Belgium, the most beautiful historic cities not to be missed

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
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wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Belgium is a wonderful destination to explore! Don't be fooled by its relatively small size the country offers many more things to do and see per square mile compared to most other places on earth. Besides the big cities of Brussels and Bruges, Belgium is home to a myriad of quaint and historic small towns that are able to satisfy the tastes of all visitors.

One of its characteristics, much appreciated by tourists and travelers, is that the country is relatively easy to turn e English is widely spoken. Numerous cultural and historical sites are hidden in it.



We have chosen to list ten historic cities in Belgium which boast beautiful medieval, gothic or more recent structures that are absolutely worth a visit.

The most beautiful historic cities in Belgium

Blankenberge

It is a picturesque coastal town, located in the province of West Flanders, and a popular holiday resort on the North Sea. The beach boasts a long pier built in 1933, which adds more charm to the sea. While the rather small but cozy old town provides excellent restaurants serving delicious fresh seafood.

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Tournai

The oldest city in Belgium it has experienced tumultuous historical events, ups and downs, however, it has always played an important role in the cultural and political life of Belgium. In fact it is considered one of the most important cities in the country as for the architectural heritage, which surprises and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Kortrijk (Courtrai)

The city is proud of its own medieval architecture, incredibly well preserved. There are numerous civil buildings and churches, which have been recognized and protected by UNESCO. A large variety of museums allows you to explore Belgian art and get an overview of its history.



Trova un hotel a Kortrijk

Mechelen (Malines)

 

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It is one of the most important cities in Belgium, famous for its art and architecture. During the Renaissance it was a center of attraction for painters and composers. Today, visitors can find original handmade products, such as upholstery, leather products, wood carvings, furniture and sculptures.

Mechelen is home to a number of impressive churches, the St. Rumbold's Cathedral and a medieval market square that is amazing at any time of the year (especially at Christmas).

The city is quite famous for its breweries and a trip to the “Het Anker” brewery is a must on any city trip.

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Bruges

Bruges, Belgium - Photo by Istock

Located 100 km west of Brussels, the ancient Flemish city of Bruges is the most important center of West Flanders, in the north-west of the country.

Bruges is the most romantic city in Belgium. Often referred to as the Venice of the North, this beautiful medieval city boasts canals that allow visitors to discover the city via a romantic boat trip.


Its historic center is a UNESCO heritage site. Do not miss the central square called Market. It is the beating heart of Bruges with many small shops and restaurants to visit. Here is also the Belfry of Belfort from the thirteenth century, 83 m high.


Among the many architectural wonders Bruges boasts the town hall of the fourteenth century Church of the Madonnawhich is one of the tallest brick buildings in the world! And then brick houses, bell towers, old bridges and buildings overlooking the canals.

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Leuven (Leuven)

Leuven in Belgium –

About thirty kilometers from Brussels, this pleasant Belgian town is home to the oldest Catholic university, founded in 1425, as well as one of the largest university-related hospitals in Europe.

At its center is located library, founded in 1636 and after being heavily affected by the two world wars, it has now been restored to its neo-Renaissance style.

The city is proud of its many architectural buildings, as well as its youthful spirit, given the large number of students who come to study here from all over the world. Going hand in hand with student life, the beer Stella Artois was born and is still produced in Leuven.

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Ghent

Image of Ghent, Belgium during twilight blue hour.

Capital of East Flanders, e the third most populated city after Antwerp and Brussels, Ghent has a famous university and a port which made it an important economic center for centuries.


La città it is an open-air museum and boasts a rich medieval architecture, churches, castles, museums, restaurants. In addition, the city is animated by important cultural events, demonstrations and festivals.

  • Discover the city of Ghent ...
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Dinant

Dinat in Belgium -

Dinant has some of the most picturesque buildings in Belgium, many of which overlook the River Meuse. The city is not only proud of its magnificent architecture, but also of its beautiful landscapes. Dinant is built against the backdrop of steep rock faces.


The most precious monuments are there Citadel of Dinant, reachable by cable car, or via the 408 steps leading to the fortification, and his own Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Dinant is the hometown of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone in the early 1840s. There is also a museum dedicated to him.

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Durbuy

Durbuy is a fairytale town in eastern Belgium. Often referred to as the smallest city in the world, Durbuy is home to narrow cobbled streets lined with XNUMXth-century stone houses, which create a timeless atmosphere and beautiful green gardens that make this city so picturesque.

The old town is full of charm and is the perfect place for a coffee while strolling through Topiary Park which features plants modeled in the shape of people and animals, some of which are over 100 years old.

In town you might visit a XNUMXth century castle and also go kayaking on the Ourthe River that flows along its edge. Surrounded by the Ardennes mountain range, you can see the entire landscape of Durbuy by climbing to the top of the Homalius Rock, a formation that is more than 300 million years old.

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Antwerp

Antwerp in Belgium - Photo from Istock

 

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Belgium, Antwerp presents authentic architecture with different styles, neo-renaissance buildings, art nouveau, medieval streets and gothic churches, which represent the attention to detail very well.

The city boasts a magnificent port, which is one of the largest in the world. Once here, be sure to visit the main boulevard Cogels Osylei Saint Paul church, the beautiful Grote Markt and Cathedral of Our Lady.

The city center is literally filled with trendy bars, craft breweries and delicious eateries where you can sample local seafood dishes. Furthermore, the city remains aalso excellent destination for shopping.

  • Discover the best tours in Antwerp
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Brussels

Floral carpet on the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium - By Wouter Hagens (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Central Europe boasts a plethora of landmarks. The Grand Place, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is the most recognizable feature in the capital.
  • Find out what to see in Brussels ...

Il Brussels Museum, the Town Hall and the municipal buildings that surround the square, allow you to admire the impeccable details of the Gothic architecture. The capital also offers various cultural events throughout the year!

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  • Where to sleep in Brussels: the best neighborhoods

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