14 Places In Belgium Every Beer Lover Needs To Put On Their Bucket List

14 Places In Belgium Every Beer Lover Needs To Put On Their Bucket List

words: VinePair Staff

For a beer lover, a trip to Belgium is practically a pilgrimage. This small country is home to roughly 200 breweries, which produce some of the world’s most beloved beers, from Abbey and Trappist brews to Lambics, and a dozen other styles. Depending on your tastes, your must-visit spots in the country might vary, and to be perfectly candid, this list is merely a jumping-off point. Consider these the essentials, plus a few of our personal all-time favorite spots from the half-dozen trips that the members of the VinePair team have made to the country. If we know one thing for certain, once you visit Belgium, you’ll be itching to go back.

Westvleteren Brewery

Westvleteren Visitors Center

The holy grail of beers, Westvleteren 12 became essentially impossible to obtain about a decade ago when it received international attention after rocketing to the top of RateBeer and Beer Advocate’s rankings. While you cannot actually visit the abbey — unless you’re picking up an order you pre-arranged via the beer phone (good luck) — the visitor’s center next door is open to the public.

A Beer At The Grote Market, Brussels

Grote Market, Brussels

The central square of Brussels is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It’s also rung by a number of bars and restaurants, some with outdoor seating — which you’ll want to take advantage of during the day. Whether it’s the winter or just a chilly night, you’ll want to get cozy with a dark beer on the upper floors of one of the converted Guildhalls. This is the center of town and the prices reflect that, but you’re in Belgium and you should match at least a couple of your other-worldly beers with a worthy view.

Brasserie Cantillon

Brasserie Cantillon

One of only two breweries in the city of Brussels proper, Cantillon is a must-visit whether or not you care for Gueze and/or Lambics. The seven Euro, self-guided tour is well worth it. Take in the unique aromas of open air, spontaneous fermentation. Peep the rows of beer aging in barrels. And of course, at the end, sample a beer or three.

Rodenbach Brewery

Rodenbach Brewery

Brewery visits for the experienced beer traveler can sometimes feel like Gothic churches on a long European trip — after a while it starts to seem like if you’ve seen one, then you’ve seen them all. If you ever find yourself feeling like that, then get yourself over to Rodenbach stat. Rodenbach, which specializes in barrel aged, Flemish reds, is produced at a brewery unlike any other you’ve ever seen. When we say barrel aged, we mean aged in one of the nearly 300 monstrous oak casks — which you’ll get to see in person on the two-hour tour.


Kulminator itself is rather small, and it’s fairly out of the way in Antwerp, but you’re here for the beer list, which is epic, with an emphasis on vintage bottles — making the trip worthwhile. Want to try a ten-year-old aged version of your favorite Trappist beer? This is your spot. The husband and wife owners are wonderful hosts, and they’re glad to help guide you through the epic list — when the place isn’t packed. If they offer you a “go to sleep beer,” just make sure it’s really  your final beer of the night.

‘t Brugs Beertje

't Brugs Beertje

If Kulimnator is our favorite beer bar in Antwerp, then ‘t Brugs Beertje takes the same title for the picturesque medieval city of Brugge. As soon as you step into this vintage beer advertisement-lined bar, which has been in business since 1983, you’ll know you’re in good hands. Expect a list of 300+ bottles and a few taps, served by Daisy Claeys, whose praise you’ll read about in nearly every review of the bar.

De Heeren van Liedekercke

De Heeren van Liedekercke

If you want to dine at De Heeren you’re going to have to invest in a cab ride to get out of Brussels proper (you could drive…but that would ruin all the fun you’re about to have). While you’re not heading to De Heeren just for the beer — a half dozen taps and 300 bottles are nothing to sneeze at — you should enjoy the selection, which features a huge collection of vintage bottles of Orval, without worrying about the trip home. You’re headed here though for the incredible food, a lot of which is prepared with, you guessed it, beer. We suggest you work up an appetite and indulge in the monthly beer-paired dinners, which, unsurprisingly, features incredible local brews.

The Hop Museum / Poperinge

The Hopmuseum

While Belgian beers are typically far less hoppy than American craft beers, hops are obviously still an important ingredient. Poperinge, close to the French border and the high-speed rail transit hub in Lille, is the home of the vast majority of Belgium’s hop production, and thus a worthy detour. In addition to the farms, the town is home to the Hopmuseum, an institution dedicated to everyone’s favorite plant, which you obviously will want to visit. And, if you’re lucky enough to time your visit right, you can take in the triennial beer and hop festival, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Moeder Lambic Original

Moeder Lambic Original

This unique bar is an absolute must for the Lambic lovers out there. Unlike most of the great bars you’ll visit in Belgium, the script is flipped here, with a focus on taps — though their bottle list is nothing to skip over either. The spot is quiet, laid back, and has a nice neighborhood vibe — when they aren’t blasting techno (which happens here, though not as often as at their second location). About that second location in the center of town: it’s hard to miss with a grand metal and glass canopy that covers some outdoor seating.

The Zythos Bierfestival

In’t Spinnekopke

In't Spinnekopke

This cozy, dimly spot is a quick walk from the Grote Market in Brussels. The beer menu isn’t massive like at other spots, but you will find some great, familiar Belgian brews at prices you would kill for at home. It’s also not the only place — even on this list — to cook with beer, but it’s been churning out solid pub-like fare since well before it was the trendy thing to do. We suggest you settle in and enjoy the incredible mussels in Maredsous broth with a side of fries.

Duvel Moortgat Brewery

Duvel Moortgat

We haven’t made our way back to the Moortgat brewery — where Duvel is brewed — since their purchase of Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing and subsequent partnership with Firestone Walker out in Paso Robles, but it’s not like Moortgat was a small operation before they decided to double-down on their American operations. This might be a commercial brewery but the tour is well worth it, as is the tasting room where you can enjoy a light meal along with a number of Moortgat’s brews, from the aforementioned Duvel to Maredsous and d’Achouffe.

A la Mort Subite

A La Mort Subite

At this classic, 100+ year-old Brussels bar — with a name that translates to The Sudden Death you’re just as likely to find locals, tourists and wandering Eurocrats. With rows of tightly packed wooden tables its easy to find yourself drawn into conversations with your neighbor, especially when it gets busy. The bar’s name derives from the house special Gueuze and Lambic, but if those aren’t your thing there’s a solid list of other local beers. Either way, the atmosphere makes the bar well worth a visit.

Brouwerij De Dolle

Brouwerij De Dolle

If you’re a fan of Craft Beer in the U.S., especially the vibe you often encounter in a tasting room – you know the vibe that says “hey, we might not have been around as long as established breweries but we make damn good and interesting beer – then you have to head to the tiny village of Esen. De Dolle Brouwers was founded in 1980 around the same time that the U.S. Craft Beer movement was just kicking off as well. They’re pioneers of the hoppier versions of Belgian beers that have now become popular and have a history of brewing some really amazing creations.

Published: July 23, 2015

  • 14 Places In Belgium Every Beer Lover Needs To Put On Their Bucket List | VinePair
  • https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/14-places-in-belgium-every-beer-lover-needs-to-put-on-their-bucket-list/
  • beer, Travel
  • Why You’ll Find The Best Cider in Normandy | VinePair
  • https://vinepair.com/wine-blog/why-youll-find-the-best-cider-in-normandy/
  • Kathleen Willcox
  • wbs_cat Cider, wbs_cat Spirit, wbs_type Calvados, cider, france, normandy, Wine

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17 atmospheric places to drink the best belgian beer in belgium, where to drink belgian beer in brussels, 1. best craft beer: brussels beer project.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

2. Most Unusual Bar: Bar Le Cercueil

best places to visit in belgium for beer

3. Most Popular Belgium Beer Pub: Delirium Cafe

best places to visit in belgium for beer

4. Most Convenient Belgium Beer Bar: Moeder Lambic Fontainas Square

best places to visit in belgium for beer

5. Best Place for Lambic Beer: Moeder St. Gilles

best places to visit in belgium for beer

6. Best Up and Coming Belgian Beer Bar: L’Egalité

best places to visit in belgium for beer

Where to Try Belgian Beer in and Around Bruges

7. kitschiest place to drink belgian beer: 't brugs bieratelier.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

8. Where to Go for the Strongest Belgian Beer: de Garre

best places to visit in belgium for beer

9. Most Historic Place to Drink Belgian Beer: Cafe Taverne de Dreve in Flanders

best places to visit in belgium for beer

Best Places for Belgian Beer in Leuven

10. most atmospheric place for belgian beer: fiere margriet.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

Top Places for Belgian Beer in Ghent

11. best place to drink belgian beer with a medieval vibe: cours st. georges.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

12. Best Place to Spend a Rainy Day: De Trollekelder

best places to visit in belgium for beer

13. Best Place to Drink Belgian Beer on a Boat: Board Kaffee de Planck

best places to visit in belgium for beer

14. Most Overwhelming Belgium Beer Selection: Bier Central

15. place to drink belgian beer with the best local vibe: brouwbar gent.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

16. Belgian Craft Beer Bar Most Worth Walking To: Dok Brewing Company

17. best place to end your belgium beer tour: gentse gruut.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

Summing up the Best Belgian Beer in Belgium

Map of where to find top belgian beer in belgium.

best places to visit in belgium for beer


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best places to visit in belgium for beer

9 Super fun beer tours in Belgium – Discover the Belgian beer culture

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What we talk about in this article

Belgium is most famous for its variety in beers, and we do have quite a few breweries, spread all over the country.

Some breweries are authentic and operated in monasteries, while others have grown international. But in the end, all of them produce some of the best drafts in the world, and we’re proud of that!

In any case, you can’t skip on doing a beer tour when visiting Belgium. Whether you want to visit a brewery, or join a tasting tour, you will have tons of fun and get to taste some of the very best Belgian brews.

So we listed some of the very best beer tours in Belgium in this article! We got a few options for each of the most popular travel destinations in the country, so it will be easy to fit one of these excursions into your itinerary for Belgium!

Cityscape of Brussels on a beautiful summer night

Brussels beer tours

The capital of Brussels is an excellent travel destination. Staying one day in Brussels can be enough, but the city is more than interesting enough to spend a few extra days!

Make sure you reserve enough time in Brussels to plan a beer tasting tour and one of these other sightseeing trips in Brussels !

Brussels Beer Tasting Experience

The Belgian Beer Tasting Experience in Brussels is a 2,5-hour tour which takes you to 3 iconic bars where you get to taste 4 famous Belgian ales.

Your experienced local guide walks you through the city and explains the history of the different types of ales. You can expect to learn a few notable facts about the different brews of Belgium.

And of course, you will have an awesome time with the other travelers that join the tour.

The Beer Tasting Experience is a relaxed and fun tour to join in Brussels.

After the tour, you get a bottle of Trappist to take home with you!

Check out the Brussels Beer Tasting Experience

Small group Brussels Beer Tour

If you need more than 2,5 hours for tasting, check out this popular beer tasting tour in Brussels, which lasts for 4 hours. Tours start in the early afternoon.

