Amazing chocolate, really good beer and frites, interesting sculptures – yes, it is Belgium. Beside my interest in its rich history and heritage as well as diverse architecture I have to say that Belgium is one of my favorite photography destinations in Europe. And you will see why.
On top of my list is Ghent, city in western part of Belgium, in region of Flanders.
Vibrant Ghent is well worth a weekend trip. It’s ideal for a last-minute city trip as well. Quirky Ghent offers a fascinating cultural cocktail brimming with trendy, modern urban life. Ghent is a city where people enjoy life: a chilled-out place where anything goes and a city that feels human. Its friendly, welcoming people love the good life.
Capital of Belgium, and one of the most international cities in Europe is Brussels, home of many EU institutions. Brussels is a city that never stops surprising and touching your heart. One of my favorite part of the city for making good photography is famous Grand Place in the old center.
Mont des Arts offers one of the best views of Brussels. Situated on the North-South axis that connects the lower, working-class part of the city with the upper, aristocratic part, the Mont des Arts has had quite an eventful history. The park created by Jules Vacherot at the request of Leopold II in the run-up to the Expo of 1910, disappeared under the project of René Pechère as Expo 58 drew near. The project was to include underground parking facilities. This project has the advantage of reserving a fine view of plane trees and the spire of Brussels’ City Hall.
Bruges is an open air museum.There are places that somehow manage to get under your skin, even though you don’t really know them all that well. Bruges is that kind of place. A warm and friendly place, a place made for people. A city whose history made it great, resulting in a well-deserved classification as a Unesco World Heritage site.
A true picture-postcard town, Dinant provides a stunning spectacle, especially when you look across the Meuse and lift your gaze towards the Citadelle and the onion-domed tower of the Collegiate church, all highlighted by the ribbon of houses and shops running alongside the river. For a breathtaking view, take the cable car to the Citadelle.
The town has an international reputation thanks to one of its sons: Adolphe Sax. The celebrated inventor of the saxophone, Sax was born in Dinant, and the town celebrates him with an interpetation centre in the house where he was born. Several statues in the town also pay homage to the ingenious inventor. Other museums, such as the Maison de la Pataphonie, which displays everyday objects that have been turned into musical instruments, complete Dinant’s cultural offering.
The historic city of Namur can be read like an open book by wandering through its alleyways or appreciating its architectural heritage. Testimony of the past and former residence of the Counts of Namur, is a veritable open book on the evolution of the war. The citadel is a listed Wallonia Heritage Site and offers an unobstructed view of the town. You’ll be able to admire the impressive underground passages and visit the Terra-Nova Interpretive Centre. The view and the green spaces make the fortress a place much appreciated for walks. A tourist train is available, for those interested, to guide you around the site.
The old districts form somewhat a village in the town, with a rare and particular atmosphere, in a setting full of discoveries. To walk in its old districts is to go back in time. Completely pedestrianised, the narrow streets are dotted with architectural riches such as the belfry or the Saint Aubain Cathedral. A lovely walk which makes it possible to do some shopping or during which you can take a break by having a drink.
Antwerpen is one of the biggest cities of Flanders. The old city centre is steeped in history. You will find it in ancient building-fronts on narrow streets or in the imposing Grand-Place. The Plantin-Moretus Museum is the only museum in the world to be classified as a Unesco World Heritage site. In the shadow of the Cathedral of Our Lady, the city teems with life in intimate pubs and restaurants. The banks of the Scheldt are a great place for a breath of fresh air.
Grote Markt originally was a forum or square just outside the medieval residential quarter. In 1220 Duke Henry I of Brabant (1165-1235) donated this community land to the city. The name Merckt was used for the first time in 1310.
With cultural sites on the one hand, and natural sites on the other, Liège province has a varied offer that will delight every one of you. As integral parts of Liège province, culture and heritage are expressed in numerous ways. From the Castles of Reinhardstein or Jehay, to the Abbeys of Stavelot or Val Dieu, via the museums of la Boverie or Walloon Life, you’ll be spoilt for choice. And if the choice wasn’t complicated enough, Liège province also comprises superb natural sites, such as the Gileppe Dam, the lakes of Robertville and Butgenbach, or the Botrange signal, Belgium’s highest point! So many iconic locations, and plenty more besides, to be discovered without delay!
Mechelen is a small and picturesque city that is big on charm and history, thriving with quaint shops, car-free areas and pleasant little squares. The grace of centuries-old palaces and majestic churches appeals to everyone. There are no less than 336 listed buildings and monuments, including eight gothic and baroque churches from the 14th-17th century. The Begijnhofkerk is especially unique, with its feminine art schemes and pastel colors.
Mechelen is a city for all ages. Young people can actively enjoy themselves in the Toy Museum or the Tivoli Children’s Farm, whereas the young at heart can entertain themselves at the Anker, one of the oldest operating breweries in Belgium. Students from all over the world come to learn to play church bells at Mechelen’s carillon school. Sitting outside on the terrace of a cafe sipping a local beer while listening to the bell music coming from the sky is nothing short of delightful.