Belgium

World Heritage Sites in Belgium

Belgium is the perfect location for history lovers with 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to visit across the country. From the famous Belfry in Bruges to La Grand-Place in Brussels, you’re sure to have an amazing time when hunting out these UNESCO recognised treasures.

Belgium is easily reachable from our Calais port if you’re crossing the Channel from Dover, or you can sail there directly on one of our fun-packed Mini Cruises to Zeebrugge. Whichever way you decide to reach Belgium, the UNESCO World Heritage Sites there are sure to amaze you.

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Things to do in Bruges, Belgium

World Heritage Sites of Belgium

World Heritage Sites of Brussels

Brussels is home to three World Heritage Sites: La Grand-Place, Stoclet House, and Major Town Houses of the architect Victor Horta.

Visiting La Grand-Place is a great way to start your search for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Brussels. This grand square, also known as the Grote Markt, is surrounded by impressive guild houses and a number of other buildings of note, including the Town Hall and the King’s House.  Thought of as being one of the most beautiful places in the world, La Grande-Place is home to a number of bars and restaurants – although you might find them to be a little pricey due to their location.

Although you cannot enter Stoclet House due to it being a private residence, you can admire its incredible design from outside. Considered to be one of Brussels’ most impressive architectural examples, Stoclet House was created by a number of established artists, and is made up of a collection of aesthetically pleasing geometrical shapes. During your time in Brussels, don’t miss the Major Town Houses of the architect Victor Horta. These four houses are particularly impressive thanks to their open plan, use of light, and seamless joining of curved lines within their structure and decoration.

World Heritage SItes of Brussels

The Belfry of Bruges - UNESCO World Heritage Site in Belgium

The World Heritage Site of Bruges

You may be surprised to learn that the historic centre of Bruges itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With its cobbled streets and quirky historic buildings, this is a city not to be missed. Take a walk along Bruges’ canals, or opt for a boat ride for a completely different perspective, and see how many picturesque bridges you can spot. Eating and drinking in Bruges is another delight, and you’ll certainly find plenty of opportunities to pick up some famous Belgian beers or chocolates to take home with you.

Continue your exploration of Bruges with what is arguably one of Belgium’s most famous World Heritage Sites: the Belfry of Bruges. Dating back to the 13th century, this medieval bell tower stands proudly in Bruges’ Markt Square, and has served many purposes over the years. You can choose to climb the belfry’s 366 steps for amazing views across the city, passing a number of interesting sights along the way. Made extra recognisable thanks to its starring role in the film ‘In Bruges’, the Belfry of Bruges is certainly a must-see during your search for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Belgium.

 

Mining Sites of Wallonia and Mons

The Mining Sites of Wallonia are a great place to visit, and offer a range of museums and experiences to explore. The four coal mining sites span an incredible 170km and are symbolic to the industrial revolution that shaped 19th and 20th century Europe. Visiting the Mining Sites of Wallonia provides you with the opportunity to gain insight into what it was like both above and below ground during this period.

You might also like to visit the Neolithic Flint Mines at Spiennes. Just 6km from Mons, the Neolithic Flint Mines are the largest and earliest concentration of ancient mines in Europe. The highlight of visiting this location is a trip 9m down into a real Neolithic Mine, giving you an authentic experience to remember. There’s also a museum and gift shop on site, so you can find out all about this Belgian UNESCO World Heritage Site and buy a souvenir to take home with you.

Wallonia in Belgium

Tournai Cathedral

Tournai and Hainault World Heritage Sites

The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Tournai was built in the first half of the 12th century and can be found in the heart of Tournai’s old city. The cathedral is a stunning mixture of two types of architecture, Gothic and Romanesque, with beautiful stained glass windows that give it an extra dimension. The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Tournai is still an active place of worship and hosts a range of events throughout the year. During your visit, pay particular attention to the central choir screen which was created by Flemish sculptor Corneille de Vriendt.

If you’re looking for a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Belgium that is a bit different, head to the four lifts on the Canal du Centre – located close to the town of La Louvière in the province of Hainaut. These four hydraulic boat lifts were built at the end of the 19th century and they are the only ones in the world which still exist in their original working condition. This boat lift was the largest ever built, and boasts a 73.15m drop - making it a very important part of the Belgian Industrial Revolution. When you visit the hydraulic boat lifts of the Canal du Centre you can see the machine room, watch a film about the lifts, and test yourself with some interactive games.

Antwerp World Heritage Sites

You’ll be able to find a couple of impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Antwerp too: the Plantin-Moretus House-Workshop Museum Complex and The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier.

Step back 400 years in time when visiting the Plantin-Moretus and explore this fascinating printing museum. Located in the heart of Antwerp, the Plantin-Moretus House-Workshop Museum Complex is very easy to find, and you can download their app before your visit to access a personal tour. They also have a range of events at the museum every year, including one-off exhibitions and guided group tours.

The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier is made up of 17 sites across seven countries and celebrates the work of 20th century architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, also known as Le Corbusier. One of these sites is Maison Guiette which is located in Antwerp. Built in 1927, this house might be one of Le Corbusier’s lesser known works, but it still shows off his signature style. Unfortunately, you can’t go inside Maison Guiette, but you can admire it from the outside.

Antwerp

The Mining Sites of Wallonia are a great place to visit with a range of museums and experiences available to you.

Featured blog post Discover Wallonia

With multiple museums, historic sites and more than 1,500 castles to explore, you’ll find plenty to do when you discover Wallonia, all set in picturesque countryside.

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