With a small group and a local guide, you’ll venture out in the city of Brussels to taste a selection of 8 Belgian brews, complete with cheese and snacks.

Some of the brews in this tour are: Chimay, Faro, and Orval.

Your professional guide takes you to some of the oldest taverns in the city and you’ll get a chance to explore a lesser known part of the city.

During this tour, you’ll get to know a lot of interesting facts about Belgian beer and the city of Brussels.

Check out the small group tasting tour in Brussels

The Famous Hungry Mary’s Chocolate and Beer Tour

As for Brussels Beer tasting excursions, Hungry Mary’s Chocolate and Beer tour is the most popular and most famous of them all.

During this 4,5-hour tour, a variety of delicacies is coming you way!

You start your way through Brussels on foot, accompanied by an expert local guide.

The journey starts off with visits to the very best chocolatiers in Brussels and you get to taste a lot of goodies!

In between the chocolatiers and pubs, you pass by some of the most interesting landmarks in the city.

At the Grand Place, several historic and beautiful pubs await you and your group.

On the menu: multiple famous Belgian beer samples, like: Trappist, Lambic, Kriek, Doubles, and Triples, …

A great plus: the guide is super loveable and funny!

Check out Hungry Mary’s Chocolate and Beer Tour

Famous view of Bruges at night

Bruges beer tours

Steady on the second place for ‘most popular destinations in Belgium’, Bruges is one you can’t miss. And in Bruges, there’s also some awesome beer tasting to be done.

You can expect a few local brews to be on the menu of these excursions.

Most visitors stay in Bruges for more than one day, which gives you enough time to include one of these delicious tasting tours!

Bruges Brewery Tour + Chocolate and Beer Tasting

The Bruges Brewery Tour is a 3-hour excursion that includes everything you need for the beautiful city of Bruges.

During this guided tour, you’ll visit the Halve Maan brewery, where the famous Brugse Zot is brewed. You’ll also enjoy a 3-course lunch inside the brewery.

Aside from the brewery visit, you also get to see the most important landmarks in the city and visit the Choco Story museum, where you can learn about the history of cacao beans and see how chocolate is made today.

This is one of the most popular and interesting tours you can do in the city of Bruges. It’s a full city tour that shows you all you have to see with the extra chocolate and beer tasting!

Check out the Bruges Brewery Tour

Bruges Beer Experience - Museum ticket

The Bruges Beer Experience is the actual beer museum in Bruges.

In this museum, you can discover the stories behind the brewing heritage of the monks in Bruges.

You’ll learn how to pair beer with food and the details about the local drinking culture.

This museum also has an on-site bar where you can buy over a dozen Belgium brews.

Check out the Bruges Beer Experience Museum

Historical center of Gent, Belgium.

Ghent beer tours

Like Bruges, Ghent is also an interesting destination, where you can easily spend some time. Most itineraries count a half day for Ghent, but you won’t be bored if you stay a little longer!

Authentic Beer Tasting Journey

The Authentic Beer Tasting Journey is a 2,5 hour tour through the cozy streets of Ghent.

Your expert guide takes you around the city with regular stops at some of the most beautiful bars in town.

Each of the bars is known for its excellent selection of brews and you’ll get to taste some of the delicious drinks at each stop.

You can expect to learn a thing or two about the history and brewing culture in the region, while tasting a variety of different drafts. And to top it off, you also get to taste Belgian cheeses and other local snacks with your drinks.

Check out the Authentic Beer Tasting Journey

Antwerp, Belgium. Aerial city view at night

Antwerp beer tours

The city of Antwerp is an underestimated destination in Belgium and sadly, we see that it is left out of many itineraries. Still, the city is super beautiful and it has a lot to offer for travelers.

First of all, there are quite a few beers made in Antwerp, so your tasting tour will be filled with tasty local drafts. And Antwerp also has quite a few monumental landmarks to visit!

Antwerp Beer Tour

The Antwerp Beer tour is a 3-hour walking tour through the city of Antwerp.

You’ll discover some of the most interesting sightseeing stops and of course: pubs!

Taste 6 exquisite brews, all made in Antwerp, in the most authentic locations around the city.

Your professional guide takes you to some iconic taverns and pubs, where you get a taste of the best brews in the region. With each of the beers, your expert guide explains about which brew you’re tasting, how it’s made, and what’s in it.

In the tasting palette, some strong brews are included, so these will only be samples, while others will be full pints.

Check out the Antwerp Beer Tour

Visit the Antwerp brewery of De Koninck

The brewery of De Koninck is one of the last breweries in the city of Antwerp and it’s also one of the few breweries you can visit independently.

During this interactive brewery tour, you can follow along with an audio guide that will lead you through the brewing process.

De Koninck Brewery is a beautiful place and the exhibit is very interesting and nicely laid out.

Get admission tickets to De Koninck Brewery

9 Super fun beer tours in Belgium - Discover the Belgian beer culture

The mother of all beer tours in Belgium!

If you really want to dive into the Belgian beer culture, definitely consider this tour! It takes you to all the interesting places you need to see. Plus, you get the beer tastings and local cuisine on top of it!

8-day Belgian beer tour

You really want to indulge in Belgian beers for a few days and truly explore the local drinking culture?

Then this is the ultimate trip for you.

Different areas of Belgium have different breweries and specific tastes in beer. You can only really understand what beer is to Belgium if you get a little taste of everything.

This awesome small group tour lasts for 8 days and it takes you to all the important landmarks of the Belgian brewing culture.

Most breweries are not open to visitors and it can be difficult to get in as a visitor. After all, the brewing process is supposed to remain a secret in order to keep distinct differences in taste.

G Adventures has a few inside connections that allow travelers in this tour to get as close as possible. So this tour brings you as close as possible to the Belgian breweries and abbeys.

The 8-day Belgian Beer Tour starts off in Brussels, before heading to the abbey of Rochefort, where you get a sneak peek into the abbey. The next day, you’ll visit Orval and Chimay, before heading over to the iconic city of Bruges. In Bruges, you can visit a local brewery and see the brewing process. Then, Westmalle and Antwerp are on the list, with a quick stopover in Achel.

During each stop, you get a chance to discover the city and explore some of the most important landmarks.

If you’re a beer lover, this tour is an all-in trip to Belgium, with a few beer introductions along the way!

Check out the 8-day Belgian Beer Tour

Conclusion - Beer tours in Belgium

As you can see, there’s a variety of available beer tours, brewery tours, museums, and beer tastings available in Belgium.

Most of these are NOT actual pub crawls and you shouldn’t expect these tours to be drinking feasts. During a local beer tour, you’ll get to learn a little about the culture and history, while tasting / sampling some of the most iconic Belgian beers along the way.

The most popular travel destinations in Belgium are Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent. So, we got you a few tours in each city.

If you really want to submerge into the rich brewing culture and history of Belgium, we definitely recommend taking the 8-day Belgian Beer Tour, where you get to see a lot of different places which all have an important part in the brewing history of Belgium.

During this trip, you visit the actual abbeys where monks started brewing decades ago!

Hopefully, you found the perfect excursion for your needs in this list, and we hope you enjoy your trip to the tiny, but pretty Belgium!

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best places to visit in belgium for beer

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7 of the Best Belgian Breweries and Beer Bars to Visit

Published by Jeremy . Last Updated on January 3, 2023.

Disclaimers : Our site uses demographic data, email opt-ins, display advertising, and affiliate links. Please check out our Terms and Conditions for more information. Listed prices and attraction details may have changed since our visit and initial publication.

There are so many great Belgian beer brands to enjoy when visiting the country that is simply impossible to try them all. During our one-week visit, with somewhere between three to five beers each per day, we only began scratching the surface of trying all the best beer Belgium has to offer. 

While we could go on and on about great brews we had when traveling around Belgium, in this one we thought we'd take a step back and look at  where you can buy all of these great brews outright. So let's talk about our favorite Belgian beer bars and breweries, what you can expect when visiting, and share some of our highlights from each!

But we should note upfront that not every brewery or Belgian beer bar is recommended purely to drink beer. Some may be great spots to buy beer to take home and others offer historical tours that are must-sees over their beer offerings. To put it bluntly, this list has something for everyone.

Cantillon in Brussels

Cantillon Tours

One of the things we love about breweries in Belgium is that most distribute their beer throughout the country. So if you don't visit the brewery proper (many of which we found don't actually have tasting experiences outright), you can find their beer readily available at beer bars without insane secondary markup.

Cantillon Brewery in Brussels feels the opposite.

This brewery is one of the most famous in the country and their gose, lambic, and other wild fermentations are sought after by enthusiasts around the world- often heralded as the best of the best. Suffice it to say, they're rather rare to find available via 3rd parties and when you do, are often sold for secondary prices starting at 2x markup or more. (Which, considering 750 mL bottles often start around 20 Euro at the brewery proper, adds up quickly.) 

Magic Lambic from Cantillon

So for most, the best chance you have to try Cantillon's brews is by visiting the brewery right in Brussels. For a nominal fee, guests can tour the facility on a self-guided walk and then sample three brews in a tasting at the end (typically a trio of a young gose, an aged gose, and a lambic) with the opportunity to buy more bottles to enjoy on-site or to go.

While the self-guided tour and tasting is worth the price, visitors should note that if you want to try other brews beyond the flight trio, you have to buy a full bottle (which, previously noted, most are 750 mL format only). Did we want to try more of their famous lambics at the bar? Yes. Could we justify buying more than one due to the larger format and 20 Euro+ price point? Not in the slightest, which was simply unfortunate as the bar list was quite incredible.

So make friends and share if you are able- the beer here is worth the extra effort and then some!

Delirium Cafe in Brussels

Belgian Beers at Delirium Cafe

When you speak of Delirium bar in Brussels, you really should be thinking of it more as the Delirium complex (or as they call it, Delirium Village). This spot in the heart of the old town features several themed businesses within the village space- each with its own twist of a certain element of bar culture.

At its heart is the Delirium Cafe- a basement bar with a devoted following for its absurdly large beer collection. In 2004, this cafe was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most bottles of beer in the world- 2,004 unique bottles!

Ambiance at Delirum Village

• Planning a trip? Find a flight deal . • In need of a room? Check out hotel and apartment prices. • Taking a cruise? Find a cruise itinerary for your journey. • Don't overlook picking up a rental car or day tours as well!

So if you are in the need of a bar where you can try, well, everything, Delirium Cafe in Brussels is the place to be. Although, we have to admit that we also didn't drink any Delirium when visiting this bar. That is the issue when you have roughly 2,000 bottles to choose from. Oops!

Dulle Griet in Ghent

Dulle Griet is a Great Belgian Beer Bar

In the mood for a beer bar in Ghent that has an impressively large menu (> 500 beers) and an ambiance that is hard to beat? Dulle Griet is the place to be.

This one features a book of brews, all at respectable prices, their own house ales, and more. While we used this one primarily to work our way through the list of Trappist producers in Belgium, we have to admit the collection of beers at large gave us a wealth of options to choose from.

