Country Nr 65 – Belgium – sweet waffles on the hottest day

Country 65/196: Belgium
Destinations: Bruges, Antwerp, Boom (Tomorrowland), Brussels
Breathtaking Flemish architecture, medieval fairytale cities, rich history, diverse culture, spectacular music festivals, open-minded people, great beer, sweet waffles, and world-famous chocolate shops on every corner of every city. Sounds too good to be true? That’s Belgium, ladies and gentlemen.

What to do and what to see in Belgium?

As Belgium is famous for its delicious cuisine, cozy cafés, stunning architecture, countless wonderful castles, and super friendly people, you will have a great time whichever place you choose to visit. However, we decided to visit the following destinations.

Antwerp

The second-largest city in Belgium – Antwerp is known as the ‘Diamond capital of the world’, as it is the place where 60-80% of the world’s diamonds are cut and traded. It’s also famous for the second biggest port in Europe, its amazing Flemish Renaissance architecture, its very rich history, and exciting nightlife.
We didn’t spend much time in Antwerp, but we did take a walk through the historic city center and visited some of the city’s main attractions, including Grote Markt (the main town square featuring the pompous City Hall and many other elaborate buildings), Museum aan de Stroom – MAS (located on the river Scheldt and famous for its modern exterior), the Rubens House
Museum (the former home and workshop of the artist Peter Paul Rubens), the Diamond district, St. Paul’s Church, and Cathedral of Our Lady.

Antwerp Flemish architecture

Antwerp museum

Bruges

Bruges is an old, very picturesque, and extremely romantic city located in the northwestern part of Belgium. As it is famous for its many canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings, Bruges is also referred to as the Venice of the north.
The historic center of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features a lot of very well preserved medieval buildings, chocolate and waffle shops, beer pubs, great restaurants, spectacular churches, like the Church of Our Lady, The Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Saint-Salvator Cathedral, as well as other important landmarks, including the spectacular city hall, old St. John’s hospital (founded in the mid-12th century), the Belfry of Bruges (an iconic bell tower), Groeningemuseum, the Bonne-Chière windmill, and the Provincial Court. The most famous and photographed spot in the city is Roezenhoedkaai, the former salt port. It’s located five minutes away from the main square Grote Markt and it offers a postcard view of the canal, the ancient buildings, and the stunning Belfry.

Bruges waffles

Bruges old hospital

Boom (Tomorrowland)

This small town near Antwerp is famous for hosting the annual electronic dance music event called Tomorrowland. If you are into that kind of music, you should consider visiting Belgium at the end of July and adding the festival to your to-do list. Tomorrowland is one of the most notable music festivals in the world and with so many different stages, restaurants, camping areas, and other activities it’s really something special. What we love the most about Tomorrowland is the fact that they are trying to inspire the ‘People of Tomorrow to shape the future together in a peaceful and sustainable way’.

Tomorrowland recycling

Brussels

Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union. The city is known for its exquisite cuisine, rich history, diverse culture, vibrant nightlife, Belgian comics, vast green spaces, and many UNESCO World Heritage sites. The city’s main attractions include:

– Grand Place (the central square of Brussels surrounded by the Town Hall, the King’s house, some unique guildhalls, and other extravagant buildings)
– Brussels Town Hall
– Manneken Pis (an iconic bronze statue of a boy peeing). Just next to it there is a popular beer pub called Poechenellekelder, where you can enjoy a glass or two of some fine Belgian beer.
– Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert (famous shopping arcades with glass ceiling built between 1846 and 1847). There you can find lots of chocolate shops, including the amazing Mary Galerie de la Reine Store, which is one of the most popular stores in the city.
– St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral (a beautiful Roman Catholic church)
– Royal Palace of Brussels (the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians, even though they do not actually live there; it is located in front of the lovely Parc Brussels- the largest public park in the center of the city)
– Musical Instruments Museum
– Parc du Cinquantenaire (a huge city park hosting the Royal Military Museum, a mosque, many artworks, festivals, and other outdoor activities)
– European Parliament (especially if you’re into politics)
– Atomium (the iconic museum and steel sculpture forming the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal)
– Oh, and as waffles are an attraction in itself, you should get some at Los Churros & Waffle, a cute little place near the main square. You’ll love it! 😉

Brussels travel itinerary

Where to sleep?

In the Diamond capital of the world, we had the great pleasure of staying at the fabulous Hotel Franq. The hotel embodies the perfect combination of modern and traditional design and architecture. The rooms are cozy, spacious, and beautiful, and the hotel lobby looks like a stunning yet welcoming museum of modern art. They also have a great restaurant, where they serve delicious food. It was honestly one of the most romantic stays ever!

In Brussels, we were staying at the perfectly-located Hilton Grand Place Hotel in the city center. It’s located just a stone’s throw from the capital’s main square and most of the city’s main attractions. We loved the wonderful room, the food (including the tasty Belgian chocolate), and the fact that they serve water in biodegradable bottles.

Environmental issues

We were in Belgium on July 25th, which was officially the hottest day ever recorded in Belgium. On that day, the temperature at Kleine Brogel near the Dutch border rose to 40.6°C, which is the highest recorded temperature in Belgium since the beginning of measurements in 1833. On that day, we were in Antwerp and Boom, but we had to reschedule sightseeing, as it was too hot to stay outside for too long. This July, all-time temperature records have been recorded all across Europe and global warming is to blame.
The biggest environmental issues in Belgium also include air, land, and water pollution.
On the other hand, Belgium has one of Europe’s highest waste recycling rates and the country is known for its many environmental protection trends.
We loved the countless recycling spots all over the grounds of Tomorrowland, the many banners promoting recycling and sustainability, and the dozens, maybe hundreds of employees on the grounds picking up trash 24 hours a day.

Fight climate change

Found lots of LOVE in Belgium. 😉 ♥

Love in Belgium

Honeymoon rating of the visited destinations: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♡

Belgium, especially the wonderful city of Bruges is one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Take a private boat tour to explore the canals, have a picnic by the spectacular windmills, treat yourself to some tasty North Sea mussels, a traditional Stoverij, or simply some Belgian fries and beer, or take a walk through the picturesque city center, where you can admire their fabulous architecture and eat delicious chocolate on every corner. ♥

* Note: This is NOT a general rating of the country, it is merely our personal opinion of the mentioned site(s) as honeymoon destinations, based on the level of tourism development, the number and quality of romantic and adventurous activities and sites it offers, and safety. We strongly believe that every country is beautiful in its own way, they may simply be more or less honeymoon oriented/friendly.

*Are you planning a trip to Belgium? Here you can get a room with a 10% discount! 🙂

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