Must-see attractions in Belgium

  • Officials unveil the restored exterior panels of "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb", an altar piece painted by the Van Eyck brothers in 1432, at Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent on October 12, 2016. .The restoration of the exterior panels and frames started in 2012, and constitutes the first phase of restauration which will be followed by two other phases for the interior panels and is set to last until 2020. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

    The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb


    Art enthusiasts swarm the Sint-Baafskathedraal to glimpse The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (De Aanbidding van het Lams God), a lavish representation of…

  • Museum Plantin-Moretus


    The medieval building and 1622 courtyard garden alone would be worth a visit, but it's the world's oldest printing press, priceless manuscripts and…

  • The museum of musical instruments "Old England", Brussels, Belgium

    Old England Building


    This 1899 former department store is an art nouveau showpiece with a black facade aswirl with wrought iron and arched windows. The building contains the…

  • BELGIUM - AUGUST 11: BELGIUM, BRUSSELS, The Grand Place in Brussels. (Photo by Ulrich Baumgarten via Getty Images)

    Grand Place


    Brussels’ magnificent Grand Place is one of the world’s most unforgettable urban ensembles. Oddly hidden, the enclosed cobblestone square is only revealed…

  • MIM



    Strap on a pair of headphones, then step on the automated floor panels in front of the precious instruments (including world instruments and Adolphe Sax’s…

  • Musée Horta

    Musée Horta


    The typically austere exterior doesn’t give much away, but Victor Horta’s former home (designed and built 1898–1901) is an art nouveau jewel. The…

  • St-Gilles Town Hall facade

    St-Gilles Town Hall


    One of Brussels’ overlooked architectural wonders, this splendid Napoleon III–style palace

  • Pairi Daiza


    Set on the grounds of a former Cistercian Abbey, this 65-hectare park is home to more than 5000 animals (including pandas, koalas, gorillas and lemurs)…

  • Citadelle de Namur


    Dominating the town, Namur's mighty fortress covers a whole hilltop with ramparts, tunnels and grey walls. What you see now is more 19th and 20th century…

  • Musée Hergé


    The inventive and touchingly nostalgic Hergé Museum celebrates the multitalented creator of comic-strip hero Tintin with an engaging, inventive and…

  • Cathédrale Notre Dame


    Dominating Tournai’s skyline are the five spires of its remarkable cathedral, which survived WWII bombs only for a freak 1999 tornado to compromise its…

  • Hôpital Notre-Dame à la Rose


    Founded in 1242, this is Belgium’s only medieval convent-farm-hospital complex to have survived reasonably intact. Laboriously restored, it demonstrates…

  • Memorial 1815


    Inaugurated for the 2015 bicentenary, this showpiece underground museum and visitor centre at the battlefield gives some detail on the background to…

  • Markt


    The heart of ancient Bruges, the old market square is lined with pavement cafes beneath step-gabled facades. The buildings aren't always quite as medieval…

  • In Flanders Fields Museum


    No museum gives a more balanced yet moving and user-friendly introduction to WWI history. It’s a multisensory experience combining soundscapes, videos,…

  • Grand Place


    Tournai’s gorgeous triangular main square is ringed with cafes in fine gable-fronted guildhouses merrily flying guild banners. Kids play in ‘dare-you’…

  • Woman viewing paintings (Hugo Van der Goes - St Hippolyte's Triptich) at Groeningemuseum.



    Bruges’ most celebrated art gallery boasts an astonishingly rich collection that's strong in superb Flemish Primitive and Renaissance works, depicting the…

  • Hospital of Saint John in the winter morning in Bruges, Belgium.; Shutterstock ID 384804181; Your name (First / Last): Josh Vogel; GL account no.: 56530; Netsuite department name: Online Design; Full Product or Project name including edition: Digital Content/Sights

    Museum Sint-Janshospitaal


    In the restored chapel of a 12th-century hospital building with superb timber beamwork, this museum shows various torturous-looking medical implements,…

  • Belgium, Antwerp, garden in Peter Paul Ruben's house



    This delightfully indulgent 1611 mansion was built as a home and studio for celebrated painter Pieter Paul Rubens. It was rescued from ruins in 1937 and…

  • Interiors of Notre dame d'Anvers cathedral, Anvers, Belgium



    Belgium’s finest Gothic cathedral was 169 years in the making (1352–1521). Wherever you wander in Antwerp, its gracious, 123m-high spire has a habit of…

  • BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - August 09, 2014: General view of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels, one of the most visited museums in Belgium with its large art collection.; Shutterstock ID 586734455; Your name (First / Last): Daniel Fahey; GL account no.: 65050; Netsuite department name: Online Editorial; Full Product or Project name including edition: Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts POI

    Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts


    This prestigious museum incorporates the Musée d’Art Ancien (ancient art); the Musée d’Art Moderne (modern art), with works by surrealist Paul Delvaux and…

  • Belgium, Ghent



    Flanders’ quintessential 12th-century stone castle comes complete with moat, turrets and arrow slits. It’s all the more remarkable considering that during…

  • Triumphal Arch at Parc du Cinquantenaire in the EU Quarter.

