Fairy-tale towns, an eclectic mix of local languages and the progressive city of Brussels define this nation of 11 million inhabitants. The city of Bruges is undoubtedly Belgium's most famous highlight – an intricate network of ethereal canals, cobbled streets and photogenic bars and restaurants, serving Flemish fare and trappist beers. Historic churches, pretty cafés, chocolate shops and idyllic market stalls all vie for your attention, but all can be enjoyed equally by simply strolling the streets and admiring a place that still belongs to another era.
Perhaps begin in Brussels, the political heavyweight renowned for its interesting history and fine beer. Atmospheric Antwerp is an eclectic mix of modern and medieval, whilst Ghent was an ancient powerhouse and today has a wealth of history to uncover. Outside the cities, the Ardennes is home to tranquil villages set amidst deep river valleys and high forests. In the town of Ypres, the sombre Menin Gate monument marks the thousands of deaths here during World War I – stop by the poppy-filled battlegrounds for a moment of quiet reflection.