Great Escapes

European Travel Blog


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The best views in Belgium

A beautiful country, Belgium is filled with many a fantastic photo opportunity. But in case it’s your first visit, or you’re looking for a little inspiration for some truly magnificent views both from the ground and the sky, we’ve selected a few of our personal favourites which may help you see a little bit more during your short break in Belgium.

Belfry Tower, Bruges

One of the most prominent buildings in the city, the belfry of Bruges is a magnificent medieval bell tower right in the heart of the town. Standing 83m tall, to look up at this architectural splendour from the ground is a grand sight, however if you’re feeling energetic and choose to climb the very respectable 366 steps up to the bell tower at the top, one of our favourite panoramic views awaits, over the market square below and the surrounding area of Bruges.

Belfry tower

Image credit: Wolfgang Staudt, Flickr

Belfry tower2

Image credit: John Cooke, Flickr

Meuse Valley

Located in southern Belgium, this luscious countryside balanced on the edge of the glorious River Meuse is certainly a sight to behold. Limestone cliffs are a backdrop to charming little towns and dense forest, as well as some breath-taking architecture. Capture the best pictures from the river, or on the numerous hiking and cycling trails available to explore.

Meuse Valley

Image credit: Peter.Lorre, Flickr

Grand Place, Antwerp

With cobble-stoned streets leading to ornate 17th century architecture and a bustling Grote Markt (Main Square) filled with flower stalls and bird markets, there’s not just one great view here but far too many to count. From the Brabo Fountain to the Guild Houses and magnificent city hall, many a photo opportunity awaits for visitors to the Grand Place in Antwerp.

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St. Peter’s Church, Leuven

In the centre of Leuven, shining a glorious gold hue is St Peter’s Church (or Sint-Pieterskerk). A very well preserved example of 14th century Brabantine Gothic architecture, this church is just as impressive inside as out. With a museum dedicated to religious art, with metalwork, paintings and sculptures as well as a stunning baroque carved pulpit, you’ll be truly absorbed into a past world.

St Peter's Church

Image credit: Renata Sedmakova, Shutterstock

Panoramic views from the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), Brussels

Located in central Brussels along Rue Montagne de la Cour, an intriguing museum and stunning terrace awaits. The building itself is rather spectacular, being art nouveau in style and boasting a fabulous glass elevator. However, the sunlit rooftop café is what we really love, as this is where you can sit and enjoy a Sunday brunch whilst ogling over the 360° panoramic views of Brussels. If you’re inside, you’ll find that the decorative building design will frame your photographs, and when outside on the terrace, you’re met with a breath-taking cityscape. This is certainly a perfect afternoon spent during your short break in Brussels.

Image credit: Daniel Lobo, Flickr

Image credit: Copright of WBT – Ricardo de la Riva

Automium, Brussels

With an interesting and rather unique infrastructure, the Automium comprises nine spheres which are linked by escalators. Constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Fair, its purpose was to symbolise peace among all the nations, as well as being a vision for a more modern, technological world. A vision in itself, a 360° panoramic view of the 19 municipalities of Brussels also awaits at the top sphere, 102m up.

Image credit: http://www.atomium.be – SABAM 2011 – Axel Addington

Image credit: http://www.atomium.be – SABAM 2010 – Axel Addington

Ardennes

For those in search of views not of architecture but nature and wildlife, simply head south for the rugged hills of the Ardennes. With cave systems, river valleys, wooden canyons and limestone hills, as well as lynx, deer and wild boar to be discovered, we couldn’t possibly name even ten great views here, as there are just so many. A town called Dinant, in the province of Namur is a good place to start your adventure in Ardennes, located around 100km south east of Brussels.

Image credit: Daviddje, Flickr

If we’ve inspired you to take a short break in Belgium and see some of these wonderful sights for yourself, you can visit Great Escapes to book.

