Belgium is a small European country that is sandwiched to its south by the French, to the north by the Dutch, and to the east by Germany and Luxembourg. The country is divided into the Flemish-speaking north (Flanders) and the French-speaking south (Wallonia) with Brussels serving as the capital at the midpoint. Besides being the headquarters of both the European Union and NATO, Belgium is known for its fine chocolates and pralines, Belgian waffles, Moules Frites (Mussels and chips), Lambic and “Rabbit in Gueuze” beers, Flemish Art, and fashion designing.
While Belgium is sometimes seen as a dull, industrial country, it has its fair share of dynamic and artistic cities, including Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent. Antwerp for instance has become a leading center of fashion design in Europe and is also the diamond capital of the world. And it has always been treasured with splendid baroque cathedrals and the famous artworks of Rubens and Van Gogh. Bruges is another example, considered by many to be the largest historic city in Europe and its beauty is evidenced by its gardens, ponds, canals, and old architecture. And Ghent is perhaps best described as a hybrid of Antwerp and Bruges.
The southern region of Belgium is home to the Ardennes, a region of hills and forests that attract skiers in the winter and hikers, kayakers, and mountain bikers in the summer. A tour of Belgium would not be complete, of course, without a visit to its capital, Brussels, as well as the sites of World War I’s Western Front, which include Liège and Flanders Field in Ypres.
Unlike some of the southern countries in Europe, the best time to visit Belgium is in the summer to avoid the wretched cold and gloom of winter and the unpredictable weather of the shoulder seasons.