By Elise Walsh Belgium is a country surrounded by France, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands. The best thing about Belgium is all the history and fun that awaits you in one compact area. You can easily travel the 137 miles from the most eastern side of Belgium to the furthest west in less than three hours by train, but why would you do that when there are so many wonderful stops to make on the way? Each stop is easily accessible by rail, near the city center, and require minimal directional skills. Tickets can be purchased in advance, or along the way through the SNCB international rail system.
If you are visiting Belgium in the summer this is the ideal spot to be. You can get your beach on in this northern port of Belgium. You can also catch a ferry to England from this most western point of Belgium. Why visit Ostend? Well, this historic fishing spot is home to the best seafood in Belgium, which you can easily experience at restaurants like De Mangerie. Or you can pick out your own mussels at the local fish market. Some other fun things to do are a little card or slot play at the Kursaal Casino, or taking im some of the local art and culture at the James Ensor House.
Perhaps the best part of actually staying in Ostend is it’s easy access to the rest of Belgium. It is only a twelve-minute train ride from the romance of Bruges.
Yes, hot air ballooning can be done almost anywhere. But you will never see Bruges like this in any other way. Overlooking the city center, castles, and a sea of green just before sunset several hundred feet above ground with a nice glass of Champagne is hard to beat.
Choco-Story: The Chocolate Museum is a museum with a different type of elegant art. Here you will learn the history of chocolate in Belgium and throughout the world and you will be introduced an entire floor of chocolate statues and their chocolate workshops.
Seeing Antwerp by Bike is an excellent way to scope out all the sights in three hours and it’s a good way to experience Belgium like the Belgians. The Belgians are known for their intense Cycling ambitions: up hills, down hills, country roads or across village stone. So this is a kind way to introduce visitors to the biking phenomena.
For some good homemade food and a wide selection of Belgium’s famous beer visit Het Elfde Gebod, just a short walk from the city center and has wonderfully gaudy decor.
While you are in Antwerp, you might as well stroll around Grote Markt. This is basically the entire city center. It encompasses the Brabo, a large fountain created in 1887, beautiful old “houses,” and market stalls surrounding the square.
Brussels is such a historic, large and wonderful city. It’s really difficult to choose just one or two sights to see.
The Atomium, is a really strange but cool site. While exploring this attraction you will find your way through eight spheres and five different levels. You get a unique view of the city when at the top of the atom, a feature that was created for the 1958 world fair.
Chocolate again! But this is more of a hands-on activity. The world famous and official chocolate supplier of the Belgian Court lies in the heart of Brussels. Wittamer is in high demand from all corners of the earth and you can be there to try the freshest and almost indescribably decadent chocolate treats.
While your already indulging in the Belgian treats, you may as well go for the good stuff: beer. The Cantillon Brewery calls out like a beacon to travelers. The brewery doesn’t mess around with touristy merchandise however, it just pours good beer. The Cantillon Brewery is a short walk from the South Brussels train station. For just 6 Euro, you can hear all about this family’s history of brewing since 1900 and a glass of beer is included.
Every spa in the world is named after this location, which natural spring water bubble up for ideal relaxation and health conditions. This town is easily accessible by train if you’re coming from Brussels, and the cost is just over 18 Euro.
Thermes de Spa is the place to visit. Part of the fun is getting there. Once you’ve arrived to the Place Royale, where you get a Willy Wonka-esque experience in their funicular lift that ascends the hill inclined. It is just 18 Euro for adults, and 16 Euro for students who then can visit any part of the 8,600 square feet of heated spring water. Experience the revitalizing waters, rich in of calcium and bicarbonate, and the sauna’s and steam rooms available to you at this same baseline price. Of course there are additional beauty and spa treatments (their peat treatment is amazing!) for a price.
This town in not limited to spring waters, though. It also has some interesting and quirky sites like: The Laundry Museum and several casinos lining the streets.
This is list barely even scratches the surface of sights to see and things to do in Belgium. Hit the rails and find your own adventure.