The spectacular Royal Greenhouses at Laeken lie just north of the center of Brussels in the parklands around the royal palace and is walking distance from the Atomium at Heysel.
As well as currently being one of the coolest cities on the planet, Antwerp is the perfect base for forays into the Belgian countryside, where often-overlooked destinations like Mechelen wait unspoiled and unattended.
When you’re done admiring splendid Art Nouveau architecture, shopping for chocolates and laughing at the diminutive Manneken-Pis, why not catch up with the world’s favourite comic-strip explorer? Hergé’s famous creation Tintin is as Belgian as moules-frîtes and the Tintin Trail in Brussels is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.
Brussels is an all-year destination so the round of museums, galleries, palaces and shopping continues unabated through the cool winter months. But Brussels in winter has plenty of surprises to charm visitors.
The best-loved Christmas market in Brussels stretches an eye watering, twinkling 1.25 miles (2 km) from Grand Place through the Place du Marché aux Poissons and on to Place Ste-Catherine. As Belgium’s largest such festive bazar, Plaisirs d’Hiver (Winter Wonders) comprises around 250 wooden chalets loaded with Christmas gifts, tree decorations and seasonal gourmet goodies and runs from November 29 to January 5, 2014.
Bastogne is a French-speaking Walloon town found on the southern edges of Belgium butting on to the Luxembourg border. World War II History in Bastogne will soon be brought to life with the opening of an innovative new museum.
The cute little town of Namur is the capital of French-speaking Wallonia in southern Belgium and makes the perfect base for exploring the Belgian Ardennes. Brussels is just 50 minutes away, so it’s easy to spend a day in Namur exploring its citadel and historic town center.
Many visitors to Belgium spend time exploring the harrowing WWI battlefields of Flanders; altogether 300,000 Allied soldiers were killed here in the last four years of the war and there are more than 200 memorials and cemeteries to the Allied troops who died. Equally poignant are the war memorials in Bastogne, site of 1944’s Battle of the Bulge, which saw some of the deadliest fighting and highest casualties of WWII.
Together with the Czech city of Plzeň, Belgium’s Walloon town of Mons is to be a 2015 European Capital of Culture and in celebration of this is organising a whole raft of events, from special festivals to exhibitions and concerts as well as city walks and gastronomic feasts. But what’s there today and what makes Mons special enough to be awarded this prestigious accolade?