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  • A Cruising Couple | June 27, 2016 9:00 PM ET

    6 Reasons To Fall In Love With Belgium

    6 Reasons To Fall In Love With Belgium

    Belgium is easily one of our favorite destinations in the world, but it didn’t start out that way. In our initial visit, we didn’t even get to go as off-the-beaten-track as we would have liked. (We spent most of our time in Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp.) But between the food, the architecture, the people, it didn’t take long for us to fall in love with all the gems Belgium has to offer. Here are six reasons we know you’ll fall for Belgium, too:

    The Beer

    Belgian Beer

    You’ll be hard-pressed to find a country as small as Belgium pumping out as many spectacular brews. The world record for beers on tap is claimed by Delirium in Brussels, boasting over 3,000 different beer choices. The bar is constantly packed, so understandably the bartenders won't exactly have time to take you through the whole menu.

    READ MORE: There's More to Belgium Than Brussels and Bruges

    If you want a more personal experience, try one of the country’s smaller breweries. Belgium ranks among the top countries for breweries per capita with over 150, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding one that fits your taste.

    One of the most unique beer experiences is having a fresh pint of the famed Trappist beer. Trappist beers are brewed in monasteries by monks. There are only a handful of certified Trappist breweries in the world, over half of which are located in Belgium. It is difficult, but not impossible, to book a tour at some of the Trappist breweries. Try the Guardian Angel, the official brewery tap of Orval Trappist monastery in the town of the same name.

    The Romance

    Bruges Belguim

    Paris may get all the press, but the quaint town of Bruges might be even more romantic than the iconic City of Love. Towering medieval structures surround as you walk along the winding cobbled alleys and over stone bridges crossing elegant canals. Take a boat trip with your special someone, and be sure to leave plenty of time to dine on local Belgian chocolate. For the ultimate in romance, try a stay at Hotel Heritage — one of the most swoon-worthy hotels we’ve ever experienced.

    The Waffles

    Belgian Waffle.jpg

    We’re not huge waffle people, but there’s no denying that Belgian Waffles are something special. Fluffier than their American counterparts, Belgian waffles are made with beaten egg white and raised with yeast. This results in a tangier taste due to the fermentation process.

    Because they are massive, Belgian Waffles also tend to have deeper indents in them, making them all the better at catching syrups and melting ice cream. A tasty treat for any time of day, Belgian Waffles typically come topped with powdered sugar, fruit, chocolate sauce or syrup, and whipped cream.

    The Mussels

    Mussels in Brussels

    You might not think that a landlocked city would host some of the best shellfish in the world, but the mussels in Brussels are legendary for good reason. We decided to put them to the taste test at Aux Armes Bruxelles, located in one of the alleys just a few blocks from the dramatic Grand Place. While there might be more local, off-the-beaten-track places to try them, we can confidently say these mussels lived up to the hype.

    The Architecture

    Grand Place Belgium

    The magnificent medieval architecture of Belgium will have you feeling like you're back in the Middle Ages. Brussels’ most popular tourist attraction, the Grand Place, is a UNESCO site that is sure to stun even the most seasoned travelers. The square is widely considered one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. Another architectural wonder in Brussels is the Atomium. Built for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, it's still possible to climb inside the bizarre looking structure and get a bird's-eye view of the city.

    View from Atomium Brussels

    Head to Antwerp and you’ll discover the spectacular Antwerp Central Train Station, voted as one of the most beautiful train stations in the world. Ghent boasts the Castle of the Counts, a medieval castle located right in the middle of the city. We could go on and on, but you probably get the idea — Belgium boasts some spectacular buildings.

    The Fries

    We know we’ve talked about a lot of food, but we love to eat, and Belgium is one of the best culinary destinations in the world. And of course, that includes the frites. You've likely seen Belgian fries on a menu at your local bar, but what really sets them apart from any other fry? The biggest difference is in the size of the cut, and that Belgian fries are put into the fryer not just once, but twice. Double frying the potatoes leaves the fries fluffy on the inside with a nice crispy outer layer.

    READ MORE: A Quest to Find the World’s Best Beer in Belgium

    Between all the waffles and beer, we recommend grabbing a paper cone full of Belgian style fries and going for a stroll through the cobbled streets to work off a few of those extra calories.

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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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