Other Places to Visit in Belgium
Belgium has been rejuvenated in recent times and is becoming one of the most rapidly expanding countries to inspire the tourist industry. Previously regarded as stiff and dull due to its status as the political centre of Europe together with the grim reality of industry, Belgium has been shaken up and reinvented itself as a hotbed for culture, passion and beauty.
Belgium’s obvious attractions are the bigger city’s such as Bruges, Antwerp and the capital Brussels, though smaller towns and cities have as much to offer and are made all the better for the friendliness and warmth of the locals – not to mention sumptuous home cooking. Belgium is predominantly low lying land and therefore easy to navigate by car or public transport. The countries most stunning scenery however is found in the Ardennes that fills the south and part of the east. One such place to visit in this part of the country is Dinant, tucked in amongst the mountains and the River Meuse, it offers some remarkable scenery and is steeped in history. The fortified walls of the imposing citadel dominate the cityscape and provide stunning views across the city.
Another attractive place in the Wallonia region of the Ardennes is the beautiful town of Spa, which, given its name is unsurprisingly famed for its hot water springs and fresh water fountains. Situated near Liege, Spa is mostly noted for hosting the Belgian Grand Prix and is the birthplace of Agatha Christie’s fictional detective, Hercules Poirot. Close by is the peaceful city of Durbuy, once a major centre for commerce and industry is now regarded as the smallest city in the world. Part of its medieval charm is the fairytale style castle and the natural beauty of surrounding mountains, steep valleys and dense green forests.
One of the most visited towns in the Ardennes is Bouillon, situated in the hook of the Semois River deep within the lush forests. Tourists are attracted by its history and stunning beauty, intrigued by the medieval castle of Godefroid that dominates the hillsides and was built by Godfry of Bouillon, a wealthy landowner that led European Christians to fight against Muslims in the first Crusades of 1096.
Vying for attention is pretty Tournai. Situated on the River Scheldt it is the oldest city in Belgium, reflected in the charming blend of Romanesque and gothic architecture. Bastogne is also blessed with stunning views of the surrounding countryside and though it is a pleasant drive much of the town was devastated in the World War II. However, the dominating gothic structure of St Peter’s Church is worth investigating.