Created in 1830, this highly-developed Western European country is one of contrasts—best preserved medieval architecture, the best chocolates in the world, site of one of history’s most famous decisive battles, and two peoples with two languages buttoned by their capital city, Brussels. Yes, many a time has there been much controversy over the northern Flemish and the southern Walloons, Dutch and French speaking populations respectively, each vying for influence over their country as evinced in the times in which Belgium had only care-taking governments for months. But in spite of the civil political disagreements, Belgium remains one of the most beautiful countries for visitors.
The capital of Belgium and the European Union, Brussels boasts with endless cafes, fine restaurants, and a myriad number of medieval and Renaissance buildings, some still functioning. As the centre of EU politics, Brussels hosts many important venues which attract many people across Europe, making it a rather cosmopolitan, vibrant city full of tranquil cafes, fine restaurants, and lively night clubs. Though being a major European city hosting hundreds of European and world institutions, Brussels is by no means a frenetic city like Paris or London; its rather smaller population but no less vibrant lifestyle make it ideal for tourists looking for charm and excitement amidst a quiet landscape of historical proportions, such as the magnificent medieval Grand Place square with the Museum of the City of Brussels (a.k.a. Breadhouse) and the city’s landmark—its grandiose town hall or Hotel de Ville. Its colossal tower is seen from many miles and is a famous indicator for visitors—this is where to go! The city is also host to the fine Musee Royaux des Beaux Artes; The Royal Palace; the Palais de la Justice, the world’s largest courthouse; the Cinquantenaire Park with its sumptuous gardens, colonnade and marvelous triumphal arch; and 900-year old St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral. However, the charm really comes not only from buildings, but also from the city’s overall landscape: open-ari markets, avenues and streets strewn with towering trees, quaint shops as well as medieval, Renaissance, and roccoco architecture alive throughout the entire city. And don’t forget the chocolates! Nearly every street has at least 3 or 4 famous chocolatiers ready to entice customers with their deliciously creative products which have earned the city and Belgium a well-deserved place in the culinary world.
Filled with immensely beautiful medieval buildings, Bruges is a paradise for those who seek to lose themselves in history. The city is a famed monument to the greatness of medieval architecture and Flemish art. Dozens of museums house some of the world’s finest collection of Flemish and Dutch Golden Age art. The city’s main landmarks are in the Markt or the central city square, in itself filled with cafes and gardens. In the square is first and foremost the Belfry of Bruges, a gigantic medieval bell tower; the Provincial Court; and the City Hall, all reachable through cobbled streets flanked by pubs, restaurants and traditional shops.