I’ve always thought Belgium was an underrated country. Flying under the radar, this Northern European gem is nestled between Germany, The Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, and the North Sea. It’s a multi-cultural country of French, Dutch, and German speakers, with a history as diverse as its population.

Don’t let its small geographical size fool you. Belgium is an international centerpiece, housing the heart of the EU and NATO headquarters. But it’s not all politics and governments here.

If you know where to look, you could explore age-old medieval villages, cycle along city canals, and visit preserved World War One battlefields. Top that off with a cheese and beer tasting, and you’ve hit the jackpot.

History, natural splendor, and politics aside, there is no denying the country is expensive. If this puts the fear of the bank in you, worry not – there are plenty of beautiful places to visit in Belgium that won’t break the bank.

detailed buildings in a square in Brugges, Belgium.
Step out and experience it for yourself.
Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

1. Bruges

Let’s start the list with an obvious one. Bruges is easily one of the most beautiful places in the country, and, no doubt, the most famous. The fairytale town is almost synonymous with Belgium, attracting over 8 million tourists seeking a dreamy stay. For a population of under 120 thousand, that’s a pretty impressive stat!

Bruges is the capital of West Flanders, famous for its exquisite string of canals, cobblestone Medieval streets, and well-preserved architecture. You might even go so far as to call it the Venice of Belgium!

Sure, you’ll have to fight through a few tourists in the summer months, but it will all be worth it when strolling through the stunning streets lined with blossoming flower pots. It’s one of the best cities in Europe for a reason, right?

Other than exploring the never-ending market squares, admiring gabled homes, and strolling along car-free streets, you should visit Burg Square, an iconic 14th-century city hall with one of the most beautifully crafted ornate ceilings in the land. 

Or maybe climb to the top of the UNESCO-classified Belfry for some of the best panoramic views of the city. For some relaxed downtime, sign up for this guided walking tour and boat trip around Bruges to experience the many charms of the Venice of the North.

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    2. Brussels

    A view from Mont des Arts, brussels park with its baroque-style buildings, fountain, garden and the famous Equestrian Statue of King Albert I.
    Brussels was like a fairytale.
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short

    Closing off the list with one of the most popular destinations in Belgium, Brussels is the country’s capital, known for its exquisite architecture and unique history.

    Brussels is a delight for culture lovers, adventurers and everything in between. With 138 restaurants every square mile, there really is no better place I can think of for foodies too!

    Explore the extensive collection of art galleries and museums, and spend some time tasting traditional delicacies. Or maybe take a chocolate-making workshop and learn how to make tasty treats with a chocolatier artisan.

    Whilst we’re on that topic of food, I have to tell you to try Belgian Waffles here, especially if you have a sweet tooth like me. They’re some of the best sweet foods in all of Europe.

    There is also an abundance of stunning hotels and places to stay in Brussels, so take your pick of some of my personal favourites. Oh, and by the way, you’ll need at least a couple of nights to explore the city fully.

    3. De Haan

    Belgium isn’t all castles and medieval cities. Located on the northern shores of the country, just a short drive northwest of Bruges, De Haan is a seaside heaven not to be missed when visiting Belgium. This coastal municipality is known for its long stretches of sandy beaches and restaurant-lined promenade. 

    Of course, you’re going to want to take advantage of every summer day in this unique place to visit in Belgium and spend as much time as you can on the beaches. Top that off with fresh fish and chips at a restaurant by the sea, and we have ourselves the perfect summer’s day. Just don’t let the chilly water deter you…

    Strand De Haan beach, Belgium, with a row of houses in the background.

    Just like the area attracts us, so did it attract the Belgian nobility of the last few hundred years. Today, De Haan is home to some of the stateliest Belle Époque mansions and holiday homes. If architecture tickles your fancy, add the Town Hall and Hotel Savoyarde to your list. 

    That said, there are tons of other ways to spend your time in De Haan. For starters, the small coastal village is dotted with unique boutiques and shops worth checking out. Along the seaside, there is also an extensive sand dune ‘forest’ where you can zone out and go for long walks.

    4. Borrekens Castle

    Disney’s biggest fans couldn’t imagine a more beautiful castle if they tried.

    Borrekens Castle, a true fairytale, was first constructed in 1270 by a member of a noble family of the time. They built the castle rising out of a swampy lake, close to what was thought to be a major trading route between Antwerp and Cologne in Germany.

    A medieval stone castle with towers stands on a small island in the middle of a large lake with trees in the background.
    300 years of family legacy in this timeless Renaissance castle!

    Back in the day, it’s likely that the castle (then called the Vorselaar Castle) was built as a fortified fortress to protect the family from external threats. It’s surrounded by a moat-like swamp and protected by two fortified towers at the doors – I guess this was the alarm system of the day?

