Last updated: 01:00 AM ET, Thu September 03 2015

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  • Worldwide Scott | September 3, 2015 1:00 AM ET

    There's More to Belgium Than Brussels and Bruges

    There's More to Belgium Than Brussels and Bruges

    PHOTO: Dinant via Flickr/Daviddje

    I straight-up love Belgium. Why? Well, for two main reasons. First, I am particularly partial to the Belgian portfolio of food and beverage. Whether it be Belgian fries, chocolate, waffles, beer or mussels, they are every bit as good as everyone hypes them up to be, and all have an uncanny way of tasting even better when enjoyed within the northern European nation's borders.

    Basically, if a food or beverage item has the world “Belgian” in front of it, your taste buds are in good hands.

    Secondly, Belgium crams more “European-ness” into one small place than any other country on the continent, save Switzerland — but since the Swiss can't compete on fries and beer, they lose.

    From the canal-crossed and Dutch speaking Flanders in the north to the French feel and rolling hills of Wallonia in the south, and of course the all-business yet still quirky capital of Brussels in the middle, the country is overrun with European vacation-makers.

    I recommend a stop in Belgium to anyone going to Europe, and while many people take up this advice, they typically end up funneled into Brussels or Bruges exclusively. And that's fine, because both places are great. I personally found that I didn't truly fall for Belgium until I dug slightly deeper than those two places, and here a few places I recommend looking in to. 


    In its picturesque proposal to impress you, Dinant includes a cliff-side citadel looming (and when I say "looming," I mean it in the nicest possible way) over an onion-topped riverside cathedral.

    Dinant's location in the heart of the Ardennes Forest makes it a great base for outdoor activities like hiking and floating excursions. Those with an interest in history should note that the aforementioned looming citadel was the site of an historic World War I battle.

    But those who prefer cultural thrills will love the fact that Dinant is the birthplace of Adolphe Sax — inventor of the saxophone, and the fact Dinant honors Sax by scattering lots of colorful saxophones around town. These are absolutely perfect for cheesy photos, while the town's riverside cafes are the ideal place for whiling away afternoons.


    PHOTO: Leuven via Flickr/mararie

    Home to a buzzing student population, a town square dubbed the “longest bar in the world” due to the abundance of watering holes, and hands-down one of the most beautiful buildings in all of Europe, Leuven should definitely be way more famous than it is.

    The town hall and its two hundred-plus statues handily beats Brussels in the beauty department and its Beguinages, which are little hidden courtyards where religious women used to live, are secluded maze-like escapes from the world outside.

    Stella Artois, one of the world's most famous beers, is brewed here, and a tour of the brewery is a signature of the few and proud travelers who take the time to see Lueven.


    PHOTO: Ghent by Worldwide Scott

    If you only had one place to go in Belgium, I would probably send you to Ghent. Their Castle of the Counts is probably the exact thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “castle,” and the ever-so-scenic riverside Graslei is probably the most beautiful stretch of medieval buildings in the entire country.

    Ghent is also home to the famous Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, a piece of art currently undergoing restoration, though two-thirds of it can still be viewed at St. Bavo's Cathedral.

    Throw in an enchanting nighttime lighting display that cloaks the town's many medieval buildings, and you'll see why Ghent is beloved — and subsequently kept a secret — by nearly all who visit.

More Belgium


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Worldwide Scott The Adventures of Worldwide Scott

Worldwide Scott Born in the U.S.A like Springsteen but trying to see the world like Pitbull, Worldwide Scott is the voice behind the hard-hitting travel site of the same name. Employing a groundbreaking strategy of visiting destinations, coming home, and then writing things about them on the internet, Worldwide Scott only tackles the tough questions that other writers wouldn't dare touch: Is travelling fun? Are there pretty places in the world? Do people in other countries wear clothes? Does Europe really exist? And if so, what's the beer like there? Stick around, he's going places.
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