Updated 2016

Lumped together with its other flat neighbors, The Netherlands and Luxembourg, Belgium is sometimes an overlooked country for people traveling throughout Europe. Yes it is flat and yes it is small and yes half the country speaks French and half the country speaks Dutch, but that doesn’t mean you should miss out on experiencing Belgian culture.

What to do

A trip through the capital, Brussels, will reveal a modern city that is home to both international diplomats and the European Union. It will also show unique architecture dating back a couple years to a couple of centuries. It will allow you to feast on some of the finest chocolate in the world. It will give you the opportunity to see a highly beloved statue of a boy pissing. How couldn’t you love a country that loves its little squirting children?

Antwerp is another historic city that many say far outstrips Brussels for most tourists who’ve visited both. The world’s diamond industry is based in the city, but it also has a much higher ratio of gorgeous old architecture and attractions to office blocks than Brussels as well.

The perfectly preserved medieval city of Bruges is often jammed with tourists, but it’s worth a day trip, or even better, an overnight trip if you have the time. There’s a campground just out of town that has cabins too. Check out the wrought iron dragons that support the park benches in the circular green space just outside the medieval wall.

Read: Westvleteren: A Beer Journey.

Getting there

Flying to Belgium usually means flying to Brussels. The large airport there has incoming flights from all over the world, but better deals can often be found by flying into Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (code: AMS) which is only a couple hours away by train. You can also search the international airfares engine for flights to other cities in the country. Belgium is a great country to rent bicycles in and follow the paths between towns, seeing the countryside at a slower pace.

Where to stay

There are loads of hotels in Belgium and no shortage of hostels either. Brussels is so business-oriented that prices can be very high during certain times of the year, and the same to a lesser degree in Antwerp. Bruges can be surprisingly affordable because most of the visitors are day-trippers.