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Belgium - a land of great cultural experiences
October 29, 2017, 1:32 pm

Trendy big cities with its museums and galleries, exquisite medieval towns home to a bounty of UNESCO World Heritage sites, stark industrial sites that contrast with sandy North Sea beaches, these are just some of the attractions that make Belgium such a great draw to millions of visitors each year. The region, which was a crucible of early European painting, has remained astonishingly creative ever since, with bizarre carnivals, spectacular festivals and enticing art exhibitions being held throughout the year across the country.

The relaxed, easy-going nature of the populace, probably influenced by an art and literature that celebrated surrealism, is reflected in the streets and in the attitude of the friendly locals. The people, the delicacies, including irresistible chocolates and exceptional potato fries, the strong creativity underlying the architecture, both ancient and modern, as well as the amazing scenic beauty of the region, come together to give Belgium a distinctive style and way of life, which makes the country a manifestation of enchantment and delight that is definitely worth exploring.  


A tourist’s dream, Bruges is a gorgeous town filled with picturesque canals that link photogenic market squares, soaring towers and historic churches. With an atmosphere resembling that of a fairy tale, this perfectly preserved medieval town draws you in with its wealth of interesting old architecture, historical museums, cultural galleries and stunning canals.

Towering 83 meters above the square like a gigantic medieval rocket is the remarkable 13th century Belfort, where a climb of 366 steps to the top provides for a spectacular view. One of the finest bell towers in Belgium and with a carillon of 47 bells still hanging in the tower, the Belfry of Bruges is an unmissable wonder in the area. With about fifty chocolate shops, a tour of Bruges is definitely incomplete unless you have indulged your sweet tooth with the delicacies this region is renowned for. 


The fascinating capital of Belgium (and administrative capital of the European Union) is an amalgamation of bizarre and bureaucratic, historic yet hip and multicultural identities that is reflected in the city’s majestic yet unconventional setting which makes it an ideal touristic destination that caters to varied interests.

The Grand Place in Brussels is an enclosed cobblestone square and is a marvel to witness, especially as it takes on different auras at different times – from flower markets to rock concerts during the day to illuminated displays at night – this UNESCO protected site encourages multiple visits that leave you awe struck every time. Brussels is a display of strong historical and cultural sentiment with a number of museums, churches and buildings that reflect an interesting and colorful past, while the city’s rich art, music and other cultural performances are bound to lift your soul.


Home to some of the most fascinating museums and churches in Belgium, such as the St. Bavo Cathedral, the Museum of Fine Art (MSK) and more, Ghent is a cozy yet vibrant city unanimously adored by locals and tourists for the quaint and medieval charm it emanates. With interesting bars and restaurants, exquisite canal side architecture and smaller crowds, Ghent is an ideal Belgian wonder that provides a fruitful look into the country’s history, celebrated culture and inviting local experiences.


The second largest city in Belgium, Antwerp is often referred to as the country’s ‘Capital of cool’, which undeniably attracts a large creative and sophisticated following looking to explore this stylish city. Daring architectural projects, a large number of art galleries and museums, unique fashion boutiques, authentic vinyl record shops and hip coffee bars all contribute to the charm of this evolved city, with hints of history still gleaming in the corners. A transcending wonder is the river Scheldt, a significant contributor to the ease in which Antwerp was able to blossom and develop into the remarkable European hub it is today.

The popular river comes to life with twinkling lights from ships, pop up summer beaches on its docks and fireworks that ring in the New Year making it a local and touristic haven of beauty and tranquility. Public spaces in Antwerp are always influenced by remarkable creativity, such as the Palace of Justice with its eye-catching spike roof, awe inspiring Central Station that combines stone, steel and glass to form a century-old monumental landmark often described as one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world, and the famous ten storey museum gallery which is MAS among many others.


A town grown out of its war time ruins, Ypres is a solemn tribute to the near 300,000 Allied soldiers who lost their lives in the ‘Salient’— a bow shaped bulge that forms the front line of the town — during WWI. The resilient inhabitants have since rebuilt and restored the town, with a number of sites and museums describing the events of the war, providing for an enlightening and deeply moving visit.

The excellent In Flanders Fields Museum provides an articulate and balanced insight into the war, with videos, exhibits and interactive learning stations that offer a multi sensory experience. Dominating the Grote Markt, the enormous reconstructed Lakenhalle is one of Belgium’s most impressive buildings. Its 70m-high belfry has the vague appearance of a medieval Big Ben. 

A block east of Grote Markt is the Menin Gate, a stone gateway memorial dedicated to the British and Commonwealth troops killed or unaccounted for during the conflict, a symbolic gesture that attracts a number of tourists keen on paying respects and acquainting themselves with the strong impact the war had on this region. Every evening, traffic through the Menin Gate is halted while buglers (occasionally accompanied by pipers, troops of cadets or military bands) sound the Last Post, a moving tradition started in 1928 in honor of the lives lost in WWI.




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