Top tourist attractions in Belgium
Here is a list of top tourist attractions in Belgium. Only the topmost tourist destinations are presented here. To see other destinations, please check the images from Belgium section.
Curious if any of these place from Belgium made it our best tourist attractions in the world list? Read the aformentioned article in order to find out.
You can also view all tourist attractions in Belgium and other countries on our tourist attractions map.
Manneken Pis [ˌmɑnəkə ˈpɪs], is a famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in 1618 or 1619.
The Atomium is an iconic building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m tall. Its nine 18 m diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose escalators and a lift to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. CNN named it Europe's most bizarre building.
Antwerp Zoo is a zoo in the centre of Antwerp, Belgium, located right next to the Antwerpen-Centraal railway station. It is the oldest animal park in the country, and one of the oldest in the world, established on 21 July 1843.
Mini-Europe is a miniature park located in Bruparck at the foot of the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. Mini-Europe has reproductions of monuments in the European Union on show, at a scale of 1:25. Roughly 80 cities and 350 buildings are represented. The models cost as much as €350,000 to make. The park contains live action models. A guide gives the details on all the monuments. At the end of the visit, the “Spirit of Europe” exhibition gives an interactive overview of the European Union in the form of multimedia games. The park is built on an area of 24,000 m². The initial investment was of €10 million in 1989, on its inauguration by Prince Philip of Belgium.
Walibi Belgium, formerly Walibi Wavre and then Six Flags Belgium, is a Belgian theme park located in Wavre, close to Brussels. During the 1998 to 2004 period, it was owned by Six Flags, Inc, an American theme park operator. It was later sold to Palamon Capital Partners. As of 2006, the park is owned and operated, along with Paris' Parc Astérix, by CDA Parks. The Walibi name comes from the mix of Wavre, Limal and Bièrges, three towns in the Belgian province of Walloon Brabant, where the park is situated.
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It measures 68 by 110 metres, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bobbejaanland is a theme park in Lichtaart, Belgium. It was founded by Bobbejaan Schoepen, a Flemish singer, guitarist, and entertainer who enjoyed international popularity in the fifties and early sixties. After 15 years he got weary of touring. In 1960 he decided to build his own music theater: he started draining a 30 hectare marsh that he bought in 1959. He build a venue with 1000 places where he could perform as often as he liked. In December 1961, the Bobbejaanland amusement park was born. Bobbejaan and his family sold the park in 2004.
Plopsaland De Panne
Plopsaland De Panne is a theme park located near the town of De Panne on the Belgian coast. The park opened on 20 April 2000. Before that date the park, created by a honey company, was called Meli-Park and had a bee theme.
Royal Museum for Central Africa
Natural history Museum
The Royal Museum for Central Africa, also colloquially known as the Africa Museum, is an ethnography and natural history museum situated in Tervuren in Flemish Brabant, Belgium. It was first built to showcase King Leopold II's Congo Free State for the 1897 World Exhibition. It focuses on the Congo, a former Belgian colony. The sphere of influence however extends to the whole Congo River basin, Middle Africa, East Africa and West Africa, but tries to integrate "Africa" as a whole. Intended originally as a colonial museum, from 1960 it became more focused on ethnography and anthropology. Like in most museums, there is a research and public exhibit department. Not all research is pertaining to Africa, for example the research on the archaeozoology of Sagalassos, Turkey. Some researchers have strong ties with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. From the end of November 2013, the Museum will be closed for renovation work which is expected to last until May 2016.
Parc du Cinquantenaire or Jubelpark is a large public, urban park in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium. Most buildings of the U-shaped complex which dominate the park were commissioned by the Belgian government under the patrondom of King Leopold II for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence, and successive exhibitions which place in the same area, replacing previous constructions . The present centrepiece triumphal arch was erected in 1905 replacing a previous temporary version of the arcade by Gédéon Bordiau. The structures were built in iron, glass and stone, symbolising the economic and industrial performance of Belgium. The surrounding 30 hectare park esplanade was full of picturesque gardens, ponds and waterfalls. It housed several trade fairs, exhibitions and festivals at the beginning of the century. This settled however in 1930 when it was decided that Cinquantenaire would become a leisure park. The Royal Military Museum has been the sole tenant of the northern half of the complex since 1880. The southern half is currently occupied by the Cinquantenaire Art Museum and the AutoWorld Museum. The Temple of Human Passions, a remainder from 1886, and the Great Mosque of Brussels from 1978 are located in the north-western corner of the park.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, is one of the most famous museums in Belgium.