Bar at Dulle Griet Gent

Perhaps the most interesting part about Dulle Griet is what they do for those who order the house beer. You see, the house brews are only served in large format, custom glasses (>1L) with a high-security deposit. Yes, there is the monetary element (something like 90 Euros for a broken glass), but they also take your shoe to ensure you return the glass outright!

Yes, every few minutes throughout the night a basket with a bell on it is lowered to the bar floor to add or take out shoes in a spectacle you really have to see to believe. Did we order a beer and give up one of our shoes? Sadly, no- if only because we wanted to try many brews and didn't want to commit to over a liter of just one. But did we want to? Absolutely.

  • Don't know what to order? Ask your server about their favorite beer in a particular category. I asked for a favorite Tripel and was given Paix Dieu which was one of my favorites from our entire visit!

Het Waterhuis in Ghent

Belgian Beer at Het Waterhuis

If you're looking for a more intimate beer bar right on the river in Ghent, look no further than Het Waterhuis- just a few blocks from Dulle Griet, above.

This beer bar has an impressive beer menu, both in draft and in bottle, but with a bit more of a relaxed ambiance overall from the hustle and bustle of Dulle Griet.

One of the things we loved about this one during our December visit was how they had a strong feature of Christmas brews from various producers- something that was highlighted better here than just about anywhere else we visited!

De Garre in Bruges

Beers at De Garre Bruge

Bruges is home to many breweries and beer bars, but the one that stood out to us the most was De Garre.

This famous, three-story beer bar located in the heart of Bruges has an impressive bottle collection, much like others featured in this article, but also has its own house tripel brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge that you cannot find anywhere else (apart from, perhaps, a beer store or two in Bruges).

This tripel was also one of our favorites of the style and we'd almost go as far as saying is worth dealing with the crowds in Bruges just to try it on its own. So while you may be walking up and down the old stairs on several passes to find a seat during peak hours, it is worth the effort to try this one (plus others from their collection)!

Abbaye d'Orval in Florenville

Ruins at Orval Abbey

To wind down this list, we wanted to mention a couple of Trappist producers we visited and absolutely adored. However, we should note that Trappist producers don't typically offer a proper tasting experience as you would expect at a conventional brewery. So if you want to visit these, you are going for an entirely different reason.

Up first, we have Orval located near Florenville in southwest Belgium.

The site where the Orval Abbey is located has housed a place of worship since the 10th century, and construction of the first abbey began in 1132. The original abbey expanded over the years but was destroyed in the French revolution, subsequently rebuilt in the 20th century, and commercial brewing began in 1931.

Today, visitors can explore the ruins of the medieval abbey, learn about the brewing process in an on-site museum, view the abbey church proper (pending timing- during our visit it closed a little bit before tours ended for the day so we only just made it inside), and more. To call the grounds here impressive is an understatement, and the self-guided tour was our favorite monastery visit in all of Belgium. To put it bluntly, if you have a car and want to road trip, this is a worthy destination all before even talking about the beer.

Orval and Orval Vert at A l'Ange Gardien

While the abbey does not serve beer for guests (you can buy bottles of this widely distributed beer to go, however), the cafe A l'Ange Gardien on the road leading to the abbey does. This one also serves a brew only found here, Orval Vert, a lower ABV, hoppy brew from the monastery that comes with a sufficient bitterness that reminded us of a session IPA in the USA. 

But if you are looking for a taste, be warned- the hours of the cafe next door are not the same as the monastery. We visited on a Wednesday when the monastery was open but the cafe was supposed to be closed. But through a sheer twist of fate, they were having a party for Orval reps and were kind enough to let us in to have a round. Win!

Brouwerij de Sint-Sixtusabdij in Westvleteren

Beer Pickup at Westvleteren

Finally, we come to Brouwerij de Sint-Sixtusabdij in Westvleteren, or Westvleteren for short, in northwest Belgium.

This Trappist producer makes what some would call the world's best beer, Westvleteren 12 (a Quad), and has become a pilgrimage spot for those wanting to purchase this beer as it is not officially distributed at retail anywhere outside of Westvleteren.

We have a full article about how to buy Westvleteren beer from the monastery, so in this one, we want to just make a note that those who visit this abbey should really only do so if you are buying cases . The monastery itself is not open for tours of any kind, and to be honest you can see very little of the grounds from the road. Those who buy beer don't get much better, either- you simply drive inside a small carport (which is 99% visible from the main road), pick up your beer, and leave.

This one makes the cut solely for those looking to shop!

Westvleteren at In de Vrede

That being said, much like Orval above, if you want to try Westvleteren's beer in the area, you'll do well to make your way to the cafe next door, In de Vrede. Much like the cafe at Orval, this one has a working relationship with the monastery, sells all three styles of beer at reasonable prices, has a killer food menu, and sometimes even carries bottles and glasses from the brewery for sale as well.

Would we drive all the way to Westvleteren to take a chance to buy bottles from the cafe only? No, not at all- you can't guarantee they'll carry them at any given time. But would we stop by when picking up beer from the monastery to enjoy a round? Or detour, slightly, if we happen to be nearby? Absolutely on both counts.

  • Note : In theory, the only two places that you can buy Westvleteren are at the abbey properly and at the cafe next door. In practice, many beer bars and stores around Belgium and the Netherlands carried Westvleteren during our visit. This appears to be going against the monks' wishes, and also are priced at a 7x markup- or about 17 Euro a bottle during our 2022 visit.

Brouwerij de Sint-Sixtusabdij is located at Donkerstraat 12, 8640 in Vleteren. In de Vrede cafe is located at Donkerstraat 13 just across the street from the abbey.

Do you have a favorite beer bar or brewery in Belgium? Comment below to share!

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Jeremy from Living the Dream

About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.

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Trappist Beer In Belgium: Everything You Need To Know

best places to visit in belgium for beer

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If you’re planning a trip to Belgium, you won’t want to miss out on a chance to visit a Trappist Monastery to grab a beer. That’s right: A monastery might be one of the best places to visit in Belgium if you love beer. Many Belgian Trappist monasteries are a short drive from other countries such as France, Germany, or Luxembourg, making them a great addition to a trip to those countries, too.

All Trappist monasteries produce a limited amount of commercial products to help sustain their operations. While most locations produce preserves, cheese, or bread, some monasteries produce beer. In total, there are 14 registered Trappist monasteries that produce beer commercially. Twelve of those breweries are certified to use the "Authentic Trappist Product" symbol , and half of those breweries are in Belgium, making it an excellent destination for beer enthusiasts. This is, of course, in addition to the other fabulous breweries in the country.

Beer enthusiasts can’t get enough Trappist beer. Several things make Trappist beers so special. If you like trying new beers, but are on the fence about adding a monastery trip to your travel itinerary, here are a few things to consider.

Trappist Beers Are Rare

Since Trappist monasteries don’t create products on a for-profit basis, their overall production runs are low and will stay low. Despite this, you can still find some Trappist beers in craft beer shops around the United States. However, there are some monasteries that don’t distribute to the U.S. at all.

To put things in perspective, 10,000 barrels of the highly elusive double IPA Heady Topper are brewed annually. Look at one of the most highly regarded Trappist breweries, Westvleteren, for comparison; they only brew 4,750 barrels. Unlike standard commercial breweries, which will increase production to meet higher demand and increase profits, Trappist breweries won’t because they only brew to support the monastery.

The Orval Abbey in Belgium.

ciwo1 / Shutterstock

Trappist Beer Has A Rich History

Europe has a rich history in brewing and is home to the oldest operating breweries in the world. Four of the Trappist monasteries in Belgium were founded before 1900, and some predate 1850. Experiencing the history behind the beer is as exciting as getting your hands on a rare bottle.

Trappist Beer Comes In 4 Distinct Styles

Experiencing what 150 years of brewing mastery tastes like can be a palate-opening experience. Trappist style ales are unlike any other beverage on the planet. Trappist monasteries don’t produce seasonal beers or release new recipes every few years. Instead, they’ve honed just a few recipes to absolute perfection. This dedication, coupled with private yeast strains, makes Trappist beers completely unique. If you’re looking to broaden your understanding of beer and brewing while on your trip to Belgium, work a Trappist monastery visit into your itinerary and get to know the four distinct styles of beer they brew.

The names may sound complicated, but their translations are simple, and each has a unique flavor that is not to be missed.

Also called table beer or patersbier , the Enkel is most frequently consumed by the monks taking up residence at the monastery. These are the lightest and most straightforward of the beers produced at Trappist monasteries. Expect a wonderful balance of light, fruity flavors, bright yeast notes, and a crisp malt note.

These medium-strength ales are not too strong, not too weak, and jam-packed with a rich malty flavor. This style and those following it on this list are more readily available than the Enkel. Dubbels will have more body and darker color than their lower strength counterpart. Standard strength Dubbels fall between 6 and 8% ABV.

As you can imagine, Tripel is stronger than Dubbel. However, instead of following suit and being darker than the previous style, Tripels tend to be lighter in color and body than Dubbels. They’re dryer and have a stronger ABV, between 8 and 10%.

Quadrupel Or Quad

This style is both stronger and darker than the Tripel. It’s more like a Dubbel that’s been cranked up to 11. In terms of strength, Quadrupel will fall somewhere between 9 and 14% ABV. Quads have a heavy body with bold, ripe stonefruit flavors and pronounced bready malt notes.

Trappist beer in Belgium.

Abbey Style Beer Isn’t Necessarily True Trappist Beer

Thanks to crafty marketing moves within the beer industry, finding Trappist beer isn’t as easy as buying beer inspired by these age-old styles. There are countless breweries that produce Belgian-style ales called Enkels, Dubbels, Tripels, and Quads. Others go a step further and throw the term Abbey Style on their labels. To ensure you’re getting the true Trappist product, look for the “Authentic Trappist Product” insignia on the bottle. Alternatively, you can pay attention to the brewery itself and cross-reference it against a list of registered Trappist breweries .

Schedule a trip to a Trappist monastery on your next European adventure to have access to the freshest, most authentic Trappist ales in the world. Visiting one usually gets you access to their beers with limited to no distribution.

There Are 6 Trappist Monasteries In Belgium Where You Can Try Trappist Beer

Like any long-distance trip, careful planning will be needed to visit a Trappist monastery. With the growing popularity of Trappist ales, the monasteries have grown accustomed to frequent visits. Here is a quick overview of the six Belgian Trappist monasteries, the beers they offer, and information you should know as you plan your visit.

Westmalle produces a Dubbel and a Tripel. With careful hunting, you’ll be able to find a bottle of these in craft beer bottle shops in the U.S. However, the monastery also produces a single, which is very limited and may or may not be available when you visit. Brewery tours aren’t provided, however, you can reserve a time to watch a special video about the brewery and walk some of its grounds. Complete your visit with a trip to Cafe Trappisten , which is half a mile down the road from the abbey. The cafe was originally placed on the abbey grounds across from the grocer, but eventually needed to relocate. There, you can enjoy fresh Westmalle beers right from Westmalle Abbey itself.

