When foreigners think of Belgium, the first thing to come to mind is often chocolate, waffles, and beer. Although these stereotypes are well known, and for a good reason, the country of Belgium offers much more than food. From its renaissance architecture to medieval history, Belgium offers a wide variety of sights and activities. Below you will find the top five attractions to visit on your next trip to Belgium.
- Grand Place
Described as one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Europe, the Grand Place is sure to leave you breathless. One of the most alluring aspect to this square is the architecture from the Baroque, Gothic, Louis XIV eras. As tourists flocked to the square, it grew national recognition and was named a World Heritage Site in 1998 by the UNESCO.
The Atomium, a 335 foot tall magnified iron crystal, was originally constructed for the Brussels World Fair in 1958. Initially, the structure was not supposed to survive past six months, but the popularity of the attraction resulted in it becoming one of the landmarks for Brussels. Today the landmark is open to the public and has been renovated into a museum.
One of the most popular tourist attractions includes the 12th-century Gravensteen Castle. The castle once served as the home of count Philip Alsace, “castle of the count,” but after being abandoned in the 14th century, it was used as a courthouse and then prison. Decaying away, the castle was supposed to be demolished but was restored in the 19th century. Nowadays, the castle has been repaired and remains as a museum.
- The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
In the year 1873, a complex of greenhouses was constructed for King Leopold II. In the greenhouses today you can still find some of the original plants that belong to King Leopold as well as a number of rare and valuable plants. For the past century, it has become a tradition for, the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken open their gates to the public for about three weeks. If you up there during that time, don’t miss your chance!
- The Belfry of Bruges
Located in the center of Bruges, Belgium you will find the medieval bell tower known as the Belfry of Bruges. It is one of the most well-known symbols of the city. If you are willing to take on the challenge, you can climb a narrow and steep staircase with 366 steps. Once you get to the top, you will instantly be rewarded from the outstanding panoramic view of the city.
Whether you go to these attractions or others, explore what Belgium has to offer. From the vast history of the activities, Belgium proves to be a captivating destination to travel to.