    Parc du Cinquantenaire


    Parc du Cinquantenaire was built during Léopold II's reign. It's best known for its cluster of museums – art, history, military and motor vehicles – which…

  • TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY Laurent Thomet.A picture taken on July 28, 2011 shows stuffed rhinoceros at the Brussels Royal Institute for Natural Sciences Museum. It was a daring daytime robbery at the natural science museum. The two thieves snuck into the rhino gallery and ripped a stuffed head off the wall. They carried it to a restroom, opened a window, and dropped the 30-kilo trophy two-stories down to an accomplice waiting in a van. The museum had never been robbed until the July heist, when it became the latest of a rising number of science museums in Europe targetted by thieves for rhino horns, which can fetch tens of thousands of euros on the black market.  AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)

    Institut des Sciences Naturelles


    Thought-provoking and highly interactive, this museum has far more than the usual selection of stuffed animals. But the undoubted highlight is a unique …

  • Lace making in Bruges, 2014. The intricate lace patterns in Belgium are unmatched in any other country. The lace trade rose during the early Renaissance. Emperor Charles V decreed that lace-making should be a compulsory skill for girls in convents and beguines throughout Flanders. Lace became fashionable on collars and cuffs for both sexes. Trade reached a peak in the 18th century. Lace makers are traditionally women. Hundreds of craftswomen still work in Bruges and Brussels, centres of bobbin lace, creating intricate work by hand, often using over 100 threads per bobbin. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

    Musée Mode & Dentelle


    Lace making has been one of Flanders’ finest crafts since the 16th century. While kloskant (bobbin lace) originated in Bruges, naaldkant (needlepoint lace…

  • Musée Art & Histoire


    This astonishingly rich collection ranges from ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and Meso-American masks to icons to wooden bicycles. Decide what you want to…

  • Our Lady of Sablon Church, Brussels, Belgium.

    Église Notre-Dame du Sablon


    The Sablon’s large, flamboyantly Gothic church started life as the 1304 archers’ guild chapel. A century later it had to be massively enlarged to cope…

  • TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY PHILIPPE SIUBERSKI .A figurine of cartoon character "Spirou" is seen in the "Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinee" (Belgian Comic Strip Center) on October 3, 2014 in Brussels, as it marks its 25th anniversary. The museum, one of the largest worldwide dedicated to comic strip art, marks its 25th anniversary with a series of special exhibitions and happenings. Spirou has been written and drawn since 1938 by a succession of artists, as Rob-Vel, Jije, Franquin, Yoann, Vehlmann, Schwartz and Bravo for comics publisher Dupuis. AFP PHOTO/ EMMANUEL DUNAND == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, MANDATORY CREDIT OF THE ARTIST, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION ==        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

    Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée


    This centre offers a definitive and enjoyable overview of the country’s vibrant comic-strip culture. Even if you’re not excited by the ‘ninth art’, do…

  • Verbeke Foundation

    Northwest Belgium

    Occupying a 12-hectare former industrial site, this is one of Europe's largest private contemporary-art initiatives. The indoor-outdoor interactive…

  • Flagey building from across the pond



    This marvellous 1938 ‘liner’ building originally conceived as the national radio building, is now the centre of an up-and-coming nightlife area. With its…

  • Château de Bouillon

    The Ardennes

    Slouching like a great grey dragon high on Bouillon's central rocky ridge, Belgium’s finest feudal castle-ruin harks back to AD 988, but it's especially…

  • Planetuin Meise


    Belgium’s 93-hectare national botanic garden is located in the village of Meise, 12km north of Brussels. Home to 18,000 plant species, it’s based around…

  • Collégiale Ste-Gertrude


    This 11th-century church was part of one of Europe’s foremost abbeys, founded in 648. It's 102m long with a soaring multilevel western facade topped with…

  • Bastogne War Museum

    The Ardennes

    This highly recommended modern museum takes you into the heart of WWII, with an audio guide featuring four imagined voices of civilian and military…

  • Mons Memorial Museum


    This superb museum mostly covers Mons' experience of the two world wars, though the constant sieges of this town's turbulent history are also mentioned…

  • Blégny Mine

    The Ardennes

    For one of the best industrial-experience tours you'll find anywhere, don a hard hat, jump in the cage lift and descend through a pitch-black moment into…

  • Stadhuis


    Far and away Leuven’s most iconic sight, the incredible 15th-century stadhuis is a late-Gothic architectural wedding cake flamboyantly overloaded with…

  • St-Romboutskathedraal

    Northeast Belgium

    This soaring, Gothic-vaulted cathedral features a 1723 monumental pulpit, a 1630 Van Dyck crucifixion scene in the south transept, and dozens more fine…

  • Strépy-Thieu Boat-Lift


    The world’s tallest ship lift (completed in 2002), raising or lowering gigantic ‘baths’ 73 vertical metres, is on a pharaonic scale, as was the €150…

  • Fourneau St-Michel

    The Ardennes

    Some 10km north of St-Hubert towards attractive Nassogne village, Fourneau St-Michel is a superb open-air museum featuring around 50 historic buildings…

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