Belgium conjures images of world-class beers, chocolate, and Art Nouveau architecture. The country might be small in size, but it packs a punch with beautiful and charming towns. Beyond the larger cities of Bruges and Brussels, there are many scenic small towns of Belgium to visit that even include the world’s smallest town. What’s more, many of these beautiful towns feature gorgeous landscapes, outstanding architecture, and history. Some even have a UNESCO World Heritage Site thrown in for good measure! Hence, here are the most charming towns in Belgium that you must visit when you are tripping around the beautiful country. The best bit? You can easily take a day trip from Brussels, the capital of Belgium, to each of these amazing places.
The beautiful town of Spa, famous as the Pearl of Ardennes, is one of the most beautiful towns in Belgium to visit. The aptly-named town lies in a wooded valley in the middle of the beautiful undulating hills and is home to many natural mineral springs. Many visitors visit this place, especially for a fetching and authentic spa experience. Here, you can get to enjoy hours of blissful rejuvenation at the geysers, hot swimming pools, water cannons, and bubble seats. One of the most famous spas here is the Thermes de Spa, whose water comes directly from the local Clementine spring. This water is full of minerals considered to be good for cleansing the skin.
While you’re here, don’t forget to visit the Casino de Spa, the oldest casino in the world.
The medieval town of Rochefort is a pastoral idyll at its very best. The alluring town lies on the banks of River Lomme. Moreover, this former resort town has retained its great beauty and charm ever since its establishment in the 19th century. This is despite Rochefort being a site of several conflicts, especially during the Second World War and the French Revolution. Rue de Behogne is considered to be the main hive of activity in this town. Plus, the same road leads up to the ruins of Chateau Comtal, a famous hilltop castle. If you’re a fan of ale, then the rich brewing history of this town will delight you. That’s because this town is also very famous for producing Trappist beer.
The rest of the town is a haven for history enthusiasts, especially the town’s monastery-turned-Rochefort Brewery. There’s also the underground cave system of Caves of Han-sur-Lesse, complete with a vaulted ceiling. Furthermore, they’re surrounded by a host of historical sites, including Chateau Comtal, Château de Lavaux-Sainte-Anne, and the Loreto Chapel.
Veurnem, located in rural West Flanders, is one of the most charming towns in Belgium to visit. It boasts the character of an idyllic market town, complete with stunning medieval architecture and buildings. One of the most sought-after places in this town is the Grote Market which is also considered to be a hub of Veurne. What’s more, it happens to be home to many of the city’s best sights, such as Belfort belfry and Saint Walburga Church. Plus, you get to see a mix of baroque, Renaissance, and late Gothic structures, including the Gerechtshof (law courts). What’s interesting is that every Sunday in July, the town hosts the somber procession of Boeteprocessie. It sees hooded penitents carrying crosses and re-enacting the Passion of Christ.
The coastal village of De Haan in Belgium’s West Flanders province. This charming little village is also one of the best beach resorts in the country. Since it lies just half an hour from Bruges, it’s very busy during summer. This village has successfully maintained its old 1930s architectural style and charm, and a majority of the houses here are gorgeous white villas. What’s more, you can indulge in many outdoor activities in this beautiful and relaxing village. The activities include nice walks around the area, building sand castles, playing beach ball, biking on the seafront, and swimming. Of course, there’s much to do here for culture vultures, especially the Concessie historical district. One of the must-visit places is Villa Savoyarde, where Albert Einstein lived in 1933 for 6 months.
Damme sits on the outskirts of Bruges and can be very well added to the list of the top things to do in Bruges. It sits on the banks of Damse Vaart, a scenic tree-lined canal flowing through the town, continuing its way into the neighboring Netherlands. What’s more, Damme is also known as the literary town, as it’s home to a monthly book market and several bookshops. One of the most notable literary residents is Jacob van Maerlant, who lived here in the 13th century. Today, when you visit this beautiful little Belgium town, you can find his statue in the town square area.
