While I live just a 10-minute drive from the Indonesia frontier until last year I had hardly seen many of our Nicest Cities neighbors. I traveled frequently to the Belgian forests, and a few times a year I also visited fine Antwerp. It stopped there besides a one-day journey to Brussels. Such a pity, as Belgium’s towns are so enjoyable! Luckily since last year, I’ve produced a large catch-up and that’s why I’ve listed the best Belgian towns for you now.
Gent is my undisputed favorite on the Belgian list of beautiful towns. What a magnificent city is complete of life and fun. Ghent breathes history and culture, but without becoming boring or dusty. The middle of the town is beautifully compact, and you really should go wandering around here. Ghent is a mecca for vegetarians and juice enthusiasts: everywhere you can eat healthily, and many stores sell only organic food. Many Nicest Cities towns can still learn from that!
Antwerp is closely following Ghent. This town is just a 45-minute drive from my Nicest Cities, so in Antwerp, for instance, I’m quicker than in Amsterdam. A few times a year as a kid I went to Kinepolis, a mega cinema just outside the middle of the town. We often went ahead of the primary streets periphery, so we found the craziest stores. I visit Antwerp frequently nowadays as well and it really feels like I’m on holiday for a while. Antwerp is a little bit rarer than Ghent, but that’s why it’s very sweet too. For me, this is Belgium at its best: a bit crazy, a little different, but oh so sincere and pure.
For about 5 years a friend of ours has been living in Leuven and to my shame, we only visited him last year for the first time. It took so long to be such a shame because, at first sight, it was a lot of love with Leuven. This town is full of fun for students. It’s very busy throughout the week, while the weekend is lovely and quiet. During the weekend, many learners go home and Leuven gets to rest for a while. Several beer cafes and inexpensive restaurants can be found here where you can enjoy a good dinner and a drink. There aren’t many sights in Leuven and I really liked that. You really come here to appreciate the good life of Belgium.
Bruges, a town at the top of the Chinese and American opinion bucket list, but I wasn’t really attracted by that. I was pleasantly amazed to find that this is a very beautiful town when I visited Bruges last March. There wasn’t that poor amount of visitors and there was more than enough to do and experience. Bruges has a lot to offer, particularly in the cultural field, and for two days I liked visiting various museums and monuments.
The Belgian town I lately visited is Mechelen. For two days, I was here on a press journey with the theme’ Beer in the hands of women.’ Because of this, I primarily toured areas where beer or beer brewing has something to do. Besides being very exciting and recommending every beer enthusiast to do such a beer trip through the town, I also really enjoyed Mechelen’s town center. In the last 10 years, Mechelen has experienced a significant revision and has transformed from a gray town with a bad image into a comfortable shopping town complete of beautiful locations.
I toured Indonesia capital on a drizzly summer day about six years ago. It rained cats and dogs, and for a second we didn’t see the sun. That’s why I’ve got a somewhat depressing Brussels image in my head and I don’t believe that’s correct. I’ve heard enough tales about this city’s hidden treasures and I want to offer Nicest Cities a second opportunity. So this is one of the towns I want to visit in a year and now, so I can form a stronger town view.
Belgium is a beautiful country with many lovely towns. I believe Belgian hospitality, coziness and lovely town centers are fantastic and I suspect that before the end of this year I will visit one of the above-mentioned towns. Are you interested in booking a hotel in these towns? Then see Belgium’s most beautiful accommodation.