Top 10 Hidden Gems in Belgium

Top 10 Hidden Gems to Visit in Belgium

Belgium is a country that is well known for its beautiful cities, historic landmarks, and delicious cuisine. However, there are also many hidden gems that are often overlooked by tourists. From quaint villages to stunning natural scenery, Belgium has a lot to offer beyond its well-known attractions. In this article, we will explore the top 10 hidden gems in Belgium and offer insider tips on lesser-known spots to explore in this popular destination.

Top 10 Hidden Gems in Belgium

1. Gaasbeek Castle

Gaasbeek Castle is a 13th-century castle located in the Flemish Brabant province, just outside of Brussels. This stunning castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens and has a rich history that dates back to the Middle Ages. The castle was owned by various noble families throughout the centuries and was eventually turned into a museum in the 1920s.

Today, visitors can explore the castle’s impressive collection of art, furniture, and artifacts from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. The castle also hosts various temporary exhibitions throughout the year, which makes it a great destination for art enthusiasts.

Insider Tip: If you’re visiting in the summer months, be sure to check out the castle’s open-air theater program, which takes place in the castle’s beautiful gardens.

2. Citadel of Dinant

The Citadel of Dinant is a fortress located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the town of Dinant in the Walloon region of Belgium. The fortress was built in the 19th century to protect the town from invasion and has since become a popular tourist attraction.

Visitors can explore the fortress’s many rooms and tunnels, which are filled with artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the fortress’s history. The views from the top of the fortress are also breathtaking and offer a unique perspective on the town and the surrounding countryside.

Insider Tip: Take the cable car up to the fortress for an unforgettable experience and avoid the steep climb up the hill.

3. Leuven

Leuven is a small city located in the Flemish Brabant province, just a short train ride from Brussels. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, historic landmarks, and lively student population.

Visitors to Leuven can explore the city’s many landmarks, including the stunning town hall, which is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. The city is also home to the world-famous Stella Artois brewery, which offers tours and tastings to visitors.

Insider Tip: Visit Leuven during the summer months and enjoy a drink at one of the many outdoor cafes in the city’s picturesque central square.

4. The Ardennes

The Ardennes is a forested region located in the southeast of Belgium, bordering France and Luxembourg. The region is known for its beautiful natural scenery, including rolling hills, forests, and rivers.

Visitors to the Ardennes can explore the many hiking and cycling trails that wind through the region, which offer stunning views of the countryside. The region is also home to many quaint villages and towns, where visitors can sample local cuisine and learn about the region’s rich history.

Insider Tip: Visit the town of Bouillon, which is home to a beautiful castle and is known for its delicious local ham.

5. The Hoge Kempen National Park

The Hoge Kempen National Park is a nature reserve located in the province of Limburg, in the northeast of Belgium. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife and plant species, including red deer, wild boar, and pine martens.

Visitors to the park can explore the many hiking and cycling trails that wind through the park, which offer stunning views of the region’s natural beauty. The park is also home to many historic landmarks, including the remains of a Roman villa.

Insider Tip: Visit the park during the autumn months and enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, which transforms the park into a sea of oranges, yellows, and reds.

6. Waterloo

Waterloo is a small town located in the province of Walloon Brabant, just a short drive from Brussels. The town is famous for its historic battle, which took place in 1815 and marked the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Visitors to Waterloo can explore the many historic landmarks that commemorate the battle, including the Waterloo battlefield, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The town is also home to the Wellington Museum, which tells the story of the battle and the soldiers who fought in it.

Insider Tip: Visit Waterloo on June 18th, the anniversary of the battle, and participate in the reenactments and festivities that take place throughout the town.

7. Bruges Beguinages

Bruges is a picturesque city located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, known for its beautiful canals, historic landmarks, and delicious chocolate. However, one of the city’s lesser-known attractions is its beguinages, which are small communities of religious women who live together in simple homes.

Visitors to Bruges can explore the city’s beguinages, which offer a unique glimpse into the lives of these religious women. The beguinages are peaceful and serene, and offer a break from the hustle and bustle of the city’s more popular tourist attractions.

Insider Tip: Visit the Beguinage of Ten Wijngaarde, which is the largest and most well-known beguinage in Bruges and is home to a beautiful garden and chapel.

8. The Hallerbos

The Hallerbos is a forest located in the Flemish Brabant province, just a short drive from Brussels. The forest is famous for its stunning bluebells, which bloom in the spring and transform the forest floor into a sea of blue.

Visitors to the Hallerbos can explore the many hiking trails that wind through the forest, which offer stunning views of the bluebells and the surrounding countryside. The forest is also home to many other plant and animal species, including roe deer, foxes, and badgers.

Insider Tip: Visit the forest in late April or early May to see the bluebells in full bloom, but arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

9. Ghent

Ghent is a historic city located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, just a short train ride from Brussels. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, lively nightlife, and rich cultural heritage.

Visitors to Ghent can explore the city’s many landmarks, including the impressive Gravensteen Castle, which offers stunning views of the city. The city is also home to many museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Design Museum, which offer a unique glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Insider Tip: Take a boat tour of the city’s canals, which offer a unique perspective on the city’s historic landmarks and stunning architecture.

10. The Belgian Coast

The Belgian Coast is a stretch of coastline located in the Flemish Region of Belgium, known for its beautiful beaches, stunning dunes, and charming seaside towns.

Visitors to the Belgian Coast can explore the many beaches and dunes that line the coastline, which offer a peaceful escape from the city’s more crowded tourist attractions. The coast is also home to many charming seaside towns, including Knokke-Heist and De Haan, which offer delicious seafood, charming architecture, and a relaxed atmosphere.

Insider Tip: Visit the coastal town of Oostduinkerke and watch the local fishermen catch shrimp on horseback, which is a unique and fascinating tradition that has been preserved for centuries. Oostduinkerke, located in Belgium, is the only place in the world where this ancient fishing technique is still practiced.

The tradition of shrimp fishing on horseback dates back to the 15th century when it was introduced as a means of catching shrimp along the Belgian coast. Today, it has become a beloved cultural heritage and a popular tourist attraction.

Top 10 Hidden Gems in Belgium

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We are writers, bloggers, and travelers. Being creative and making things keep us happy is our life's motto. We love to travel and love to blog!
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