You might be tempted to overlook Belgium luxury travel in favor of its more prominent neighbors, the Netherlands, France and Germany. With three national languages, and equally distinct people groups, Belgium is a microcosm of Western Europe. However, the country is more than just the sum of its parts. Not only has the country produced master artists from the Renaissance through the modern period, but its strategic location has made it an ideal seat for many international governing bodies including NATO and the European Union. With stunning cathedrals, picturesque canals, accessible hiking, and possibly the most significant military history in modern Europe, Belgium has something for everyone.
The country sits at the border of Romance and Germanic Europe, giving it a unique blend of north and south, warm and cold. In the northern region of Flanders, the Flemish Belgians speak a dialect of Dutch. Their major cities are Antwerp and Bruges. Antwerp sits on the River Scheldt and is home to the Royal Academy of Fine arts. Bruges, the “Venice of the North,” is laced with canals and full of medieval architecture.
The Flemish painters, including Jan Van Eyck, Hieronymus Bosch, and Pieter Brueghel, made a mark on Western culture that belies their region’s small size.
The French-speaking south of Belgium, home to the Walloons, connects the country to the festive traditions and spicier cuisine of Romance Europe. In the city of Binche, Walloons host a carnival celebration to rival any in Europe, with their own folklore woven into the tradition. Like their Flemish countrymen, the Walloons have also contributed masters to the art world, but their most prominent are the modern painters René Magritte and Paul Delvaux.
The third region of Belgium is made primarily of its capital and main city, Brussels. Here you will find museums dedicated to artists from across the country, architecture dubbed by some as “peaceful anarchy.” Like the entire country, Brussels carries on the beloved tradition of it German neighbor, the fairytale Christmas markets.
Of course, every excursion should be finished off with one of the country’s famous beers. Belgium is known for its high quality beer and chocolate, so come prepared to indulge. Moules and Belgian waffles are only the beginning of the feast that awaits in Belgium.