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The AFAR Guide to Belgium

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Kongostraat, 9000 Gent, Belgium
While many may think of the likes of Brugge and Amsterdam when it comes to cities teeming with canals, Ghent has much of the same charm, but without the swarms of tourists. The buildings reflecting off the water and boats docked in the canal are a...
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1000 Brussels, Belgium
If you were in Brussels last weekend, you were lucky because the city had laid down the flower carpet in the main square. This is done every five years and I decided to head up the road to have a look since it had been some time since the last...
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Rue de Savoie 68, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium
When we traveled to Brussels, I knew that I wanted to carve out an afternoon to sit at Moeder Lambic -- not the newer one closer to the center of the city, but the original. My wife and I spent hours tasting the different lambics, geuzes and...
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Donkerstraat 13, 8640 Vleteren, Belgium
The Sint-Sixtus Abbey is the most remote of the six remaining Trappist breweries, making it rare to find its beers anywhere other than Café in de Vrede, the restaurant across the street from the abbey. So rare if fact that the café’s take-away...
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Rue Gheude 56, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium
No beercation is complete when visiting Belgium if you haven't stopped in Cantillon. My taste buds changed after my visit. I am kicking myself for not shipping back a case back with me. It is nearly impossible to find in the U.S. The brewery is a...
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Groenplaats 21, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Our Lady's Cathedral of Antwerp is the largest church in the Low Countries and outside is a fitting monument to the architects that created it, Jan and Pieter Appelmans. Make sure to take a closer look at the bronze characters hard at work, you...
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Rue des Grands Carmes 10, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Brussels has a number of African influences due to the influx of African immigrants from former Belgian colonies. A great example is the number of African restaurants in town. We ate at KoKob (pictured), an upscale, trendy Ethiopian restaurant. As...
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1000 Brussels, Belgium
The Grand Place in Brussels is the magnificent main square in Brussels. The square is the main tourist attraction in Brussels and is surrounded by numerous cafes and shops. Most of the buildings were constructed in the late 17th century, although...
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Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
My sister and I ducked into Brussels' Bozar museum to seek refuge from the rain and noticed that the lobby was littered with scattered pieces of hanging blue film. We were intrigued as to the meaning of the unlikely art installation and were...
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Rue Saint-Boniface 35, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
How could anyone go to Brussels and NOT have moules-frites? I'm pretty sure it's a requirement. At least it was for me. After doing some extensive research on Chowhound and the New York Times, I discovered Au Vieux Bruxelles and made it my mission...
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Katelijnestraat 5, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
When in Belgium, make sure to try not only the famous chocolates, but also the hot chocolate! During a tour of Bruges, we became so enchanted with the medieval city that we decided to sneak away from our tour group and explore on our own—and I'm...
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Menenstraat, 8900 Ieper, Belgium
When planning our pilgrimage to Westvleteren for the "best beer in the world" we knew we would need to book a room in a neighboring town. We used Ieper (or Ypres) as our home base, which is about 25 minutes from the Sint-Sixtus abbey. This...
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Grote Zavel, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
For a great shopping experience, provided that you have a wallet full of Euros, is the Sablon area of Brussels. Other than the art galleries and cafes and restaurants, you can catch the brocante, or flea market, in the square. The photo is of a...
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Rue de France 40, 1060 Bruxelles, Belgium
Sunday Market at Gare du Midi is a must. It is a nice stroll through the different neighborhoods when coming out of the city centre. I enjoyed seeing locals pulling their market carts behind them, the concentration of market carts grew when I was...
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Vossenplein, 1000 Brussel, Belgium
Jeu de Balles is a quintessential flea market set in the heart of the Marolles District of Brussels that runs daily through the morning. My favorite time to go is on Sunday when the square is filled with the most vendors who sell anything from...
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5530 Spontin, Belgium
The Belgian Ardennes is full of nice surprises. One of them is this quaint chateau in the village of Spontin. The village itself is worth a stop just to experience a slice of Belgium.
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1495 Villers-la-Ville, Belgium
In 1146 a dozen monks and some lay brothers, with the blessings of St Bernard (not the dog!) headed to what is now Belgium and founded the abbey. It had been neglected and then revitalized during its second golden age in the 1800s where some of...
