Belgium, in north-western Europe, is one of the smallest and most densely populated European countries. However, it's one that offers crazy fun-filled festivals and carnivals, fashion in Antwerp, titillating chocolates and excellent Trappist beers, for starters. There is a multitude of medieval towns and structures, many UNESCO listed, to take up days at a time. Visit castles, see Waterloo and Cathedral Notre-Dame. Other sites like stalactite-filled caves to kayaking rain-forested rivers to exploring the rural chateaux's and sandy North Sea beaches, will seduce.
It's always party time in Belgium and it's known for hosting some of the weirdest carnivals in the world. March is the big month with the Carnival De Binche recognised with UNESCO status 'as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.' It's a country where chocolate and beer compete fiercely against tastebuds, especially along the streets of Brussels and Liege. For beer enthusiasts: try the six great Trappist beers still created within an active monastery. With over 1,000 breweries, there is something guaranteed for every thirst. And then there are the waffles, and local chocolate shops in every town, big or small.
One of the convenient things about Belgium is great public transport connecting suburbs and major towns. It means you can easily make day trips from Brussels (or other centres) if you'd prefer not packing up so often and changing accommodation every night. However, a drive and journey into the quiet countryside with an overnight stay is well worth consideration.
For an evening in Brussels head into the city centre and view the Grand Place with its famous dining area, Rue des Bouchers. It's not cheap, and there is often a waitlist but see if there's a table at Jeanneke Pis, in a small alley next to the Rue des Bouchers - beautiful food and something a little special. Allow at least 15-20 Euros for a standard meal and a beverage at most food outlets. The official languages are French, German, and Dutch, though, English is widely spoken, especially in bars and restaurants. Around every corner, there is something for every taste in Belgium. It may be a small country, however its gigantic in spirit.
Belgium, with its typically temperate climate, has four distinct seasons. Winter temperatures may drop to 1-degree celsius while summers reach 23 degrees. Mid-spring from April-May, when the weather is warm during the day but colder in the evenings is popular - don't forget to take a jacket and scarf. It's also just before the peak season for tourists during the summer. Pack an umbrella. It's also referred to as the 'Kingdom of Rains'. Don't let the rain put you off as there are plenty of places to stop and indulge in chocolate or a beverage.
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