One of Europe's great travel destinations, Belgium is known for its art and culture, historic medieval cities, cathedrals and castles, beaches, divine chocolates, colourful beers, gourmet foods and friendly people. Travel in Belgium is easy and cheap. Everything is packed into a small area, and it offers fascinating landmarks and tourist destinations to the visitors.
Nominated by many as "Europe's most eccentric country", quirky Belgium only became a country in 1830, which means that unlike the other European countries, it's still discovering itself. Its clashes — such as the contention between the French-speaking south and the Flemish-speaking north — are charged.
Dominated for centuries by forever-changing and various European powers, Belgium holds one of the richest art histories in all of Europe. From Art Nouveau jewels, to the Gothic masterpieces, to the passionate Flemish Primitives, to the evocative boldness of surrealism, all are spectacularly displayed in cities and towns of Belgium.
Belgium tourist destinations are plentiful. Brussels, the capital of Belgium and also the capital of the European Union (EU) is a city that not everyone loves on first sight but given time, eventually fall in love with. If you are visiting Belgium around Christmas time, Brussels Christmas Markets are very popular. Antwerp is a city of attitude, not to mention a major center for flamboyant fashionistas and rollicking nightclubs. Gorgeous Bruges is Belgium's main tourist draw with its medieval allure. In the south of the country you'll find the wooded Ardennes, full of peaceful stone villages hidden in tranquil river valleys. It's far from the art cities of the north, but for a family holiday, it's ideal.
Belgians themselves are known to have a feel for the pleasures in life — they produce some of the best beer in the world, certainly some of the best chocolate, and they appreciate fine food. Belgium also leads the world in moral freedoms. Euthanasia was made legal recently, and gays and lesbians are granted equal rights. Nightlife in Belgium is colorful and has something to offer for everyone.
If you only have a short time to visit Belgium, start in Brussels at The Grand Palace. This is surely one of the world's truly spectacular and impressive squares. From there, head to the Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts. The Old England Building is an art nouveaux gem, as is the Horta Museum. One of the most popular drinking establishments and a nightlife hotspot is the Falstaff. You should also visit the port city of Antwerp. Known for its wealth in the 16th century, the residences of these fabulously rich merchants are preserved all over the city, although Antwerp suffered a lot of damage by V-bombs during World War Two. Ghent, also interesting, was at one time a medieval city rivaling Paris, and today, this small city is known to be one of the most happening towns in the country. Above all, Bruges should not be missed. With its medieval architecture, it's one of those cities that makes you feel as if you've stepped out of your own century and found yourself five hundred years in the past.