Things to do:
- It is not super safe to wander far from the center of town -- be on your guard.
- Antwerp Zoo: Lots of animals, penguin feedings, and sea lion shows!
- Cathedral of Our Lady: Beautiful cathedral with art by Ruben.
- City is known for its diamond shops. I certainly didn't bring any home, but they were cool to see!
Things to do:
- Grand-Place: UNESCO World Heritage site in the center of town -- there are dozens of restaurants and bars around it.
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: Monument to Belgium's fallen soldiers. The statue is beautiful, and so is the view around it.
- Royal Palace: Beautiful, ornate home of the King and Queen of Belgium.
- Palace Gardens: Sprawling green, red, and yellow flowers in intricate patterns.
- Department of Justice: Looks like a palace in itself! Massive building with beautiful architecture.
Where I stayed:
- Hotel Grand Place: Very difficult to find, but it's in an incredible location, is pretty cheap, and the accommodations are very satisfactory for the price.
Foods to Try:
WAFFLES: Eat as many waffles as you possibly can. They are incredible, and come topped in anything you could dream up.
Chocolates: You really can't go wrong with Belgian chocolates! Find a local chocolate shop, ask the shop owner which ones are best, and dive in.
Mussels with fries: You can find this dish just about everywhere, and it is delicious! The mussels are served with butter, the fries are called Belgian Fries (not French), and they are usually served with mayonnaise instead of ketchup.
Shrimp Croquettes: Small, grey shrimp are often caught in the north of Belgium, and you can find them in dishes all over the country. With croquettes, they are covered in cheese and bread and fried. Yum!
Stoemp: Mashed potatoes with vegetables, often served with meat or fish and egg.
Beer: Belgian beer is awesome! I would recommend scoping out a brewery and getting a flight of the local favorites.
I went to Belgium before the attempted terrorist attack, so take my advice with a grain of salt and remember to always check the State Department's travel advisories before going on a trip.
Belgium is a pretty safe country, but normal precautions apply -- be aware of your surroundings when you're out at night or wandering on your own, and ask your hotel/hostel/Airbnb host if there are any areas you should avoid before going out. Pick pocketing is pretty common, so keep an eye on your valuables,
Transportation in Belgium:
Belgium has a great public transportation system, and you can easily catch a bus, tram, metro, or train to get where you're going!
There are plenty of bike paths and sidewalks for anyone who wants bike or walk.
Taxis are abundant, and easy to catch. Just be sure to get a price estimate before you go! We had an issue with people driving us in circles for awhile before dropping us off, thinking we wouldn't know any better.
If you're going to be traveling between cities or countries in Europe, I recommend getting a Eurail Pass. I bought a one month unlimited pass and was able to take as many trips, to as many countries as I liked for one flat rate. You can buy them for almost any length of time for whichever countries or regions you prefer. There are lots of discount flight websites if you prefer to fly. I particularly like Ryanair, Rome2Rio, and Google Flights.