    After a few changes, the castle now belongs to the Borrekens family, who still live in Belgium today. 

    While it certainly deserves a spot as one of the top ten places to visit in Belgium, it must be noted that visitors are not currently allowed at the castle since it is a private residence. 

    5. The Sonian Forest

    Equal parts mystical, eerie, and beautiful, there are few places in the world like The Sonian Forest. Along with beech trees that are over two hundred years old, the Sonian Forest is home to an impressive mix of deciduous trees that have been standing tall since the 1700s.

    As you might expect, the forest is a hit for outdoor adventurers, as well as families with kids and even those traveling with dogs. You really can tell the true value and authenticity of a place by the locals who visit it, and The Sonian Forest happens to be one of the most loved local hangouts. 

    Your mission here is to be a responsible traveler and protect the beautiful nature around you. The easiest thing you can do is reduce your plastic footprint.

    A path in Sonian Forest filled with falling leaves and surrounded by  trees
    Trail across this UNESCO-certified forest.

    Cycling, mountain biking, hiking, and trekking are popular here, with well-groomed tracks and trails across the four thousand hectares of UNESCO-certified forest. One of the most breathtaking parts of the forest is the Valley of the Vuylbeek in Watermael-Boitsfort.

    The ancient beech trees have grown to be as impressive as buildings. Growing on either side of the valley, they open into a sunlight-bathed marshland, resembling a natural cathedral. 

    For history lovers, the forest is also home to a well-known Neolithic site and tumuli. Also in the Boitsfort region, this archeological haven showcases the remains of a fortified camp from around 4000 BC. 

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    6. Dinant

    If any place on this list will steal your heart, it’s this one. Tucked away between a dramatic cliff face and a peaceful river, Dinant is a riverside town made for photographs. Pro tip? Keep your camera in hands for this one!

    Somehow, this small town in Walloon falls under the radar, off the beaten track from Belgium’s more famous cities and attractions. The main features of the town are the fortified cathedral, impressive cliff, and colorful historic buildings – all of which are steeped in history and legend.

    Buildings and a chirch aligned on the coastline of Dinant with a mountain in the backdrop
    Perfectly aligned

    Venture across the main bridge at sunset to view the city from a different perspective. With the domineering cliff face lit up in a yellow glow, the incredible cathedral rising in front of it, and perfect reflections in the calm river, you’ll struggle to document just how gorgeous this place is. Like so many of the most beautiful places to visit in Belgium, this one is hard to put into words.

    Foodies, are you with me? Right, well, Dinant pulls out all the stops for the small-town cuisine. Taste a traditional Flamiche or Couques de Dinant, which are locally famous honey brittle cookies in the region. You’ll be glad I told you so.

    7. Wallonia

    Let’s zoom out a bit. Wallonia is a region or province of Belgium known for its medieval towns, Renaissance-inspired architecture, and local beer. Set along a beautiful river with rolling hills, countryside valleys, and some of the best fall foliage on the Belgian map, Wallonia doubles as a nature-fanatic scene.

    As part of Belgium’s French-speaking region, there really is a Francophone vibe around here. Combined with a laid-back atmosphere, it’s no wonder locals and tourists flock to Wallonia.

    A lake nestled among buildings with a lush forest in the backdrop in Wallonia, Belgium
    Countryside and tranquil vibes in Wallonia.

    Liege is the largest city in Wallonia and is most famous for its cuisine and historic town center. It might look a bit harsh and industrial at first glance, but this city has a wholesome hub with unique attractions and delicious gastronomy. Don’t believe me? Try a sugar-coated Liege waffle and get back to me…

    Oh, and I have to mention that Liege has one of the best cycling routes in Europe (Liege-Bastogne-Liege). Carving out a space to challenge yourself on this one-day ride is a cycling pilgrimage. 

    Namur is the region’s capital city, with an equally charming and laid-back feel. Don’t skip out on the Citadel of Namur, which is one of Europe’s most ancient fortresses. You can even explore an intricate network of tunnels under the citadel. Above ground, it also has exceptional views of the old town.

    8. Poirier du Loup Vineyard, Torgny

    When it comes to postcard-perfect scenery, you won’t find much better than Poirier du Loup Vineyard. Located near the town of Torgny, this wine farm produces some of Belgium’s best local wines. If you ask me, Poirier du Loup is a taste of Provence in Belgium. 

    Complimented by a Mediterranean microclimate, the region experiences the perfect conditions for growing grapes. With good wine must come good food, right?

    Street scene with bushes, trees and an overgrown stonewall in Torgny, Belgium

    This couldn’t be more accurate, with some of the best restaurants in Belgium (Michelin-starred and casual) set in this wine-growing region. There really is something for every budget here.

