Belgium tourist attractions include Grote Markt in Brussels, Atomium, Manneken Pis, Brugge old town, and a chocolate factory tour.
Grote Markt / Grand Place in Brussels is the city’s main square and core of the city, and an ideal starting place to discover the city in its entirety.
The square includes the main office for Brussels Tourism Board, which can help you, for example, in…
- planning guided tours to the city,
- finding transportation, or
- locating suitable accommodation.
Grote Markt is often called ‘the most beautiful square in the world‘.
Victor Hugo, as an example, liked the place so much, that he acquired a place to stay within it, an apartment above today’s Godiva chocolate shop, when he wrote “Les Contemplations“.
Highlights at the Grote Markt include its 14th century city hall and gilded Houses of the Estates from 16th and 17th centuries.
Among the best Belgium tourist attractions is also Atomium (www.atomium.be) monument, build for the Brussels Expo 1958.
The construct, which resembles an atom, is 102 meters (334 ft) tall, and made to resemble the atom structure of an iron crystal — magnified 165 billion times.
Atomium’s ‘electrons‘, each of which is 18 meters in diameter, are connected by elevators that you can use to move between the exhibitions that are within the spheres.
Highlights in the spheres also include the topmost one, which has panoramic views over the most beautiful parts of Brussels, and there is also a restaurant within the construct.
Manneken Pis statue, one of the most famous landmarks in Brussels, is located just a few hundred meters (720 ft) from Grote Markt.
There are many legends attached to the statue. The most popular version told to tourists is:
“A rich merchant lost his son during a visit to Brussels. The search party gathered by the merchant looked through every street and courtyard in the city, until finally finding the son urinating within a small garden. Grateful to the local population that helped find his son, the merchant had the statue build for the city.”
Many local traditions also involve the statue, mostly with Manneken Pis being dressed in different types of costumes, depending on the purpose of the celebration.
Different types of memorabilia related to the statue are among the most popular Brussels souvenirs, and you can find these products from every shop in Brussels that has anything to do with tourism.
Best Belgium tourist attractions include Brugge old town, a remainder from the city’s golden period, especially during the 14th century, when Brugge was one of the wealthiest cities in Europe.
This wealth came from Brugge’s profile as a city of merchants, and as a financier to merchants around Europe, before Venetian bankers took that role.
Brugge’s old town is one of the best preserved Medieval old town’s in Europe.
Many of its buildings are notable even on a worldwide scale, including Church of Our Lady, whose 121 m (400 ft) tall tile-tower is one of the tallest tile structures in the world.
Inside the church, you can also find Michelangelo’s famous sculpture “Madonna and Child“, which is believed to be the only Micheangelo sculpture that ended up outside of Italy during the his lifetime.
Brugge is often called “Venice of the North“, a reference to the many canals in the old town…
…and a sightseeing cruise on these canals is part of many tourists’ Brugge itinerary.
You can find these canal cruises from five locations in Brugge:
- De Meulemeester – Wollestraat,
- Gruuthuse – Nieuwstraat,
- Georges Stael – Katelujnestraat, 4
- Michielssens – Huidenvettersplein, and
- Coudenys – Rozenhoedkaai.
Finally, a chocolate factory tour in Belgium, a country known for its chocolates, is a very popular activity among tourists looking for Belgium tourist attractions.
You can find guided tours to chocolate factories in almost all of the major Belgian cities, but most who have been to these tours recommend choosing the city of Brugge for the tour.
In Brugge, one of the most popular chocolate factories that has tours available is Roose’s Chocolate World (www.chocolate-world.be).
At Roose’s Chocolate World:
- you can learn about the history of chocolate,
- learn how chocolate was made historically,
- how it is made today, and, last but not least,
- you’ll get to taste some of the factory’s products.
In Brussels, as an alternative, you can find ‘The Museum of Cacao and Chocolate’ (www.mucc.be), a museum specializing in documenting chocolate and its manufacturing. And yes, they also have chocolate available for tasting.
During your holiday in Belgium, in terms of chocolate, you should make a note to taste “praline” chocolates, made especially out of nuts and sugar syrup. Pralines have been a local “bad habit” ever since 1912.