Belgium is an enchanting country with a lot of places to explore. This Western European country offers a lot of tourist attractions for cultural enthusiasts, history lovers, or even outdoor adventurers. Brussels, Ghent, and Bruges must be very mainstream travel destinations. However, there are still many hidden gems in Belgium that are less traveled by many. So, are you interested in traveling to the off-the-beaten-path of Belgium? Check out this blog to read the full list and details!
What are the best hidden gems in Belgium?
- Castle of Freÿr
- Rocher du Bieley
- Beguinages of Leuven
- The Middelheim Open-Air Sculpture Park in Antwerp
Do not miss out on visiting Dinant, one of the most beautiful hidden gems in Belgium. This picturesque town lies alongside the River Meuse’s banks. Throughout the river, you can view the beautiful colorful houses nestled stunningly with the background of steep cliffs. Moreover, if you straddle on an outcrop above the city, you can find the majestic centuries-old Citadel. The scenery looks extremely beautiful. Even some people call this town “a postcard city.”
While you are here, do not forget to try out its local cuisine. Some restaurants and street food stalls throughout the town offer affordable, delicious food prices. If you are more into a nature adventure, you can also visit the Castle of Walzin and the Castle of Vêves, which offer beautiful Disney-like scenery. Or visit the Grotte La Merveilleuse, a cave decorated with magnificent white stalagmites and stalactites.
Castle of Freÿr
Located close to Dinant, do not forget to visit the Castle of Freÿr. The castle is one of the hidden gems in Belgium that you must visit if you are into majestic old buildings. Often compared to Versailles in France, the Castle of Freÿr has been classified as one of the major heritage sites in Wallonia. Established in the 14th century, the Castle of Freÿr still keeps its Mosan Renaissance architectural style after being destroyed by the Duke of Nevers in 1554.
Go inside the castle to adore the authentic furnishings and majestic interiors. Learn also the historical events that occurred in this castle, such as the Coffee Treaty of 1675 and the moving testimony of 25 generations. Besides the castle architecture and history, enjoy the terraced gardens surrounding the castle and close to the River Meuse’s banks. You will find peace and a serene atmosphere when you are here.
Rocher du Bieley
If you go to the eastern part of Belgium for your vacation, visit Rocher du Bieley. This viewpoint is one of the excellent places in Belgium for those who love hiking. Once you arrive at the viewpoint, you can get picturesque and panoramic views of the valley below. You can see the curvy river below from the top of this viewpoint. So, take some pictures, and do not forget to post them on your Instagram account.
You must know that Rocher du Bieley is close to the border between Germany and Belgium. In fact, the viewpoint is said to be the highest point in Belgium. Therefore, many people call it the “Matterhorn of Belgium.” The rock formation is also known to be challenging to hike. That is why we call Rocher du Bieley one of the hidden gems in Belgium, which you must visit if you want to spend your time hiking in a tranquil place.
The next hidden gem in Belgium you need to visit is Mechelen. This travel destination is between Brussels and Antwerp. Not many tourists go to this city for recreational purposes, although the fact is that the city is worth discovering. Explore the beauty of many 13th-century architectural buildings and stroll along the cobblestone streets throughout the city. You will definitely love how serene and majestic this small city is.
Mechelen is home to many heritage buildings. Burgundian Hof van Busleyden city palace and St. Rumbold’s Cathedral are among many historical and iconic buildings erected in Mechelen. Although you can find many old buildings, Mechelen is also a fun place to enjoy technology and science arts. For example, go to the Technolopolis, Planckendael Zoo, and Toy Museum. Those places are some of the best modern tourist attractions in Mechelen.
Do you know that the tiny town of Tienen is known for its sugar cube production? So, perhaps, the sugar cubes you use whenever you drink a cup of tea or fresh coffee could be from this city. Besides being known for its sugar cup production, Tienen was once a settlement where the Romans produced glass and ceramics. The small town of Tienen is located not far from Leuven and is actually an off-the-beaten-path in the heart of Flemish Brabant in Flanders.