Westmalle is a 40-minute drive East of Antwerp.

Trappist beer from Westvleteren.

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Westvleteren/St. Sixtus

This Monastery is the producer of one of the world’s highest-rated beers, Westvleteren 12 (or Westy 12). Their beers come in unassuming bottles with no labels. The caps are the only way to distinguish the styles. Before you hop in the car and drive an hour southwest of Bruges, though, know that the buying process for Westvletern beers is very restrictive. The first thing you’ll need to do is register for their online sales platform . Once beer is available for purchase, you can buy your allowance online and pick it up at the abbey visitor center. Planning is key as the process usually takes at least three months.

This monastery produces a staggering 105,000 barrels of beer annually. Their bottles are available fairly readily throughout the U.S., so if you’re on the hunt for rarer Trappist ales, you may want to visit other monasteries instead. However, if you’re already a big fan of Chimay, contact the monastery to discuss visits or hostel stays. Chimay is located a little over two hours south of Brussels or two hours northwest of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

You may have seen some Rochefort bottles at your local bottle shop. They have a brown label with large lettering. Their styles are indicated by a number in a small colored circle. Rochefort Monastery is not open to the public, however, it’s conveniently located in the town of Rochefort, which has terrific dining, sightseeing, and shopping opportunities. Many of the bars in town serve Rochefort’s coveted ales.

The entrance to Orval Abbey.

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This is another Trappist beer with healthy distribution in the U.S. However, if you’re a fan of the beer or want to take in some incredible architectural history, this is the place to go. They are much more welcoming to the public than some of the other monasteries. Orval Abbey offers self-guided and guided tours. These last between 20 minutes and two hours respectively. The gift shop offers plenty of souvenir-buying options as well as an opportunity to get your hands on their world-class ale. It’s located at the southern tip of Belgium and is closer to Luxembourg and Reims, France, than it is to other major Belgian cities.

The sixth of six Belgian Trappist breweries is Sint-Benedictus Abbey , or Achelse Kluis for short. There are no brewery tours, but the tavern at the abbey is open to the public. It has a large viewing area where you can watch the brewers at work, and they offer limited release beers only available at the tavern, making it an attractive option for those looking for new beer experiences. The monastery is located in Achel, which is roughly equidistant from Antwerp, Belgium, and Dusseldorf, Germany.

Working in a stop at a Trappist brewery is easy thanks to the fact that they’re scattered throughout the country. If you’re staying in one of Belgium’s major cities, or planning a trip to France, Luxembourg, or Germany, a Trappist brewery is not too far away. Be sure to take advantage of your opportunity to visit these incredible locations.

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David Doucette is a graphic designer and writer who has a passion for the outdoors and experiencing new things. David spent some time working in the travel industry as a designer before moving to the consumer packaged goods field. He enjoys hiking, fishing, and homebrewing.


The Bruges beer guide, 10 places for beer lovers to visit in Bruges

When the topic is beer, the destination is Belgium! This small nation is the only country whose beer country is on UNESCO’s Representative of the intangible Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. T he evolution of the Belgium breweries is closely entwined in the history of the country. In Bruges, you can easily find out the fascinating personality behind each one. If you are a beer aficionado or a beer enthusiast, here are the 10 places you need to visit to try the best Belgian beers.

The best beer experiences in Bruges

Beerwall in Bruges

1. Beer Museum and Bruges Beer Experience 

If you are a beer fan, there is no better way to start your beer journey than visiting the Bruges Beer Experience . In this stunning museum visitors can learn about the history, interact with the brewing process, sample ingredients, and the best part: taste brews of varied styles! Trappist, abbey, Dubbel, Lambic do you know the difference? Before taking on Bruges beer scene you must head to the Bruges Beer Museum to feel like an expert when the topic is Belgium beers. There’s a lot of great information and handy facts in the interactive self-guided museum tour.

After spending a few hours tasting, smelling and touching the ingredients and learning about the equipment and process to make the best beers, visitors can put their knowledge to the test by tasting fresh draft beers in their nice bar in the famous Market Square. 

Visitors can choose between the Experience 1: Museum + Tasting or Experience 2: Tasting only. If you are ready to skip the best part, tasting 5 beers of your choice is 10 Euros and certainly worth the visit. There is also a store where you can buy a personalized beer bottle or a unique gift from Brugues. The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

Beer Experience in Bruges

2. The Beer Wall at 2Be

Imagine a Dream Beer Wall ! Then make your dream come true by entering the cavernous doorway where you’ll be in front of over 1250 beer bottles from all over the world. And this is only the beginning! After being amazed by the huge array of beer bottles and glasses displayed on the wall, you can enter at the 2BE Shop . In addition to admiring the splendid architecture, there are a range of Belgian products, including chocolates, biscuits, t-shirts, and of course, tons of great beers where you can put together a pack with your favorite ones. 

There are two floors with all kinds of beers and lots of vintage signs. The highlight of this place is the 2BE Bar , the terrace where you can finish your visit by a spacious beer garden with gorgeous views along the canalside. Make sure to experience a great selection of Belgium beers overthere. The visit to the Beer Wall is open to the public daily from 10:30am to 7pm, except on Wednesday. 

 It’s a mandatory visit when in Bruges.

Beer wall in Bruges

3. Le Trappiste

Are you wondering what is behind a Trappist beer? Trappists are a Roman Catholic contemplative order with history that stretches back hundreds of years. With 120 different quality beers from bottle and 18 Beers from Draught, in this favorite Bruges bar, visitors can understand what makes a Trappist so Unique, including the The Rule of Saint Benedict, which was written in the 6th century mapping out the expectations of Trappist monks and nuns.

The underground bar feels like a medieval throwback where you can enjoy a beer with candles. All the incomes from Trappist-produced goods are used to support the monastery and local community.

Set in a 13th Century cellar, with exposed vaulted brick arches, Le Trappiste  is based in its spiritual trappist homeland in Bruges.

If you are curious about the authentic Trappist products and breweries, their blog is a good resource to learn more before your visit.

Le Trappiste

4. Duvelurium

Stop for the beer, stay for the view! The perfect place to rest and relax during your visit to Bruges, The Duvelorium Grand Beer Café has a terrace strategically located in the Market Square.The world’s only Duvel-themed café is free of entrance, offers some of the best postcard city views, and of course, is the top spot to experience the best assortment of your Duvel favorite beers. The ambience is beautifully decorated and unique Duvel gifts and souvenirs are available for purchase. 

The Duvelorium is close to the Bruges Tourist Information center and upstairs of the Historium Story, one of the favorite places to take a time trip to medieval Bruges. We loved the visit!

The Duvelorium is open every day from 11am to 6pm.

Beer in Belgium

The best beer tours in Bruges

5. de halve maan .

With no doubt the most famous Bruges brewery tour is De Halve Maan . 

When people say that beer flows through Bruges’ streets, they’re not exaggerating. In 2016 , The Half Man Brewery installed a beer pipe to transport beer from the brewery to its bottling plant on the outskirts of the city. And today, De Halve Maan is internationally famous for its two-mile beer pipeline under the city.

Located in the heart of the city this is the perfect spot to take a 45 minute tour to learn more about Belgium beer from the traditions to the innovations. Their story goes all the way back to 1856, from horse-and-cart deliveries to beer transportation through this impressive pipeline. The tour is fun, informative and also includes a sampling of their  top beer brands .

Blond, dark, some a bit hoppy or a bit sweet, the brand ships the beers to over 40 countries and is represented on almost every continent. Although you probably have tasted some of them somewhere around the world, trying the most authentic beer from Bruges direct to its fountain has a special taste. This is the last authentic family brewery in the city center of Bruges and you must visit!

Tour prices vary from 15 to 24 euros and in addition to the tours, visitors can only seat in the brewery to enjoy a glass of their classic beers.

Visiting De Halve Maan

6. Bourgogne des Flandres 

Have you heard about lambic beers? Bourgogne des Flandres is a typical example of the Flemish beer and has a very special place in the Belgian beer landscape. Brewed on site, their lambic beers are aged for over eight months in wooden barrels and the result is a surprising red-brown beer with a low alcohol content and a very rich finish. This authentic West Flemish red-brown beer has survived the long-term competition from the hugely popular lager beers since WWI as well as the destruction caused by WWII.

Visitors can take one of the tours in the Brewery & distillery to learn more about the entire brewing process that results in Bourgogne des Flandres’ traditional rounded dark and fruity beer or go directly to their beautiful bar  in central Bruges to taste their best beer selection. 

The Bourgogne des Flandres is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:30 am to 6:30pm and in addition to the great beers, this place is famous for having one of the most beautiful terraces in Bruges. If you take a cruise in the city, this place will not go unnoticed.

Inside Bourgogne des Flandres

The best beer bars in Bruges

We wished we had more time to try all of them, but here are our favorite ones:

Flight at Bourgogne des Flandres in Bruges

7. ’t Brugs Beertje

Considered by many of the best bars in Bruges, the ’t Brugs Beertje is a small pub on a cobbled street with walls and surface covered in beer-related paraphernalia and with over 300 Belgian Beers to choose from.

7. Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

It’s easy to find good beer in Bruges, you know! But the Bierbrasserie Cambrinus makes the perfect match between good beer and good food. The beer list is large, and the line is long because the price is good too! If you are really struggling to find the perfect one, the staff are always on hand to make a few recommendations. 

9. De Garre

De Garre is another Bruges beer gem. Located in one of the narrowest alleys in Bruges, this former fire lane was used to cut through to the canals, for quick access to the water. The passage no longer exists, but the medieval character has been preserved and visitors love to be back in time. Now The Garre is home to lots of welcoming little cafés and restaurants. And guess what? It’s a perfect place to stop by for a great Belgium beer too.

10. The Bottle Shop

If after all this beer drinking, you want to bring a few Belgian beers home with you, the shelves from The Bottle Shop speak for themselves. There are over 400 beers and wines where you shop your favorites to remember this iconic destination at home.

Beers in Bruges

Do you want to learn more about Belgian beers and breweries? The BeerTourism website has great resources from the beer experts. Hope you enjoy it and let us know what is your favorite Belgian beer in the comments. Cheers!

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8 Best Beer Tours in Brussels: Ultimate Guide for 2024

Beer from Brussels

Are you looking for the best beer tours in Brussels? Then you have come to the right place!

Brussels is a city that cannot miss on any Belgium itinerary and one of the best things to do here is to taste some delicious Belgian beer.

By joining a beer tour, you will not only taste some of the best beers Belgium has to offer but you will also learn more about this brew and how it is made.

Beer is one of the things Belgium is best known for and Belgian beer is famous all over the world. If you’re asking me, this is a pretty good reason to go beer-tasting while you’re travelling in this country!

This post features the best Brussels beer tours, from short and quick ones for those who are short on time to more in-depth ones for beer lovers.

