Belgium as a tourist destination
Belgium is a favourite European tourist destination. It boasts a number of important cultural and historical sites, many of which are to be found in its principal towns.
Brussels is the federal capital of Belgium. It is known for its squares, monuments and magnificent museums. The impressive main square (Grand-Place) with the town hall and surrounding alleyways and old houses is one of the finest in the world. Brussels is also home to many national and foreign companies, the main Belgian political institutions and many European institutions (European Commission, European Parliament, Council of Ministers). Brussels is both the political and administrative centre of Europe.
Built on the River Schelde, Antwerp is the second largest city in Belgium. It is home to one of the world's most important ports and is a leading diamond centre. Antwerp was also the home of the Flemish master, Rubens.
Nicknamed 'Venice of the North', Bruges is one of the most visited old towns of Europe, drawing in tourists from all over the world. Its magnificent canals provide a setting for unforgettable boat rides.
Ghent, too, has some fine historical monuments, such as the medieval castle of the Counts of Flanders. On the city outskirts lies the Flanders Expo exhibition centre which regularly plays host to trade fairs staged by Belgian and foreign companies.
Bordering the river Meuse, Namur is set in a stunning valley landscape. Lovers of history and legend will enjoy touring its citadel and the chateaux, abbeys and churches of the region.
The town of Liège sits proudly at the confluence of the rivers Meuse and Ourthe. It boasts several historical monuments, including the famous Palace of Prince-Bishops.
Mons is home to a wealth of architectural heritage (the belfry, the town hall, Sainte-Waudru church), as well as museums and its own rich folklore (the Ducasse festival, the real Mons new year).
Official tourist website (only available in French)
Belgium is also well-known for its impressive natural tourism areas: to the north, the Belgian coast has a dozen seaside resorts and 67 km of sandy beaches, while to the south the Ardennes region, with its vast wooded areas cut through with rivers, offers winter sports enthusiasts a chance to do some downhill and cross-country skiing.
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