When you think of Belgium, either the city of Brussels, world-class chocolates or tasty beer comes to mind. But that is not all that Belgium is about.
Many people tend to gloss over the country, visiting Brussels or Bruges for a day before moving on but if you take the time, you’ll find that Belgium has so much more to explore!
Though the nation is small, there are many places to visit in Belgium. Here are my top 10 cities in Belgium to visit in the autumn.
Brussels: The Capital
By far, Brussels is the most popular city in Belgium. The capital of the country is located in the south which is the Flemish-speaking part of the country. Don’t worry, most people there speak either French, English or both!
The center of the city is the famous Grand Place that dates back to the 13th century. Here you will find various buskers, dancers, and occasionally a market where tourists can soak up the sun while sipping a beer. It is also one of the largest hubs of great museums, palaces, and world-class cafes.
I recommend you to spend a few days here as it offers you a plethora of things to do with the kids to make your Belgian holiday captivating and exciting.
Tourist Attractions: Trainworld, Atomium – Icon of Brussels, Miniature Model Park, Comic Strip Walk, Choco-Story -The Chocolate Museum.
Antwerp: The Diamond City
The diamond city of Belgium as more than 70% of the world’s uncut diamonds are traded here! But it is not all bling!. Antwerp is also about culture, art, and traditions. It showcases both vintage architectural wonders as well as modern & trendy art galleries and museums.
It is the city of the affluent and the rich, where one can witness some of the most impressive Flemish houses dotting the meandering streets of the medieval era.
Tourist Attractions: Antwerp Zoo, MUHKA art gallery, Antwerp Central railway station, Cathedral of Antwerp.
Bruges: Picturesque Medieval Town
Bruges is a picturesque medieval town with an enchanting and crazy labyrinth of streets rimmed by Low Country townhouses. This, one of the top five cities in Belgium, is located near the West Coast of Belgium and probably one of the most touristic places to visit in Belgium.
The network of canals throughout the city has earned Bruges the title of ‘Venice of the North’. You can explore this picture-perfect place in bicycles or boating in the canal.
Tourist Attractions: Belfort of Bruges, Church of our Lady Bruges, Grote Market Square, Belfry Tower, and Gruuthuse Mansion.
Dinant: A Tourist Delight
Dinant is another tourist delight and one of the finest places to see in Belgium. Located by the river Meuse and with steep cliffs as it’s backdrop was the birthplace of the founder of the Saxophone – Adolphe Sax (1814-1894).
Home to the best national parks in Belgium, Dinant has a rich wildlife reserve. It also home to famous natural caves such as Caves of Han and the Grotto of Dinant.
Tourist Attractions: Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, La Citadelle, Charles-de-Gaulle Bridge, Adolphe Sax Statue and Parc de Furfooz.
Genk: Eco-friendly Destination
Formerly a coal mining city till the late 1990s, Genk has transformed into an eco-friendly tourist destination. It boasts a great garden-city design, C-Mine cultural center & creative hub, the Thor Park, and an ultra-modern science & business park.
You can take a hike or bike ride through the beautiful Hoge Kempen National Park or visit one of the old cold mines. You can also explore the distinctive outdoor museum of sundials at the Genk Sundial Park.
When Genk was little more than a village in the 19th century, the countryside of heathland and ponds attracted some of the great Belgian landscape painters of the day, and you can discover the work of the Genk School at the Emile Van Dorenmuseum.
Tourist Attractions: Bokrijk, an open-air museum, Hoge Kempen National Park, old coal mines of Andre Dumont.
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Kortrijk: A Shopper's Paradise
Kortrijk has redefined tourism with its wonderful historic center with several market squares, churches, colorful shopping areas, and also a creative area. Expect a mix of outdoor and indoor activities, meals, drinking sessions, night outs, and many more.
The Broeltowers are the icons of Kortrijk. Constructed by the Counts of Flanders as part of a castle and defensive compound, they all that now remains. A pair of circular sandstone & limestone towers on either bank of the Oude Leie River.
Though they are nearly identical the structures were built at different times and had different roles. The bridge between them is the Broelbrug, which was blown up in 1918 and again in 1940 before being restored to its original appearance.
Tourist Attractions: Broel Towers, Internationale Rozentuin Garden, Beguinage of Courtrai, Saint Martin’s Church.
Ostend: A Beach Escape
15 minutes from Bruges by train is one of the largest cities on the Belgian coast – Ostend. A favourite for Belgian families trying to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
Ostend is famous for its sandy beaches, Gothic Church of St. Petrus and St. Paulus, and Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum. A great way to get to know the city is by walking the narrow streets around Het Visschersplein.
Finish your visit here by following Ostende’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame along the promenade.
Tourist Attractions: Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum, Gothic Church of St Petrus, Fort Napolean, The Crystal Ship – Europe’s largest street art festival.
Namur: Medieval Forts And Rivers
An excellent day trip option from Brussels is Namur. Like Dinant, both are in the Wallonia region in Belgium along the Meuse river with glorious Citadels protecting the city. Despite its small size, Namur is actually the capital of Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium.
Namur is best known for the Citadel that sits overlooking the city. The citadel was once Europe’s mightiest Fortress, it now lies sombre and still. Adorned with splendid gardens, offering breathtaking views of the rivers and the city beyond, and bearing a dashing bronze statue of an enormous turtle, this citadel is one of its kind in all of Europe
Namur is, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places in Belgium and has a few other hidden gems for you to discover during your visit.
Tourist Attractions: Ibis Namur Centre, Hotel Beauregard, Hotel Les Tanneurs de Namur, Château de Namur.
Malmedy: History & Hiking
Fans of history will love Malmedy. Up till the French Revolution, the city belonged to the Princely Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy. Malmedy is a beautiful city in Belgium where German is one of the more commonly spoken languages.
It has had a fascinating history and places like The Baugnez 44 Historical Centre help visitors learn about the history of Malmedy during the Second World War. Another historical place, Malmundarium covers the history and culture of the area.
There are many opportunities for hiking and biking all around Malmedy. They offer spectacular views of the area as you walk past the flowering fields.
Consider coming in Malmedy just in time for Cwarmê (the main festival) to experience a charming city centre full of beautiful architecture and the amazing costumes that people spent months preparing for.
Tourist Attractions: Baugnez 44 Historical Centre, Malmundarium, Cathédrale Saints-Pierre-et-Paul et Saint-Quirin, Cascade du Bayehon and hiking around the city.
La Roche-en-Ardenne: Museums & Animal Parks
You cannot miss visiting La Roche-en-Ardenne while vacationing in Belgium. Located on the banks of River Ourthe, La Roche-en-Ardenne offers you with a variety of things to do and Belgium attractions.
Built between the mountains, you will find a medieval castle and plentiful restaurants around the cozy square. You also can find wild boar, red deer, wild sheep, pheasants, and wolves on the animal park on the Deister plateau.
Make sure to visit the WWII Museum, Ardenne Ham Museum and the Pottery too to learn about the region’s tradition and history.
Tourist Attractions: Ourthe, Lake Nisramont, Parc Chlorophylle, WWi Museum.
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Belgium is a Dream Destination
This is it, these are the top 10 cities in Belgium to visit. All the cities in Belgium are awesome and have something unique to offer to travelers. From Brussels, Bruges, Ghent to Antwerp, every city in Belgium is worth visiting.
If you ever get the chance to visit this beautiful country, make sure you see some of these incredible places. Don’t think too much about it and plan your trip to Belgium right away.
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