Belgium as a holiday destination

By: Wendy Palmer
Belgium asa holiday destination

Belgium has a lot more going for it than some of the dreary descriptions and jokes about it would suggest.It is a low lying country, situated between France and Holland with a coastline facing England across the North Sea.

A welcoming country to visit

?One of the reasons for itsboring, unpopular image probably stems from its capital, Brussels being a dreary collection of administrative officesand its associations with E.U. bureaucracy. Another reason is Belgium’s identity crisis. It is Flemish-speaking in thenorth and French-speaking in the south and there has always been a considerableclash of cultures between the two, both competing for a definition of what isthe real Belgium.

However, if one delvesbeneath the surface of this uninspiring portrayal of Belgium, it soon becomes apparent that the country has muchto offer. For a start, it is actually packed full of absorbing history; fromboth before and after its separation from the Netherlands in 1830. Beautiful historical buildings andarchitecture abounds in nearly every city. Ghent provides a fascinating example of a medieval portand has the most number of historical buildings to see. Bruges however, is the most attractive from a scenic pointof view. It is a beautifully preserved 14th century Flemish town whose narrow cobble-streets,canals and gabled houses demand at least a day’s visit and preferably a longerstay there.

For a lively city withplenty to do, head for Antwerp which as well as being Europe’s diamond capitaland a hotbed of modern fashion, still manages to reveal its impressive pastthrough places like the house where Rubens lived and worked for thirty years.

Although much of Belgium’s countryside is flat and lacking in scenic appeal,the Ardennes region is mountainous and offers a beautiful woodedlandscape of wild crags and ravines where one of the most famous battles ofWorld War 2 was fought.

Belgium’s people are generally some of the most welcoming you will findanywhere. They are noted for their love of good food in large helpings. Theword Gourmands (meaning big cuisine) rather than Gourmets (meaningfine cuisine) describes the typical Belgium very well. Another cliché often used to describe Belgium cuisine is; French food in German sized helpings. Itis very apt!

When to visit

The warmest time of the yearis April through to September but Belgium weather is inclined to provide days of grey skiesand rain at any time.

A popular tourist attractiontakes place at the beginning of July. This is the Ommegang Pageant, aspectacular medieval festival dating back to 1359. The colorful ?procession through the streets of Brussels is followed by a flag and horse parade. Next,crossbow men surround a statue of the Virgin that the procession has escortedfrom the Sablon Church. Finally everyone settles down to enjoy an incredible fiesta of gamesand entertainment.

Getting to Belgium

The UK has several discount airlines operating flights frommany of its airports to BrusselsArticle Search,Antwerp and other cities. Visitors from other Europeancountries will usually travel by train or road. U.S. and Canadian tourists will probably need to considerflights to France or the UK rather than finding a direct flight.

Further travel tips and information about Belgium

Europe Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Europe Destinations