22 Best Places to Visit in Belgium & Things to Do

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Belgium

Belgium should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a European vacation rich in history and culture. This small country is home to some of the most well-known tourist destinations in the world, including Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, and Liege.

Each Belgian city has its unique charm, and the location offers options for all interests to enjoy. In addition to its lively cities, Belgium has many beautiful villages and countryside landscapes.

If you want a more relaxed vacation, consider visiting Mons, Namur, or Dinant. Waterloo and Ypres are both must-see destinations for those interested in battlefield history. Belgian

Looking to make the most of your visit to Belgium? These are the best places to visit in Belgium and the top things to do.

Things to Do & Places to Visit in Belgium

1. Ghent

Ghent, best places to visit in Belgium

Ghent is a must-see for any traveler to Belgium. This medieval city is home to a number of well-preserved historic landmarks, including the medieval fortress of Gravensteen Castle and St. Bacos Cathedral, which is home to the wildly famous Ghent Altarpiece.

In addition to its historical significance, Ghent is also a thriving cultural center, with many art galleries and museums to explore. The city is easily accessible by train from Brussels, and Ghent’s central location makes it an excellent base for exploring the rest of Belgium.

2. Bruges

Bruges

Bruges is a small city in northwestern Belgium that is often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” The city is known for its canals and picturesque architecture and is one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval cities. Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is easy to spend a few days wandering its cobbled streets.

The historic center of this charming city is relatively small, so it is easy to see the main sights in a few days. There are also several museums and art galleries worth visiting.

The local food specialties are worth trying, too. Belgian chocolate and fresh seafood are both excellent. Bruges is a beautiful city with plenty to see and do, but it’s also just a pleasant place to chill. It’s definitely worth a stay if you’re visiting Belgium.

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3. Antwerp

Antwerp

Antwerp is a large city in Belgium that offers tourists plenty of activities and attractions. The city has numerous art museums, historic cathedrals, and a busy port. Antwerp’s nightlife scene is also lively, with many bars and clubs to choose from right in the heart of the city center.

If you’re looking to try some local seafood, Antwerp is a great place to do so. The city also has a number of parks and green spaces, making it a great place to relax and take in the sights.

If you want to learn more about Antwerp and the area, visit Museum aan de Stroom. If traveling with kids, you should stop by Antwerp Zoo for the day. Overall, Antwerp is an excellent destination for travelers seeking an action-packed vacation.

4. Liege

Liege

Liege is one of the best places to visit in Belgium if you’re interested in the country’s history. The city is home to a number of well-preserved medieval landmarks, including the Prince-Bishops’ Palace and the Saint Liege Cathedral. 

If you’re looking for something to do outside the city, Liege is also a great base for exploring the Ardennes Forest, a site famous for the battles that raged here during both World Wars.

The forest is full of hiking and biking trails, and there are also a number of small towns and villages worth exploring. Liege is a great place to learn more about Belgian history and culture.

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5. Mons

Mons

Mons is a small and picturesque city located in the southern part of Belgium. It’s best known for being the site of the Battle of Mons, which took place in 1914. The battle was the first between British and German troops in the Great War. It resulted in horrendous casualties and acts of extreme bravery that led to at least 3 Victoria Crosses being awarded to British soldiers.

Mons still echoes with memories of World War I. it’s famously home to St. Symphorien cemetery – a joint German and Commonwealth war grave site that contains the graves of the two Commonwealth soldiers believed to be the first and the last Commonwealth soldiers to be killed during the First World War.

Mons is a charming city with plenty of cafes and shops to explore. The central square, Grand Place, is particularly worth a visit. Mons has many interesting museums, including the Mons Memorial Museum, which covers the history of Mons from pre-Roman times until today.

There are also several art galleries and an annual Jazz Festival. Mons is a convenient base for exploring the nearby cities of Brussels and Bruges. By train, Mons is less than an hour from Brussels and about two hours from Bruges.