A béguinage or begijnhof is a collection of small buildings used by Beguines. These were various lay sisterhoods of the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the 13th century in the Low Countries, comprising religious women who sought to serve God without retiring from the world.
Bellewaerde is a theme park in the West-Flemish countryside near Ypres. Established in 1954 on grounds that were the location of the Battle of Bellewaerde during World War I, named after the old castle that to this day stands near the main entrance of the park. Bellewaerde is the oldest operating theme park in Belgium. Originally a zoo and safari, the park expanded in the early eighties to become more of a general theme- and thrillpark, catering towards teens and families. The 54-hectare park is famous for its beautiful gardens, marvelous landscaping and its attention to theming. Bellewaerde draws about 850,000 - 900,000 visitors a year and is the main theme park in Flanders. Major rides include the first Boomerang coaster in Europe, a dark ride with a pirate theme, a Vekoma Mad House, several water rides including a log flume, a river rapids ride and a spillwater ride, the Screaming Eagle vertical drop tower, a large number of stock rides such as a pirate ship, a swing carousel, a monorail, an original Zierer beetle coaster, old-timers, carousels, an octopus, tea-cups and a Jungle Cruise-like boat ride, and an entertainment schedule that changes every year. Bellewaerde's latest additions are the world's first Topple Tower from Huss, El Volador, the breakdance-carousel El Toro and a 4D Cinema.
Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp
The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp is a museum in Antwerp, Belgium, founded in 1810, houses a collection of paintings, sculptures and drawings from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. This collection is representative of the artistic production and the taste of art enthusiasts in Antwerp, Belgium and the Northern and Southern Netherlands since the 15th century. The museum is closed for renovation until the end of 2017. The neoclassical building housing the collection is one of the primary landmarks of the Zuid district of Antwerp. The majestic building was designed by Jacob Winders and Frans van Dijk, built beginning in 1884, opened in 1890, and completed in 1894. Sculpture on the building includes two bronze figures of Fame with horse-drawn chariots by sculptor Thomas Vincotte, and seven rondel medallions of artists that include Boetius à Bolswert, Frans Floris, Jan van Eyck, Peter Paul Rubens, Quentin Matsys, Erasmus Quellinus II, and Appelmans, separated by four monumental sculptures representing Architecture, Painting, Sculpture, and Graphics. The building stands in gardens bounded by the Leopold de Waalplaats, the Schildersstraat, the Plaatsnijdersstraat, and the Beeldhouwersstraat.
The Plantin-Moretus Museum is a museum in Antwerp, Belgium honouring the famous printers Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus. It is located in their former residence and printing establishment, Plantin Press, at the Friday Market.
Museum aan de Stroom
The Museum aan de Stroom is a museum located in the Eilandje district of Antwerp, Belgium, opened in May 2011. It is the largest museum in Antwerp. The 60 metre high MAS, was designed by Neutelings Riedijk Architects. The façade is made of Indian red sandstone and curved glass panel construction. The MAS houses 470,000 objects, most of which are kept in storage. The first visitor's gallery is the "visible store", which contains 180,000 items. The building replaces the Hanzehuis which used to stand on the exact same spot. International merchants worked and receded at the Hanzehuis. In the nineteenth century a fire destroyed the building. In 1998 the Antwerp city council decided to build a museum at the Hanzestedenplaats which will be called MAS | Museum aan de Stroom. On September 14 2006 the first brick of the building is laid. In 2010 the museum objects arrive from various other museums like the Etnographic Museum and the Maritime Museum, which both ceased to exist. On May 17 2011 the museum opened for the public. The central focus of the MAS is Antwerp and its many aspects. The main themes are Metropolis, Power, Life and Death, and Antwerp's long history as a major international port. The museum is committed to informing the public using new media. It has placed QR codes on most objects that link to website information in five languages: English, Dutch, French, German and Spanish.
