Belgium is one of the most visited countries in Europe. This is largely due to the beautiful cities like Brussels, and the capital city Bruges. Some of the best landmarks in Belgium are cathedrals, as there are many historical buildings with significant religious importance dotted around the country.
Additionally, museums preserve the artifacts surrounding world wars and other major past events. The deep history of the country contributes to many fun facts about Belgium.
Best Landmark in Belgium
Grand Place, or Grote Markt, is a plaza in central Brussels. It is the most famous landmark in Belgium because there is a variety of attractions within the same primitive, therefore piquing everyone’s interest.
Arguably the best landmark here is the Town Hall, although there are several buildings with unique architecture. The buildings date back as early as the 12th century and have endured several historical events since.
Other famous places in Belgium which are found in Grand Place include the Bread House Building and the City Museum. Surrounding the Grand Place, there are many boutique shops where you can discover and shop for some delicious Belgian chocolates.
In the winter, there are Christmas Markets, whereas in the warmer months there are Summer Festivals. Plenty of activities happening regardless which season you are visiting.
Best Landmarks In Belgium, Brussels
St Michael and St Gudula
St Michael and St Gudula is a Roman Catholic Cathedral built in the 11th century. It’s one of the most beautiful landmarks in Belgium due to its Gothic style.
There are two monumental towers complete with spires, stained glass windows, and several sculptures of apostles and other prominent figures.
Whether you are religious or not, there are several scenic sites on the grounds that you can take pictures of. Strolling around and exploring the interior makes for a relaxing day.
The Atomium is a historical landmark in Belgium. It is a culmination of things: an art center, cultural symbol, observation point, and restaurant. The landmark itself is a representation of an iron crystal. It is made up of ‘atoms’ which are demonstrated by the spheres and held together by ‘bonds.’
Originally, it was constructed for Expo 58, a world fair held in Brussels where many UN members met. Nowadays, you can marvel at the structure, go up to the observation deck, or do fine dining at the restaurant.
The Town Hall is one of the most famous and important attractions in the city, acknowledged worldwide. It is easily found in Grand Place, hence you can visit multiple Belgian landmarks at once.
It is a monumental building with classic architectural characteristics typical of a gothic style, making it simple to spot. The Town Hall is significant because it is the oldest building in Grand Place, established during the Medieval era.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts
Choosing the landmarks in Belgium to visit with family can be tricky because everyone has different interests. The Royal Museum of Fine Arts is a perfect choice, as there are over 20,000 works that have been collected since the 15th century.
There are six museums which altogether make up this attraction, including the Oldmasters Museum and the Magritte Museum. Famous pieces include The Empire of Light by Rene Magritte and The Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David.
The large collection has something to appeal to every individual’s interests.
The Manneken Pis is arguably one of the most famous monuments in Belgium. It consists of a bronze statue portraying a little boy, who is urinating in a basin. The fountain was established in 1619 by designer Duquesnoy, and there are many myths surrounding it.
The most widely believed is that the boy was passing water onto the fuse of gunpowder, thus foiling the evil scheme of the enemy. Although the statue is small, some say you may even miss it, but it is worth visiting.
Landmarks In Belgium, Bruges
The Groeninge Museum houses over 75,000 pieces of European art. The pieces span thousands of years, ranging from ancient to contemporary. The most famous piece is the ‘Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele’, an oil-on-wood painting drawn in the 14th century.
More modern pieces include those of Erik Desmazieres, painted this century. The building itself is located on the ground of the Eekhout Monastery, which existed in the Medieval Era. Nowadays, only the Eekhoutstraat remains.
The Markt is in central Bruges, therefore ideal if you wish to visit many Belgian landmarks in one day. Essentially, it is a huge square with several points of attraction. The most popular is the Belfry, which deserves a section of its own!
The Historium Bruge is another interesting landmark, a museum with an interactive tour of the Middle Ages. If you prefer to simply wander around, there are numerous stalls and a weekly market. It is a great spot to people watch as the world goes by.