Brussels beer tours: My top picks

Beer tours in Brussels

Best overall: Belgian Beer Tasting ⏳  Length : 2,5 hours | 💰  Price:  €38

Brussels Museums

Best if you’re short on time: Beer Tasting Experience Brussels ⏳  Length : 1,15 hours | 💰  Price:  €24

Beer from Brussels

Best private: Private Brussels Beer Tour ⏳  Length : 3 hours | 💰  Price:  €176

The best beer tours in Brussels

If you’re going to spend a day in Bru ssels , going on a beer tour is a great way to learn more about this brew. So, let’s dive into it!

You will find the best beer tours in Brussels along with what to expect on each tour and other useful information below.

>> Read: Is Brussels Worth Visiting? Top Reasons to Visit Brussels

Beer tours in Brussels

1. Belgian Beer Tasting

⭐️  Rating : 5/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 2,5 hours | 🍺   Check availability

This guided beer tour will take you along the streets of Brussels and stop at local bars to taste some of the best Belgian beers. Meanwhile, your guide will tell you everything about this brew’s flavour and what makes Belgian beer some of the best in the world.

You will be able to sample three Belgian beers and one Belgian Trappist Ale during this tour. The latter is Belgium’s most traditional abbey beer.

This beer tour was amazing… fun, informative, and extremely entertaining. There is also no shortage of great beer. This tour is a must when exploring Brussels. Shea ( read more reviews )

It is good to know that this tour is held in the evening (6 pm) and that it ends at one of Brussels’ most popular bars. You can stay here and continue tasting beer by yourself if you want to.

💰  Price (group tour):  €38

Grand Place, a place not to miss in one day in Brussels

2. Hungry Mary’s Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour

⭐️  Rating : 5/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 4 to 5 hours | 🍺   Check availability

If you would like to combine chocolate and beer , then Hungry Mary’s Famous Beer and Chocolate Tour is the perfect tour for you!

During this walking tour, you will not only taste at least six different Belgian beers at some of the city’s most popular bars, but you will also taste 12 different varieties of Belgian chocolates at the city’s best chocolatiers.

One of the best beer tours I’ve been on. Great guides, good beer and fantastic sightseeing really made our Brussels visit special. Would happily take the tour again. Shane ( read more reviews )

Another nice thing about this tour is that it will bring you along three of Brussels’ most famous landmarks ; the Grand Place, Manneken Pis and the Galleries Saint-Hubert.

Last but not least, you will get to taste some beer at Royal Theatre Toone, which is one of my favourite cafes in Brussels!

💰 Price (group tour): €90

Delirium Cafe with Belgian beer

3. Marc’s Belgian Beer Tour

⭐️  Rating : 4,5/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 4 hours | 🍺   Check availability

This walking tour will allow you to sample seven Belgian beers along with Belgian cheese, chocolate and other snacks. It will take you to some of the city’s most popular bars and cafes.

Thanks to your guide, you will also gain a lot of insights into Belgian beer varieties and the country’s brewing traditions during this tour.

Phenomenal experience. All the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and they took us to 4 unique places where we tried a variety of Belgian beers. Great history lessons of Brussels as well! Highly recommend! Joseph ( read more reviews )

Among other bars, Marc’s Belgian Beer Tour will also take you to Delirium Monasterium, which is part of Delirium Café. This café holds the Guinness World Record for offering the largest selection of beers in the entire world (over 2,000)!

💰 Price (group tour):  €79

Brussels Museums

4. Beer Tasting Experience Brussels

⭐️  Rating : 4,5/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 1,15 hours | 🍺   Check availability

This is one of the shortest beer tours on this list. It is perfect for those who want to learn more about beer and taste this brew, but are on a tight schedule.

Beer Tasting Experience Brussels will allow you to taste five different types of Belgian beer while learning more about the ingredients and history of this beverage.

Very nice experience, I would recommend it to understand better the prices of the beer process in Belgium and you can taste 5 of them! Tom ( read more reviews )

It is good to know that this tour takes place in one single location, 1 km (0.6 mi) from the Grand Place, in the centre of the city. This makes it a great activity to do in Brussels on a rainy day as well.

💰 Price (group tour):  €24

Brouwerij de Halve Maan in Bruges

5. Beer Walk Brussels

⭐️  Rating : 4,5/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 3 hours | 🍺   Check availability

During this tour, your guide will take you to Brussels’ best-known pubs like Les Brasseurs, La Fleur en Papier Doré and La Mort Subite. Here, you will be able to try some great Belgian beers.

Along the way, you will also pass the famous Manneken Pis fountain, which is one of Brussels’ most famous landmarks.

This tour was my favorite that we did in Belgium. The guide was excellent, very knowledgeable and friendly, he is even a brewer himself! The bars were a good variety of different atmospheres in the city, and the beers were also great and representative of a good range of beer styles. Allison ( read more reviews )

Another nice thing about the Beer Walk Brussels tour is that the maximum group size is 15 people. This guarantees a more intimate experience.

💰 Price (group tour): €45

Is Brussels worth visiting

6. Brussels Craft Breweries

⭐️  Rating : 5/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 3 hours | 🍺   Check availability

What makes this tour special is that it includes a visit to a local brewery that’s not usually open to the public. Here, you will learn more about the beer-brewing process and be able to bottle one of their beers, which you can then take home with you! (this might just be the perfect souvenir from Belgium )

Besides visiting a brewery, the Brussels Craft Breweries tour will also take you to some great bars where you can taste delicious Belgian beer.

Great experience! Our tour of Brussels and introduction to all things Belgian Beer was amazing. Lot was a fantastic guide and we couldn’t have been more pleased. She was beyond accommodating and really helped open our eyes to Belgian beer which we are now huge fans!! A Tripadvisor Reviewer ( read more reviews )

It is good to know that this tour ends in a café in Saint-Gilles, which is 2,5 km (1.5 mi) away from the meeting point in the centre of Brussels.

💰 Price (group tour):  €64.50

Beer from Brussels

7. Private Brussels Beer Tour

If you’d rather go on a personalized private tour , this is the one for you!

During the Private Brussels Beer Tour, a local expert will take you to the city’s most famous pubs where you will get to taste four to six delicious Belgian beers.

The most interesting and educational beer tour I’ve ever participated. Strong recommandations from us! Ivar ( read more reviews )

What’s great about this tour is that your guide will suggest you beer based on your personal taste and preferences. This tour is not the same for everyone, as the pubs you will visit will also depend on your personal interests.

All in all, the Private Brussels Beer Tour is the best beer tour in Brussels for those who would like to learn more about this brew in a private setting.

💰 Price (private tour):  €176

Best museums in Brussels

8. Belgian Beer Tasting & Course

⭐️  Rating : 4,4/5 stars | ⏳  Length : 1,15 hours | 🍺   Check availability

If you’re looking for a tour with a workshop atmosphere , this is the one for you! As its name predicts, the Belgian Beer Tasting & Course combines an interesting introductory course about beer with a beer tasting of five Belgian beers.

This tour will also teach you how to taste beer like an expert and how to distinguish the different styles of beer.

It was a fun evening. We learned a lot, got to try nice beer in a chilled and friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed learning about the different techniques and flavours and how to properly test it. I am sure there is something for every taste. Marion ( read more reviews )

Just like the Beer Tasting Experience Brussels tour (#4 on this list), this is one of the tours on this list that doesn’t involve walking but takes place in one place.

💰 Price (group tour):  €25

Beer tours in Brussels

Brussels beer tours: FAQs

Is brussels known for beer.

Yes, Brussels and the rest of Belgium are famous for beer. There are over 200 breweries in Belgium and these produce more than 1,600 types of different beer.

Belgian beer is argued to be the best beer in the world and if you’re asking me, it lives up to its expectation!

What beer is from Brussels?

Brussels is full of breweries, both old and new. Some of the most famous ones are Cantillon Brewery, Brussels Beer Project, BrewSpot and Brasserie de la Senne.

Tara Boulba, Zinnebir, En Stoemelings, Cantillon and de Grosse Bertha are some beers from Brussels, but there are many more.

Where can I try beer in Brussels?

The best way to try a variety of Belgian beers and learn more about this brew is by joining a beer tour.

You will find Belgian beer in every café in this city, though. Some of the best cafés for tasting beer are Moeder Lambic, Delirium Café, L’Egalité and de Garre.

What to expect during a beer tour: Video

Final thoughts: Beer tours in Brussels

And voila! These were the best beer tours Brussels has to offer. I hope that you have found exactly what you were looking for and that this post inspires you to taste some Belgian beer.

I highly recommend taking a beer tour during your trip to Belgium. Not only will it teach you more about this brew Belgian is so famous for, but it will also allow you to enjoy some of the country’s best beers.

All in all, tasting beer in Brussels is one of the best things to do in Belgium and one you cannot miss if you’re a beer lover!

Read more about Brussels and Belgium:

  • The Best Indoor Activities in Brussels
  • The Best Shopping Malls in Brussels
  • 12 Best Parks in Brussels
  • The Best Day Trips from Brussels
  • The Most Beautiful Monuments in Brussels

Belgium travel planning guide

🛫 Find the cheapest flights to Belgium on  Skyscanner . 🏨 Find the best accommodation via  Booking  or  Hostelworld . 🚃 Use Omnio to book public transportation in Belgium. 🚗 Rent a car with  Discover Cars   to get the best rates. 💰 Get travel insurance via  Visitors Coverage , one of the best-reviewed travel insurance companies. 📋 Don’t forget to  check if you need a visa  to visit Belgium

Pin it for later: Did you find this post helpful? Save it on Pinterest and follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more travel tips and inspiration.

Beer tours in Brussels

Laura Meyers

Laura Meyers is the founder of Laure Wanders. She was born in Belgium and has travelled to over 40 countries, many of them solo. She currently spends most of her time between Belgium and South Asia and loves helping other travellers plan their adventures abroad.

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Our Tasty Travels

Visiting Belgium’s Trappist Breweries

Last week, Erin wrote a piece for an exciting new section on Expedia called  Expedia TRIP , wherein she shared her experience visiting one of Belgium’s Trappist breweries, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy Trappist monastery in Belgium, for those travelers like us who explore for the love of food, wine, and beer . This is the monastery that brews one of the best beers in the world, the Rochefort Trappist beer.

Erin’s piece inspired me to finally put together a post discussing the six different Trappist monasteries in Belgium that produce the world-famous Trappist beers.  So far, I have visited five of the six Trappist monasteries / breweries in Belgium. And I plan to complete my Belgium Trappist beer tour with a visit the sixth monastery (Orval) sometime this summer. (Note: We finally visited Orval in September, 2017, following the 2017 Cantillon Zwanze Day at Moeder Lambic in Brussels)

Belgium’s Trappist Breweries

The six Trappist breweries in Belgium are:

  • St. Benedictus-Abbey ( Achelse Kluis ) in Achel, Belgium – Achel Beer
  • Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont in Chimay, Belgium – Chimay Beer
  • Abbaye d’Orval in Villers-devant-Orval, Belgium – Orval Beer
  • Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy in Rochefort, Belgium – Rochefort Beer
  • Sint-Sixtusabdij in Westvleteren, Belgium – Westvleteren Beer
  • Abdij van de Trappisten van Westmalle in Westmalle, Belgium – Westmalle Beer

As seen from the Belgian Trappist breweries map, the six breweries are evenly split between the French-speaking Wallonia and the Dutch/Flemish-speaking Flanders regions of Belgium. Achel, Westmalle, and Westvleteren are from Flanders, while Chimay, Orval, and Rochefort are in Wallonia.