    The southern town in the province of Belgium is a tiny village that has repeatedly earned the title of the most beautiful village in the country. A short walk through the town, and you’ll see just why. 

    Dotted with limestone houses, overflowing flower pots, and picture-perfect vineyards, this quiet area is as Mediterranean as Belgium gets. Even the buildings are reminiscent of the South of France.

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    9. Chateau de la Hulpe

    There are few words to describe this exquisite structure in Belgium. Magnificent, majestic, and extravagant could all work, but none quite capture the extensive beauty of Chateau de la Hulpe. For this, you’ll simply have to visit.

    Located in Walloon in a municipality called La Hulpe, Chateau de la Hulpe is just a short drive from Brussels, making a perfect weekend plan. The fairytale castle was modeled after similar castles in France’s Loire Valley. No wonder it looks like a scene from France.

    Chateau de la Hulpe surrounded with a green valley and trees
    Chateau de la Hulpe is a blend of botanical beauty and historic allure.

    Note that although the castle is not open to the public, it is still possible to visit the gardens. Stroll through the sculpture scattered across the lawns, overflowing flower beds, and beautifully landscaped terraces, ponds, and rolling lawns.

    Visit for a stroll, to admire the plants, or just to relax on the lush grass. For slow travelers out there, this setting offers the ideal opportunity to fully engage with this beautiful destination.

    Many years ago, the castle was owned by Count Solvay, who you can learn about when visiting the gardens. Considered an exceptional site of Walloon heritage, this is no doubt one of the most beautiful places to visit in Belgium.

    10. Lommelse Sahara, Limburg

    Ever thought you would explore sand dunes in Belgium?

    Yes, you heard right. This northern European country is home to its own “Sahara” equivalent, lovingly named the Lommelse Sahara after its (very) big brother. 

    Located in a bird-rich nature preserve along Belgium’s border with the Netherlands, this sandy spot is one of the most unique and beautiful parks in the country.

    Landscape of Lommelse Sahara with a lake and lush trees.

    The Lommelse Sahara really does live up to its name, resembling a mini desert of some sort (sans the stark heat and lack of water – of course). In fact, the center of the Sahara features a huge lake, which was created because the area was used to mine sand for building in the cities. 

    The result? A huge and growing area of desolate dune, with barely any green plants able to flourish. To prevent the area from losing even more greenery, coniferous forests were planted after World War II, reducing the desert area to just 193 hectares. Still pretty big, if you ask me.

     It’s great for hiking, picnicking, or just zoning out and tuning into your most relaxed self. 

    11. Eifel National Park

    When it comes to protected yet untamed landscapes, Eifel National Park is one of Belgium’s most famous nature parks for a few reasons.

    Eifel National Park, Belgium

    First, the park was shaped by volcanic activity millions of years ago. Second, it houses an extensive collection of plants and trees. And third, it is home to some of the most exciting wildlife in the country. 

    12. Vallee du Ninglinspo

    Vallee du Ninglinspo with ancient mountain range in Belgium
    Anticipating a thrilling hike in the Vallee du Ninglinspo.

    Known for housing some of the most beautiful adventure trails and hikes in Belgium, the Vallee du Ninglinspo is a natural forest in Wallonia’s ancient mountain range.

    Add it to your bucket list of adventures and explore it on foot, by bike, or even along the river by electric boat – the choice is yours!

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    13. Mechelen

    Grote market in Mechelen with a row of buildings and shops
    For an enriching experience of diversity, head to Mechelen.

    In my humble opinion, there is nothing quite like strolling through a medieval European city. The cobblestone streets and traditional, colorful buildings practically tell stories of the town’s past in Mechelen.

    It’s especially well known for its multicultural population, with over 100 different nationalities calling the town home.

    14. Hoge Kempen National Park

    Hoge Kempen National Park with heather fields and a lake on a sunny day
    Heather fields in Hoge Kempen National Park

    Nature lovers, this one’s for you. Hoge Kempen National Park in Limburg is a unique nature reserve covering over 12 thousand hectares of protected forests.

    It’s a massive area with heather fields and shifting sand dunes, perfect for all types of activities and adventures.

    15. Bokrijk

    A wooden house with a water wheel in the middle of a forest in Bokrijk, belgium

    Most famous for its open-air museum, which lays out the history of rural life in Flanders, Bokrijk is one of those towns that will transport you back in time. Other than the museum, make sure to drop by the botanical garden and nature reserve in this unique place to visit in Belgium.

    16. The Hanging Gardens, Thuin

    A landscape view of Thuin's Hanging Gardens with buildings, three towers in the backdrop
    Look at those layers!

