Hotels in Brussels Belgium
  • The highlight of Brussels, the capital, is most certainly the gothic Grand Place. Pose for a photograph in front of the famous Manneken-Pis and his less heralded sister the Janneken Pis; both statues hint at the exuberance and irreverence of the ‘Bruxellois’. Other key sights in Brussels include St Michael and St Gudule’s Cathedral and the Mont des Arts park, which links the upper and lower parts of the city. Then there is the elegant Place Royale, built between 1774 and 1780 in the style of Louis XVI. Among other areas worth exploring are the Îlot Sacré, the picturesque area of narrow streets to the northeast of the Grand-Place; the fashionable boulevard de Waterloo; the administrative quarter, a completely symmetrical park area commanding a splendid view of the surrounding streets; the Grand Sablon, the area containing both the flamboyant Gothic structure of the Church of Our Lady of Sablon and the Sunday antique market and, lastly, the Petit Sablon, a square surrounded by Gothic columns, which support 48 small bronze statues commemorating medieval Brussels guilds. A more modern attraction is the bizarre Atomium, a futuristic, atom-shaped aluminium tower built for the 1958 World Fair. Note: The Brussels Card now gives the visitor free access to 30-plus museums and also the use of public transport throughout the Brussels-Capital region, within a 72-hour period. This ‘culture pass’ is available at all participating museums - at the six sales offices of the Brussels Public Transport Company (STIB), at certain hotels and at the Brussels International Tourism Office, costing just €30.

  • One important out-of-town attraction is the Battle of Waterloo site, 18km (11 miles) to the south of Brussels, commemorating the battle that shaped the future of both Belgium and modern Europe, of which Brussels is now such a crucial hub.

  • In Antwerp, the more traditional attractions complement the new, with the impressive Grote Markt, containing the Town Hall and the Brabo Fountain, which commemorates the legend of the city’s origin and also the 18th-century Groenplaats, with its Rubens statue.

  • Bruges offers a variety of attractions such as the Lake of Love, which in the Middle Ages was the city’s internal port; the 14th-century Town Hall featuring a façade decorated with bas-reliefs and statues of a Biblical nature; the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour, a fine example of 13th-century Gothic architecture and home to many treasures; and the Grote Markt, which was formerly the commercial hub of the city.

  • The medieval heart of Ghent boasts many historic buildings, including three abbeys. Key attractions include St Bavo’s Cathedral, place of Charles V’s baptism and home to The Adoration of the Mystical Lamb, the Van Eyck brothers’ masterpiece; the Town Hall, where the Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1576; the Castle of the Counts, a medieval castle surrounded by the Lieve canal; the 15th-century Cloth Hall and the medieval town centre with its guild houses.

  • Explore the Belgian coastline, a largely sandy affair that stretches for 67km (42 miles) from Knokke near the Dutch border to De Panne on the French border, with over a dozen resorts. Bathing in the sea is free on all beaches and there are facilities for sailing, sand yachting, riding, fishing, rowing, golf and tennis. Some of the best resorts are Bredene, De Haan, De Panne, Lombardsijde, Nieuwpoort, Wenduine, Westende and the town of Ostend, where Queen Victoria once took to the waters. Knokke, Middelkerke and Ostend are the liveliest resorts.

  • Liège, a major city of Wallonia, the French-speaking portion of Belgium, is a popular tourist destination, situated on the banks of the Meuse. The view from the Citadel covers the old town, the most impressive part of the city. Liège’s most notable buildings are the Church of St James, an old abbey church of mixed architecture, including an example of the Meuse Romanesque style, with fine Renaissance stained glass and the 18th-century Town Hall.

  • In Tournai, the second-oldest city in Belgium, admire the oldest Belfry in Belgium at the Cathedral of Our Lady (12th century).

  • Located in the Ardennes region, the town of Dinant, in the Meuse valley, boasts a medieval castle, while its most famous

    landmark is the Gothic church of Notre-Dame. Annevoie has a castle and some beautiful water gardens. The old university town of Namur, with cobbled streets in its centre, has a cathedral and a castle. The River Semois passes through Arlon and Florenville; nearby are the ruins of Orval Abbey, Bouillon and its castle, Botassart, Rochehaut and Bohan.

Tourist Information
Office de Promotion du Tourisme Bruxelles et Wallonie in the UK (Belgian Tourist Office – Brussels and Wallonia)
217 Marsh Wall, London E14 9FJ, UK
Tel: (0906) 302 0245 (calls cost 60p per minute) or (0800) 954 5245 (free brochure request line; toll-free in UK) or (020) 7531 0391.

Toerisme Vlaanderen in the UK (Tourism Flanders - Brussels)
Flanders House, 1a Cavendish Square, London W1G 0LD, UK
Tel: (020) 7307 7730 (travel trade and press only) or (0800) 954 5245 (brochure request line; toll-free in UK) or (09063) 020 245 (live operator; calls cost 60p per minute).

Belgian Tourist Office
220 East 42nd Street, Suite 3402, New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: (212) 758 8130.

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