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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.
Also known as the Castle of the Counts, the Gravensteen Castle delivers the classic image of a medieval castle. It was originally a residence for counts. It was later used as courts and dungeons. The castle’s arms museum prefaces a guided tour, showing visitors the kinds of torment that victims endured in the 14th century. For most of the year, visitors can take an hour-long tour of the castle’s grounds, enjoying plenty of lofty views from the towers. In December and half of January, Gravensteen becomes the Winter Wonderland Castle, complete with Christmas markets and ice skating rinks.
One of the oldest breweries in Belgium, Anker has become a staple place to eat and drink in Mechelen. Anker is home of the famous Carolus beer and uses it in several of its recipes. The food and drink here are a great bargain. For whiskey fans, try the Carolus Single Malt!
This is Belgium’s version of Mardi Gras. If your visit coincides with the carnival schedule, do not miss the carnival of Binche. There are many carnivals throughout the country but the one in Binche is the best. Over several days, the town of Binche is covered in oranges, champagne, music, and people dressed as “gilles”. Many spectators dress up too, in both traditional and modern costumes, to watch over 1000 gilles parade around town.
La Madeline is a high-quality seafood restaurant where reservations are required, but worth it, to enjoy fresh seafood. Several drinks are available as well, each carefully selected according to the diner’s taste buds. Be sure to ask for a drink recommendation when ordering.
This is a no-frills, real Slavic steakhouse where diners come strictly for the meat. Chumadia does not pretend to cater to all tastes. There is no fish or vegetarian option. The interior is small, with only 8 tables, and the décor is simple. They are also closed on weekends. This is, however, one of the most popular steakhouses in the country. Despite their unreal success, Chumadia’s prices are still very affordable. Reservations should be made by phone at least two weeks in advance.