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More About Belgium
You might be forgiven for thinking that Belgium's charms lie in chocolate and beer, two high quality indulgences the country has become famed for. But beyond these treats, Belgium tours offer a chance to explore stunning cathedrals in picturesque squares, in cities that have inspired the masters of art in Europe. Belgium is a country that has cultural and historical treasures worthy of comparison to that of any European exploration.
From Brussels to Bruges and beyond to Antwerp, Belgium sits at the cultural crossroads of Europe with the Germanic culture in the North and the Romance in the South. Medieval old towns are best explored by foot.
In Bruges, the entire historical city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and meandering through its narrow cobbled streets is a joy. With a closer connection to the Germanic history, Christmas markets still line the streets during winter months whereas museums are filled with artists and treasures from around the country.
The picturesque canals in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bruges, have led Bruges to be known as the "Venice of the North." The city is still home to many well-preserved medieval buildings dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries.
Our Belgium tours explore Bruges which is known as one of the world's primary trading cities from the 14th century, and feel as though we've stepped back in time. Evidence of this mercantile history is evident in the beautiful houses we encounter whether strolling quietly along the town's tranquil canals and laneways, or plying the canals onboard one of the canal boats.
In Brussels, our focus will be the Grand Place, a small but delicately sculpted 15th century town square. Erected over centuries, it has become this modern day representation of Brussels' history where nearly all of the buildings have a historical significance.
Antwerp is better known as the diamond capital of Belgium, if not the world, and has been a city at the centre of trade since the 11th century. The origins of the name Antwerp come from "aan de werpe", which is Dutch for "at the throw," referring to where the river throws its sand and as it is located on the banks of the Schelde River, it is aptly named.
The Antwerp harbour, a famous sight within the city, remains Europe's largest harbour and is where we will enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views from the top of the MAS Museum.
Home to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, art is infused in every aspect of Antwerp life, even found in the elegant spires of the Cathedral of Our Lady, graced with masterpieces by the great painter Peter Paul Rubens who lived here in the 17th century. Amongst other treasures, the cathedral contains four of Rubens' works: "The Elevation of the Cross," "The Descent from the Cross," "The Ascension of the Virgin" and "The Resurrection of the Virgin."
From the old world charms found in these sophisticated cities where tradition and culture thrives, Belgium tours are the chance to explore a tiny corner of Europe with a large impact on the continent as a whole.