10 Offbeat Things To Do In Belgium: Uncover Hidden Gems!

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Discover 10 offbeat things to do in Belgium and explore the lesser-known attractions in this beautiful European country. From quirky museums to enchanting villages, there’s something unique for every traveler!

Introduction: Embrace the Unconventional in Belgium

Welcome to Belgium, a country renowned for its historic cities, medieval architecture, and delicious chocolates. While popular attractions like the Grand Place in Brussels and the medieval town of Bruges attract hordes of tourists, there’s so much more to explore beyond the beaten path. In this article, we’ll unveil 10 offbeat things to do in Belgium, allowing you to immerse yourself in extraordinary experiences that often go unnoticed. So, pack your bags and get ready for an unconventional adventure through Belgium’s hidden gems.

1. Marvel at The Atomium – Brussels’ Futuristic Icon

The Atomium is a symbol of modernity and progress in Brussels. This iconic structure was constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair and has since become a beloved landmark. With its futuristic design of interconnected spheres, the Atomium houses fascinating exhibitions, offering insights into science, art, and innovation. Take an escalator ride through the spheres to enjoy panoramic views of the city. It’s an experience that perfectly blends history and contemporary marvels.

2. Wander Through The Enchanting Streets of Ghent

Ghent, often overshadowed by its more famous counterparts, offers a magical experience for wanderers. The city’s medieval architecture, cobbled streets, and picturesque canals create a fairy-tale ambiance. Visit St. Bavo’s Cathedral to witness the stunning Adoration of the Mystic Lamb altarpiece, a masterpiece by the Van Eyck brothers. Explore Gravensteen Castle, a medieval fortress with a dark history. Ghent’s charm lies in its ability to transport you back in time while maintaining a vibrant and artistic atmosphere.

3. Explore the Otherworldly Caves of Han-sur-Lesse

Venture into the depths of Han-sur-Lesse, a small town that holds a hidden treasure – the Han-sur-Lesse Caves. Embark on a guided tour through awe-inspiring underground caverns, decorated with magnificent stalactites and stalagmites. The sound and light show further enhance the magical atmosphere, making it an unforgettable experience for nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

4. Unravel History at the Kazerne Dossin Museum in Mechelen

The Kazerne Dossin Museum in Mechelen serves as a poignant reminder of Belgium’s past during World War II. This former transit camp was a site of suffering and deportation for many Jews and Roma. The museum recounts their stories, honoring their memory and shedding light on the importance of human rights and tolerance. It’s a place of reflection and education that will leave a lasting impact on visitors.

5. Discover the Quirky Musée des Instruments de Musique in Brussels

Belgium is known for its rich musical heritage, and the Musée des Instruments de Musique (MIM) in Brussels celebrates this unique art form. Housed in a stunning Art Nouveau building, MIM boasts an impressive collection of musical instruments from various cultures and eras. Visitors can even enjoy a concert at the museum’s rooftop, where the breathtaking view of Brussels complements the melodies.

6. Step into the Surreal World of Magritte Museum

Renowned surrealist artist René Magritte’s work has left an indelible mark on the art world. The Magritte Museum in Brussels is a fitting tribute to this creative genius. The museum exhibits an extensive collection of Magritte’s artworks, providing an insight into his imaginative mind. Surrender to the whimsical and thought-provoking pieces that challenge reality and perception.

7. Roam the Fairytale Village of Durbuy

Tucked away in the Ardennes region, Durbuy is often called “the smallest city in the world.” This enchanting village exudes a magical ambiance with its medieval streets, charming cottages, and lush greenery. Stroll along the winding alleyways, savor local delicacies in cozy restaurants, and indulge in outdoor activities like kayaking or hiking. Durbuy offers a fairy-tale escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

8. Witness the Adorable Tradition of Cat Parade in Ypres

Every three years, the town of Ypres hosts the Kattenstoet or Cat Parade, a quirky and beloved tradition dating back to the Middle Ages. The parade celebrates the city’s feline friends, and you’ll witness an array of creatively designed cat-themed floats, bands, and costumed participants. It’s a delightful spectacle that will bring a smile to your face.

9. Embrace Art and Nature at the Pairi Daiza Zoo

Pairi Daiza Zoo is not your typical animal sanctuary; it’s a harmonious blend of a botanical garden and a zoo. Located in the heart of Hainaut province, Pairi Daiza offers a unique experience of observing animals amidst lush greenery and serene lakes. The park is divided into themed zones, each representing a different part of the world. Enjoy a day surrounded by art, culture, and nature.

10. Experience Serenity at the Orval Abbey

Escape to the Orval Abbey, a tranquil place nestled in the Gaume region. This Cistercian monastery boasts a rich history, and the monks have been brewing Orval Trappist beer for centuries. Explore the stunning abbey ruins, visit the on-site museum, and taste the famous Orval beer in the peaceful surroundings. It’s an opportunity to disconnect from the modern world and find solace in quiet contemplation.

FAQs

Q: Is English widely spoken in Belgium? A: Yes, English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. Many Belgians are multilingual, and you’ll find English-speaking locals ready to assist you.

Q: What’s the best time to visit Belgium? A: Belgium is lovely throughout the year, but the best time to visit is during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the crowds are thinner.

Q: Are there vegetarian options available in Belgian cuisine? A: Absolutely! Belgium offers a range of vegetarian dishes, including delicious waffles, fries, and various vegetable-based stews.

Q: How do I get around Belgium? A: Belgium has an efficient public transportation system, including trains and buses. Renting a bicycle is also a popular and eco-friendly way to explore the cities.

Q: Is tipping customary in Belgium? A: Tipping is appreciated but not obligatory in Belgium. If you receive excellent service, leaving a small tip is a nice gesture.

Q: Can I use credit cards in Belgium? A: Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in Belgium. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash, especially for smaller purchases.

Conclusion: Embrace the Hidden Charms of Belgium

Belgium is a country that rewards curious travelers with unique and offbeat experiences. From modern marvels like the Atomium to historic gems like the Orval Abbey, each destination offers a glimpse into Belgium’s diverse cultural heritage. Embrace the unconventional, step away from the tourist crowds, and venture into the lesser-known corners of this enchanting European country. Discover the 10 offbeat things to do in Belgium, and you’ll create memories that will stay with you forever. So, pack your sense of adventure and embark on a journey to uncover Belgium’s hidden gems!

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