There are so many things to do in Belgium besides munching chocolates or mussels and guzzling beer. Belgium – or Brussels in particular – is one of the fascinating countries in Europe. The capital is rife with spectacular architecture and an enthralling history jam-packed into every alleyway and street. Despite being the administrative center of the European Union, Belgium tourist attractions make you become carefree as if you don’t need to take life too seriously.
It is truly a great country to visit and to save you a lot of time, here are the top ten Belgium tourist attractions that will make your vacation extremely enjoyable and memorable one:
- Notre Dame Du Sablon
Archer’s Guild was the first to make use of this stunning Gothic cathedral as a chapel in the 14th century. The next century saw it expanding extensively, thanks to the supposed healing powers and popularity of the statue of the Madonna there. This statue was purportedly stolen by a team of thieves made up of a wife and her husband and made away with it in a rowing boat. Although the location of the statue remains unknown till date, its story is memorialized by a full-size model inside the edifice.
- Lace in the Costume Museum
One of the major industries and part of the oldest crafts in Belgium is the art of needlepoint lace. This was a craft with Italian origins but has become one of the mainstays in Brussels. The museum displays a variety of historical outfits as well as profound information about lace outfits. The exhibitions, though always undergoing changes, are presented excellently well at all times.
- In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres
This is perhaps the best World War One museum in the world. A pretty serious claim, but anyone who visits this imposing structure will agree that it is humbling and truly fascinating.
In Flanders Fields Museum is situated in the celebrated Cloth Hall of Ypres which was in the combat zone during the Great War. What makes this museum unique is that it does not venerate warfare, but focuses on the pointlessness of war. This is achieved via actual stories, witness accounts as well as background information.
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- Belgian Comic Strip Center
Did you know that Belgium is the authentic world capital of comic books? A visit to the Belgian Comic Strip Center which is located in the heart of Brussels will reveal just how many exceptional figures for comic books were created in Belgium. The Center is housed in a building that was originally designed by Victor Horta and starts with the display of Hergé (creator of Tintin) and ends with Peyo (creator of the Smurfs).
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- Plantin-Moretus Museum, Antwerp
This museum is located at the historic center in Antwerp and the only museum in the world which also doubles as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The museum used to be the workshop and home of two printing families – Plantin and Moretus. Some of the members are friends and contemporaries of Peter Paul Rubens. What makes the Plantin-Moretus Museum so noteworthy is that it is home to the oldest existing printing presses in the world. This is where printing was literally born and became the powerhouse that it is today.
- Red Star Line Museum, Antwerp
The Red Star Line Museum focuses primarily on the events and early 19th-century emigration to the U.S.
The White Star Line conveyed emigrants from Ireland and the United Kingdom to America, the Red Star Line (a sister company) transported people from mainland Europe. Back then, Antwerp was one of its central departure cities. Millions of emigrants admittedly passed through the city of Antwerp to seek a better way of life in the New World. One of such people was Albert Einstein.
- Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels
If you are looking to have the best and the most impressive cultural experience in Belgium, then visiting this extraordinary museum will do the trick. This museum exhibits works from practically all of the great artists from Belgium. Works from Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, and Pieter Bruegel the Elder are showcased there. But that’s not all; you will also come across great artworks from contemporary painters like James Ensor, René Magritte, and Paul Delvaux.
- Bastogne War Museum
This museum focuses more on the Battle of the Bulge which occurred in the Belgian Ardennes in the Second World War. It is shaped like the five-point American star and exhibits interesting artifacts.
- Rubens House, Antwerp
This is one of the best museums in Belgium, known for its historic arts. It was the former studio and home of Peter Paul Rubens, the most celebrated 17th-century artist in Antwerp. The museum is just one street away from the main shopping center of the city, Meir.
- Musical Instruments Museum – Celebration of Sound
The art deco-style building houses a remarkable collection of musical instruments from when music was birthed to contemporaneousness. The instruments come to life via audio guides.
So, armed with these top ten Belgium tourist attractions and museums, your vacation is about to get to a whole new level.