See Related: Day Trips from Brussels, Belgium

6. Namur

Namur

Namur is the capital city of Belgium’s Walloon region, and it’s an excellent place for travelers interested in history and culture. The city is home to a number of well-preserved medieval landmarks, including the Citadelle de Namur and the Saint Aubin Cathedral.

There are also plenty of museums and art galleries to explore. If you’re looking for a night out on the town, there are dozens of bars and clubs to choose from.

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7. Dinant

Dinant

Dinant is a small city located in the southern part of Belgium. It’s best known for its picturesque setting, with the Meuse River running through the center of town.

Dinant is also home to a number of well-preserved medieval landmarks, including the Notre Dame de Dinant Cathedral and the Chateau de Dinant. If you’re looking for something to do outside of the city, Dinant is an excellent base for exploring the Ardennes Forest.

Dinant is a touristy delight in Namur province, Belgium. It also offers fantastic views and is a must-visit destination in Belgium. The city hosts famous natural caves and caverns from European countries, including the Caves of Han and Grotto of Dinant, as well as Belgium’s best nature park. Dinant is a must-see spot in Brussels – 65 kilometers away.

8. Waterloo

Waterloo

If you’re interested in battlefield history, Waterloo is a must-see destination. Waterloo is best known as the site of the Battle of Waterloo, which took place in 1815. Today, Waterloo is a small city with a number of well-preserved historic landmarks, including the Hougoumont Farmhouse and the Lion’s Mound Monument.

The former is where men of the British Brigade of Guards and King’s German Legion fought off waves of French attacks for hours. The latter is an imposing memorial erected in the center of the battlefield (to which the Duke of Wellington purportedly commented, “They have altered my field of battle!”).

The Battle of Waterloo was a key turning point in European history, where the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon Bonaparte once and for all. The Waterloo Visitor Centre does an excellent job explaining the battle and its significance. There are also a number of walking tours available that take you to key sites on the battlefield.

Even if you’re not particularly interested in history, Waterloo makes for a pleasant day trip from Brussels, the capital of the European Union. The town center is compact and easy to explore on foot, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can stop for a bite to eat.

9. Ypres

Ypres

Ypres is a small city located in the western part of Belgium. It’s best known for the bloody battles fought here in World War I. It was the site of several major battles between British, Commonwealth, and Belgian forces against the German Empire. You can learn more about these horrific struggles at the Flanders Fields Museum.

Today, Ypres is a charming city in the heart of the city center with plenty of cafes and shops to explore. It’s famous for its small family-owned chocolatiers.

The central market square, Cloth Hall, is particularly worth a visit. Ypres was heavily bombarded during World War I, but it has been largely rebuilt, and today, it is a beautiful city full of history.

This is your place if you’re interested in World War I history. There are several museums dedicated to the war, as well as a number of monuments and cemeteries.

Even if you’re not interested in history, Ypres is still a lovely city to explore. Its cobbled streets and quaint cafes make it the perfect place to spend a few days. The last time I was here, it was impossible to escape how friendly everyone was.

10. Brussels

Busy Grand Place square with ornate guildhalls and lively crowd in Brussels
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Brussels is a great destination for a city break and the largest city in Belgium, making it a top place for first-time European tourists. This is the capital city of Belgium and is also known as the capital of the European Union. It’s very centrally located and a great spot for history enthusiasts.

It’s easy to get around, and plenty of things to see and do. Grand Place is the city’s main square, surrounded by beautiful historic buildings.

The Atomium is another Brussels landmark – a giant steel structure built for the 1958 World Expo. If you’re interested in the fine arts and rich cultural history, Brussels has plenty of museums and art galleries to explore.

And if you’re looking for a night out, Brussels has a lively nightlife scene with many bars and clubs to choose from right in the city center. You can choose to make the most of your time exploring Belgium.

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11. Spa “the Pearl of the Ardennes”

Spa “the Pearl of the Ardennes”

The spa is a picturesque Belgian village worth visiting on your trip. Nestled in woodland, it is often called the “Pearl of the Ardennes.” People have traveled to spas to enjoy the healing waters since the 14th century. But Spa wasn’t developed as a tourist attraction until the early 1800s.

