10 Great Reasons to visit Belgium
1. Chocolates – This country takes its chocolates very seriously, with Chocolate Festivals, Chocolate Museum and lots of other chocolate events to keep you sweetly entertained.
2. Moules et Frites – Mussels or moules are the national dish of Belgium and are in season from September to February. Moules et Frites is one of my favourite foods and we’ve had many pots of delectable mussels at Leon de Bruxelles on the Champs Elysées in Paris. This is a definite goer for me.
3. Beer – Belgium is one of the beer capitals in the world, producing more than 400 varieties, including Gambrinus, one of Tony’s favourites. Bars in Belgium often have a separate menu just for their beers. Beer goes well with Moules et frites.
4. Rich history and amazing architecture – Going back to the times of the Ancient Celts, Belgium’s history is very complex and its modern history is equally interesting. In 1977 the country was divided into three administrative regions: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels, with more autonomy given to the local regions. Brussels owns the distinction of being ‘capital’ of Europe and headquarters for the EC and NATO.
5. River Cruising – Belgium’s waterways offer great opportunities for enjoying a river cruise. River cruises are a great way for seeing the sights of the great historic cities, as well as exploring the rustic countryside.
– the Lys (Leie) provides easy access to the beautiful cities of Bruges and Ghent
– the Escaut River (Schelde) brings you to Tournai, Bossuit and Ghent or near the coast
– the Meuse (Maas) and Sambre in the south will take you to Namur and Liege , and
– the Willebroek-Charleroi Canals let you experience the Boatlift (lock-gate) of Ronquière
6. Great Festivals and Carnivals – from the medieval Ghent festival, Bruges’ Procession of the Holy Blood to Carnival de Binche, etc.
7. Opera – Belgium has a great and ‘exciting’ opera tradition. Apparently following the performance of a stage rebellion of “La Muette de Portici” the spectators were so incited that they rushed out of the theater to the neighboring Royal Park and started the revolution that led to the separation of the Belgians from the Dutch, and the independence of the country. That’s one amazing opera performance!
8. Christmas Markets – Belgium has a great tradition of Christmas markets and many towns and villages throughout Belgium hold these markets.
9. Languages – Practice your French, Dutch, or German in this one country.
10. The entertainment calendar is huge, but if you’re not into jazz, pubs, nightlife, etc., you could always go for more chocolates ….