Belgium—the country of fries, chocolate, beer and waffles; of medieval architecture and flat fields—has more than its fair share of exceptional attractions. Filled with remarkable buildings, there are several visit-worthy observation towers in Belgium, which are always fun (and rewarding) to climb.
8 Recommended Observation Towers in Belgium
1. St. Rumbold’s Tower, Mechelen
Dominating the old market square in Mechelen, St. Rumbold’s Tower rises almost 100 meters to the sky. You can ascend it along no fewer than 538 steps for some spectacular views of this historic city. This massive tower, one of the biggest observation towers in Belgium, is part of St. Rumbold’s Cathedral and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a clear day, views reach as far as the Atomium in Brussels and the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp (see below for both).
2. Belfry, Bruges
One of Belgium’s most iconic buildings, the Belfry of Bruges is one of the historic observation towers of Belgium and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Standing 83 meters tall, it can be climbed along 366 steps for truly jaw-dropping views of Bruges, the Old Town of which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Library Tower, Leuven
One of the world’s most striking libraries, the University Library in Leuven is topped with an impressive tower. It is one of the most beautiful structures in a city that has no lack of imposing architecture. On the way up, you can enjoy a photography exhibition featuring the history of Leuven.
4. Cathedral of Our Lady, Antwerp
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be one of the greatest Gothic buildings in Europe, the magnificent Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp boasts one completely finished tower and one unfinished one. Dominating the cityscape, the tower is 123 meters high and is the tallest building in Antwerp.
5. Cloth Hall, Ypres
Ypres’ Cloth Hall, a truly enormous building, was leveled entirely during the First World War, but meticulously and accurately rebuilt afterwards. This UNESCO World Heritage Site houses the phenomenal In Flanders Fields Museum, which is an absolute highlight of a visit to the Flanders Fields region. You can combine a museum visit with a climb to the top of the cloth hall’s 70-meter-tall tower.
6. Atomium, Brussels
One of the architectural symbols and a relatively recent example of the observation towers of Belgium, the Atomium isn’t a tower per se, but it can be climbed and offers exceptional views of Brussels. Built for the 1958 World Expo, this remarkable structure consists of nine huge spheres connected by 3-meter-wide tubes. It represents an iron crystal that is magnified 165 billion times, which at the time reflected technological progress and the atomic age.
7. Yser Tower, Diksmuide
The Yser Tower, situated in the heart of Flanders Fields, a region famous for its World War I battles, is a memorial tower commemorating Belgian, and particularly Flemish, soldiers who were killed on the Yser Front. It is a significant monument for the Flemish movement within Belgium and houses a museum about Flemish emancipation. The views over the fields of Flanders are nothing short of exceptional.
8. St. Gummarus’ Tower, Lier
The less-visited town of Lier has its fair share of attractions, including two UNESCO World Heritage Sites—a belfry and a béguinage. St. Gummarus’ Tower, a part of St. Gummarus’ Church, is not world heritage, but it is definitely worthy of a visit. 296 steps lead to the top of this imposing tower, which offers memorable views of the town and the valley of the Nete River beyond.