Belgium – the best must-see attractions
Although holidays in Belgium are no obvious way to spend your free time, the country has a lot to offer and the trip can be a truly interesting adventure.
Politics and chocolate
Brussels, Belgium's capital, is naturally the country's most popular city. Drop in to take a peek at European politics, immerse in the municipal middle-class atmosphere of the elegant Grande Place, walk along the route of the famous Belgian Art Nouveau, and relish chocolate, beer and chips – the flagship Belgian products. You can also visit several interesting museums. Don't be afraid, you will not get bored to tears! Rather than that, you will learn a bit about the long tradition of chocolate production or about drawing comic books, of which Brussels is an undisputed capital. Don't forget the Smurfs either! The little blue creatures are probably the most famous Belgians and ambassadors of the country abroad. When you have spare time on your hand, delve into Brussels' antique shops and second-hand clothes boutiques. If you are lucky, you can find real gems there!
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Napoleon's defeat and the birth of the saxophone
When in Brussels, drop in to the nearby Waterloo. This is where the great battle took place in 1815 which put an end to the Napoleonic era. An hour's trip from the capital will take to the town of Dinant. Despite its inconspicuous size, it is one of the greatest attractions in Belgium. You will be enchanted by the town's beautiful location at the foot of a rock on the shores of the River Meuse, graceful buildings and the mighty citadel. This is were Adolphe Sax, the creator of the saxophone, was born.
Window onto the world
You can search for some more gems in Antwerp. The city is famous around the world for diamond processing, so you will surely have successful shopping if you happen to have sufficient funds in your pocket. A little fine item like that can become a memorable souvenir from your holidays in Belgium, but if you don't feel like buying finery, then visit "Diamond Land", where you can see an interesting exhibition and take a peek at diamond cutters at work. When in Antwerp, you should definitely see the main square packed with beautiful townhouses, and walk down Meir, the city's high street. From there, pop in on Rubens! The great painter spent most of his life in this city, and his house-cum-workshop offers an opportunity to discover the master's life and see some of his works. Since Antwerp is Europe's second largest sea port after Rotterdam, you should also see this quarter of the city. It is abundant with really good architecture and interestingly arranges spaces. Ideally, you should rent a city bike to reach the various nooks and crannies of the area.
Canals, cobbled streets, rows and rows of brick terraced buildings. In Bruges you will travel back in time to the Middle Ages! A large metropolis a few centuries ago, this beautiful city suddenly stopped developing. Fortunately for today's tourists, it got too poor to demolish its old buildings, so today you can enjoy the amazing atmosphere of the past. Owing to its well-developed network of canals, Bruges is sometimes called "the Flemish Venice" (Flanders is a part of Belgium). In evenings, it becomes an ideal place for a romantic walk with your loved one. But bear in mind that it is one of Belgium's most popular attractions so it is bound to be crowded. However, when you visit the former Begijnhof, you will find the much desired calm and peace, and take a break from the hustle and bustle of the Old Town.
From the tower and the canal
Ghent is a pretty and vibrating city. If you love arts, you must see St. Bavo's Cathedral, where The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (also known as The Ghent Altarpiece) by Jan van Eyck is displayed. It is one of the world's most valuable works of painting and the main reason for most tourists to visit the city. Climb the 91-metre belfort bell-tower from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city. Take a look at the beautiful canals cruised by various tourist vessels. Feel tempted? The city looks great from this perspective!
Holidays at the sea (North Sea)
Holidays mean sea, naturally! Although Belgium offers no hot sands or palm trees and its main tourist assets lie in its cities, the country's attractions include also the picturesque and uniquely charming North Sea coast. On warm days, you can swim there, and when it is colder, you can stroll along the beautiful sandy beaches covered with dwarfed vegetation here and there.