13 Beautiful Cities in Belgium to Visit Right Now

Here are all the most beautiful cities in Belgium to visit and see the best areas in the country!

While Brussels and Bruges are pretty well known, Belgium in general seems to go pretty under the radar when it comes to traveling Europe. There are so many cities with their own unique characteristics, like the versatile Antwerp, romantic Bruges, or off the beaten path Kortrijk. Trust me, you’re going to want to visit all of them by the end of this post!

13 Beautiful Cities in Belgium to Visit

1. Brussels

The capital of Belgium is the perfect city to start this list with. Although most people speak French here, you’ll soon discover that there are also many Dutch-language elements. 

As there are two languages, there are also two faces of Brussels. On the one hand the city has fantastic hotspots and sights, on the other hand there are also streets that are not at all charming. 

You can find out which places in the city are worth visiting in my guide on how to visit Brussels in one day! And certainly do because the photos in the article show you immediately why Brussels is definitely worth it!

Places to Visit in Brussels:

  • Manneken Pis: the only real mascot in the city.
  • The Atomium: an unmissable monument that was once built for the World Exhibition in 1958. (Get tickets here)
  • Musical Instrument Museum: an impressive museum from the outside alone.

Tours in Brussels:

2. Namur

The French-speaking part of Belgium, Wallonia, has a capital just like the country itself. You probably already guess it: Namur! 

A river flows through the city, the Sambre flowing into the Maas, and that immediately sets the tone for the beauty of the city. On a warm day it is wonderful to stroll along the water. When you find yourself in need of some renewed energy, walk towards the cozy restaurants. 

Go for an extensive cocktail (after all, it’s vacation!) in one of the bars or for a culinary tour de force in one of the more luxurious restaurants.

Places to Visit in Namur:

  • Citadel of Namur: Medieval Fort with a beautiful view of the city.
  • The Gardens of Annevoie: varied park with the only water gardens in Belgium just outside the city.
  • Musée Félicien Rops: a museum dedicated to the Belgian artist Félicien Rops.

3. Bruges

Bruges is one of the most romantic cities in Belgium to visit, although you may have known that for a long time. The romance is in the air! 

With its Medieval city center, you can walk from photogenic streets to the lively market square without being bored of impressive buildings. You can find beautiful architecture, stunning sights, and cozy eateries in this city.

You can find tips for those eateries and hotspots not to skip in my guide on what to do in Bruges. Be sure to check if you are going to visit Bruges or still have doubts about it!

Places to Visit in Bruges:

  • Belfry of Bruges: the tower on the Grote Markt of Bruges with a good view of the city.
  • Begijnhof: consists of a collection of beautiful 17th and 18th century white painted houses.
  • Halve Maan: the family brewery with beer from Bruges.

Tours in Bruges:

4. Verviers

Verviers is the name of this city of fountains. Located in the Ardennes, it has 21 different fountains, most of which are actually worth visiting. They all look beautiful and / or have a special history. 

Walk through Verviers and visit all the different fountains along a set route or discover what you encounter on your way to one of the sights. It also has quite a few special churches, and you will find various parks. There’s also plenty to discover in the city for museum lovers. 

It is not a very famous city break destination and that is precisely why Verviers is so nice to visit. Explore the city at leisure and enjoy places that have not yet been discovered by the masses!

Places to Visit in Verviers:

  • Verviers Town Hall: the town hall built between 1775-1780 with a view of the Fontaine du Perron.
  • Maison de l’Eau: a former factory building where you can discover more about the water history of the city.
  • Center Touristique Laine & Mode: a museum that tells the role of the textile industry in Verviers.

5. Ghent

The city of Ghent has a long history and, as often is the case, this also provides an interesting destination for your next city trip.

Walk through the historic center of the city because there is something new to see. When you walk through those atmospheric streets, you will immediately see beautiful buildings, cozy cafés, and impressive buildings with special architecture. 

Ghent is often pleasantly busy, which makes it great to watch people while you enjoy a Belgian beer or a delicious meal on the terrace. Check out my guide on the best things to do in Ghent as well as all my tips!

Places to Visit in Ghent:

  • Gravensteen: a well-kept castle with a beautiful view of Ghent.
  • The Belfry of Ghent: a recognizable tower with a completely different, but just as beautiful, view.
  • Sint-Niklaaskerk: a beautiful church from the 13 th century on the Korenmarkt in Ghent.

Tours in Ghent:

6. Charleroi

Considering Charleroi has more than often been called one of the ugliest cities in Belgium to visit, it may seem out of place on this list. Yet, it’s here because beauty means something different in every cty!

As a former industrial city, Charleroi has seen a lot of hard workers. Impressive factory buildings, overgrown mountains of waste and special street art; it is precisely this urban vibe that distinguishes Charleroi from the rest. 

If you like an industrial city in which history is still clearly visible, then Charleroi is really worth it.

Places to Visit in Charleroi:

  • Charleroi Adventure: a long walk with guide Nicolas Buissart that shows you the unique places of Charleroi.
  • Bois du Cazier: a museum and memorial site in a coal mine where a huge mine disaster occurred in 1956.
  • Musée de la Photographie: a photography museum in a former monastery.

7. Antwerp

One of my most beloved cities in Belgium to visit is without a doubt Antwerp. The city is close to the Dutch border, making a day trip to Antwerp very easy. 

In Antwerp, shopping is a party. Be sure to go to the famous Meir. It also has an extensive range of art and fashion museums.