The Belfry, otherwise known as the Belfort Tower, is located in the Markt as mentioned. It is a colossal bell tower made of brick in the 13th century and is a whopping 83 meters tall.
Many visitors come to climb the steps for a stunning city view from the top floor of the building, which serves as an observation deck. Alternatively, you can watch the bells ring from the outside.
Burg Square is another prominent square in Bruges. Just like The Markt, there is a culmination of Belgian landmarks to be found here. One of the most famous is The Basilica of The Holy Blood, a Roman Catholic Chapel with gothic architecture.
City Hall is also located here, in addition to the Liberty of Bruges and Beer Museum.
You can take a tour of the area in a carriage, especially useful if you are traveling with children. There are plenty of restaurants in the vicinity too, perfect for a traditional lunch or a quick coffee.
Landmarks In Belgium, Ghent
Saint Bavo is a Catholic Church in Ghent. It is named after Saint Bavo, who has several cathedrals erected in his honor. Inside the religious building is the Ghent Altarpiece, a famous monument in Belgium.
It is a piece of Renaissance Art also known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb and is renowned worldwide. So much so, that it is one of the most stolen pieces of art in history! In addition, there are many pieces of art inside this Belgian landmark, from manuscripts to oil paintings.
The Gravensteen is a historical landmark in Belgium that has previously served many functions. The castle has been used as a court building, prison, and royalist home. Since 1180, it has had many restorations and is currently a museum.
By booking a tour guide, you can learn in more detail about the affluent history of the building, and explore the infrastructure. From the outside, the castle is made from a variety of stones and is located on the canal, where you can take stunning pictures.
The Gravensteen is one of the many significant and interesting castles in Belgium to visit.
Wheat Market (Korenmarkt)
The Wheat Market, locally known as Korenmarkt, is a large square in Ghent. You will find that many landmarks of Belgium are located in districts, which makes them easier to access.
The square is called the Wheat Market because traditionally, wheat would be transported across the Leie River so it could be distributed in the area. Nowadays, you can stroll along the charming river, especially when it is sunny.
Other prominent spots in the area include St Nicholas Church, a collection of restaurants, galleries, and clothing stores.
Ghent City Museum (STAM)
The Ghent City Museum, although relatively new and established in 2010, houses several ancient art pieces. If you are searching for a modern museum, this is the perfect place to visit.
The most significant art piece in the museum is undoubtedly the enormous birds-eye view photograph of the city! Furthermore, downloading the mobile phone application allows you to see how this view has changed over the last few centuries.
Collections here are mainly cityscapes, but there are also interesting photographs and books.
Landmarks In Belgium, Antwerp
Grand Place, or Grote Markt, is the town square of Antwerp. The City Hall is the main attraction, which was built in the 15th century and still stands to this day.
It is a monumental building in Belgium that has a beautiful Renaissance style, reflected by the arches, columns, and domes.
Another one of the famous Belgium monuments in Grote Markt is Brabo Fountain, a sculpture of Silvius Brabo. The figure depicts a man catapulting a severed hand through the air, who is said to have defeated a giant.
Museum Plantin-Moretus is a printing museum in Antwerp. It is named after Christoph Plantin and his son Jan Moretus who were both printers and publishers. The museum focuses mainly on significant works such as rare manuscripts and letters.
However, there are also paintings and drawings. This attraction is an important landmark in Belgium as it is the only museum that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, where you can explore old printing presses and unique books like nowhere else.
Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp
The Cathedral of Our Lady is one of the religious landmarks in Belgium. Principally, it is a Roman Catholic Cathedral adored by fans all over the globe to honor God. Nevertheless, the gothic architecture and distinguished art heritage attract visitors from all beliefs.
You can choose to book a guided tour if you are interested in the beautiful paintings and history of the building which is over half a century old. On the other hand, you can choose to freely wander, or pop by when visiting the other attractions in the vicinity.