Map of Belgium's Trappist Breweries

The only one of the five monasteries / breweries I visited where you can actually visit the brewery itself was Achel, which is also the closest to where I live in Eindhoven, making it for me the best Trappist brewery to visit in Belgium.

Brewery Tanks at Achel

Rochefort was the only other monastery where I was actually able to visit into the actual monastery, but that was a very special open-house event where the monastery was raising funds for renovations, which may require to buy items from sites like Concrete Polishing Perth . On my previous visits to the abbey, I was not able to get any further than the front gate of the monastery.

Rochefort Beer

At Chimay, Westmalle, and Westvleteren, a visit is actually a visit to a cafe / visitor’s center located in close proximity to the monastery and brewery. Both Westmalle and Westvleteren have cafes located just across the street from the monastery. Chimay’s Espace Chimay, or Chimay Experience, is 250-meters away from the abbey. Achel also has a cafe within the walls of Achelse Kluis. There was no cafe or visitor’s center of any sort at Rochefort, but we found a great cafe in town, La Gourmandaise.

Galopins (16 cl) glasses are the size of the Rochefort Beers in the sampling trio

One of my favorite aspects of visiting the cafes at the monasteries is that you can try the normal beers of the brewery, and occasionally, you can also experience special beers not produced for commercial distribution. The cafes also usually offer other products produced at the abbey, such as the monks’ cheese and pate.

Trappist Cheese

Plus, there’s something special about trying these great beers straight from the source.   The beer is fresher and straight from the brewery.  You get to build that special connection that you can only experience by visiting the grounds where the beer is born.

Westmalle Brewery

Authentic Trappist Products

Those new to the Trappist name might wonder what it actually means and why should you care? Products that appear with the official Trappist label mean they “measure up to the quality and traditional standards rooted in the monastic life of a real Trappist community.”

Belgium Beer Road Trip

If you’re looking to plan a Belgian Monastery beer tour road trip, pick up a Belgium beer route map. You can find these in many of the beer stores. As you’re traveling between the monasteries, there are a number of other great breweries you can stop at as well.

Have you visited any of the other Trappist breweries outside of Belgium? If you didn’t know, the total count of Trappist breweries is now up to 11 thanks to a new one in Italy, which was just granted status only last year. 

This post is in partnership with Expedia’s new TRIP launch, but as always, thoughts and opinions are our own. 

  • Brett Domue

By day, Brett is an Enterprise Business Architect for a large Dutch corporation, but he spends the majority of his free time scouting out craft beer, food and wine around the globe. In the past 10 years, he’s primarily lived in the Netherlands, with a few years in Taiwan in between. Brett is the co-founder of Our Tasty Travels. Despite maintaining a full-time job outside the travel blogging industry, he’s managed to travel to over 70 countries and is preparing to pursue his Cicerone certification.

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The Discoveries Of

The Bruges Beer Guide: Discovering The City’s Best Beers, Bars + Breweries

Hunting out the best beer bars in Bruges? Don’t miss this Bruges beer guide – complete with the best bars and brewery tours and some handy tips for navigating the complex world of Belgian beers.

Beer is synonymous with Bruges. Turn every corner in this fairytale city and you’re confronted with the evidence – a beer bar here, a beer bar there, a brewery – not to mention an annual beer festival each February that sees Bruges showing off the very best of its beer culture. 

The first time I visited Bruges, I didn’t quite expect the vast about of choice when it came to beer tastings, tours and bars. That’s not to say that I didn’t embrace it with gusto: I set out to discover as much as I could about Brugge’s beer scene – a passion that has lasted through all my subsequent visits. 

Setting out to explore the beer in Bruges is a pleasure any way you go about it – but this is also a place where a little bit of knowledge can go a long way.

Want to know the difference between a farmhouse ale and a Dubbel? What about Kwak? Read ahead my friends. 

PS: Also looking for more Bruges inspiration? Check out my Bruges City Guide – The Best Things to do and Places to See in the City.

Belgian Beer 101: Handy Facts to Know Before Taking on Bruges Beer Scene

 Behind the Bar at ’t Brugs Beertje

Right, before we set off to drink all of the ridiculously good beer we can lay our hands on in Brugge’s bars and breweries, here’s a quick rundown of some of the common terms you’ll come across and what they mean. 

Trappist Ales

There are plenty of trappist beers in Bruges – but what are they? Trappist ales are tightly regulated and have to follow set criteria to call themselves a trappist ale. 

The first, and the biggest one is that the beer has to be fermented and bottle conditioned within the walls of a monastery by, or under the supervision of, the monks. 

The second is that the brewery can’t be run for profit – but only to support the monastery and its work in society. 

Abbey Beers

Abbey beers by contrast, are ales that have been brewed in the style of traditional Trappist ales but that do not fulfil the requirements to label themselves as a Trappist ale. 

What’s the Difference Between Dubbel, Tripel and Quadrupel Beers?  

As soon as you start drinking Belgian beers, you’ll notice that many beers are marked as Dubbel, Tripel or Quadrupel – but what does that actually mean? 

Common sense would tell you that it refers solely to the strength of the beer – so you’d expect a Quadrupel to be double the strength of a Dubbel. Guess what? Common sense is wrong. Well, kind of. I’ll walk you through the differences. 

Dubbel is a style of beer, generally at ABV 6% to 8.5%, dark in colour and toasted, malty and spiced tasting notes. They’re yeasty and complex – the kind of beers you either love or hate. 

A tripel by contrast should be lighter – golden in colour, clouded in appearance with hoppier notes and a smoother taste.

This is a tripel beer

They are stronger but the malt used is Pilsner, so they have a completely different flavour profile to Dubbels, with citrussy aromas. Strength-wise, they can knock between ABV 8.5% to over 10% – let’s just say that you will know about it if you knock too many of them back in one go.

So what about the quadrupel then? 

Well, unlike the dubbels and the tripels, which have been traditionally brewed by monks for centuries, the quadrupel is relatively recent. In fact it’s not even Belgian. I know, I’m clutching my pearls and simultaneously questioning everything I know about life. 

The quadrupel aims to unite the flavours and tasting notes of dubbels with elements of the tripel. They are strong though – pretty much always punching in at ABVs of over 10%. 

White beers are meant to be refreshing – served chilled, with tasting notes of christmas spice emphasised by the citrus peel served with the drink. 

Lambic Beers 

Lambic beers are another beer you don’t come across outside of the world of Belgian beer. They use spontaneous fermentation thanks to unique microorganisms found in Belgium’s Senne Valley – breweries leave them in large open vats to develop their unmistakable tang.

Sharp and sour, they’re matured for long periods of time to soften the taste and blended with fruit (often cherries), hence why they frequently are described as having a sour cherry taste. 

In fact, Flanders has always excelled at making sour ales – not everyone loves them but their sharp fruity taste are unlike beers brewed elsewhere in the world. Styles include Flanders Red, Guezes, Brown ales and the aforementioned Lambics. 

Brewery Tours in Bruges

If you’re wondering where to drink beer in Bruges, you can hardly do better than going to an actual brewery to kick things off.

De Halve Maan 

De Halve Maan Brewery

De Halve Maan (The Half Man) is the most famous Bruges brewery tour. 

The frequent tours are held in several languages – talking you through the history of the brewery and the brewing process for their unique beers. 

The guides are funny, personable and hugely informative, leading you through the warren of rooms and passages that make up the brewery. They’re relatively comprehensive (45 minutes) and include a sampling of the beers too. 

De Halve Maan is a popular Brugge brewery option, so I’d recommend taking the first tour of the day (if you can stomach it – I’m sure that you can) or going as late as possible when all the day-trippers have set off home. 

Incidentally, when people say that beer flows through Bruges’ streets, they’re not exaggerating. The Half Man Brewery recently installed a beer pipe to transport beer from the brewery to its bottling plant on the outskirts of the city. 

Bourgogne des Flandres 

Bourgogne des Flandres - one of Bruges' breweries

The historic beer of Bourgogne des Flandres recently moved back into the city to a new microbrewery in central Bruges and with it came a cool little Bruges brewery tour. 

The tour itself takes you tells you about the hops and brewing process that results in Bourgogne des Flandres’ traditional rounded dark and fruity beer – you can even learn how to tap the beer digitally too. Once you’re done, round it off with a free glass of the good stuff in their bar. 

The brewery tours are interesting and the beers are tasty but my personal experience was kind of marred by the rude service at the bar. The beer was tasty though. 

Want more? Book onto a private Bruges Beer Brewery tour visiting the city’s breweries with a local expert. 

The Best Beer Bars in Bruges

 ’t brugs beertje.

Beer at ’t Brugs Beertje

Is ’t Brugs Beertje the best bar in Bruges? According to many, the answer is yes. On the face of it, it’s nothing particularly special – a small pub on a cobbled street on one of the quieter roads of Bruges.

Go inside and you start to get an idea of what is so special about it. Every wall, every surface is covered in beer-related paraphernalia, scribbled on by the thousands of punters who’ve patronised the bar at some point or another. 

That’s before you even get to the beer – with over 300 Belgian Beers to choose from, there’s guaranteed to be something to suit your taste. It’s a real highlight on any beer tasting in Bruges odyssey. 

The Beer Wall at 2Be

Beer wall at 2be

Chances are you’ve already seen or heard about the infamous Bruges beer wall at 2be bar. Enter the cavernous doorway to be confronted with a huge array of beer bottles (over 1250) and glasses all stacked up row by row on a long wall. 

Don’t just go and gawp though, as you’d expect, the bar serves an extensive array of beers and the spacious beer garden is smack-bang canalside. Great beer and gorgeous views – I won’t blame you if you don’t want to leave. 

Browhuis Corsendonk 

Browhuis Corsendonk

This small gem of a beer bar in Bruges, completely off the tourist track, may sport some rather odd kitsch decorations (on my last visit, there were puppet style witches dotted about the place) – but the beer is stellar.

Affiliated with the brewery of the same name – this is the place to go and drink Corsendonk.

Try the Corsendonk Pater – a dark brown ale with a creamy head and notes of dried fruit. If that’s not your style, the Corsendonk Angus is a light golden ale with a cidery aroma and a crisp finish. 

Langestraat 104, 8000 Brugge, Belgium

Le Trappiste

Another Bruges beer bar favourite, Le Trappiste sits in a rather gloomy cellar – pouring out their extensive range of Belgian Beers (including more than a few rare finds). The candlelit bar makes an atmospheric setting for sipping on your beer and it’s surprisingly reasonable given its popularity. 

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus

It’s not flash and it’s not stylish but Bierbrasserie Cambrinus draws in the crowds. Why? Well this pub in Bruges just so happens to serve very good beer alongside very good food. The beer list is large enough that it’s a bit daunting but is great value – if you really struggle, the staff are always on hand to make a few recommendations. 

