Belgium lies on the North Sea coast of Western Europe and is part of the Benelux states. Bordered by France to the southwest, Germany to the east, the Netherlands to the north and Luxembourg to the southeast, Belgium may not be as famous as its neighboring European countries and may not readily be a top travel destination choice, but there are many beautiful things to see and explore in this low lying country that any traveler will find worth their time.
Belgium is accessible to the nearby countries and to the rest of the world through its main airport in Brussels, serviced by many airlines that offer international and local flights to and from Belgium. One of the most well-known airline companies here is Brussels Airlines, which is also considered the national airline. Other international airline companies that fly here include Jet Airways, Air Transat and Air Canada. However, travelers that are looking for more affordable flight services go to the Brussels South Charleroi Airport instead. There are others who choose to fly in through the less popular airports found in Antwerp and Ostend. Those who are coming in from Germany, France, and the Netherlands also have the option to travel by train, which is more economical than taking international flights. Once inside Belgium, tourists can choose from an assortment of public transportation to begin exploring the lovely country. Some may opt to take the train or the tram, and some others may choose to explore their way around by bus or by any of the local car rental companies.
Belgium, officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is further divided into three federal regions, namely the north region of Dutch speaking Flanders, the southern region of the French speaking Wallonia and the Brussels Capital Region.
Aside from being the nation’s capital, Brussels is also the capital for the European Union. It is home to many a number of tourist attractions that entice travelers and guests to visit the charming city any time of the year. Among the must-visit spots here are the Atomium, considered the most popular attraction locally and originally built for the 1958 World’s Fair; the impressive archeological remains of a marvelous palace dating back to the Middle Ages found in Coudenberg; the astonishing Royal Palace in the heart of Brussels which is also open to the public; and the infamous Manneken Pis statue which depicts the humor and the spirit of Brussels. Other must see tourist spots in the Capital City are the lively cafes and beautiful boutiques found at The Royal Saint Hubert Galleries, as well as the beautiful Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula at the center of the city.
Once in the Flanders region, one of the first places any tourist must visit is Bruges. Considered to be the Venice of the north, this attractive city is most known for its canals and the atmosphere of romance. Fall in love with its medieval charm and enjoy a day of exploring the distinguished belfry, the well-known museums of Beguine and Groeningen, as well as the quaint towns of Damme and Lissewege. Antwerp, on the other hand, is the second largest city in Belgium and is well known for its impressive port, diamonds, as well as the Gothic cathedral of Our Lady. Must-visit attractions include the central station, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and the Plantin-Moretus Museum, and the renaissance charm of the city hall. You will never run out of beautiful places to visit in Flanders. Among the other attractions any visitor should see in the region are the churches and the grand castle in Ghent, Stella Artois and Anheuser-Busch in Leuven, which is considered the largest brewing company in the world, and the World War I memorials and cemeteries in Flanders Fields Country.
The charms of Wallonia, on the other hand, start with the walled town of Binche, which is best known for its colorful carnival; the stunning historic center of Mons; and the exhilarating sports activities of rock climbing and canoeing in Dinant, which is also popularly known as the place where the saxophone was invented by Adolphe Sax. Other highlights include the eclectic architectural mix of the city of Liege, the scenic natural surroundings of Namur, the immensely attractive cathedral of Tournai, and the fascinating history of the town of Verviers that dates back to medieval times.