The Groeningemuseum is a municipal museum of Bruges, Belgium. It houses a comprehensive survey of six centuries of Flemish and Belgian painting, from Jan van Eyck to Marcel Broodthaers. The museum's many highlights include its collection of "Flemish Primitive" art, works by a wide range of Renaissance and Baroque masters, as well as a selection of paintings from the 18th and 19th century neo-classical and realist periods, milestones of Belgian symbolism and modernism, masterpieces of Flemish expressionism and many items from the city's collection of post-war modern art.
Art Nouveau Structure
The Horta Museum is a museum dedicated to the life and work of the Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta and his time. The museum is housed in Horta's former house and atelier, Maison & Atelier Horta, in the Brussels municipality of Saint-Gilles. In the splendid Art Nouveau interiors there is a permanent display of furniture, utensils and art objects designed by Horta and his contemporaries as well as documents related to his life and time. The museum also organises temporary exhibitions on topics related to Horta and his art. The building is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Saint Bavo Cathedral
The Saint Bavo Cathedral is the seat of the diocese of Ghent. It is named for Saint Bavo of Ghent. The building is based upon the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, a primarily wooden construction; it was consecrated in 942 by Transmarus, Bishop of Tournai and Noyon. Traces of this original structure are evident in the cathedral's crypt. The chapel was subsequently expanded in the Romanesque style in 1038. Some traces of this phase of expansion are still evident in the present day crypt. In the subsequent period from the 14th through 16th centuries, nearly continuous expansion projects in the Gothic style were executed on the structure. A new choir, radiating chapels, expansions of the transepts, a Chapterhouse, nave aisles and a single tower western section were all added during this period. Construction was considered complete June 7, 1569. In 1539, as a result of the rebellion against Charles V, the old Abbey of St. Bavo was dissolved. Its abbot and monks went on to become canons in a Chapter that was attached to what then became the Church of Saint Bavo. When the Diocese of Ghent was founded in 1559, the church became its Cathedral. The church of Saint Bavo was also the site of the baptism of Charles V.
The Gravensteen is a castle in Ghent originating from the Middle Ages. The name means "castle of the count" in Dutch.
Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst
The Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst is a relatively new museum located in Ghent, Belgium, and is renowned both for its permanent collection and for its provocative exhibitions. The new museum opened to the public on 7 May 1999. The collection concentrates on international developments in art after 1945, and was based upon works collected by the Contemporary Art Museum Association and the Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst. After Jan Hoet retired from the museum on December 1, 2003, Peter Doroshenko was in charge. After a trial period of one year he was dismissed. The dismissal of Doroshenko caused much commotion. Artists and curators headed by Luc Tuymans feared for the future and independence of the museum. A petition was handed to the Chairman of the Board of Directors; culture vessels Sas Van Rouveroij. The dismissal was not reversed, but there were some changes in the organizational structure of the museum. Thus, Jan Hoet gave up his seat on the board of directors. Peter Doroshenko went to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead. He then became artistic director of the Pinchuk Art Centre in the central European city of Kiev, Ukraine and is now at Dallas Contemporary, Texas. Current directors are Philippe Van Cauteren and Philippe Vandenweghe
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Natural history Museum
The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is a museum in the Belgian capital of Brussels dedicated to natural history. Its most important pieces are 30 fossilized Iguanodon skeletons, which were discovered in 1878 in Bernissart. The dinosaur hall of the museum is the world's largest museum hall completely dedicated to dinosaurs. Another famous piece is the Ishango bone, which was discovered in 1960 by Jean de Heinzelin de Braucourt. Like in most museums, there is a research department and a public exhibit department.
Musical Instrument Museum
The Musical Instrument Museum is a music museum in central Brussels, Belgium. It is part of the Royal Museums for Art and History and internationally renowned for its collection of over 8000 instruments.
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History is a military museum that occupies the two northernmost halls of the historic complex in Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels, Belgium.
