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BELGIUM

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Trip Experience

Watch travelers immerse themselves in the culture of Amsterdam, from tasting local beers to visiting the Kinderdijk windmills.

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12 DAYS FROM $2,795 • $ 233 / DAY
River Cruise

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Watch travelers visit Cochem Castle and sample wines during a vineyard tour in Bernkastel, Germany.

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16 DAYS FROM $3,695 • $ 231 / DAY
River Cruise

Romance of the Rhine & Mosel

91% Traveler Excellence Rating
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Days in Belgium
2

3 NIGHTS FROM FROM $745

PRE-TRIP EXTENSION

Brussels & Bruges, Belgium

DAYS IN BELGIUM
4

Explore Antwerp, home to revered painter Paul Peter Rubens, and witness his bold pieces firsthand at the elegant Cathedral of Our Lady
Visit a family-owned chocolate factory in Brussels and watch a real-time demonstration of how Belgian chocolate is made
Visit a lace store in Bruges and find out how Belgium gained a reputation for gorgeous antique clothing items and complex tapestries

Trip Extension: Bruges

Watch travelers take a canal tour of Bruges and visit a local lacemaker on their optional extension.

04:23 | 7132 views
0

3 NIGHTS FROM FROM $795

PRE-TRIP EXTENSION

Bruges, Belgium

DAYS IN BELGIUM
4

Set off on a walking tour to the historic Church of Our Lady and the bustling Market Square, home to the massive Belfry of Bruges
Pay an optional visit to Flanders Field where you can explore several moving exhibits that commemorate World War I and those lost during it

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Find the Adventure That’s Right for You

Our Activity Level rating system ranks adventures on a scale of 1 to 5 to help you determine if a trip is right for you. See the descriptions below for more information about the physical requirements associated with each rating.

Activity Level 1:

1 2 3 4 5

Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 25 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 1-2 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last at least 1-2 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 2:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Easy

Travelers should be able to climb 40 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 2-3 miles over some uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for at least 2-3 hours at a time. Altitude can range from zero to 5,000 feet.

Activity Level 3:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderate

Travelers should be able to climb 60 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 3 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 3 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 5,000 to 7,000 feet.

Activity Level 4:

1 2 3 4 5

Moderately Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 80 stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 4 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 7,000 to 9,000 feet.

Activity Level 5:

1 2 3 4 5

Strenuous

Travelers should be able to climb 100 or more stairs consecutively, plus walk at least 8 miles over some steep slopes and loose or uneven surfaces without difficulty. Walks typically last for 4 or more hours at a time. Altitude can range from 10,000 feet or more.

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Watch this film to discover more about Belgium

Brussels and Belgium

One of our favorite travel experts is Rudy Maxa, star of his own Emmy Award-winning series on public television. With his conversational insights and wry wit, watching Rudy's films feels like you're exploring alongside a good friend. We hope you enjoy this episode as part of the independent films we’ve curated about the people and places that interest you.

Produced by Small World Productions

26:44 |   7872 views   
8

Belgium: Month-by-Month

There are pros and cons to visiting a destination during any time of the year. Find out what you can expect during your ideal travel time, from weather and climate, to holidays, festivals, and more.

Belgium in March-May

Spring in Belgium brings mild and pleasant weather, typically ranging from 50 to 60 degrees during the day. The North Sea and Atlantic Ocean make for a cool and pleasant breeze, especially near the coast. This is widely considered to be the best time to visit Belgium, between the temperate weather and the fact that tourist season isn’t yet in full swing.

Outdoor destinations and tours are great this time of year, such as the historical monuments at Flanders Field or the many castle walk-throughs in rural Wallonia. This is blooming season, bringing to life vibrant Dutch Hyacinths, Rosy Periwinkles, and wild strawberry plants.

Holidays & Events

  • Feb-March: Carnival season begins
  • March- April: Easter celebrations

Watch this film to discover more about Belgium

How to Make Belgian Moules Marinieres

Steaming up a fresh batch of mussels marinieres is easier than it looks—let this independent film be your guide.

07:41 | 271 views
2

Belgium in June-August

While temperatures are still pleasant and fairly cool in June (averaging from 48 to 66 degrees), things start to heat up by August, during which temperatures can reach the mid-70s. This means that travelers can enjoy the warm weather without having to worry about overheating.

