Visit These 10 Castles in Belgium

Belgium has more castles per capita than even France. The country’s tiny size makes it easy to visit several chateau in one day-trip. Here are a few of the biggest and best that are on view to the public.

Kasteelstraat 40, 1750 Lennik, Belgium
A short train or car ride from central Brussels will get you to the village of Gaasbeek, home of the beautiful Gaasbeek Castle (Kasteel Van Gaasbeek in Flemish). This 16th-century chateau looks like something out of your favourite fairy tale. But it’s more than just a pretty face. The Flemish government has owned Gaasbeek since 1980 and, during the summer months, its extensive art and furniture collection is on display. There are regular special exhibitions and even concerts held on the castle grounds. The grounds and gardens are extensive and are a popular spot for family picnics on summer weekends. On Sundays, guided tours of the castle’s medicinal garden are given by one of the gardeners.
Sint-Veerleplein 11, 9000 Gent, Belgium
In the heart of Ghent, a medieval castle called Gravensteen was built in 1180. Once the home of the Counts of Flanders, it is now a tourist attraction that you can visit. The views from the top of the castle’s narrow staircases are especially rewarding.

Tickets cost €13 for adults; €2.70 for children 13-18 and is free for kids 12 and under. You can reserve tickets in advance online. It is open for visits from 10am - 6pm daily.
Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium
You could easily walk right by the entrance to the International Rose Garden of Coloma, without a hint to the beauty that waits inside. The small town of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, not far from Brussels, is home to one of Europe’s largest rose gardens, with more than 30,000 bushes and 3000 varieties of roses. Tucked behind a stately castle, this vast garden has over 200,000 roses in bloom throughout the season, organised by country of origin. On weekends, there are often bridal parties competing for photos under one of the many rose draped trellises. Bring sunscreen, as there isn’t much shade, a macro lens for your camera, and a picnic to eat on the castle grounds.
Freyr 12, 5540 Hastière, Belgium
With hundreds of castles and chateaux in Belgium, open to the public, it’s hard to know which ones to visit. The castle of Freÿr, in Wallonia, is a great place to start. This grand building has remained in the same family for 20 generations and one wing is still home to the current owners. Exploring the interior of the castle is a must, as you’ll be visiting some of the same rooms as Louis XIV and the Archduchess Maria-Christina. The best place to take in the scope of the castle and its grand formal gardens, however, is across the river. You’ll need a good GPS or map to find the 2 unmarked lookout points. You’ll be rewarded for your diligence by this spectacular view.
Groot-Bijgaarden, 1702 Dilbeek, Belgium
Most garden-lovers have heard of the Dutch tulip garden, Keukenhof, a few hours north of Belgium. Few, however, have heard of Belgium’s own wonderful spring tulip garden at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle. Also called Grand Bigard (in French), the castle gardens are home to 1.5 million spring bulbs, including tulips, hyacinths, crocus and daffodils. Parts of the castle are open to the public, during this time, and each room hosts a different flower display, such as an orchid exhibit in the chapel. Two large greenhouses, on the grounds, host exhibitions by local flower growers ranging from roses to lilies and even rare tropical blooms. It’s a paradise for garden-lovers and photographers alike. You can even purchase bulbs to take home and plant for yourself.
Rue du Château 11, 7970 Beloeil, Belgium
Although everyone heads to France to see its chateaux, there are more than 3000 castles in Belgium and many are open to the public. A good place to start is the Chateau de Beloeil near Hainaut, in Wallonia. It has been in the hands of the same noble family since 1394. The rooms are filled with period furniture and artworks and the beautiful library contains over 20,000 titles. Sadly, the grounds seem a bit faded in their glory, but it’s still worth a walk to the far ends of the property for this stunning view of the chateau.
Rue du Château 30, 7021 Mons, Belgium
We had heard about this charming little castle in Le Havre and went to check it out and on that day there was a big Civil War reenactment right next to the castle. We could not believe our eyes and tried getting some info but nobody spoke English and then finally we found a person who spoke some English and found out they do this every year and it’s for charity. I admit I had fun watching them, even though I am not into this kind of stuff. Their costumes and props are extensive and elaborate and really put a lot of heart into it. And yes the castle is fabulous too :)
Ooidonkdreef 9, 9800 Deinze, Belgium
A fortress originally built in the 1200s to protect the city of Gent, it had been destroyed a couple of times but rebuilt for the last time after it burned down in 1579. The castle, which is privately owned is opened to the public but only the castle grounds, so don’t expect to go walking through this old structure. Having said that, it is still a very picturesque place and the gardens are very beautiful during the spring and summer.
Grand'Place 13, 6460 Chimay, Belgium
Le Roeulx has been one of the main residences of the Princes of Croÿ since 1429. It is one of the most imposing classical castle in the country. Its history overshadows that of all but the most prestigious residences in the Low Countries. It opens one day a year for an international hot air balloon tournament. Now if it rains on that day there will be no tournament and no rescheduling. We found that out last year but there will still be lots of food and drinks.
Rue du Parc 2, 4577 Modave, Belgium
The Château de Modave sits, perched on a rock, 60 metres (200 feet) above the Hoyoux river in the province of Liège, Belgium. While it is open to the public all summer long, my favourite time to visit this pretty castle is during the Christmas season. For the holidays, the chateau invites local florists and decorators to style its period rooms. While some of the concoctions are rather outlandish (think more gold and feathers than you can shake a wand at) some are traditional and festive. You can still explore the castle during the summer months and it’s well worth a visit for the view alone. You can also explore the extensive grounds and gardens.
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