Tienen is considered one of the hidden gems in Belgium because it offers many cool activities and cute places to visit and explore, yet many people take it for granted. Soak up the serene ambiance of the town by strolling around the city. See the churches and taste some local cuisine, such as meatballs, stews, and mussels. You can also visit the central square, where the remarkable Romanesque church, Sint-Germanuskerk, stands.
Beguinages of Leuven
Leuven is home to many beguinages. Beguinage is an architectural complex that houses the beguines, the pious women who lived to serve God without taking a vow. In Leuven alone, you can see many sizes of beguinages, from small to great sizes. Even more, two beguinages in Leuven are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are the red brick, sandstone grand beguinage, and the small beguinage comprised of two small alleys.
The grand beguinage of Leuven has small squares and gardens, which are perfect for you who seek somewhere quiet to contemplate. Adore the beautiful 13th-century architecture there. Moreover, in addition to the small alleys, the small beguinage of Leuven portrays the adorable style of small, white-painted houses with turquoise doors. The small one is rather secluded; therefore, it is perfect for those seeking the best hidden gems in Belgium.
Not far from Antwerp, Lier is a small town that you will find attractive. This little town has a historic little city center, where you can enjoy the beauty of its Grote Markt. Do not forget to adore the famous Zimmertoren, known as Cornelius Tower, which has beautiful 12 astronomical clocks in its tower. Or you can also stroll along the river flowing through the city and enjoy the beautiful views of the city from this angle.
Besides, Lier also has a lot of cute cafes around the town. So, go to one or some and have a drink with your friends. It is also a great place for work or study if you want to. Some local shops also have a lot of interesting things for you to do and buy, so spare your time and buy some souvenirs to bring home. One last thing you can do in this hidden gem in Belgium is take many photos of many beautiful corners of the street and buildings around the town.
Are you planning to visit Belgium during the springtime? Then, you must visit the Hallerbos, which is located in Brussels. In April, the forest in Hallerbos is full of hundreds, if not thousands, gorgeous purple hyacinths. Remember that this beautiful scenery will only last about two weeks. Take beautiful pictures with a background of this fairytale-like scenery before the flowers go away.
Another thing that you should remember is that during this period, the Hallerbos can be full of people who also want to experience this rare phenomenon. Therefore, we recommend you go to Hallerbos to avoid such crowds early in the morning. Also, the morning is actually the best time to capture some pictures of this hidden gem in Belgium. After you are satisfied taking some pictures, go on a hiking adventure exploring the forest. A few walking trails are available for you.
Do you know that the smallest village in the world is in Belgium? Well, at least, that is what many local claims about their small town. It is true that Durbuy is exactly the smallest town in Belgium. Moreover, it will not take too much time to explore and discover unique things in Durbuy for your travel to Belgium. Therefore, it is a must for you to put Durbuy into the list of hidden gems in Belgium you must visit.
It is very easy to enjoy the lovely Durbuy. You can walk along the cobblestone streets around the village. While walking, enjoy the quaint architecture of the small houses there. There are also many historical buildings along the way. So, stop by and eternalize those buildings by capturing some pictures. Last but not least, enjoy some quality time in small and cozy local shops, restaurants, and bars. It will be perfect for your little adventure in the smallest village in Belgium.
The Middelheim Open-Air Sculpture Park in Antwerp
If you are a fan of the artwork, you should visit the Middelheim Open-Air Sculpture Park. Located in Antwerp, this 30-hectare green space will indulge you with many fun attractions and activities. With around 400 artworks exhibited throughout the park, the Middelheim Open-Air Sculpture Park in Antwerp provides an international look of contemporary and modern art. So, do you want to experience all of them one by one?
Some fun attractions you can enjoy during your visit to this hidden gem in Belgium are Paul McCarthy’s massive inflatable turds and quirky sculptures. Moreover, the open-air park is home to around 215 unique sculptures. In addition, this museum also has some artworks on display, such as those from Jean Arp, Carl Andre, Henry Moore, Juan Muñoz, Alberto Giacometti, Franz West, and many more.
Those are the best hidden gems in Belgium that are less crowded than other touristy places in Belgium. So, are you interested in visiting those places? JoinMyTrip has fun trips to offer you regarding visiting Belgium. Our dedicated TripLeaders will take your vacation in Belgium to another level. So, are you ready? Check out our upcoming trips now!