 

Bruges Christmas


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Walk into a Winter wonderland and the magic of Belgium’s Christmas markets

Christmas and New Year is a great time to visit Belgium with so many of its most famous cities hosting fabulous markets and celebrations that will warm the heart of even the sternest of Scrooges. The smell of mulled wine, hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts pervades the air, while the distant sound of carols and the sight of thousands of twinkling fairylights, all add to the festive atmosphere.

Antwerp

7th December 2013 – 31st December: Antwerp’s magical Christmas market is held at de Groenplaats, Handschoenmarkt, Grote Markt and Suikerrui. Whether you are looking for Christmas decorations, seasonal produce or simply wish to enjoy the markets charm with a glass or two of mulled wine, you’ll find a vibrant festive atmosphere here.

Belgium Christmas markets, Antwerp

Antwerp

Saturday 7th of December: Opening Celebration.

Saturday 7th of December to Sunday 5th of January 2014: Christmas market and ice skating rink at Steenplein. There will also be a big Ferris wheel at the Cruise Terminal.

Sunday 15th of December, 22nd of December and 29th of December: Shops will be opened on Sunday for Christmas shopping.

New Year’s Eve, Tuesday 31st of December: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Schelde.

Bruges

22nd November 2013 – 2nd January 2014: The Christmas market takes place on the Markt Square around the traditional open-air ice rink, with a smaller market located on Simon Stevinplein. Colourful lights illuminate festival stalls crammed with Christmas goodies, where shoppers can browse tables laden with elegantly packaged chocolates and locally made produce. Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10:30 – 22:00 and on Friday and Saturday from 10:30 – 23:00.

Bruges Christmas

Bruges

22nd of November 2013 until the 5th January 2014: Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival at Stationplein. Open 10:00 – 19:00 daily (including Christmas Day & New Years Day)

Bruges ice sculptures

Bruges Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival

Brussels

29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014: ‘Winter Wonderland’, Brussels’s extensive traditional Christmas market, takes place on the Place Sainte Catherine and the Bourse with around 150 exhibitors from all over Europe offering traditional arts and crafts, jewellery, and Belgian chocolates for sale alongside an artificial ice-rink and numerous street artists. In addition to this there’s a multi-coloured Sound and Light show at the Grand Place.

Belgium Christmas markets, Brussels

Brussels

Ghent

6th to 30th December 2014: Ghent welcomes the festive season with a charming Christmas market in Sint-Baafsplein, Klein Turkije and Korenmarkt. Visitors can wander among the 50 wooden huts in search of decorations, candles, cards and gifts, serenaded by a choir. You can also enjoy live jazz, folk and rock performances, as well as Christmas carols.

22 November 2013 to 05 January 2014: A second Christmas market in St Pietersplein with a giant Ferris wheel, a fun fair, food and drink stalls plus an ice-rink.

New Year’s Eve, Tuesday 31st December at midnight: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Graslei.

Belgium Christmas market, Ghent

Ghent

Leuven

13th to 22nd December: Leuven organises a very accessible and well organised Christmas market, known as the Leuvense Kerstmarkt, set with a fairytale backdrop of the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein and the Herbert Hooverplein squares, where visitors can stock up on decorations, gifts and other festive items as well as enjoying the tasting stalls.

Leuven at Christmas

Leuven

Ostend

29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014: A covered Christmas market in Wapenplein square with delicious snacks and warming drinks, fabulous decorations and an ice-rink.

Belgium christmas markets, Ostend

Ostend

Ypres

30th November 2013 to 2nd January 2014: The Christmas market in Ypres is growing in reputation and takes place on the Grote Markt in the centre of town each afternoon and all day on Saturday. The Swiss style chalets, together with the popular ice rink, as well as live entertainment, will certainly put you in a festive mood. Open: Tue-Wed-Thu from 17:00 to 19:30, Fri: 15:00 to 22:00, Sat 10:00 to 22:00, Sun from 15:00 to 19:30, closed Mondays

Ypres Christmas market

Ypres

Please note that the above information is correct to the best of our knowledge but details are subject to change and should be checked with the individual organisations concerned before visiting.