Beer, chocolates and moules-frites are some of the first things that come to mind when one speaks of Belgium. The sovereign state of Western Europe is not only the founding member of the European Union but is also headquarters to several major global firms like NATO. Belgium is divided into three portions linguistically - Flanders (Dutch-speaking north), Wallonia (French-speaking south) and the capital Brussels (mix of both).
Kick-start your vacation by heading over the capital - Brussels. Some notable highlights in this metropolis is Manneken Pis - exhibits a naked little boy urinating into a fountain basin, 102-meter-high steel and aluminium structure - Atomium, tour all of Europe by visiting Mini Europe and so forth. Chocolates are a big deal in Belgium, particularly in Brussels. Chocoholics will love visiting the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate and enlightening oneself about the history of chocolates as well as witnessing how mouth-watering pralines (luxurious Belgian chocolates) are made via traditional means. One can even head over to the Belgian Master Chocolate-Makers to learn about the work of competent professionals who showcase their exemplary chocolate craftsmanship. Chocolate enthusiasts can take part in a workshop and get trained as well as gorge delicious and creamy hot chocolate.
Comic lovers will be pleased to learn that Belgium is the country that gave birth to two world-famous phenomenons - Tintin and Smurfs. One can learn more about the history of comics by taking a trip to the Belgian Comics Strip Center in Brussels. In Belgium, If you're walking down a cobbled street with canals and medieval buildings on either side, then you're probably in Bruges. Some of the remarkable attractions in the capital of West Flanders is the magnificent Belfry & Halle, which is the center of attraction in the main plaza in Bruges. The well-preserved medieval building gives visitors a chance to glimpse of the Middle-Ages. Climb aboard the 366 steps to enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views provided. Drop by the Basilica of the Holy Blood church and marvel the unique mesh of Romanesque and late Gothic architecture.
When in Ghent, be sure to visit the Cathedral of Saint Bravo. With it's high Gothic choir and Romanesque crypt exhibits finest religious architecture in Belgium and is renowned to be one of the best tourist spots in Ghent. History aficionados will love visiting the imposing and impressive Gravensteen fort, one of the best representations of a moated fortress, in Ghent. Run up the stairs to enjoy magnificent shots of the town. While visiting Antwerp, do stop over at the Grand Place. Here you will find several guild houses with their characteristic steeple-roofed shape. Drop by at the 16th century Town Hall and admire the interiors, packed with a collection of paintings that showcase Antwerp's history. In Leuven, pay a visit to the majestic St. Peter's Church, housed on the town's main square. Representing a classic Brabant Gothic style, the interiors of the church is home to an array of Flemish paintings that are 'must-see'.
Folks who love learning about history should visit the town of Ypres and enlighten themselves about Belgium's role in World War I, especially about the Battlefields of Flanders. Notable highlights around the area are the Tyne Cot Cemetery (British) and Langemark's German War Cemetery. Head over to Waterloo in Belgium and revisit the place where Napoleon was defeated in the historical battle. An artificial hill has been set up with a memorial lion sculpture sitting atop the summit to celebrate the significant day when Napoleon's army was overcome.
When it comes to shopping, be sure to purchase delicious Belgian chocolates. Creamy Pralines at Neuhaus Chocolate Outlet in Brussels are an absolute must. Don't forget to look-out for laces in Bruges or jewellery and designer fashion wear in Antwerp. Pop-culture enthusiasts can procure Belgian Comic books particularly related to Adventures of Tin Tin and Smurfs in Brussels.
While holidaying in Belgium, it would be a shame to not dig into the mouth-watering Belgian cuisine. Be sure to gorge into the delicious Moules-frites, crispy French Fry or the appetizing Belgian Waffles. Ask for Abbey beers or the alcoholic beverage Jenever in the array of pubs and clubs spruced around the country.
Belgium is packed with abundant stay options. The millionaires seeking the best luxury hotels and private apartments will find plenty. At the same time, budget tourists looking out for modest and cheap accommodations will find a plethora of choices as well.
Belgium experiences temperate climate. The best to visit the country would be between March and May and September and October, when the temperatures are moderately pleasant.