Tourism peaks during these months, which makes popular destinations like Bruges busy. However, with this comes the opportunity for travelers to meet like-minded people from all different walks of life. Consider heading to Antwerp or Brussels during the summer months, as these cities experience peak traffic at other times of the year. Summer is also the best time to head out to the coast to destinations like Ostend and DeHann, where you can enjoy sandy, unspoiled beaches.

Holidays & Events

  • Early June: Re-enactments of the Battle of Waterloo (the battle during which Napoleon was defeated by armies of the Seventh Coalition)
  • Early July: Ommegang at Grand Place in Brussels (a historic parade with over 1,00 participants originally held to honor the coming of Charles V)
  • Mid-August: Brussels Flower Carpet (A bi-annual display of flowers arranged into a 75m by 24m carpet based on a rotating theme)

Watch this film to discover more about Belgium

How to Make Belgian Moules Marinieres

Steaming up a fresh batch of mussels marinieres is easier than it looks—let this independent film be your guide.

07:41 | 271 views
2

Belgium in September-October

The early fall weather bears resemblance to springtime, with temperatures generally hovering between 50 and 60 degrees. Tourism is more active in business metropolises such as Brussels and Antwerp, but this is a great time to check out ultra-popular destinations like Bruges that see peak traffic during the summer.

While Belgium isn’t necessarily known for its foliage, some brilliant fall colors can be seen in the forests of the Ardennes. This hilly towns of this region are known for their hearty game-based cuisine including venison, wild boar, and one-of-a-kind paté. There’s perhaps no better place in Belgium to find a filling meal as temperatures begin to drop.

Holidays & Events

  • October: Film Fest Gent (an international film contest in Flanders featuring 100 feature and 30 short films each year)

Watch this film to discover more about Belgium

How to Make Belgian Moules Marinieres

Steaming up a fresh batch of mussels marinieres is easier than it looks—let this independent film be your guide.

07:41 | 271 views
2

Belgium in November-December

As the holiday season nears, the weather in Belgium cools down significantly without reaching freezing temperatures during daylight (an average high of 40-50 degrees). The chilly-yet-mild climate makes Belgium a comfortable and charming place to start the winter. Bigger cities experience a significant dip in tourism and smaller cities can become very quiet.

Winter is the best time to enjoy all of the hearty edible delights that Belgium has to offer. Whether you’re in the mood to devour a plate of Brussels' famed chocolate and powdered sugar covered waffles, or you crave something more savory like jumbo mussels in a wine brine with frites (twice-fried French fries), you’ll be in good company.

Holidays & Events

  • Late November-December: Christmas Markets (Marketplaces pop up for shopping and entertainment, the largest of which is in Brussels)

Watch this film to discover more about Belgium

How to Make Belgian Moules Marinieres

Steaming up a fresh batch of mussels marinieres is easier than it looks—let this independent film be your guide.

07:41 | 271 views
2

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Belgium Interactive Map

Click on map markers below to view information about top Belgium experiences

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*Destinations shown on this map are approximations of exact locations

Bruges

Popularized to the American audience by Martin McDonagh’s critically acclaimed 2008 film In Bruges, this city is the top destination in Belgium for world travelers for good reason. Bruges stands apart due to its stunning and particular architecture. Originally a hub of commercialism and culture in medieval Europe, it maintains these roots in the form of beautifully preserved Gothic structures that pepper the city’s historic center. Another way to view some of this architecture is from the famed Canals of Bruges which are adorned with seemingly endless steeples and bridges. Exploring the canals by boat is a popular activity, and can lead voyagers to otherwise inaccessible nooks. Once back on land, pass the towering Belfry while perusing the Central Market Place, and you may just forget that you’re not living in a fairy tale.

There are three words that should be on the mind and lips of any individual visiting Bruges: chocola, chocolat, chocolate. It’s difficult to turn a corner without spotting a chocolatier with a window display that does everything in its power to lure you in. However, only five of these shops make their sweet treats in-house. The most famous of these are the quaint and adorable Dumon Chocolatier and The Chocolate Line, which has a mix of traditional favorites and new-aged experiments.

Don’t forget to check out the Groeninge Museum for iconic Flemish paintings, the Dijver Mansions for a stunning ensemble of 15th century buildings, or Minnewater Lake (meaning “lake of love”) for some natural beauty.

