On the 69 km long Belgian coast you can while away the time with sailing, horseback riding, rowing, sand yachting, fishing, golf and tennis. The beach promenade is closed to traffic. The beach is mostly flat and fine sand with a slow tide range and is therefore also suitable for small children. Quiet family seaside resorts include Koksijde, Sint Idesbald and Westende. Windbreaks and beach cabins are provided by hotels, rental companies and private renters.
There are numerous first class museums in Belgium. The choice ranges from the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (website: www.fine-arts-museum.be ) – one of the best equipped art galleries in Europe – to the modern Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve (website : www.museeherge.com ) dedicated to the Belgian comic book writer and illustrator Hergé, the creator of Tintin.
- Educationvv.com: Provides school and education information in Belgium covering middle school, high school and college education.
Gent/Gand (Internet: www.gent.be ) was an important center of the cloth trade in the Middle Ages and today has the most listed buildings in all of Belgium. A special landmark are the three famous Ghent towers: the tower of St. Nicholas Church, the massive belfry (like all Belgian belfry a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the tower of St. Baaf’s Cathedral. Peace and quiet can be found in the city’s three beguinages, which, like all beguinages in Flanders, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Minibel is located on the grounds of Château Beloeil (website: www.chateaudebeloeil.com ), 28 km outside Tournai. Here you can admire the Brussels City Hall, the Grand Palais, the Bell Tower of Bruges, the Coo Waterfalls, the Liége Train Station and many other Belgian sights in 1:25 format. A miniature train shuttles between the château and the amusement park.
Bruges (Internet: www.brugge.be ) is one of the most visited cities in Europe. The medieval town center was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The heart of the city is the Grote Markt. From the top of the nearby Belfry you have a wonderful panoramic view of Bruges. The town hall is considered one of the most beautiful and oldest town halls in the country. The best way to explore the city is on foot, on a city tour by horse-drawn carriage or on a romantic canal cruise.
There are a number of colorful annual celebrations in Belgium, including the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage Site of Binche Carnival (website: www.carnavaldebinche.be ) in Wallonia, Bruges’ Holy Blood Processie (website: www.holyblood.com ) in Flanders and the Ommegang (procession) in Brussels, which has been taking place for over 500 years (Internet: www.ommegang.be ).
Castles in Wallonia
Belgium has the highest density of castles per square kilometer in the world. Castles, ranging from stately homes to huge fortresses, can be found all over the country, but the most beautiful of them are in Wallonia. The most interesting sites include the imposing Lavaux-Sainte-Anne moated castle, Freyr Castle with its Renaissance gardens and Bouillon Fortress, which is the largest castle in Belgium.
Liège (Internet: www.liege.be ) is an industrial city on the Meuse (Maas) and a transport hub. Many historic buildings are reminiscent of the eventful thousand-year history. The Abbey Church of St. James and the Romanesque St. Bartholomew’s Church, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Town Hall and St. Lambert’s Square are among the city’s landmarks. Also worth seeing are the Curtius Museum (coin and porcelain collection, furniture) and the Museum of Modern Art, in which works by Corot, Monet, Picasso, Gauguin and Chagall, among others, can be seen.
Founded in Gallo-Roman times, Tournai (website: www.tournai.be ) is one of the oldest cities in the country. Like many Belgian cities, Tournai was destroyed in both world wars. However, some significant structures remained undamaged, others have been carefully restored. The main sights are the Cathedral of Notre Dame, the Bell Tower, the Museum of Fine Arts and the impressive Castle of Antoing, the oldest parts of which date back to the 5th century.
Theaters of war
Ypres (Ieper) has gone down in history as one of the main battlefields of the First World War. The battlefields ofFitdale, Ypres and the Somme can be visited. Numerous memorials and museums commemorate the battles and victims of both world wars.
Snacking on chocolate
Belgium is well known for its chocolatier art. Well-known manufacturers such as Leonadis and Neuhaus offer boxes at reasonable prices. If you like it more exclusive, you can go to the boutique of the famous chocolatier Pierre Marcolini in Brussels (Internet: www.marcolini.be ). There are chocolate museums in both Brussels (website: www.mucc.be ) and Bruges (website: www.choco-story.be ).
Royal Museums of Fine Arts
The famous Musées royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique is divided into three different areas: the Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art, and the neighboring Fin-de-Siècle Museum (website: www.fine-arts-museum.be ). Works from the last five centuries and well-known artists from art history, including Rubens and Delvaux, are on display. Right next door is the Magritte Museum (Internet: www.musee-magritte-museum.be ).