Basilica of Saint Servatius
The Basilica of Saint Servatius is a Roman catholic church dedicated to Saint Servatius, in the city of Maastricht, the Netherlands. The architecturally hybrid but mainly Romanesque church is situated next to the Gothic church of Saint John, facing the town's main square, Vrijthof.
The Rubenshuis is the former home and studio of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp. It is now a museum.
Belgian Comic Strip Center
The Belgian Comic Strip Center chronicles the history of Belgian comics. Housed in a former department store in Brussels' business district, it exhibits examples of comic strips in French, Dutch and English. The full range of comic art is covered, including science fiction, wild west, crime and politics, as well as children's comics such as The Smurfs. It has several exhibits on Belgium's most famous comic series The Adventures of Tintin and its creator Hergé. The style of the Tintin comics and their history is examined, including life-size models of characters and sets from Tintin's adventures. There is a shop, research library, and restaurant on the ground floor of the historic building, which was designed by the Belgian art nouveau architect Victor Horta.
AutoWorld is a vintage car museum in the center of Brussels, Belgium, located in the southern hall of the Cinquantenaire Park. It holds a large and varied collection of 350 vintage European and American automobiles from the late 19th century until the seventies. Including Minervas, such models as a 1928 Bentley, a 1930 Bugatti and a 1930 Cord and several limousines which belonged to the Belgian royal family. It is unrelated to the failed amusement park AutoWorld in Flint, Michigan.
Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station
Gent-Sint-Pieters is the main railway station in Ghent and – depending upon the measure used – the second or third busiest railway station in Belgium. Its NMBS/SNCB internal code is FGSP.
Belfry of Bruges
The belfry of Bruges, or Belfort, is a medieval bell tower in the historical centre of Bruges, Belgium. One of the city's most prominent symbols, the belfry formerly housed a treasury and the municipal archives, and served as an observation post for spotting fires and other danger. A narrow, steep staircase of 366 steps, accessible by the public for an entry fee, leads to the top of the 83-metre-high building, which leans about a metre to the east. To the sides and back of the tower stands the former market hall, a rectangular building only 44 m broad but 84 m deep, with an inner courtyard. The belfry, accordingly, is also known as the Halletoren. The building is a central feature of the 2008 film In Bruges.
Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp
The Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp is the contemporary art museum of the city of Antwerp, Belgium, and it is one of the most important art museums in Belgium. The museum holds a permanent collection of contemporary art from Belgian and international artists, an arthouse cinema and an extensive library of books on contemporary art. The architect responsible for the creation of the museum from an old grain storage space was Michel Grandsard who also designed the extension of the museum. The director of the museum since 1992 is Bart de Baere.
Ypres Cloth Hall
The Cloth Hall in Ypres, Belgium, was one of the largest commercial buildings of the Middle Ages, when it served as the main market and warehouse for the Flemish city's prosperous cloth industry. The original structure, erected mainly in the 13th century and completed 1304, lay in ruins after artillery fire devastated Ypres in World War I. Between 1933 and 1967, the hall was meticulously reconstructed to its prewar condition, under the guidance of architects J. Coomans and P.A. Pauwels. At 125 metres in breadth, with a 70-metre-high belfry tower, the Cloth Hall recalls the importance and wealth of the medieval trade city. In a row spanning the front of the edifice are tall pointed arches that alternately enclose windows and blind niches. Before the Great War, the niches framed life-size statues of historical personages, counts and countesses of Flanders. The niches on the side wings are now mostly vacant, but those in the centre contain statues of Count Baldwin IX of Flanders and Mary of Champagne, legendary founders of the building; and King Albert I and Queen Elisabeth, under whose reign the reconstruction began. Situated between these two couples, directly above the central archway entrance or Donkerpoort, is a statue of Our Lady of Thuyne, the patron of Ypres.
