Belguim Winter Time, Source
Belgium might be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with magical experiences in fairytale settings. Enchanting castles, sleepy, snow-covered towns, festive markets, cobbled streets and cozy canals, not to mention the best chocolate in the world, turn the cities in Belgium into a whimsical winter wonderland for everyone to enjoy. So, embrace the cold and snow this winter, and visit one of the best cities in Belgium for your once-upon-a-time winter adventure.
With its cobbled lanes passing along dreamy canals and through tightly-knit medieval buildings, Bruges is the original Belgian fairytale. The amazing thing about visiting Bruges in winter is that you can have the streets of this frosty wonderland all to yourself, including the delicious Chocolate Line. You can easily visit all the sights on foot, like Groeningemuseum, Bruges’ Markt or Stadhuis. However, a magical experience awaits anyone willing to be lulled by one of the romantic barge cruises. Just imagine being wrapped in a blanket and enjoying a cup of the best hot chocolate in hand, as you’re lulled by the calm crisp waters, passing by the Ice Sculpture Festival and taking in the fairytale panorama overhead.
Sitting on a cliff face in Belgium’s meandering Meuse River valley, Dinant is a small riverside town attuned to the sound of jazz. Despite being the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone, Dinant’s history can be traced back to the Middle Ages and its most notable landmark, Collegiale Notre-Dame. The best way to take in the entire town is atop Citadelle de Dinant, and enjoying traditional Wallonia cuisine, and Dinant’s own world famous Leffe beer.
All cozied-up in the misty hills and forests of the Belgian Ardennes, Spa is a sanctuary for tourists seeking warmer winter experience. Spa is Belgium’s hot spring and mineral water center, with tourists coming here since the 1st century AD. In more recent times, the town earned the nickname “Café of Europe” by accommodating literary giants like Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, and Agatha Christie. Apart from spa centers, make sure to hit the Black Jack table at the Casino of Spa (the oldest casino in the world), and visit the quirky Laundry Museum.
In every fairytale, there’s a castle; and in the pastoral idyll of Southern Wallonia there is Rochefort. Despite being the sight of constant conflict through history, Rochefort has retained much of its beauty, spread along Rue Debehogne. Before heading up to Chateau Comtal, the medieval hilltop castle, beer junkies and ale connoisseurs should give into temptation and sample one of the best beers in the world – Trappist beer, brewed here as early as 1595.
Betwixt Antwerp and Brussels, the picturesque city of Mechelen was once the center for art during the Renaissance. Today, once the snow covers its sleepy squares and chills shop windows, visitors of Mechelen can explore the town’s eight historic churches, visit the curious Technopolis museum or get in touch with their inner-child at the Toy Museum. Beer lovers will also be pleased to hear that the locals, fondly known as “moon-extinguishers”, are the oldest brewery owners Belgium, proud producers of the famous Lucifer and Gouden Carolus beers.
A fairytale winter is like a box of chocolates, especially if you visit the smallest town in the world – Durbuy. Surrounded by the glorious Ardennes, the mesh of cobbled streets winds through quaint chocolateries, vivid markets, age-old taverns and the world’s largest Topiary Park. Grab a beer or two and take to the banks of the Ourthe River and savor the sight of Durbuy Castle.
From idyllic snow-covered landscapes, to sleepy towns and the best beer and chocolate in the world, it is hard to imagine a better fairytale ending to winter than visiting Belgium. Once upon a time can begin now, all you need to do is choose one of these magical cities, and create your own fairytale adventure this winter.