Belgian Towns Worth Visiting: Part 2

I know that the expression is way over-used, but Belgium really is a hidden gem worth visiting. A lot of people don’t even know where Belgium actually is. When I’m asked I always return the question by asking if the person knows where France, Germany, England and the Netherlands are? The answer is almost without exception ‘yes’. Well – surprise, surprise – Belgium is located right in the middle of those countries. What I love about my country is that it combines all of the influences of those neighbouring countries and has a few very interesting features of itself as well. There is, for example, nothing like the Flemish countryside, Belgium is jam-packed with old medieval buildings and history and the food is absolutely world-class.

The previous post included the cities and towns of Leuven, Dinant, Lier, Bastogne and Tongeren. Let’s continue with five more Belgian towns to stay in that are worth visiting.

More of Belgian Towns Worth Visiting

Ypres

Located in the Dutch-speaking province of West Flanders, the area around Ypres was already inhabited in the first century BC. In the Middle Ages it grew into a wealthy and prosperous city, thanks to the manufacturing and trading of high-quality textiles. However, Ypres became world-famous during and after World War 1, when it lay in the middle of the western front. Many battles were fought in the area; the most famous of those was the Battle of Passchendaele. The Canadian John McCrae wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ in the trenches near Ypres.

Worth Visiting: Cloth Hall in Ypres
Cloth Hall in Ypres

Mechelen

Historically Mechelen has always been a city of massive importance among several Belgian towns. It is located in the middle of Flanders, halfway between Antwerp and Brussels. There is a huge number of medieval buildings worth visiting, an enormous cathedral and a belfry (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites) and a couple of fascinating museums.

Worth Visiting: Mechelen Town Square
Mechelen Town Square

Namur

The Walloon city of Namur is situated at the confluence of the Meuse and Sambre Rivers.  Its major highlight is the vast citadel, located on a rocky outcrop between the two rivers. This massive fortress overlooks the city and rivers and you can explore it for free. Nowadays it serves as a park and has a couple of museums and taverns.

Worth Visiting: Shopping Street in Namur
Shopping Street in Namur

Durbuy

Durbuy calls itself the ‘Smallest City in the World’. There used to be some truth to this claim – it does have a city charter – but after merging with a few surrounding villages it’s gotten too big to make a serious claim to this title. It does attract thousands of visitors though. It is a downright gorgeous medieval town with winding cobbled lanes, plenty of quaint hotels and B&Bs, craft shops and restaurants. It is incredibly picturesque and well worth visiting.

Worth Visiting: Durbuy Street
Durbuy Street

Waterloo

The name Waterloo may sound familiar to you. This small place among Belgian towns has lent its name to several places around the world. It is a site of big historical importance and well worth visiting. Napoleon was defeated near Waterloo by the Duke of Wellington, who wrote his victory message in a tavern in the town. You can visit both Wellington’s and Napoleon’s headquarters, the Lion’s Mound and explore the former battlefields.

Worth Visiting: Waterloo Battlefields
Waterloo Battlefields

About Bram

Website: http://www.travel-experience-live.com

Bram is a Belgian guy who's currently living in the USA. For over four years now, he has been wandering the globe, with jobs here and there in between. So far, his travels have taken him to four continents and twenty-two countries. Bram likes to try different styles of travelling: from backpacker and adventurer to tourist and local, he has been all those stereotypes and probably will be many more in the future. You can follow his adventures on his travel blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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