Most people come to visit Belgium for our famous historical cities such as Bruges, Brussels, Ghent… . But there’s so much more to explore in our tiny country. We might not have the biggest mountains but we do have some impressive nature and other beautiful sights outside the big cities. In this post we describe some of the hidden gems we got to explore during the corona lockdowns and we were surprised ourselves what beauty Belgium has to offer.
Note: This post will be updated regularly, as we are not done exploring our home country and the list of places we want to go is still very long. So make sure to check out our blog once in a while for more updates.
Let us know if there’s any specific place you want to know more about and we’ll find out for you!
The province of Limburg
Limburg is one of the five Flemish provinces in Belgium and can be found in the north east of the country. This province has something for everyone. The entire region is a combination of pleasant cities and beautiful nature. It is a true cycling paradise with many different and unique bike paths, such as:
- Cycling through the trees
- Cycling through the water
- Cycling through the heath
Besides cycling, the region is also really interesting because of many different works of art spread throughout the region. Most of them are located in and around Borgloon, but also in around other cities you can find artworks.
Want to know more about all interesting things to see and to do in Limburg? Read our blogpost about Things to do in Limburg, Belgium.
Terhills - National Park Hoge Kempen
Another interesting place in Limburg is Terhills. It is the main gateway to the National Park Hoge Kempen and is located on the former site of the Eisden coal mine. In the National Park you can enjoy surprising landscapes of green hills with spectacular panoramas, including the most beautiful view of Belgium.
There are still a few buildings left from the mine, including the two head-frames of the mine shafts. In the meantime, the remaining mining heritage has been protected as a monument.
Botanic Garden - Meise
If you are a plant lover, the Botanic Garden of Meise is the place to be. With its 92 hectares full of plants, it is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world. There is always something to do, whether the sun is shining or it’s raining outside. You can immerse yourself in the tropics in the Plant Palace, do some research in the WOODlab, get to know more about the over more than 200 years of history of the Botanic Garden in the castle… and so much more.
Take a walk through the immense diversity of plants in the gardens and collections and enjoy the beautiful landscape of this Botanic Garden.
Adults (+18): €9
Opening hours – Estate
November – February: 10am – 5pm
March – October: 10am – 6pm
Visitors can access the Botanic Garden up to one hour before the estate closes.
Annual closing: December 25th, January 1st and 3rd, and exceptionally in the event of stormy weather.
Openings hours Cash Desk
Empress Charlotte Entrance: daily 10h-16h
Meise Village Entrance: open Wednesday and Friday, weekends, during school holidays and public holidays: 10h-16h
The Solvay Estate – Solvay Castle - La Hulpe
The Solvay Estate is a vast estate of over 200 hectares on the outskirts of Brussels. It is a listed Exceptional Heritage in Wallonia. It features a part of the Sonian Forest and the magnificent Solvay Castle.
This castle is a beautiful French-inspired castle, formerly owned by Count Solvay. The castle itself cannot be visited, but it can be rented for events like weddings, seminars, receptions and more.
The estate was laid out in this English romantic style, with an enormous variety of trees.
Here you can enjoy many strolls, rest on big lawns and dream away in this beautiful verdant surrounding. There’s also a big lake with alleyways and vantage points.
Villers Abbey - Villers-la-Ville
This ancient Cistercian abbey is located in the small town of Villers-la-Ville in Belgium. These majestic ruins are one of the most prestigious testimonies of the life of the Cistercian monks. The abbey was founded in 1146 and is now considered one of the most beautiful architectural sites in Europe. It’s amazing how well everything has been preserved here.
Students, senior citizens: €7
Kids 6-12y: €4
Kids <6y, disabled people, teachers: free
Group discount from 15 people
Audio guides available: €1,5 (60 – 90min)
1st November – 31st March: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (open everyday)
1st April – 31st October: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm (open everyday)
Annual closing: December 24, December 25, December 31 and January 1
Station Chateau d'Ardenne - Houyet
This beautiful little castle is actually an old abandoned train station. This hidden gem can be found in Houyet in the province of Namen.
The story behind: In 1874, king Leoplod II built the Château Royal d’Ardenne, a castle that was used as a luxurious hotel for kings and the rich people in the world. In 1896 a railway was built between Celles and Houyet. In order to receive guests in front of the luxury hotel, this railway station, called Château d’Ardenne, was built. The station was closed in 1919, when the hotel suffered a lot of damage during WWI and was closed. The hotel reopened in 1921, but the station was closed for good.
UPDATE: We’ve been informed that this site is now under surveillance due to the risk of collapse. You can still walk past the building, but we do not recommend entering it for you own safety!
The High Fens are one of the most beautiful pieces of nature in the Ardennes. They are a part of the High Fens-Eifel nature park in the east of Belgium. Here you can take numerous beautiful walks in every season. Some paths are paved, while others consist partly of wooden decking paths.
These ensure that the soil remains untouched and the plants also remain unharmed.
When everything is covered in snow during winter, various cross-country trails are set out here. This makes it the ideal place for your nature (day)trip in any season.
Ninglinspo Valley - Aywaille
The Ninglinspo is a 3,5 kilometer long stream, tributary of the river Amblève and it’s the only ‘mountain’river in Belgium .The valley of Ninglinspo is classed as an outstanding heritage area of Wallonia, and is protected since 1949. In this valley you can enjoy several singposted walks via bridges and forest trails past beautiful viewpoints, of different lengths and degrees of difficulty.
Auberge du Ninglinspo, Sedoz 5,
4920 Sougné-Remouchamps (Aywaille)
Fondry des Chiens - Nismes
Fondry des Chiens, also known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Belgium‘, is a sinkhole in the Viroin-Hermeton Natural Park. It’s a protected and unique place in Belgium. The sinkhole is created by the seepage of rainwater through the limestone soil. These natural pits are called Fondries. You can enter the 20 meter deep Fondries and enjoy the beautiful fauna and flora.
Want to see more of Belgium? We have created a detailed guide with all our recommendations for Belgium!
There are over 70 interesting places and we have created 3 itineraries you can follow on your next visit to Belgium.
This guide includes information about the places, the exact locations, both city and nature locations and it comes with an interactive map. Get your Belgium guide here!
This is my second visit to this blog. I am thinking about starting a brand new blog in the same category. Your blog provided me with thoughts to work with. (Dont worry, I wont be copying you :)) You have done a fantastic job.
Thank you so much. We’re so happy to hear we could inspire you. Good luck on your blog!