in the middle
Belgium bursts with culture, character, history and natural beauty. Wander around the crisscrossing boulevards of downtown Brussels, where stalls serve waffles topped with chocolate and piles of double-fried chips come doused in mayo, or amble along the cobblestone maze of the Bruges old town. Then there’s the spa towns of Flanders, the bogs of Luxembourg Province and the thick forests of the Ardennes to explore.
Search dealchecker for the top Belgium hotels and you could soon be wandering beneath the cathedral spires of Namur, sampling Trappist beers in Wallonia, enjoying jazz in Flemish Antwerp, or unravelling the history of perhaps Europe's darkest hour on the onetime battlefields of the west.
Brussels, the capital, is the prime destination for city breaks in Belgium. Centred on the eye-watering medley of Belle-Époque and Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance architecture that is the Grand Place, the city throbs with Trappist beer bars and chic chocolatiers, not to mention the bustling debate chambers of the European Parliament.
Antwerp is another great urban draw. Those who head here enjoy a medley of lively jazz dives and the enthralling streets of the Red Light District, all balanced out by the gritty edge you'd expect of a centuries-old port town.
Meanwhile, romance oozes from little Bruges on the North Sea. Medieval church spires shoulder above the crenulations of old Flemish townhouses, cosy cafés hide in the alcoves, and canals weave and wind around the beautifully-restored UNESCO centre.
Those interested in history often put the region of Flanders on the menu. It's here that the infamous Battle of Passchendaele took place in 1917, and the city of Ypres has war cemeteries, memorial monuments, and the acclaimed In Flanders Fields Museum.
For something urban but a little more off-the-beaten track (and cheaper) than Brussels and Bruges, consider heading for the lively student town of Ghent. A place of riverside bars, cool cafes and some of the best cheap hotels in Belgium, you can expect good beers, great company and excellent value city breaks here.
For the great outdoors in Belgium there really is no substitute for the vast green swathes of the Ardennes. Towns like picture-perfect Bouillon and cathedral-topped Dinant are the top gateways to the region, which spills across the southern reaches of Wallonia in a patchwork of verdant fields and pine forests, dense oak groves and mist-bottomed valleys, all cut-through by the meanders of the Meuse.