5 Reasons Why Belgium Is Not Boring At All
It’s a good thing I didn’t know that there were so many “experts” out there, labelling Belgium the strangest or the most boring country in the world.
I’ve visited the small country in the West part of Europe numerous times and each time I found something new and amazing to enjoy:
- From the huge number of beers to the delicious snacks and dishes.
- From the endless fine-sand beaches to the beautiful architecture in every town that I’ve visited.
- From the festivals in summer with open-air concerts to the Christmas markets and decorations.
- And last but not least, the most fascinating New Year’s Eve fireworks, that I’ve experienced.
Here are several interesting facts about Belgium that I’m sure will convince you too that this small country is anything but boring.
1. The Kind And Welcoming People
The official languages (yes, plural!) in Belgium are three:
- French, and
Almost everywhere I’ve been we’ve managed to communicate with Belgians in either a mixture of Dutch and German or in English. With one small exception.
Several years ago I visited Liège and several other destinations in the area. No one seemed to speak English, or German, or Dutch in Liège, not even the staff at the hotel.
I don’t speak French (the language spoken in this Belgian province), and this made for several very funny situations. My favourite one took place in the Liège Cathedral.
Two very elegant elderly ladies tried to start a conversation. Soon they realised that I don’t speak French and they tried very hard to recall all of the English words which they’ve learnt in their youth… during World War II from the US soldiers which helped liberate the city.
They provided some excellent suggestions about what to see next and explaining the cathedral’s history and the city’s main attractions.
On another trip a couple of years later, I ended up in the middle of summer in Brussels on a weekend.
The weather was fantastic and the whole city seemed to be celebrating outdoors. Half of the city centre was closed for a summer festival with beer and food stalls, live music, and lots of happy people.
I stood for several minutes in line to get some beer and when my turn came, I ordered and reached out for my wallet to pay.
It turned out, that I couldn’t pay cash. Instead, I needed to first buy coupons from another stall and pay with those.
While looking around to locate the stall which sold the coupons, the bartender was telling me he’ll keep the beer ready and I only need to hand him over the coupons. At that moment, a complete stranger handed over his coupons and told me the beers were on him.
Just out of nowhere, just because we were in his city and he felt like buying some tourists beer to welcome them and show them a good time.
In case you visit Brussels, there is a tonne of fun things to do in the Belgian capital!
2. The Palatible Beer
With over a thousand original beers and 180 breweries, Belgium offers a style for everyone.
- From sweet to bitter,
- from strong to almost non-alcoholic,
- from black through red to white plus several other colours in between, and
- diverse fruit flavours.
Please don’t try to taste them all, it is impossible!
Almost every style of beer is served in a unique glass, which is considered to improve further more the taste of already delectable the beer.
My personal favourites are Kwak with its 8.4% and most tripel beers that I’ve tried.
A great place to taste Belgian beers is the Great Market Square in the Old Town centre of Brussels.
The amazing architecture of the buildings surrounding the square and the mixture of people from all over the world passing by or taking pictures, present a great décor to go with your glass of beer.
Another interesting place where we enjoyed our drinks very much was a bar we found completely by accident. It was New Year’s Eve and we had just watched the fascinating fireworks on the riverfront in Antwerp, Belgium’s second-largest city and the World Capital of Diamond Trade.
We left the river bank to go somewhere warm and finish the celebration. We ended up in a bar which takes up a whole building in the old town, called Café de Muze.
The atmosphere of this place was so incredible that we didn’t want to leave despite being exhausted from sightseeing and celebrating!
3. The Scrumptious Belgian Chocolate
Enough said. Look at these photos and try not to drool. I challenge you!
Enough drooling already ;)
Now check out these awesome places in Brussels where you can try these and other delicious Belgian delicacies.
4. The Gorgeous Castles And Châteaux
According to multiple sources, there are over 3,000 castles and châteaux in Belgium.
Three thousand on an area of a little over 30,000 km2!
Only 300 of those are open to the public.
I admit I’ve only visited about five of them but they were all very impressive. If you’ve read my previous post, you already know that I really love visiting castles and transporting myself to other ages.
For a complete list of all the castles please visit BelgianCastles.be.
5. The Fairy-tale Towns
Bruges, Namur, Leuven, Ghent: those are only the ones that I’ve visited, but there are so many more to discover. Check out these six small Belgian cities for further ideas.
As with castles, I love walking down a street and wondering what life used to be back when it was built. I like to look at the buildings and imagine the people who lived there.
The best part of a tour is walking in one of the houses on a marketplace, which has been transformed into a restaurant or a bar, going inside, sitting on a table by the window and watching the people pass by.
I know that life back then was not as romantic as we all like to imagine, but at least the architecture was much more inspiring than most of the buildings designed nowadays. Having hundreds of statues of the important people of the day on the façade of a city hall is such a great way to remember them.
I think those pictures speak for themselves, so I’ll leave you to enjoy them!
Are you now convinced that Belgium is not boring at all?
Have you been to any of these places or tasted Belgian beer and chocolates? How did you like them?
Or are you already packing your bags and booking your first trip to Belgium and ready to explore this underrated European gem?