Belgium

5 Cities In Belgium You Need To Visit

By
on
4 April, 2022

I love the country of Belgium. I first visited there by myself at the end of my inter-railing trip in 2019 and went to Brussels and Bruges. It was easy to fall in love with the beautiful golden architecture and the quirks of both cities. I’d been looking forward to going back ever since, and last week, I did! This time, I spent a week travelling to different cities in the country.

My recommendations are all located in the Flanders region of Belgium, the predominantly Dutch-speaking region. They’re all within an hour’s journey of each other so it’s easy to do day trips from one to the other. However, I spent at least one night in each of these cities as I like to spend a bit longer visiting somewhere.

Here are 5 cities in Belgium you need to visit!

Brussels

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is one of my favourite capital cities that I’ve visited. It only takes two hours to get there from London on the Eurostar (even closer than Paris) and once you get out of the station, you’re in the city centre!

One of the most impressive things about Brussels has to be its beautiful main city square. Then you have all of the comic strip murals and other displays of art scattered across the city. Keep looking around you as you walk through the city, you never know what you’ll come across next!

I recommend doing a free walking tour in Brussels as this is how I got to know some cool things about Belgium that I wouldn’t have otherwise. For example, in being guided by a local, I learned that Belgium is a country that likes to embrace its weirdness and quirkiness. From Manneken Pis to the historic legends, they embrace all that is different about them.


Don’t forget to visit Delirium Cafe, where they serve over 2,000 different types of beer.


Bruges

This charming medieval city is one of the most visited places in Belgium. However, the majority of visitors don’t spend the night there, rather they do a day trip from Brussels or other nearby cities.

The historic centre of Bruges (or Brugge) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’ll make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time. It’s also sometimes called the ”Venice of the North” because of its canals.

There are several museums and other attractions in Bruges, but you may not feel the need to visit them as the historic centre of Bruges is already an attraction in itself. Just walk around and admire the Belfrey Tower, City Hall and Market Square – with some fries and/or waffles in hand.

If you’d like a sneak peek before you go, watch the comedy/crime film In Bruges!

Ghent

Ghent (or Gent) is situated between Brussels and Bruges. Unfortunately, many tourists make the mistake of skipping Ghent. Don’t be that person!

It’s a good-sized city to spend at least a couple of days in and is very hip. Everyone seems to have a unique style. Similarly to Brussels, you’ll notice lots of murals and street art here as well.

You might see a lot of cyclists in Belgium in general but I especially noticed them in Ghent, making it reminiscent of Amsterdam.

If you like visiting unique cafes, you must go to Le Bal Infernal! It’s a ‘used book cafe’ with a lovely vibe and the ginger oat latte I had was delicious. It also serves alcoholic drinks and is open till late.

Antwerp

This port city is probably Belgium’s liveliest city, especially on Saturdays. It’s not unlikely that you’ll see groups partying and drinking in the city centre from day through to night. However, Sundays are much quieter and many shops are closed all day. So if you want to do any shopping when you’re there, I wouldn’t advise going on a Sunday.

Antwerp (or Antwerpen) is a city with a bit of everything. There’s the historic city centre, then when you head down the river bank you start to see some more modern side. As with the other cities I’ve mentioned so far, Antwerp also has an impressive city square and an interesting history.

Antwerp Central Station is one of the prettiest stations in the world and is an attraction in itself.


Hostel recommendation: Antwerp City Hostel. This hostel is great! It’s located right in the main square and has a cool basement where free breakfast is served. The staff are really friendly, I couldn’t fault my experience there.


Leuven

Despite being a smaller city, Leuven (or Louvain) is home to what’s known as Europe’s longest bar! They also make Stella Artois there as part of the world’s largest brewery.

Leuven is a gorgeous little city with a great vibe, perfect for a day trip or short overnight stay. You must walk through it at night when the Town Hall and other buildings are beautifully lit up.

And another reason to visit Leuven – it’s been named one of Europe’s most sustainable cities.

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HOLLY
Nottingham, England

Hi, welcome to Travel With Holly! I'm a twenty-something-year-old, environmentally-conscious travel lover, trying to see as much of the world as I can while sharing my experiences with you. Whether you're here for some informative travel tips or just some inspiration, I hope you enjoy browsing this blog! If you’d like to follow along with me then make sure you subscribe.