It might be difficult to find (you’ll have to keep your eyes firmly on the map to get it right) but De Garre is another Bruges beer gem. The Tripel De Garre is the biggest draw here – weighing in at a whopping 11% this sweet but strong beer packs such a punch that drinkers are only allowed to order three in any visit. 

‘t Poatersgat

‘t Poatersgat has a slightly too-cool-for-school vibe – but get past that and you will discover a bar in Bruges with a large range of speciality beers in a pleasant space. 

Must-Try Brugge Beer Experiences

Tripel beer in Bruges

Bruges Beer Experience 

Want to really get into the nitty gritty of Belgian beer? Head to the Bruges Beer Museum. 

Set off on one of their interactive self-guided museum tours to learn about the history of beer in Bruges – there’s a LOT of information on the first floor – so much so that you could spend hours walking around before you even head up to the second.

The second floor is a more interactive, focused on the equipment, ingredients and process used to make beer. Once you’re finished you get to put your knowledge to the test by taking your pick of draft beers (some of which you can only get in the museum itself) to round off the experience. 

This laid-back museum also doubles up as a cool little beer drinking spot as you can opt to forgo the tour and simply sample their extensive collection of beers. 

The Bottle Shop

With all this beer drinking, you’re pretty much guaranteed to want to bring a few Belgian beers home with you. The shelves speak for themselves – over 600 beers alongside their accompanying glasses so you can shop your favourites and savour them at home. 

Where to Drink Beer in Bruges: Map 

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The Bruges Beer Guide

Read More Bruges and Belgium Travel Guides 

  • Cool Things to do in Bruges – What to See + What to Skip 
  • Brugge Weekend Break Itinerary
  • Day Trip to Bruges – How to Make the Most of Your Trip
  • Where to Stay in Bruges
  • 10 Stylish Bruges Airbnbs for Your Trip
  • Bruges Tourist Map – Simply Save and Go
  • Europe Packing List
  • Antwerp: Cool Places to Visit on your Belgian City Break

I’m Julianna Barnaby - a professional travel writer and geek extraordinaire. I started The Discoveries Of to help you to discover the best of new destinations from around the world.

Discovering new places is a thrill - whether it’s close to home, a new country or continent, I write to help you explore more and explore differently.

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The top 20 best Belgian beers

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Craft beer has been taking over the pub scene in recent years, with brews from the USA and UK competing with more established brands from across Europe. If you're a fan of small-batch beers you need to plan a trip to the place where everything began – Belgium . No matter which cities you visit, you'll discover that Belgian beer is big business for the locals and they take their brews very seriously. Remember, if you're planning a trip to Belgium, we can help. Get in touch to try our tailor-made travel service.

20 Belgian beers you need to try

Belgium's beer-making history goes back centuries and it's famous the world over as being a top beer country. Official estimates suggest that there are more than 700 beers currently in production in the pint-sized country, with the rarest and most precious given the same reverence as fine wine. With so much choice, menus can be confusing, but these top 20 Belgian beers will give your taste buds a treat.

And if you're ready to try them yourself, consider taking a food and beer tour in either Bruges or Brussels .

Tailor-made travel itineraries for Belgium, created by local experts

The best of the Netherlands and Belgium

8 days  / from 2808 USD

The best of the Netherlands and Belgium

This trip will bring you the best of two countries: the Netherlands and Belgium. From the quaint streets, canals and windmills of Holland to beer and Belgium chocolate tasting in three beautiful Belgium cities. This trip has it all.

Experience the Liberation Route in BeNeLux

9 days  / from 3024 USD

Experience the Liberation Route in BeNeLux

Explore the path of the World War II Liberation Route through Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Visit important landmarks and museums on the way with this self drive itinerary, with enough time to explore cities such as Brussels and Rotterdam on the way.

Taste of Three - Belgium, France and Switzerland

10 days  / from 5616 USD

Taste of Three - Belgium, France and Switzerland

Start your journey in Belgium and explore Brussels, Ghent and Bruges. A high-speed train will then take you to Strasbourg, from where you'll discover the Alsace. Proceed to Basel as your base, from where you'll see plenty of Switzerland: Zermatt, Matterhorn, Mount Pilatus and much more.

1. Bush Beer (7.5% and 12%)

A Wallonian speciality, the Belgian brewery behind Bush claims that the original version is – at 12% – the strongest beer in Belgium. It tastes more like a barley wine and has a lovely golden colour and an earthy aroma. The 7.5% Bush is a tasty pale ale with a zip of coriander.

2. Brugse Straffe Hendrik (Blond 6.5%, Bruin 8.5%)

Straffe Hendrik, a smart little Belgian brewery located in the centre of Bruges , produces zippy, refreshing ales. Their Blond is a light and tangy pale ale, whereas the Bruin is a classic brown ale with a full body.

3. Chimay (red top 7%, blue top 9%)

Made by the Trappist monks of Forges-les-Chimay in southern Belgium, Chimay beers are widely regarded as being among the best in the world. Of the several brews they produce, these two are the most readily available, fruity and strong, deep in body, and somewhat spicy with a hint of nutmeg and thyme.

4. La Chouffe (8%)

Produced in the Ardennes , this distinctive beer is instantly recognizable by the red-hooded gnome (or chouffe) which adorns its label. It's a refreshing pale ale with a hint of coriander and it leaves a peachy aftertaste.

5. Corsendonk Pater Noster (5.6%)

The creation of Jef Keersmaekers, this bottled beer is easily the pick of the many Corsendonk brews. It is known for its Burgundy-brown colour and smoky bouquet.

6. Gouden Carolus (8%)

Named after – and allegedly the favourite tipple of – the Habsburg emperor Charles V, Gouden Carolus is a full-bodied dark brown ale with a sour and slightly fruity aftertaste. Brewed in the Flemish town of Mechelen .

7. Delirium Tremens (9%)

This popular spicy amber ale is the leading product of Ghent's Huyghe brewery. There are even Delirium-owned craft beer bars across Europe in cities including Brussels, Lisbon and Amsterdam – the Brussels branch has over 3,000 beers to try from around the world.

Belgian beer for sale

Delerium Tremens with its distinctive pink elephant label is a must-try Belgian beer @ Pixabay

8. De Koninck (5%)

Antwerp 's leading brewery, De Koninck, is something of a Flemish institution – and for some a way of life. Its standard beer, De Koninck, is a smooth, yellowish pale ale that is better on draft than in the bottle. Very drinkable and with a sharp aftertaste.

9. Lambic (Cantillon Lambik 5%, Lindemans Lambik 4%)

Specific to the Brussels area and representing one of the world's oldest styles of beer making, lambic beers are tart because they are brewed with at least thirty percent raw wheat as well as the more usual malted barley. The key feature is, however, the use of wild yeast in their production, a process of spontaneous fermentation in which the yeasts of the atmosphere gravitate down into open wooden casks over a period of between two and three years. Draught lambic is extremely rare, but it is served in central Brussels at A la Bécasse . The bottled varieties are often modified, but Cantillon Lambik is authentic, an excellent drink with a lemony zip. It is produced at the Cantillon brewery, in Anderlecht, which is home to the Gueuze Museum (see below). Lindemans Lambik is similar and a tad more commonplace.

10. Gueuze (Cantillon Gueuze Lambic 5%)

Another type of Belgian beer rather than an individual brew, gueuze is made by blending old and new lambic to fuel re-fermentation, with the end result being bottled. This process makes gueuze a little sweeter and fuller-bodied than classic lambic. Traditional gueuze can be hard to track down and you may have to settle for the sweeter, more commercial brands, notably Belle Vue Gueuze (5.2%), Timmermans Gueuze (5.5%) and the exemplary Lindemans Gueuze (5.2%).

11. Hoegaarden (5%)

The role model of all Belgian wheat beers, Hoegaarden – named after a small town east of Leuven – is light and extremely refreshing, despite its cloudy appearance. It is brewed from equal parts wheat and malted barley and is the ideal drink for a hot summer's day. The history of wheat beers is curious: in the late 1950s, they were so unpopular that they faced extinction, but within twenty years they had been taken up by a new generation of drinkers and are now extremely popular. Hoegaarden is as good a wheat beer as any.


Hoegaarden is easily recognisable for its distinctive octagonal glass © Marcel Bakker/Shutterstock

12. Kriek (Cantillon Kriek Lambic 5%, Belle Vue Kriek 5.2%, Mort Subite Kriek 4.3%)

Once again a type of beer rather than a particular brew, Kriek is made from a base beer to which cherries are added or, in the case of the more commercial brands, cherry juice and perhaps even sugar. It is decanted from a bottle with a cork, as with sparkling wine. The better examples are not too sweet and taste simply wonderful. Other fruit beers are available too, but Kriek is perhaps the most successful.

13. Kwak (8%)

This Flemish beer, the main product of the family-run Bosteels brewery, is not all that special – it's an amber ale sweetened by a little sugar – but it's served in dramatic style with its distinctive hourglass placed in a wooden stand.

14. Leffe (Leffe Brune 6.5%, Leffe Blond 6.6%)

Brewed in Leuven, just to the east of Brussels, Leffe is strong and malty and comes in two main varieties. Leffe Blond is bright, fragrant, and has a slight orangey flavour, whereas Leffe Brune is dark, aromatic and full of body. Very popular, but a little gassy for some tastes.

15. Orval (6.2%)

One of the world's most distinctive malt beers, Orval is made in the Ardennes at the Abbaye d'Orval, which was founded in the twelfth century by Benedictine monks from Calabria. This Belgian beer is a lovely amber colour, refreshingly bitter and makes a great aperitif.


A tasting flight is a great way to try multiple brews – especially when travelling in a group © Victor Wong/Shutterstock

16. Rochefort (Rochefort 6: 7.5%, Rochefort 8: 9.2%, Rochefort 10: 11.3%)

Produced at a Trappist monastery in the Ardennes, Rochefort beers are typically dark and sweet and come in three main versions: Rochefort 6, Rochefort 8, and the extremely popular Rochefort 10, which has a deep reddish-brown colour and a delicious fruity palate.

17. Rodenbach (Rodenbach 5%, Rodenbach Grand Cru 6.5%)

Located in the Flemish town of Roeselare, the Rodenbach brewery produces a reddish-brown ale in several different formats, with the best brews aged in oak containers. Their widely available Rodenbach (5%) is a tangy brown ale with a hint of sourness. The much fuller – and sourer – Rodenbach Grand Cru is far more difficult to get hold of but is particularly delicious.

18. Verboden Vrucht, or Forbidden Fruit (9%)

Forbidden Fruit is worth buying just for the label, which depicts a fig-leaf clad Adam offering the strategically covered Eve a glass of beer in the garden of Eden. The actual drink is dark and strong with a spicy aroma and has something of a cult following in Belgium. Produced by Hoegaarden.