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Square de l'Atomium, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Step right up and see the amazing Atomium! This monument was built for the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels. It never achieved the recognition of Paris' Eiffel Tower, but has its own special iconic status in Belgium.
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Donkerstraat 13, 8640 Vleteren, Belgium
Oh yes. Blue Moon is known in North America as a Belgian-style witbier brewed by the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Golden, Colorado. Yet for many beer lovers (such as myself) few trips are more coveted than a pilgrimage to the village of...
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Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 43, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
This is a delightful little hotel in the heart of Brussels located in a picturesque square just minutes from the Grand'Place.......
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Oude Houtlei 110, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Centrally located, the sumptuous Hôtel Verhaegen is a mine of local history. Formerlya private mansion inhabited by barons and counts, the five room hotel has been carefully restored by its current owners, a pair of interior designers. Original...
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Boulevard Zoé Drion 19, 6000 Charleroi, Belgium
If you know anything about Belgium, you'll know that the country is famous for beer, beer and comic books! While the capital city of Brussels boasts a comic book museum and comic character murals all over the city, the Walloonian city of Charleroi...
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Antwerpsesteenweg 496, 2390 Westmalle, Belgium
During our Trappist brewery adventure we went to Abdij van de Trappisten van Westmalle, which houses the brewery. Although you can't tour the abbey or brewery you can visit the grounds of the abbey on foot or bike. To sample Westmalle beers head...
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Markt 7, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
I was told that I HAD to go to Bruges, it was a non-negotiable, must-see. I watched the movie In Bruges on my way there and decided that I had to go up to the top of the famous bell tower. It was way more than I bargained for as I was pretty sure...
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Ixelles, Belgium
This loft style guesthouse is a hidden gem in a vibrant part of Ixelles. It is in the African neighborhood of Matongé, surrounded by funky restaurants and shops that are walking distance to the bus and the Porte de Namur metro. Longue Vie is...
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Hertogstraat 42, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Waterzooi (VAT-ter-zo-ey) is a traditional Flemishstew made with chicken, vegetables, cream, and eggyolks. (In years past, chicken was omitted in favor offish plucked from the city’s waterways.) In the trendyPatershol quarter, order a much-lauded...
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Ghent, Belgium
I went to visit Ghent in March. The warm spring weather brought students to the canal for lunch and socializing. I'm surprised Ghent isn't as popular as Antwerp or Bruges, it has such a funky, youthful vibe.
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Dinant, Belgium
One of my favorite places in Belgium is the town of Dinant, located in the Belgian Ardennes on the River Meuse. In the photo you can see the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, which was re-built in the Gothic style after the original building was...
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Burg 13, 8000 Brugge, Belgium
These people claim to have a vial of Christ's blood that was given to them during or after the crusades.
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Mons, 7000 Mons, Belgium
A friterie is to a Belgian is what McDonalds is to an American! Scattered around the country you often come across these friteries which sell as they main item "frites". They're also called "pommes frites" since they are made of potatoes. Just...
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Recyclart is an collective space that partially inhabits subway station at Gare Bruxeles-Chapelle. It's a fun place to check out underground art and the group also runs a fun bar and organizes concerts.
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Rue Montagne aux Herbes Potagères 7, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
One of the "must visit" places in Brussels is A la Morte Subite, which is a cafe that dates back over a hundred years. It has that real "Brussels" & "Jacques Brel" feel to it. I remember the old days when there was lots of beer being poured and...
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Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
The Delirium Café in Brussels is nothing less than a pilgrimage for beer aficionados. Try mentioning a place with over 2000 different options, and see how starry their eyes will get. This bar is located right in the heart of Brussels, a stone...
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Waterloo, Belgium
No guide book will ever to tell you this, but be sure to bring along a great pair of walking shoes when planning your visit to the town of Waterloo, home to the historical 'Butte de Lion', built in 1823-1826 on the site of the Allied front line at...
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Jef Vandermeulenstraat 54, 9050 Gent, Belgium
Some locals call cuberdons “priest hats” and others refer to them as “little noses.” Hard on the outside and gooey on the inside, the conical, raspberry-flavored treats slow-cook for five days in a 131°F room. Stock up...