This is the first post in a short series that will highlight some of the best cities and sights in Northern Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia!
Do you like beer, waffles and chocolate? If the answer is yes then you should consider a visit to Belgium! Belgium is a small European country with a population of 1.1 million. If you are travelling there, it is useful to know that the main languages are Dutch and French and the currency is the Euro.
The main city in Belgium is Brussels, which is the capital of the European Union (EU) and the home of NATO. In the Old City, you should definitely visit the Grand Palace which has one of the most impressive squares in Europe. Brussels is home to old guild houses and galleries, in addition to more than 1,800 restaurants. Belgian beer is world renowned and dates back to the middle ages – there are more than 125 breweries and 350 local varieties of beer. Some local favourites include “kriek” which is a cherry flavoured reddish beer, and “gueuze” which is a foamy slightly sour beer. Although I wouldn’t consider myself much of a beer drinker I just had to try a few of these when I was visiting Belgium – including the most amazing cherry beer (yum)!!
Bruges is a smaller port town, known as the “Venice of the North” because of the network of canals. When visiting Bruges you definitely need to take one of the small canal boats which provide a beautiful and relaxing way to take in the city. A short walking tour can allow you to visit a large marketplace, the medieval 270-foot Belfry, ancient Guild Halls and the Basilica of the Holy Blood. The beautiful architecture, romantic canals, and quaint cafes make it the perfect place to unwind and appreciate the beauty of this city – with a beer in one hand and a waffle in the other!
Ghent is a medieval city with several impressive sights, including a 14th century Belfry, St. Michael’s bridge and St. Bavo’s Cathedral. This cathedral is home of the famous 15th century artwork called “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb”. Another thing you cannot miss on a visit to Ghent is a stop at Max’s Café, which is famous for its Belgian Waffles which it has been serving since 1839. Did you know that there are actually three different varieties of Belgian waffles? I know, me neither! There is “Liege” (most common), “Brussels” (bigger, rectangular, with toppings), and “Galettes” (thinner, softer, for breakfast) – if you have time I suggest trying all three! 😊
Overall, Belgium definitely was one of those places that I fell in love with after visiting. The medieval architecture, quaint cobblestone streets and yes the amazing food and drink, left their mark. I would definitely recommend Belgium be on your list of places to visit and be sure to bring back some chocolates for your friends and family – or just eat them all on the airplane ride home!
See the World, Make it Better.
~ Earthly Travellers