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Despite being the capital of waffles and beer, Belgians are notoriously some of the fittest people in Europe. Belgium is constantly on the move and this list highlights some of the best places to be and things to see in the country. Several places on this list are a feast for the eyes more than the stomach, though there are a few highly-recommended food stops in there. Come find out why Belgium is teeming with adventure, history, and breathtaking views that attract international crowds from all over. Just remember to bring your walking shoes.
The level of detail covering every inch of the Leuven Town Hall cannot be understated. It took 30 years to build it, and that was before the statues were added. Almost 240 statues surround the Town Hall. The towers depict biblical characters, while the statues under the towers represent scientists, soldiers, political leaders, aristocracy, artists and musicians.
This less of a zoo and more of a gentle version of Jurassic Park. This animal reserve has reconstituted extinct species, including a prehistoric species of horse (the tarpan) and cattle (the auroch), which died out over four centuries ago. Visitors ride small trains around the reserve, which is 250 hectares, to observe the wildlife. Over this 1.5 hour tour, visitors see rare species, like the ibex and lynx. The animal reserve is also home to some of the world’s last Przewalski’s horses.
Gaasbeek Castle (Kasteel Van Gaasbeek) is one of most-visited castles in Belgium. However, it is hardly a structure that stood the test of time. Its original construction was completed sometime during the 13th century. Then, the Belgians destroyed it in the 14th century. It was rebuilt in the 15th century and then destroyed again in the 16th, this time by the Spanish. It was rebuilt and then destroyed by the French in the 17th century. For two hundred years, no one wanted to bother investing in the castle’s reconstruction. Today, the castle’s exterior is maintained by the Flemish government and houses a vast array of furniture and art from different periods. Concerts and events are sometimes held on the grounds during fair weather as well as picnics and garden tours during the weekends.
Halles Saint Géry is an open space bar on one of the busiest corners of Brussels nightlife. By 11pm, Halles Saint Géry is bustling with a young local and international crowd. The ground floor sometimes hosts a DJ and turns the open space into a dance floor. There is usually a party in the basement too, so head down stairs before deciding where to park your beer.
Chez Leon is a Belgian chain restaurant, known for serving mussels and fries year round. Chain restaurants do not have the same reputation as other countries. Here, Chez Leon has a consistent quality to their dishes. While their menus offer a wide selection, patrons go to Chez Leon for mussels and fries. Mussels and fries, known as moules frites in French, is a classic Belgian dish. Mussels are in season from July to September but the dish is available year round in select restaurants like this one. Find the Chez Leon closest to you.