Spa is known for its casinos built for visitors in the 17th Century, but there is much more to this resort town. Spa is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.

The city of Spa is full of history and culture. A spa is a unique place that has something for everyone. Whether you want to enjoy the outdoors or indulge in gambling, the Spa is the place for you.

12. Aqualibi Water Park

Aqualibi Water Park
Image by TripAdvisor

Aqualibi Indoor Waterpark is one of the best places to visit in Belgium in the warm summer months. The Action Park can help you relax with the entire family without the distraction of cultural sightseeing.

Many activities will keep children occupied and entertained, even adults! Kids can enjoy endless fun riding the smooth, rapid slide and whizzing down the endless wild water rivers.

Adults may relax or unwind at dreamy whirlpools or jacuzzis. Aqualibi is surely a place where you can have a unique and fun time with your family or friends.

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13. Genk

Genk

Genk is one of Belgium’s most beautiful cities and a great place to spend a few days. Genk is located in Belgium’s Limburg region near Hasselt, boasting an amazing garden-city design. Peaceful parks and marshland natural areas also surround Genk. You may discover the mines in Genk by visiting a coal mine like André Dumont.

You can take a walk in Hoge Kempen National Park during your visit. Guests can also explore the distinctive outdoor Sundial Museum in Genk Sundial Park, providing unique experiences to its visitors.

Some other tourist attractions in Genk include the Bokrijk open-air museum, Hoge Kempen National Park, and the coal mines of André Du Mont.

14. Ardennes

Ardennes

The Ardennes is a hilly and incredibly beloved forested place for adventurous travelers throughout Belgium. Ideal for hiking, camping, and cycling, the Ardennes has thick forests, caves, and mountains and is famous for its lynx, deer, and Wild Bear species.

The Ardennes has many exciting destinations that can be explored by foot or bicycle. It’s an ideal place to visit Belgium in a day. Tourist attractions in Ardennes include Castle Bouillon, Hansur-Lesse, and Labrovnik.

If you are looking for accommodation, check out The Azur en Ardenne, as it’s a superb option for relaxed lodging in the Ardennes region.

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15. Hoge Kempen National Park

Hoge Kempen National Park is a beautiful Belgium tourist destination covering over 5,000 acres. This park is dominated by large lakes, large pine forests, and purple flowers in the heathlands. The most elevated part of the park provides spectacular views.

In this park, numerous rare and special animal species, including wolves, roe deer, and sandpipers, live in natural habitats. Hoge Kempen National Park also offers tourist attractions such as Information kiosks, caféterias, hiking trails, and bikes.

16. Durbuy

Durbuy

Durbuy is a hidden gem deep inside a serene valley, surrounded by lush woodland. Durbuy is known for its charm, rustic cobblestone roads, and cottages draped with rhododendron. These ancient streets appear to form woven spiderwebs throughout the town, making Durbuy one of Belgium’s most photographed and artistic spots.

The locals are typically super friendly and may even offer you a nice hot beverage after entering the village. Durbuy is an excellent spot for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and experience a charming, small town.

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17. Mechelen

Mechelen

Mechelen is a vibrant and picturesque city near the port city of Antwerp. Mechelen has many advantages. Famous for its boats and brewery excursions, one can climb the massive tower of Saint-Romboud’s Cathedral to have an incredible panoramic view over the port of Anvers.

Mechelen is located in the Flemish region of Belgium, about 20 kilometers north of Brussels. It’s easily accessible by train from Brussels (Direct trains leave every half hour from Central station and take about 25 minutes).

Mechelen is a small town, but don’t let its size fool you – there’s plenty to do here! The old town is beautifully preserved, with cobbled streets and quaint shops lining the square. There’s also an entertaining Toy Museum kids will love.

Mechelen is also famous for its boats – you can take a leisurely river cruise or go for more adventure and rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. And, of course, no visit to Mechelen would be complete without a tour of the St. Rombouts Cathedral tower, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning city views.

