City Breaks in Belgium
For such a small country, there are a surprising number of possibilities for short breaks to Belgium. Visitors often think only in terms of the great Belgian cities, but there are also countryside, coastline, and historic sites. Gourmets, historians, art lovers, and shopaholics will all find something to suit them in Belgium.
Certainly, Belgium is ideal for a city break; Brussels, with its Grand Place, Atomium, and bustling restaurant quarter, is a popular choice, as is postcard-perfect Bruges, with its canals and medieval buildings. Smaller cities of interest include medieval Ghent, which was a major textile producer in the Middle Ages, and Antwerp, a centre of the diamond trade. All of these cities have impressive architecture and artworks, as well as museums and galleries.
If you want countryside, head for the wooded hills of the Ardennes. Here you can visit cliff top citadels, or visit the original spring waters at the town of Spa. You can hike or cycle through the forests, or visit parks and nature reserves. For a seaside break, try resorts such as Ostend.
Historians will want to visit the many battle sites from World Wars I and II. Alternatively, you can go to Waterloo, where Napoleon met his final defeat. Tours of the battlefields and historic sites are often available.
Finally, do not forget the shopping and eating. Belgium is a famous producer of tapestries, lace, and crystal. Food is hearty, and often excellent: specialties include mussels, beer, and waffles. Of course, whichever type of break you choose, you are bound to look for some of the world renowned Belgian chocolate to bring back with you.
This is the breaks.com video guide to cheap city breaks in Belgium:
Things to Do and See
While exploring one of Belgium’s cities, it won’t be long until you are faced with the opportunity to sample some locally produced chocolate – and it’s an opportunity worth seizing! One of the more commonly found forms and that most typically associated with Belgium is the Praline, which in the UK are normally referred to as Belgian Chocolates (soft-centred). Chocolate shops in Belgium produce their own by hand, using recipes deemed good enough for another notable chocolate producing nation (Switzerland) to borrow.
Canals and Rivers
While Amsterdam and Venice may be two of the first destinations in Europe to come to mind when talking about cities with a strong aquatic presence, Belgium has a number of cities and towns where either a system of canals or a river are an integral component and appealing feature. Many of the most picturesque photos of Bruges are taken from the perspective of the canals, while in the Old Town centre of Ghent a canal runs right through the heart of it. Rivers and canals mean bridges and boats, which add to the charm and appeal of a city break in Belgium.
Whatever your stereotypical idea of what a castle should look like, it no doubt exists somewhere in Belgium. There are hundreds of castles in Belgium incorporating all sorts of styles from different periods of time in the country’s history. Pictured here is the medieval castle, Het Steen near Antwerp, with other popular castles close to other major cities including Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels. Some of these castles look like something straight out of a fairy-tale, with draw-bridges, moats, and spiral stair-cased towers. Het Gravensteen in Ghent is another spectacular medieval castle worth seeing.
Each of the cities popular with travellers is filled with grand buildings and architectural structures which never fail to draw attention. Tall church towers and steeples dominate skylines, while town squares are home to intricately detailed halls and other functional buildings; restaurants and cafés providing ideal locations in which to sit and take it all in. Bridges, castles and even windmills can all be seen in Bruges, which is amongst the most frequented spots by visitors to Belgium.
Belgium has a worldwide reputation for making quality beers, and the selection on offer is huge. While Stella Artois maybe one of the better known brands and available throughout the world, frequently found types within Belgium itself include: stout, Scotch ale, wheat beer, brown ale, golden ale, pale lager, red beer and more! The beer in Belgium – like much of mainland Europe – is typically stronger than that from the UK and served with a head of froth.
Where to Go
There are few destinations in Europe that capture the imagination like Bruges does. With its spectacular old buildings and picturesque canal banks, it’s not hard to see why so many people choose to visit every year. As any good city break destination should do, Bruges offers visitors fantastic food and drink, plenty of things to do and see – in a distinct setting with great a atmosphere.
- Visit one of the many medieval castles
- Try the chocolate and bring some home with you
- Walk around the historic city centre of Bruges
- Sit in one of the Old Town squares enjoying a local beer
- Take a cycling tour in the countryside
Search Hotels in Belgium
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