Dinant, located on a cliff face along the Meuse River, is actually considered to be a beautiful little town in the capital city of Brussels. Interestingly, it happens to be one of the best small towns in Europe you must visit. What’s more, this place is also home to the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax. His house remains open to all inventors who want to learn about this musical instrument in a very lively setting. It’s also the hometown of the most famous beer in Belgium, Leffe. Furthermore, you can also visit the amazing fortified citadel, which is now home to the town’s Arms Museum. Don’t forget to taste the delicious local hard biscuit known as “Couque de Dinant.”
Durbuy is one of the best towns in Belgium to visit and is considered the smallest city in the world! This charming and picturesque historic town dates back to the 17th century. The charm also comes from its location in the dense forests of the Belgian Ardennes in the elevated mountains. What’s more, the town has stone houses lining winding cobblestone streets, resulting in timeless charm. One of the town’s most iconic landmarks and sights is the anticlinal formation Homalius Rock that’s more than 300 million years old. It lies along the Rocher de la Falize hiking route, offering jaw-dropping views of the La Warche valley.
The quiet village of Crupet is one of the most picturesque villages in Wallonia. The beautiful and impressive attraction of the Grotto of Saint Anthony of Padua dominates it. Father Joseph Gerard, the local curate, in 1903 designed this village and the grotto. In fact, the place has 22 different terracotta sculptures and statues depicting the time and times of Saint Anthony of Padua. You’ll also love the 13th-century Château de Crupet, which sits right on the riverfront down the village center.
Bastogne, which lies near the border of Luxembourg, is one of the best towns in Belgium to visit. This place is famed (or infamous) for being where thousands of soldiers sacrificed their lives during the Batte of Bulge in World War II. It even has an Informative War Museum, which allows visitors to discover the history of the battle and the town. Of course, any such grim visit is best followed up with a visit to the Wood of Peace. It’s a gorgeously peaceful place with 4,000 trees that were planted for the 50th anniversary of the battle.
Besides the above, this charming town has many cozy taverns and cafes serving the most delicious local fare. It’s also famous for the oldest bicycle race in the world, the Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which has been happening since 1892.
The traditional village of Oud Rekem sits in the province of Flanders and is one of the most beautiful villages in the whole country. Although this village is not very big in size, it boasts some of the loveliest views with winding streets and picturesque buildings. The church of St. Pieter’s is a good starting point for your exploration of the village. It dates back to 1722 and also serves as a tourist office, concert hall, and village museum. In fact, it even sells a very useful guidebook that describes a walking tour of the village. You could also hire bikes and take off for the day, walk through a nature reserve, and even enjoy a horse-drawn cart ride along the forest tracks.
The medieval town of Bouillon is one of the most famous tourist hubs of the Semois valley. It’s also home to the Château de Bouillon, one of the most amazingly preserved 8th-century medieval castles. It’s also one of Europe’s oldest feudal castles. What’s more, there’s also the Archéoscope Godefroid de Bouillon museum, which shows a 35-minute film about the Crusades. Plus, there are many walking paths that are exclusively designed for travelers who’re looking forward to exploring the valley. During your stay, you can also try out a beer-sampling tour at the brewery of Bouillon or the Nathalie Market, which offers close to 300 beers.
The cute little village of Torgny lies in the southwestern Gaume region and is one of the most beautiful Belgium towns to visit. This place boasts its very own sunny microclimate, enabling it to be one of the best places in the country to cultivate vines. That’s why beautiful vineyards flank it! What’s more, the town boasts unique architecture with ochre-colored sandstone structures and buildings. To top that, they have pinkish roofs – literally! And since it always remains bathed in sunshine, this pretty little village is a must-visit for you.
Just So You Know:
- Bruges happens to be one of the most beautiful canal cities in the world.
- The word ‘spa’ originated in the town of Spa in Belgium.