18. Tournai

Tournai

Tournai is a bustling city on the Belgium border, home to some incredible attractions. The Tournai Belfry is the city’s oldest building and one of Belgium’s most iconic landmarks.

The Folklore Museum of Nature and Vivarium is a must-see for any nature lover, and the Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most beautiful examples of Baroque and Gothic architecture in all of Europe. If you’re looking for a place to stay, the Hotel Cathedral D’ Alcantara and Flor is an excellent choice.

It’s centrally located and close to the city’s best attractions. Tournai is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to explore everything Belgium offers.

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19. De Haan

De Haan

De Haan is a picturesque town in north Belgium, near the Netherlands. It is most famous for its 11 km of white beaches and contains some of the best homestays in Belgium. This seaside town is also home to amazing nightlife. Couples love to wander through the streets of Concessie and stop at cafes or streetside pubs.

The beautiful Belle Epoque building and the grand hall will be a treasure you won’t regret if it is your visit. De Haan also offers many opportunities to partake in Dutch culture as it is only a short drive from Amsterdam.

The best time to visit De Haan is during the shoulder season of spring or fall when the weather is cooler, but tourism hasn’t picked up yet. De Haan is the perfect place to relax and unwind, so add it to your travel list.

20. Bastogne

Bastogne

Bastogne is a small city located near the Luxembourg border. It was here that tens of thousands of men fought and died during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II – the largest and bloodiest battle fought by the US in the Second World War.

Bastogne Grand Place is a Sherman Tank built by the 11th US Armored Division, serving as a reminder. Just outside Bastogne lies a forest of 4,000 trees planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of historic battles fought in this area. The Bastogne Memorial commemorates Americans who fought in the battle. It is located just outside the city.

This is a monument to American, British, and Belgian troops who fought in the Ardennes and those who perished during the savage winter of 1944. The American Battle Monuments Commission maintains a cemetery in Bastogne.

The site is located on a hill west of the city and includes a chapel and visitor center. Bastogne is a great place to start your research if you want to learn more about World War II.

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21. Leuven (Louis)

Leuven (Louis)

Leuven is a historic city in Belgium known for its many beautiful and well-preserved structures. Despite being heavily bombarded during both World War I and World War II, Leuven still has a number of historic buildings that are open to tourists. There’s also a lot of military history to learn from this town that you can’t get anywhere else.

The best place to start a tour of Leuven is at Grote Market, a lively square located in the downtown area and the main City Hall. St. Peter’s Church, which houses the Stedelijk Museum of Religious Art, stands prominently in the center of the square. You can’t miss these gems of the city.

Other notable landmarks in Leuven include the Stadhuis, or town hall, which dates back to the 15th Century and is decorated with 236 sculptures. The Leuven University Library is one of Europe’s oldest and most significant libraries.

22. Charleroi

Charleroi

Charleroi is one of Belgium’s most up-and-coming photography destinations because a beautiful, restored Neogothic monastery surrounds its historic city center. This makes it the perfect place to snap some incredibly unique shots.

Charleroi’s imposing museum displays photography’s entire history – from 80,000 prints and 3,000 negatives to gallery after gallery of photographic instruments of every era. Charleroi is worth a visit because its many other tourist attractions (like the Glass Museum of Charleroi) make it the perfect place to spend a weekend or more.

FAQ

What is Belgium famous for?

Belgium is a small Western European country known for its waffles, fries, medieval towns, architecture, and art museums. The country is also home to many charming villages and is also famous for being incredibly friendly.

What is the prettiest town in Belgium?

Ghent is often considered the prettiest town in Belgium. This town is located in the east of the country and is home to various medieval and Renaissance architecture. The town is also known for its charming canals and cobbled streets.

What is the best place to visit in Belgium?

This question has no definitive answer, as Belgium has many great places to visit. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in the country include Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, Ypres, and Ghent.

What is Belgium’s most famous landmark?

One of Belgium’s most famous landmarks is the Atomium, located in Brussels. This landmark was built for the 1958 World’s Fair, and it is a giant steel sculpture that resembles an atom. The Atomium is a popular tourist attraction, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Belgium.

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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