4-Days in Belgium: From Cosmopolitan Brussels to Medieval Towns

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Curated By

Lilly Paez

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  • Belgium

  • City Travel

  • Arts & Culture

  • Solo Travel

  • History

  • Multi-City

  • Architecture

view from an intersection at the top of a city with blue cloudless sky
Curator’s statement

Do not overlook Belgium. This charming country is where old meets new and it has something for everyone. Whether you want to explore old towns or immerse yourself in modern architecture, you can find it in Belgium. Get a taste of the rich gastronomy. After all, you can thank Belgium for the invention of the french fries. Whatever you do, eat them with mayo, NOT ketchup! Indulge in waffles and chocolate as well. Spending four days in Belgium, you can easily explore Brussels for two days and take two day trips to Ghent and Bruges. If you have additional time, head over to the capital for diamonds: Antwerp. I dare you not to fall in love with Belgium.

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Where to stay

Sofitel Brussels Europe

This sophisticated and elegant property is located in the heart of the city, close to the famous Cinquantenaire park and several museums. Your room will have a view of the hotel's beautiful interior patio or the Jourdan Square.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Steigenberger Wiltcher's

Regal property nearby the Royal Palace of Brussels with upscale rooms and suites.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel Amigo

The city’s true luxury stay with a heart-of-the-action address just off Grand Place.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

  • Additional exclusive offers.

Lilly posing with a city view behind her and the sun shining.

Unlock perks by contacting Lilly to book your trip.

Day 1: Welcome to Brussels

facade of a row of ornate buildings with varied rootops

Start your day in the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the central square in Brussels, dating back to the 17th century. You can admire the famous ornate buildings and architecture including the Hotel de Ville or Town Hall. Maybe enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes and restaurants. A short five minute walk, you will find the famous Manneken Pis or Little Pissing Man, stop for a quick photo. I recommend trying to arrive early to snap a pic of Manneken Pis. From here, you can head over to Église Notre-Dame des Victoires au Sablon to enjoy the Gothic architecture. The church is open 365 days a year and it’s free of charge to visit. Take a walk around the Sablon neighborhood, known for its chocolate and antique shops. A short 9-minute walk takes you to the Royal Palace of Brussels and the Parc de Bruxelles. While the Royal Palace is closed, you can enjoy the old hunting lodge turned park with its statues. Another do not miss landmark is the St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral, Brussels. You can learn all about the Cathedral through an interactive visit using your phone and the QR codes throughout this church. Finish out your day at the Galeries St Hubertus. This 175-year-old arcade is full of boutiques and cafes. Enjoy dinner in this chic spot and maybe indulge in some chocolate.

Day 2: Explore the city

cityscape at sundown with tall church steeple rising high above the city

Start your second day at Mons de Arts, an urban, artistic complex with an impressive view of Brussels. This space divides the upper and lower parts of the city. After strolling around the gardens, head over to take a look at the European Parliament and Council of the EU. Both are quite close to each other and allow for visitors. If you are a history buff like myself, you can enjoy a few hours at the House of European History. Your last stop of the day is a little ways away, the Atomium is about 15 minutes outside of the city center. This modern landmark was created for the 1958 World's Fair as a tribute to modern progress. Right by the Atomium, you can find Mini Europe, a replica of the continent that allows you to explore all of Europe in just a few minutes.

Day 3: Journey to Ghent

rooftop view of a large historic city

Ghent is a short 1-hour train ride from Brussels. This charming town is located in what was once the old medieval county of Flanders, a political powerhouse starting in the 12th century. Enjoy the picturesque homes along river canals and marvel at the gothic architecture of Saint Bravo's Cathedtral. Step into the church to admire the most famous example of Flemish painting: "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb." Other main sights include the Wheat Market, the Belfry Tower and the Fortress of Gravensteen just to name a few. Make sure to walk across St. Michaels Bridge and admire the views of Ghent. I highly recommend you stay there until the evening as the city lights up beautifully.

Day 3: Medieval Brugge

the corner of a city reflecting into a placid gray river

Brugge, also known as the Venice of the north, is a charming medieval town located close enough to Brussels to enjoy as a day trip. Brugge reached its height during the 13th and 14th centuries due to its wool production. The town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Do make sure you visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, where a relic of the Holy Blood is housed, the Belfry, Market Square, Church of Our Lady of Bruges, City Hall and St. Anne's Quarter, where you can shop for lace. Spend your day strolling along the romantic canals of this little fairytale town.

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out my guide to Porto, Portugal: Three Days in the Vibrant Coastal City of Porto.

Lilly posing with a city view behind her and the sun shining.

Travel Advisor

Lilly Paez

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