Last May, I enjoyed a trip to Belgium which really impressed upon me the marvel of this country. It is beautiful for the scenery, food, people , and culture. Belgium is perhaps most well known for its chocolates and beer, which are world famous, and from what I’ve tasted, very good as well.
What to Do and Where to Go
Arts, Culture, and City Life
Belgium certainly is full of these, its many cities boast of a proud heritage that is really European. In my stay, I’ve went to the city of Antwerp to see one of the biggest places where diamond is the major trade. But walking around the city, I also saw many great sites. There are several medieval structures like churches and small castles. I also appreciated the site of their markets as it gave me a glimpse of what everyday life must be like for its citizens.
Brussels was also a site to see. Aside from the many breweries I took a look into, the buildings were a mix of the medieval, classic, and modern. It had nice museums as well as several places to shop in. I also had a good taste of the famous Belgian chocolates found in many chocolate shops here. Walking around the city, I felt very at ease while taking in the sites.
The Natural Scenery
While I knew that Belgium was certainly an industrialized and urban country, I was pleasantly surprised to know of its many outdoor activities as well. People who are into nature and into enjoying the outdoors will certainly find a good time here.
I went to the border of Belgium Luxembourg where the hills of the Ardennes could be found. I found that getting around either by biking or walking could serve me well as I took in the natural beauty of the scenery. The region can be biked around in, and it was especially challenging to manage some hilly slopes in and around the place. Going over the hills however gave me the chance to see the countryside as well as the different castles and buildings in the area.
As a hiker, I also appreciated going around the forests. Here, there is still plenty of wildlife to be found and appreciated, along with taking in the natural beauty of the forest itself. I asked for some maps at the local tourist office, although there was some difficulty in getting a complete map for hiking though. Nevertheless I followed the paths which were seen on the forest floor. There were also plenty of signs to serve as guides.
At the Ardennes, I also had a chance to do a bit of exploring. Here I saw its many caves and cliffs which could be found all around its hills and forests. I did take care to remember the paths I took so as not to get lost. That would certainly be a big problem if it happened!
In Liege, I also had the chance to bike and hike to see the sites. This city is also bounded by the Ardennes, making for beautiful backdrops of those lovely hills. The countryside and the woods would pop up and seamlessly merge and give way to one another making for a very exhilarating trip along the region.
Along the Ardennes I was also pleasantly surprised to find kayak rentals on its rivers, the Semois and the Ourthe. Here the rivers were calm and beautifully flowing well. I could not miss this chance so I went on a quick river cruise on one of those kayaks. It was every bit as beautiful as you can imagine, as I slowly made my way down river and saw the great Ardennes hills surrounding me on my journey.
In Namur city, one of the other cities near the Ardennes, I once again saw kayak trips being organized. I however had some fill of kayaks already but I would highly recommend it for those who wish to go on an organized trip on a kayak to go around and see the Ardennes while on the river.
Liege is a great place to go for indoor and outdoor activities. There are many pools to be found inside the city. I did a few laps in these pools just to keep refreshed in an indoor setting. Of course, one could take time and hike or bike around the city. While it is a modern city, its countryside is once more surrounded by the Ardennes, making going around its different paths a true marvel.
Should you find yourself tired after all these activities, there are many pubs, cafes and restaurants in the area. I’d go for the more local ones however, as touristy places can be rather expensive.
What not to miss
While the countryside is fantastic, walking around the city to see its manmade marvels is something not to be missed. Belgium holds many modern and classical sites which should be visited
- In Bastogne, I had the chance to see where the Battle of the Bulge took place. Though it is mostly a forested area, I had to see it as it was a reminder of what took place during the Second World War.
- Brussels especially contains many world heritage sites which can be visited while going around the city. There’s the European Quarter which houses many medieval and classical places. I had managed to see the Grand Palace, which was also the location of the town hall as well as the different halls of the guilds which once made a living there.
- I also went to see the Atomium, which was a remnant of when Belgium held the World’s Fair in 1958 In Brussels.
- I also went to see the Churches in Brussels, particularly the St. Michael Cathedral. And while it was fantastic, the highlight of my Brussels tour would probably seeing the fountain made famous for its centerpiece. A small boy taking a pee. Just fantastic.
- In Burges, there are also several heritage sites which you can visit. Here you can see medieval Europe as it once was. The monuments and sites line the streets one after the other, so walking around the city will be a real delight. The Belfry is a particularly nice attraction that I liked. I stayed around to hear its bells ring.
- Museums are a plenty so you can pop in and out of one almost anywhere you go. But if you arrive at the right time I have heard many great things about the different festivals that take place in Belgium. It is an easy going city, but the people know about good food and good drink.
I certainly had a memorable time during my trip to Belgium. It provided me with countless opportunities to enjoy so many different sites. I had my fill of both outdoor activities as well as in appreciating the European culture and historical sites. I also had a grand time enjoying the food and drink which made the trip all the better.
I would definitely recommend going to Belgium to anyone. It is an easy country to visit and one which can fill your memories with happy times.