Experience Bruges with us on:

Flanders Fields

Flanders Fields are situated in the city of Ypres, the historic center of Belgium. Ypres was originally an important textile manufacturer in the middle ages, but the city was essentially leveled during World War I as it sat on the frontlines. To the shock of the world, Ypres didn’t let the violence and destruction diminish its defining characteristics as a town built in the middle ages. The city was rebuilt to represent the relics lost, and now exists as a moving, one-of-a-kind mixture of Gothic architecture and war commemoration.

Flanders Fields and the many exhibits associated are quintessential World War I sites due to their accessible approach to conveying the facts, but also their portrayal of the emotions associated with this dark period in history. Some of the exhibits engage the visitor in the wartime experience, such as the preserved German Bayernwald trench system or the immersive “In Flanders” multimedia exhibit. Others pay tribute to the 600,000 lost during the brutal battles from 1914 to 1918, such as the Belgian Military Cemetery or ComingWorldRememberMe, an exhibit featuring 600,000 clay sculptures in Palingbeek Park. These museums and monuments are crucial spots for travelers to visit who wish to fully realize the resilient force that is the Belgian people.

Explore Flanders Fields with us on:

Antwerp

Yes, it has cobbled streets and iconic medieval structures. Yes, it has amazing beer and every flavor of chocolate you could ever desire. Yes, its surface appearance is quaint, charming, and enchanting. So what is it that sets Belgium’s second largest city, Antwerp, apart from other European travel destinations? Perhaps the fact that it rests comfortably and confidently on the cutting-edge of cool.

Antwerp draws the weirdest and most wonderful personalities from all over Belgium, and consequently, the rest of the world. It was home to robust 17th century painter Peter Paul Rubens and continues to be the go-to spot for art appreciation. The M HKA is one of the world’s leading contemporary art museums. With exhibits primarily from the 1970s, it’s famed for its goading and controversial showings. Jewelry lives beneath the umbrella of the city’s appreciation for the finer things as well, evident to anyone who visits the Diamond Square Mile. This is regarded as the diamond hub of the world where the most passionate jewelers go to experiment with innovative designs.

Experience Antwerp with us on:

Brussels Grand Place

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is not easy to pin down. This may be a result of the mix of cultural influences that make up the history of the officially bilingual city. While French is primarily spoken, the switch from Dutch didn’t occur until the late 1800s. English, German, and several other languages are spoken in this center of international politics that is home to a major UNESCO heritage site.

This site is Grand Place, a breathtaking architectural marvel. UNESCO sums up the essence of Belgium in their explanation for giving it heritage status, calling it “an outstanding example of the eclectic and highly successful blending of architectural and artistic styles that characterizes the culture and society of this region.” Tucked away down unassuming alleys, Grand Place Square is cobbled and surrounded by some of the most magnificent and intricate 15th century structures in the country. At the center of it all is City Hall, with a high-reaching belfry that stands proudly at 43 feet tall.

Experience Brussels Grand Place with us on:

Featured Reading

Immerse yourself in Belgium with this selection of articles, recipes, and more

ARTICLE

Learn how to make Belgian-style mussels with this recipe.

Recipe: Belgian Moules Marinieres

How to Make Belgian Moules Marinieres

Steaming up a fresh batch of mussels marinieres is easier than it looks—let this independent film be your guide.

Courtesy of Epicurious
07:41 | 271 views
2

Courtesy of Epicurious

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons half and half
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads
  • 1 cup clam juice
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded, and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 8 pounds mussels, scrubbed and de-bearded
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chives, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Melt the butter in a large pot, then add the garlic. Sauté until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine, half and half, and saffron; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the clam juice, scallions, tomato, and lemon juice, scallions, tomato, and lemon juice; simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the mussels, cover, and stream until they are open, about 5-7 minutes. Shake the pot, holding down the lid with a kitchen towel, to redistribute the mussels. Discard any mussels that do not open. Divide the mussels into eight bowls; distribute the broth equally among the bowls, and top each with fresh chives.

Focus on: Cleaning Mussels

Hold the mussel under cold running water. Use a brush with stiff bristles to thoroughly scrub the mussel and remove grit, sand, and mud from the shell's exterior. Mussels—especially non-farmed ones—often have a dark, shaggy beard extending from each shell. Remove them for a neater appearance in the finished dish. After scrubbing a mussel, pull the beard away from the shell until taut, and then pull the beard down sharply toward the dark hinge. It will snap away easily. Removing its beard will kill the mussel, so perform this step just before cooking. 

Total Time: 25

Servings: 8

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