Pretty Bruges looks its romantic best during the festive season, when decorations twinkle along its cobbled streets, the canals are often flecked with snow and its great Gothic piazzas are adorned with gigantic Christmas firs. Bruges at Christmas plays host to one of Belgium’s most magical Christmas markets; between November 22 and January 2, 2014, the Grote Markt and Simon Stevinplein are given over to hundreds of cute wooden stalls selling local handicrafts and gourmet specialities.
Ghent is oft overlooked in the headlong rush to Bruges or Antwerp – and what’s more, there are plenty of free things to do in Ghent. Sandwiched between Brussels and Bruges in the Flanders region, this gorgeous mini-city was the center of northern Europe’s booming textiles trade in the 14th century and vied with Paris for political power. Today it a city of canals, cobbled streets, castles, art galleries, high-end stores and cathedrals – making a perfect weekend destination.
Chocolate, beer, and waffles, the Belgium trifecta. We had these quintessential Brussels favorites along with traditional tapas as we walked the city as part of the Brussels night walking gourmet Belgian food tour. We came to Brussels to taste the food and drink the unique beers, and the tour checked all of the boxes.
The year 2014 sees the centenary of the start of WWI, which will be marked across the globe in appropriate style with memorial services, exhibitions and the opening of new museums. World War 1 centenary events will loom large in particular in Belgium, where the first shots of the war were firesd and where the first soldier died at Liège on August 4, 1914.
Brussels is not the cheapest city in Europe and there is so much to see here that expense soon starts to mount up. The best way doing justice to the myriad museums, galleries and sights of Belgium’s capital is to invest in a sightseer’s Brussels Card.
The landmark Belfry (Belfort) in Bruges stands 83 meters tall and dominates the town’s main square of Markt. With its iconic 13th-century tower, much of medieval Bruges’ commercial life was conducted in the market halls below. Today some of these have been transformed into exhibition rooms and a World War I exhibition at the Belfry runs until February 22, 2015.
Housed in a gallery purpose built in the late 1920s near a cluster of other Bruges museums at Dijver 12, the Groeningemuseum ranks among Belgium’s leading art galleries with a collection that covers Flemish masterpieces from the 15th to the 20th centuries.
Pretty, pint-sized Bruges is little over an hour from Brussels, making it the perfect destination for day trips. There’s plenty to do and see in this medieval mini-city of cobbled streets, clocktowers and canals when visiting Bruges from Brussels, and it’s all accessible on foot.
Every year the main museums in Brussels join forces to open late, allowing new audiences the chance to see their collections. In 2014, every Thursday between September 18 and December 12, late-night openings in Brussels museums are happening every Thursday.
Brussels is a gourmet destination, famed the world over for its haute cuisine, fine confectionary, and craft beers; in fact it has more Michelin stars per capita than Paris. So what makes Brussels cuisine so enticing? Here’s a (very brief) food lover’s guide to Brussels.