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Brussels, home to the European Union and Nato, is not just a platform for democratic buildings. It is a multi-cultural city teeming with antique shops, quaint cafes, fantastic restaurants and art nouveau architecture. All of this is centred on the focal point of the Grand Place, one of the finest medieval city squares in Europe and described as ‘a miracle’ by the writer Victor Hugo. Key attractions in Brussels include the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula, the Mont des Arts park and the elegant Place Royale.
To see some of Belgium's best medieval architecture, head to Bruges, where you will find street after street of Flemish buildings lining sleepy canals, pretty restaurants and bars, historic monuments and some wonderful Christmas markets during the festive period. Major attractions include the Groeningemuseum, which houses a small but excellent collection of artwork, and the historic Markt, the open square in the centre of Bruges where everyone gathers.
Beyond Brussels and Bruges is Antwerp, Belgian’s second largest city. This is a trendy hub of fashion, entertainment and architectural contrasts, as well as the home of the celebrated 16th-century Flemish baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens.
The medieval core and quieter canals of Ghent are also well worth visiting, with less tourists than Bruges.
Visit the ‘Venice of the North’, a classical medieval town featuring Gothic churches, cobbled streets and peaceful canals, the perfect setting for the annual Christmas market.
Fought on the 18th June 1815, the Battle of Waterloo was one of the defining moments of European history. Visit the farmhouses of La Haye Sante and Hougoumont, where Lieutenant Colonel James MacDonnell of the Coldstream Guards famously closed the farm gates on the French troops.
If you’re a chocoholic, visit this museum which tells you the story of the cocoa bean right back to the ancient Aztecs, as well as explaining the production of cocoa. Samples of mouth-watering Belgian chocolate are also on offer.
Antwerp is the world centre for the diamond industry. This attractive town is the perfect place to buy an engagement or wedding ring, or even just a birthday present.
The textile industry in Ghent goes way back and the town is littered with lace shops selling items such as table cloths. Look out for the handmade products which are of a higher quality to the machine-made mass-produced souvenirs.
See Belgium come alive in this image and video gallery, showing off some of the best areas that you can visit and explore.
Discover the temperatures and rainfall you can expect when visiting the main areas of Belgium, along with the best time to travel.
Find out more about what you can expect from travelling in Europe – from internal flights to accommodation standards and local transport.
Learn more about the airlines we use to fly to Europe, chosen for reliability and good service; as well as any available upgrade facilities.
Before travelling to Europe, please read more about the entry requirements for each country, as well as any general health advice.
Get to know our expert Europe tour consultants, their personal recommendations and favourite hotels around the world.