In between admiring beautiful places and shopping, let your feet relax in one of the many cozy little cafés and other hotspots. Read my complete guide on what to do in Antwerp for more advice.

Places to Visit in Antwerp:

  • Cathedral of Our Lady: an impressive 14 th century cathedral on the Handschoenmarkt.
  • Rubens House: former home of artist Peter Paul Rubens and now a museum.
  • Grote Markt: a pleasant town square that houses the Antwerp town hall, among other things.

Tours in Antwerp:

Source photo

8. Kortrijk

Not every city trip has to go to a large, busy city. If you are looking for a quiet weekend away, then Kortrijk might be for you. 

Kortrijk is a charming city in West Flanders through which the River Leie flows. You walk along the water and through the colorful streets that border beautiful houses.

You will also find various shops, restaurants and museums that will keep you entertained. The city is perfect for beautiful walks, so take those good shoes with you when you go to Kortrijk!

Places to Visit in Kortrijk:

  • Begijnhof: a medieval city district with its own museum in which time has stood still proverbially.
  • Broel Towers: once part of the city walls, now two iconic towers in Kortrijk.
  • Museum Texture: museum in a beautiful old warehouse where you learn everything about the processing of leie and flax into linen fabric.

9. Leuven

The city of Leuven is not far from Antwerp and Brussels. A real student city, you will notice by the cozy terraces and the unofficial title of “beer capital of Flanders.” The latter title is not only due to the students, but also due to the presence of the Artois Brewery.

Between walking in the atmospheric streets of Leuven you can also visit various sights and landmarks. There are many photogenic buildings, special architecture and various museums of which you will find some suggestions in guide on all the charming things to do in Leuven.

Places to Visit in Leuven:

  • The town hall: a gothic town hall with a particularly impressive exterior.
  • University of Leuven: the age-old university that is still in use.
  • M – Museum of Leuven: a museum with a diverse art collection.

10. Liège

The pleasant city of Liège is located in the Ardennes. Here too, a lot of history has been preserved, making walking through the center a fun activity. Everywhere you will find elements that indicate the different centuries in which Liège developed.

Cozy squares are surrounded by beautiful buildings with various museums scattered throughout the city. 

Every year there is also a large Christmas market in Liege where a lot of people like to go to to get completely in the Christmas mood.

Places to Visit in Liège:

  • Montagne van Bueren: a street with a 374-step staircase in the center of Liège.
  • La Boverie: an art museum surrounded by a beautiful park.
  • Place Saint Lambert: large square in Liège where, among other things, the Prince-Bishops’ Palace is located.

11. Mechelen

Although Mechelen is centrally located between Antwerp and Brussels, the city is much less known. Nevertheless, Mechelen is one of the larger cities in Flanders and a nice destination for a day or city trip. 

There are many fun things to do in Mechelen. Stroll through the historic city center and along the river Dyle. Continue your way by following the unique signposts that have adorned the city since 1954 and relax while enjoying a cup of coffee on one of the pleasant terraces. 

When you pass the boutique shops, be sure to take a look inside. Nothing is as nice as stores where they sell something different than at the larger chains.

Places to Visit in Mechelen:

  • Het Anker Brewery: city brewery on the Mechels Begijnhof.
  • St. Rombouts Cathedral: a 13th century cathedral that can also be found on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Dossink barracks: a former army barracks that served during the Second World War.
Source photo

12. Hasselt

The Belgian province of Limburg may call Hasselt the capital. Hasselt is the place for you when you have seen enough Belgian beers. 

It is in fact a true gin town that you can learn all about in the Jenever Museum. Or in one of the cafés where they also serve gin of course. 

Even without alcohol, the city is a nice city trip destination. You can not only drink something else there, but you can also explore the city in a different way. 

Cycle through the surroundings of Hasselt and discover the beautiful surroundings just outside the lively city center. The road to the Herkenrode Abbey is one of those beautiful routes. Find out where you can cycle to even more below.

Places to Visit in Hasselt:

  • Bokrijk open air museum: a museum where you discover life around 1914.
  • Japanese Garden: the largest Japanese Garden in Europe.
  • Herkenrode Abbey: a former monastery with a large piece of land around it.
Source photo

13. Ypres

The Belgian city of Ypres is probably well known if you are a history lover. Ypres is one of the cities that had a hard time during the First World War. Four battles took place around Ypres and many lives were lost. 

You can still find much of that period in Ypres. You will find war monuments and museums in which you learn more about that time. Try to imagine what it must have been like and certainly do it with the help of the In Flanders Fields Museum. This is an interactive war museum on the Grote Markt in Ypres. 

On the Grote Markt you can also find cozy terraces and atmospheric restaurants when you are ready for a good glass of wine to toast to life after a visit to the museum.

Places to visit in Ypres:

  • Menin Gate: an impressive memorial to the fallen British soldiers during the First World War in the form of a large gate.
  • In Flanders Fields: an interactive war museum in the Cloth Hall. (Take a minibus tour here)
  • Sint-Maartenskerk: the cathedral of the former diocese of Ypres.

And there you have it, the most beautiful cities in Belgium to visit for your next city break!

What are your favorite cities in Belgium to visit?

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One comment

  1. stephanie

    Although Belgium is superclose to my homecountry (The Netherlands), I have only visited it once, which was this year. Hope I can visit more of Belgium soon, because Ghent, Bruges and Brussel look great too!

    Reply

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