour is really...
Chi_N, Jun 2022
Bruges and Ghent - Belgium's Fairytale Cities - from Brussels
We get to visit two beautiful cities in Belgium within a day trip, still with an hour or so to spare in each city for exploration on our own or to get a coffee, relax and take in the experience in a leisure way.
star-5
Amazing Chocolate, Tasty Beers, Incredible Guide
John V, Nov 2018
Hungry Mary's Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour in Brussels
This tour, with an engaging, knowledgeable, and humorous guide, was the perfect way to not only learn about Belgium's beers and chocolates, but to see Brussels as well.
star-5
Anyone with a connection to WWI...
Kyle H, Aug 2017
Remembrance tour. The fairytale city of Bruges & the poppies of Flanders Fields
It really is a powerful feeling to visit the graves of so many young men, and see the areas where they fought.
star-5
Great tour! I have always wanted to...
Erin S, Jul 2017
Luxembourg and Dinant Day Trip from Brussels
I have always wanted to see Luxembourg, but I did not want to commit to staying a night in this city.
star-5
The best of five tours we took with...
Larry_B, Oct 2016
Antwerp: Diamonds galore, elegance, arts and stunning architecture
Had an adequate amount of time to walk through the old city, but as with all beautiful old cities, not nearly enough time to see everything.
star-5
Worth the visit. The tour guide was...
Michelle H, Aug 2016
Luxembourg and Dinant Day Trip from Brussels
We had plenty of time to see Luxembourg then we visited Dinant in Belgium.
star-5
We only had a day in Brussels and...
Sally C, Nov 2015
Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop
We only had a day in Brussels and this tour was the perfect way to see the city and indulge in chocolate Belgium style at the same time.
star-5
Great Guide! Great group! great...
Ashley R, Nov 2014
Marc's Belgian Beer Tour in Brussels
great way to see the city and experience the beer culture of Belgium!
star-5
Worth it!
jamarbfoster, Feb 2020
Bruges and Ghent - Belgium's Fairytale Cities - from Brussels
Both cities are definitely great destinations to visit when you’re in Belgium.
star-5
I had just one day to spending in...
Leighann P, May 2014
Marc's Belgian Beer Tour in Brussels
I had just one day to spending in Brussels before taking a train to Paris so I thought taking a beer tasting tour would be the best way to see the sights and enjoy one of the best parts of Belgium, the beer!
star-4
We had a very qualified guide who told...
VIOREL D, Aug 2008
The glory of Holland: Amsterdam and windmills galore
She speaks English, French, Spanish etc.
star-5
Great Tour and Lots of Food!
Samantha_K, Oct 2021
Walking food tour: Introduction to Ghent through food
It was a great way to see Ghent, learn about the city, and enjoy some great food.
star-5
Authentic, exciting, tasty
Alison_B, Sep 2021
Brussels Chocolate Beer Waffle and Belgian Whiskey All-in-One (Small Group) Tour
It was also nice to see smaller ‘districts’ or neighborhoods along the tour.
star-5
Taking accommodating to a new level.
LARRY_B, Sep 2021
Private 2-Hour Sightseeing Tour in Brussels
In addition to the traditional stops, I also was fortunate enough to see an antique market.
star-5
Chocolate walk
Priscilla_Y, Mar 2020
Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop
I especially like the order in which the shops were presented so that we really got a good sampling and were able to see the variations in the tastes of different makers.
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All about Belgium

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CEST (UTC +1)
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