Belgium, bordered by France, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands and the North Sea, is easily accessible by train from nearly anywhere in Europe. Include Belgium in your European itinerary; Belgium offers many different things to do and places to visit for people of all ages and interests.
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Often called the "Venice of the North," the medieval town of Bruges consists of canals winding through the city and centuries-old architecture. While visiting Bruges, take a boatride on one of the canals. Don't miss viewing paintings by Flemish masters such as Rubens and Cuyp. Visit the Almshouses, which was converted to a beautiful garden. Sample some of the world's finest chocolates at one of the city's 49 chocolate boutiques, and don't forget to snack on a bowl of Bruges' speciality, mussels, in one of the many cafes.
Belgium is world-renowned for its chocolate. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a chance to learn more about what goes into making a velvety smooth chocolate. In Brussels alone, there are no fewer than eight places to take a chocolate tour through a museum or workshop. A few of the more famous ones include La Maison du Chocolat, Planete Chocolat and Zaabar. Many offer demonstrations on the process, samples and gift shops for some of the finest chocolates in the world. Several require reservations, so book a tour before you travel to Belgium.
Belgium is known all over the world for its adherence to tradition in its beer-making. Brussels is home to several famous breweries and beer museums including Brasserie Friart and La Brasserie Lefevre. Outside of Brussels there are several famous breweries and monasteries that brew beer in the centuries-old style. Sample beers from Trappist and Cistercian monasteries in Chimay, Orval, Rochefort, Westmalle, Westvleteren and Achel.
Take a stroll to Avenue Louise in Brussels to shop for the latest big-name international fashions. For a little more reasonably priced shopping, head over to Rue Neuve in the city's centre and look for the word soldes or solden (sale). If you are in the market for antiques, take a walk through the Place du Grand Sablon or the Flea Market Place du Jeu de Balle. You can find a number of antiques stores outside of Brussels, such as Belfry Market in Namur, La Batte street market on Sundays in Liege and Lusine antiques centre in Charleroi. Tourists also enjoy visiting Belgium's Christmas markets; Brussels, Liege, Durbuy and Mons all host a Christmas market.
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