Belgium; a country with medieval cities and lots of canals and rivers but also the country of beer, French fries, amazing chocolate, delicious waffles and way too many languages.
It seems like the rest of the world has found its way to this tiny little European country. Back when I studied in the centre of Bruges, the amount of tourists drove me (and my fellow Belgian citizens) completely crazy. I can fairly say that it’s one of the most touristy places I’ve ever been to and I’ve seen a fair amount of places.
I’ve read several travel articles about my home country. I’ve even read articles that describe how to see Belgium in a week (??!!). I’ve heard people telling me that they have seen the whole country. Those things make me laugh because both the articles on how to see Belgium in 1 week and the people who claim to have seen and experienced the whole country are ridiculous. They only talk/write about Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp and maybe Leuven.
Bruges, Ghent, Brussels, Antwerp and Leuven (maybe)
Check a map before you go people, did it ever occur to you that those 5 cities are located in only 2 parts of the country?
Did you know that Belgium exists out of 4 parts? If you didn’t know that, that’s a shame, you should do at least a bit of research before you decide to travel somewhere and even write an article about it.
I seriously still can’t believe that “How To See Belgium in One Week” article.
Let’s make things clear; Belgium is devided into 4 parts:
– Flanders (language: Flemish (a variant of Dutch))
– Brussels (language: Flemish and French but in reality you’ll only hear languages like Arabic and so)
– Walloon (language: French and Luxembourgish)
– East Cantons or Eupen-Malmedy (language: German)
Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven are located in Flanders.
Brussels… in Brussels obviously.
But what about Walloon and the East Cantons?
I’ll be honest with you; there are no main cities in the East Cantons. People go there to go skiing or to go camping and be in nature (yes, Belgium has nature). So if you’re only interested in city trips, the East Cantons won’t be for you.
Walloon, on the other hand, is a different case. Walloon is beautiful and has plenty of beautiful cities.
Some of the main cities in this Belgian region are;
– Dinant (not a city but very beautiful)
– La Roche (village in the Ardennes)
– Durbuy; considered the smallest village in the world
How to see the whole country?
Well, if you’re one of those few people who actually wants to see the whole country. Be prepared because 1 week won’t be enough. You’ll need 2 or so.
You need at least one full day (travel days not included – the public transport in Belgium can be quite annoying, it might take you a while until you reach your destination) in each city (not in the villages as Dinant and Durbuy).
The cities you should visit are;
- Durbuy (why? To have an idea of how a typical Walloon village looks like and also because it’s pretty)
- Spend a couple of days in the Ardennes. The Ardennes is a forest and hill region which spreads over a big part of Walloon. Very beautiful, a perfect place to go camping and go for hikes. A good place to stay in the Ardennes if you don’t wanna camp is La Roche.
- Go skiing (mostly cross country) in the East Cantons
Have you been to all those places? Then you’ve seen the WHOLE country. But you know what? It’s not necessary, you don’t have to see everything. After all, most Belgians haven’t seen all of those places either.