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Belgium

river-cruises
One of Europe’s smaller countries, Belgium is also one of its most underrated travel destinations. Its medieval cities are a showcase of simply stunning architecture, its military legacy covers everything from Waterloo to World War Two. Canals interlace the landscape connecting the river systems, so cruising Belgium’s waterways is the perfect way to explore.
 
To the north, Dutch-speaking Flanders is a flatland of canals and gentle countryside studded with white-washed hamlets. The region is home to the culture-rich cities of Antwerp where the Royal Fine Arts Museum displays works from the Flemish Masters, and Ghent with its iconic trio of medieval towers. Picturesque, charming and impossibly quaint, Bruges is not to be missed. 
 
To the south, French-speaking Wallonia’s waterways meander through rolling hills with castle-topped villages. The region is rich with folklore and the enchanting Ardennes is a paradise for nature lovers. This rugged landscape witnessed major battles during the two wars in the 20th century and numerous memorials, cemeteries and museums are a reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. 
 
Culture, customs and traditions abound in this richly historic country where 20th century Belgian waffles, 19th century Belgian chocolate, and Belgian frites, dating back to the 17th century, are very much part of everyday life. Yet it’s Belgian beer, which, brewed since the 12th century, is recognised by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

Things to know

  • Belgium has three official languages - Dutch, French and German
  • Every single brand of Belgian beer has its own special glass
  • There are more than 800 registered Belgian comic series with the most famous being the Smurfs and Tintin
  • With some 3,000 castles, Belgium has more castles per square mile than any other country in the world
  • The Law Courts of Brussels is the largest Court of Justice in the world
  • Brussels International Airport is the world’s largest chocolate selling point & Belgium produces over 220,000 tonnes of chocolate each year
  • The Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps is the longest and second oldest F1 Grand Prix circuit still in use 

Key Destinations

Antwerp
Antwerp

Antwerp is amongst the world’s fashion capitals, at the centre of the world’s diamond industry, and home to some impressive contemporary architecture including the striking Museum aan de Stroom. Other fascinating museums include the Red Star Line Museum, Chocolate Nation Museum and Rubenshuis, the former house and studio of the master Peter Rubens.
 
Brussels
Brussels

Capital of Flanders, Belgium and Europe, Brussels combines beautiful parks and stunning architecture with more unusual attractions like Manneken Pis, the Atomium, larger than life comic book murals on the side of buildings, and even a museum dedicated to Brussel’s comic book history. Framed by the Town Hall and opulent guildhalls in Flemish baroque-style, the UNESCO-listed Grand Place, is undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful squares. 
Floralia
Floralia, Brussels

For one month each year, Groot-Bijgaarden castle and gardens welcomes thousands of visitors to ‘Floralia’. The 14-hectare gardens are awash with the colour of over 500 varieties of spring flowers. More than a million bulbs are planted by hand in unique beds to the design of expert Maarten Bakker. Under ancient trees a carpet of tulips, lilies, violets, hyacinths, daffodils and narcissi are set against a back drop of the beautiful 12th century moated castle. 

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