Red Star Line Museum
The Red Star Line Museum is concerned with collecting pieces related to emigration. More specifically, the refugees and travelers who used the Red Star Line to reach the USA through Antwerp. This includes permanent collections and temporary exhibitions, shown freely or by guided tours.
Such objects could include letters, postcards, suitcases, tickets, and more. Hence, you become attached to the stories behind the pieces and can gain a deeper understanding of the collection.
Best Natural Landmarks in Belgium
Graseli and Korenlai Canal
One of the most charming natural landmarks in Belgium is the canals in Ghent. Graslei and Korenlai Canals are on opposite sides of the river Lys and run through the city. If you have the time, you should consider a boat tour of the canal.
This way, you can explore the historical buildings alongside the water much more closely. Alternatively, you can sit outside one of the many restaurants and enjoy a warm meal or refreshing cocktail whilst soaking in the view.
Caves of Han
The Caves of Han are a collection of caves found in Wallonia. They are one of the best natural landmarks in Belgium, largely due to their unique nature.
The river Lys is a body of water that erodes into rock and forms them, which in itself is a special natural attraction. This is because it disappears into the Massif of Boine and then reappears after it.
The caves can be visited by a safari bus, which also shows you around the wildlife park, where you can explore the animals and their habitat. You can even partake in ‘glamping’ if you wish to stay the night in a luxurious tree tent!
The Japanese Garden is located in Hasselt. It is one of the most relaxing landmarks in Belgium, as this was its sole purpose when it first opened. Dotted around the garden are benches where you can sit and take in the peaceful surroundings, which are preserved and unspoiled.
Stroll around to check out the waterfalls, koi ponds, and trees in the serene environment.
More recently, a peace bell was added, which adds an enchanting sound in the background. All in all, this is the perfect place to relax with a friend or partner.
Hallerbos is the name of the forest which is found in Halle. It is most famously known for possessing bluebells, a dainty flower that covers the forest floor and makes it appear a rich lilac color.
The large area stretches over 550 hectares. it is great for visiting with family as it is often quiet and calm. Additionally, there is a traditional café where you can sit and enjoy some Belgian food after a long day of walking, which is the perfect treat.
Other Landmarks In Belgium
The Citadel of Namur
The Citadel of Namur is a castle situated on a hill, behind the confluence of two rivers. The original date of its construction is officially in 937.
However, it has been reconstructed several times over the years. An example of this is the addition of the ‘Terra Nova’ barracks.
The Belgian landmark can be explored freely, as there are audio guides in several languages around the site. Additionally, there are many interactive elements such as screens, which help to recount the events which occurred.
Flanders Field Museum
The Flanders Field Museum in Ypres is undoubtedly one of the most historically significant monuments in Belgium. It is dedicated to preserving artifacts related to World War One, and educating the public on the events undergone.
Through books, documents, photos, and other personal objects, the museum aims to show the tragic reality of the Belgian invasion. In the museum shop, you will find souvenirs that you can gift to friends, or keep for remembrance.
Montagne de Bueren
If you are looking for the most adventurous landmarks in Belgium, Montagne de Bueren is the best attraction to visit. It is a 374-step brick staircase in Liege, which can take a while to climb due to the steepness of the stairs.
Nevertheless, reaching the top is an achievement you will never forget! The top of the staircase displays a beautiful view of the city and is close to many cafes and bars.
Discovering Famous Landmarks in Belgium
Overall, most of the prominent landmarks in Belgium are historical. This is due to the involvement during wars, as well as the unique nature that has been around for centuries. A rich and varied history is one of the many things that Belgium is famous for.
Ancient castles, flowing canals, and old buildings are located in almost every main city. Additionally, squares and avenues house many Belgian monuments in one close space. However, there are plenty of attractions and landmarks in Belgium that are waiting for you to discover.