Belfry of Ghent
The 91-metre-high belfry of Ghent is one of three medieval towers that overlook the old city centre of Ghent, Belgium, the other two belonging to Saint Bavo Cathedral and Saint Nicholas' Church. Its height makes it the tallest belfry in existence. Through the centuries, it has served not only as a bell tower to announce the time and various warnings, but also as a fortified watchtower and town treasury. Construction of the tower began in 1313 to the design of master mason Jan van Haelst, whose plans are still preserved in a museum. After continuing intermittently through wars, plagues and political turmoil, the work reached completion in 1380. It was near the end of this period that the gilded dragon, brought from Bruges, assumed its place atop the tower. The uppermost parts of the building have been rebuilt several times, in part to accommodate the growing number of bells. The primary bell in the tower, Roland, was the one used by citizens to warn of an enemy approaching or a battle won. "Roland has become almost a person to the people of Belgium. He is a patriot, a hero, a leader in all rebellion against unrighteous authority." Upon conquering Ghent that had risen against, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor ordered the removal of Roland. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow referred to Roland in one of his poems:
The barquentine Mercator was designed by the Antarctic explorer Adrien de Gerlache as a training ship for the Belgian merchant fleet. She was named after Gerardus Mercator, Flemish cartographer. She was built in Leith, Scotland and launched in 1932. Besides being a training a ship, she was also used, mainly before World War II, for scientific observations, or as ambassador for Belgium on world fairs and in sailing events. This ship went through an incredible history. In 1961, she became a floating museum, first in Antwerp, and finally from 1964 in the marina of Oostende, just in front of the city hall. Now in 2013, she remained there in the heart of the city where people can go in the ship.
The Curtius Museum is a museum of archaeology and decorative arts, located on the bank of the Meuse River in Liège, classified as a Major Heritage of Wallonia. It was built sometime between 1597 and 1610 as a private mansion for Jean Curtius, industrialist and munitions supplier to the Spanish army. With its alternating layers of red brick and natural stone, and its cross-mullioned windows, the building typifies the regional style known as the Mosan Renaissance. After a 50 million euro redevelopment, the museum reopened as the Grand Curtius in March 2009, now housing the merged collections of four former museums: the museum of archeology, the museum of weaponry, the museum of decorative arts, and the museum of religious art and Mosan art. Highlights in the collections include treasures of Mosan art such as a twelfth-century gilded reliquary tryptich, formerly in the church of Sainte-Croix, the Evangelarium of Notger, sculptures by Jean Del Cour, and a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte painted by Ingres in 1804: Bonaparte, First Consul.
Musée des Beaux-Arts Tournai
The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Tournai, Belgium, is an art museum. The inception of the museum was in the beginning of the 20th century when Henri Van Cutsem, a Belgian art collector, offered his collection to the city of Tournai in 1905. The collection contained important works of important 19th century French painters like Manet, Monet, Seurat and others. The Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta started drafting a new building that would contain the Van Cutsem donation and other holdings already owned by the city of Tournai but the First World War intervened and construction was delayed. Horta abandoned his first designs made in a typical Art Nouveau style. The building that finally opened its doors in 1928 is executed in a more classical and linear style typically for the work of Horta in the post-war period.
Sanctuary Wood Museum Hill 62
The Sanctuary Wood Museum Hill 62, 3 km east of Ypres, Belgium is located in the neighborhood of the Canadian Hill 62 Memorial and the Sanctuary Wood Cemetery. The museum is privately owned by Jacques Schier, the grandson of the farmer who founded the museum and owned the site of the museum since before World War I, and it has a unique collection of World War I items, including a rare collection of 3-dimensional photographs, weapons, uniforms, and bombs. A preserved section of the British trench lines are located behind the museum, and the attraction also has a small bar, café and gift shop. The trenches feature a muddy maze of trenches. As it has a wide collection of Great War artifacts, the museum is a popular attraction on World War I-themed school trips from the UK.
The ASVi is a tramway museum in Thuin in Belgium, which specialises in the history of the Belgian narrow gauge Vicinal system. The museum includes an operating museum tram line which runs from Thuin to Lobbes. The metre gauge historic tram line is made of two sections : ⁕a part of the former vicinal tramway line Thuin - Anderlues. This line was part of the famous and extensive Belgian vicinal tramway network which once covered the whole country ; ⁕a part of the SNCB normal gauge line which was converted to metric gauge and equipped with an overhead line for power supply.