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  • 5 great destinations in Belgium

    The gorgeous city center of Leuven

    The gorgeous city center of Leuven

    The country of chocolate and medieval architecture, of equal rights and waffles is known around the world  mostly for the controversies it sometimes causes, and for a having a rather shady history in the colony. Belgium is not the first country one things of when mentioning Europe and tourism in the same sentence, but in fact Belgium has lots of great sights with which to lure in visitors, not counting its delicious desserts.

    The country if far from being a boring and stuffy headquarter for the EU, and it has a surprisingly rich and diverse heritage. The cities are intriguing, the countryside is heavenly, what more could you wish for? Here are 5 great destinations in Belgium.

    Bruges

    Bruges is probably the most popular destination in Belgium, and it was even the setting of a critically acclaimed movie. What Bruges has that many other cities don’t is architecture dating back to the 14th century. Buildings that are as old as five centuries are remarkably intact, and form a historical center that is a delight to explore. Bruges envelops you in a net of streets and canals filled with historic charm, and offers a nice selections of museums on top of it.

    Namur

    Namur, photo by zoetnet on Flickr

    Namur is the gateway to the Ardennes mountains, and all that they have to offer: forests, caves, castles, cliffs and wildlife. Namur is the capital of Wallonia, that is the French speaking part of Belgium.

    The city is large and booming, but has a wonderful little citadel with cobbled streets and cafes. Don’t miss the Archaeological museum and the Museum of Old Namurois Art, and of course the treasure of Hugo d’Oignies at the convent of the Sisters of Notre Dame.

    Brussels

    The very international Brussels, the Belgian capital, is a must-see if you travel to Belgium. Don’t dismiss it as uninteresting because of the notoriously bad weather and the swarm of European institutions that it hosts. Brussels has a knack for combining the old and the new in a way that seems pleasant, and exploring the modern European quarter is just as much fun as the many historical areas, like the Grand Place, the Laken Castle or the St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral.

    Leuven

    Leuven, photo by fvanrenterghem on Flickr

    Leuven’s population increases by a third during the academic year, but nothing less could be expected from one of the oldest university towns in Europe.

    Thanks to its hordes of students, Leuven is extremely lively, and the nightlife can easily rival with that of the capital. One of the best attractions in Leuven is the Great Beguinage, which looks much like a small town inside the city, with paved roads and winding alleys.

    Ghent

    In the Middle Ages, Ghent was one of the most powerful and thriving cities in Europe, and even today the historic heritage of the city is amazing. The whole old city center is beautifully restored, but the streets are filled mostly with young university students, who manage to create a pleasantly lively atmosphere.

     

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