    England isn’t the only country that knows how to curate an exceptional garden. These Hanging Gardens are located in the Medieval city of Thuin and feature over two hundred terraced gardens.

    Follow one of the many maintained trails through the city and gardens, and you’ll learn about the architectural evolution of the city along the way.

    17. Antwerp

    Antwerp City Hall, Belgium with a statue of Brabo standing on the Silvius Brabo Fountain.
    A Roman soldier defeated the River Scheldt’s Nekker spirit, founding Antwerp in triumph.

    Impossible not to mention on this list that Antwerp is one of Belgium’s most famous and beautiful cities. Base yourself here rather than in Brussels when visiting Belgium. It’s one of the world’s major seaports, made famous for being the center of the diamond industry many years ago. Today, it’s a hub of fine art, exquisite traditional architecture, and good food.

    Explore the legends of Antwerp with this historical walking tour and discover the city’s best-preserved medieval alleyway.

    18. The Blue Forest of Hallerbos

    The Blue Forest of Hallerbos with bluebell flowers
    Look at that vibrant carpet of bluebell flowers!

    Known as the Blue Forest for its millions of bluebells that bloom from April into May, Hallerbos Forest is one of the most famous forests in Belgium for good reason.

    Choose a track to follow by foot or bike, and make your way through the gorgeous forest between spring and fall. From scent to sound, this section of Hallerbos is a treat for all the senses.

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    19. Ypres

    An areal view of Ypres' buildings and church
    Ypres: Simply mesmerizing!

    Take a journey through history in Ypres, a charming small town once known for its booming textile industry. But what really sets Ypres apart is its World War I involvement.

    During the war, Ypres was used as an ally base to break through German ranks, and as a result, it was bombed throughout the war. It’s a really interesting place to see how historical buildings were rebuilt after the damage.

    20. Haspengouw

    two sheep in a large green valley, Haspengouw, Belgium
    Experience a laid-back lifestyle in the heart of Haspengouw’s local charm.

    In Belgium’s eastern district, Haspengouw (or Hesbaye) is a traditional cultural and geophysical hub of the country. It’s been one of the most successful agricultural regions since the pre-Roman era, and is just as lush and gorgeous today as it was back then (we presume). 

    Great for a relaxing vacation, hiking, or learning about local history and culture, there is plenty to see and do in this beautiful place in Belgium.

    21. Museum of the Far East, Brussels

    Museum of the Far East with detailed chinese-style architecture surrounded by grass and trees in Brussels
    Chinese-style architecture within a Belgian Museum.

    Spread out across three museums in Laeken, these are among the best places to visit in Brussels. Dedicated to the art, nature, and culture of far-eastern countries, you could spend days exploring the unique exhibits and never get bored.

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    How to See Beautiful Places in Belgium

    Surprise, surprise: Belgium has some of the best-maintained roads in the world. While sometimes busy, it’s easy to find where to go and follow road signs, making this the most convenient way to get around between smaller cities and towns.

    It would cost around £35 to £65 to rent a small car and up to £150 to rent a large luxury car per day – depending on the time of year.

    a woman walks past a bridge in Ghent, Belgium
    The best way to experience the Belgian beauty is through a night walk.
    Photo: Roaming Ralph

    To travel from major city to another, Belgium’s rail network is comprehensive and one of the best on the continent. And this is a huge title…

    To get from one beautiful place in Belgium to another, you can easily pay with GO vending machines and reload your mobile card for cashless payments. A train from Brussels to Antwerp will take you between 45 minutes and an hour and cost around £10 in each direction.

    Since the distances between the big cities are so small, flying from one city to another is not the best way to get around. Not only is it more expensive and not great for the environment, but it can also take longer to get through security than just hopping on a train. Admin, if you ask me!

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    Final Thoughts on Beautiful Places in Belgium

    Considered the capital of Europe, Belgium has proven itself to be quite the political player. But it’s not just home to the headquarters of NATO and the EU.

    The country packs a real punch for history, with over three thousand exquisite castles to wander around, battlegrounds from both World Wars, and a museum dedicated to everything you can imagine.

    Add to the list thousands of breweries, a chocolate industry of Willy Wonka dreams, and some of the best restaurants in Europe, and we have ourselves a foodie heaven. If you didn’t know that French Fries were, in fact, from Belgium – now you do.

    Picking just one beautiful place in Belgium feels like a crime. But if I had to do it, I wouldn’t miss a chance to visit the unassuming beaches in De Haan

    Don’t gloss over this magnificent Western European powerhouse, which delivers in every sense of the word.

    A smiling person on an old street with Bruges' canal in the background.
    Bruges was the best tbh!
    Photo: Nic Hilditch-Short
    Looking for more info on travelling to Belgium?

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