19. Westmalle (Westmalle Dubbel 7%, Tripel 9%)

The Trappist monks of Westmalle, just north of Antwerp, claim their beers not only cure loss of appetite and insomnia but reduce stress as well. Whatever the truth, the prescription certainly tastes good. Their most famous beer, the Westmalle Tripel, is deliciously creamy and aromatic, while the popular Westmalle Dubbel is dark and supremely malty.

20. Westvleteren (Special 6°: 6.2%, Extra 8°: 8%)

Made at the abbey of St Sixtus in West Flanders, Westvleteren beers come in several varieties. These two are the most common, dark and full-bodied, sour with an almost chocolate-like taste.

Want to put your beer knowledge to the test? Try our world beer quiz .

Our guide to the best things to do in Belgium will help you plan your visit to Belgium in the best possible way.

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Making Everywhere You Go An Adventure

Brussels · April 6, 2024

The 16 Best Bars in Brussels for Beer, Cocktails & More

Brussels is synonymous with beer, as closely linked as peanut butter and jelly or Asterix and Obelix. Pubs, brasseries and bars line the streets of the city, often spilling out onto sun-soaked terraces or rooftops. However, this means that searching for the best bars in Brussels to enjoy a Belgian beer can sometimes feel impossible – when there’s a bar on every corner, how do you decide where to go?

Luckily, I’ve put together this guide to all the best Brussels bars across the city. And since not everyone loves beer (although trust me, with everything on offer in Brussels, you might just change your mind), you’ll also find a selection of the best cocktail bars in Brussels and more.

16 best bars in Brussels

This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.   Read more in my  disclaimer .

The Best Bars in Brussels for Belgian Beer

One thing that’s important to know about Brussels is that it’s hard to find a bad beer! That shouldn’t be too surprising though, considering Belgium’s affiliation with beer. This selection of the best places to enjoy Belgian beer in Brussels is curated, with true classics, my personal favourites, and bars that have some unique offerings. But remember that when it comes to finding a beer in Brussels, there are endless spots around the city to stop by.


Poechenellekelder is the perfect cosy pub in the centre of Brussels. Lying just across the street from the famous landmark Manneken Pis, the building is almost as iconic as its neighbour, as the brick facade is adorned with colourful bicycles, jutting out from the walls.

You’ll find a large selection of Belgian beers to try at Poechenellekelder. In the winter months, grab a seat inside and admire the quirky and cosy interiors. Or, if you’re visiting in the summer, enjoy an alfresco beer in the street with a great atmosphere.

Location | Website

The exterior of Poechenellekelder, one of the best bars in Brussels, with its colourful bicycles

Brussels Beer Project

We all know Belgium for its traditional beers, but did you know that new breweries are popping up in Brussels, and innovating the beer scene? Brussels Beer Project, or BBP, is my favourite craft brewery in the city and I highly recommend a visit. They started in 2013 and now with two locations in Brussels and a pop-up beer garden at their Port Sud location during the summer, Brussels Beer Project is certainly making its mark. They’ve even expanded to a few locations in Paris !

Head to BBP Bailli for a laidback drink accompanied by a homemade pizza. This spot is super popular in the summer as they have a nice beer garden outside. If you’re a craft beer aficionado, head to the brewery at Dansaert (just north of Brussels centre) where you can enjoy a wider selection of beers and even take a tour of the brewery.

The original and most popular beer at BBP is Delta IPA, but my personal favourite is Jungle Joy. If you’re stuck on what to try, get the taster selection of four smaller beers.

Location (Bailli) | Location (Dansaert) | Website

A beer flight with four beers from Brussels Beer Project

Moeder Lambic

Moeder Lambic is a bar committed to showcasing some of the more independent breweries around Brussels and Belgium and has gained cult popularity as a result. This is the perfect spot if you’re looking to branch out from classic Belgian beers and discover something new. Look out for names like La Source, La Senne and Cantillon, or ask the bartenders for a recommendation!

Their Fontainas location is close to the city centre and has a cosy brick interior, plus a sunny outdoor area looking onto Place Fontainas. They have a second location in Saint-Gilles, which is a nice laidback spot if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.

Location (Fontainas) | Location (Saint-Gilles) | Website

Nobody can deny that Delirium is a tourist hotspot and a touch overpriced, but this Belgian institution is easily one of the most iconic bars in Brussels and an absolute must-visit. With more than 2,000 beers on offer, Delirium proudly holds a Guinness World Record. Choose one of Delirium’s own beers, or ask the bartenders to recommend something special to try!

You’ll find Delirium in the centre of Brussels, just a couple of minutes from Grand Place. As well as the classic bar, you’ll find more Delirium outlets nearby, including Floris Bar where you’ll find a wide selection of Absinthe on offer, and Floris Tequila, a Mexican-themed bar with a wide range of cocktails.

A glass of lambic at Moeder Lambic, a Brussels bar

À la Mort Subite

Having been around since the early 1900s, À la Mort Subite is definitely a Brussels institution. The bar oozes history, from the old-fashioned interiors that still hold their charm, to the interesting story of how the iconic name, À la Mort Subite, came to be.

As with most pubs in Brussels, you can try a wide selection of beers at À la Mort Subite. However, the bar also has a similarly named brand of beer, Mort Subite, producing lambic-style beers, and I recommend taking the chance to try some when visiting! Lambic is unique to Belgium, and the usually fruit-flavoured beers have a sour or acidic taste, falling somewhere between a beer and a cider. Probably the most well-known is Kriek – a cherry lambic.

Au Bassin is a versatile spot in the Sainte Catherine neighbourhood of Brussels, where depending on when you visit, you can enjoy a laidback drink, play a board game, be entertained by some stand-up comedy, watch the football or even party the night away!

The constant among these different vibes is that you can always enjoy a refreshing Belgian beer at Au Bassin. They have a fantastic selection of beers, both bottled and on tap.

The Best Cocktail Bars in Brussels

Now, although I have just sung the praises of Belgian beer, there’s more to Brussels than just what’s on draught. In amongst all the pubs and brasseries, you’ll find an amazing choice of cocktail bars in Brussels to enjoy. Here are a few of my top picks, from laidback summer spots to unique cocktail creations.

La Pharmacie Anglaise

Housed inside a stunning façade which is one of my favourite photo spots in Brussels , La Pharmacie Anglaise is a fancy cocktail bar that you’ll want to visit as a special treat on your trip to Brussels. The interiors are just as beautiful as the brickwork outside, as they have kept the style of the pharmacy that once occupied this space back in the 1900s.

With such an elaborate and immersive interior, you can expect that the drinks at La Pharmacie Anglaise play into this experience. You’ll find a small menu of specials, but simply ask the bartenders for a cocktail of your choice and they’ll happily make it. If you don’t have something in mind, you can let them create something special for you!

Mappa Mundo

Place Saint-Géry is a lively square near the centre of Brussels, where you can soak up the lively nightlife of the city! One of my favourite spots here is Mappa Mundo. With a few classic beers and spirits, the main attraction is the cocktail menu, which boasts some of the most unique creations I’ve seen in the city!

Split over two storeys, you can grab a cosy spot upstairs and watch the nightlife from the window seats, or enjoy the bustling atmosphere outside on the street terrace.

Location | Website (menu)

Exterior of La Pharmacie Anglaise, a cocktail bar in Brussels

Tucked away behind a shop on a street in Sablon is Vertigo, one of the cutest hidden bars in Brussels. Head through the hidden curtain and you’ll find an open courtyard, with an indoor area lying behind.

Perfect for a relaxed and cosy drink, you’ll find a good list of cocktails here, with a mix of classics and signature creations. You can also enjoy a bite to eat at Vertigo, with a sharing menu of Italian charcuterie and Asian-inspired small plates.

Check out the top things to do in Brussels!

Café Tulipant

Café Tulipant is a chic little bar in the Ixelles neighbourhood of Brussels that always seems to be bustling with life in the evenings and weekends. This is particularly true in the summer months when the doors of the refreshingly bright interiors open up into the sunny street terrace.

Enjoy a fun cocktail from their impressive list or a summery spritz. If you’re in Brussels on a weekend, pop by for their popular brunch menu!

a table of spritzes from Cafe Tulipant in Brussels

Bar Magritte

For a truly special experience, visit the stunning Bar Magritte inside Hotel Amigo next to Grand Place. The cocktail bar is dedicated to René Magritte, one of the most famous Belgian artists in history. The space is exquisitely decorated, with colourful walls, Art Deco touches and comfortable seating.

At Bar Magritte, you’ll find a curated cocktail menu inspired by Magritte’s life and work. The presentation is as extravagant as you’d expect in a bar inspired by a surrealist artist – enjoy drinking from his famous pipe or bowler hat, for example!

The Best Terraces and Rooftop Bars in Brussels

Something you’ll notice about Belgians is that they’ll brave an outdoor bar at any time of year! The terraces of Brussels often spill out into the streets and are so common in the city that I’ve already mentioned several Brussels bars with terraces in this guide! They really come alive in the summer months, though, and the terraces and rooftop bars in Brussels contribute to the vibrant atmosphere of the city.

Soak up the afternoon sun at Café Belga, with beautiful views of the Ixelles Ponds. Flagey, and particularly Café Belga, is a popular after-work spot to enjoy a drink with some friends, and there’s always a good atmosphere here. It’s a great spot to head to if you want to soak up local life in Brussels.

The unassuming menu still offers a wide range of beers, as well as cocktails and other drinks. Just grab a drink, enjoy the music (there’s sometimes live music here!) and watch the world go by with the rest of Brussels!

Location | Facebook page

Brussels doesn’t have many good rooftop bars, but 58 Rooftop makes up for that and more! With both a panoramic inside bar and an outdoor terrace, you can enjoy this spot all year round. What’s more, it’s found right in the heart of Brussels so you can look out over all the main attractions in Brussels.

Enjoy on a sunny day, or try an evening drink to catch a beautiful sunset over the city. You’ll find cocktails and other drinks in a wonderfully chic setting.

Bailli is one of the most fun areas in Brussels, and great for foodies and drink lovers alike. The Bank has a small but cute outdoor terrace and the drinks here are great. Like most classic bars in Brussels, enjoy a cocktail or beer, or browse the menu for more choices.

It doesn’t come as a huge surprise to know that this location used to be home to a bank! Make sure you pop inside to see some original features, like the safe deposit boxes that line the walls, or the vault doors in the toilets.

A St Hubertus beer on the terrace at The Bank in Brussels

Woodpecker (Parc de Bruxelles)

In the summertime, you’ll find lots of little outdoor bars pop up in parks in Brussels , and Woodpecker is a fantastic example. In Parc de Bruxelles, also known as Parc Royale, benches appear in an open space with a little wooden kiosk offering drinks and some food. The whole area is adorned with fairy lights, so the atmosphere is cute day or night.

There are various cocktails and drinks on the menu, but my favourite thing to enjoy at Woodpecker is a nice cold beer. They often have beers from Brasserie de la Senne here, a local brewery in the north of the city, near Laeken. And if you’re feeling peckish, grab a delicious cheese toastie.

Belgian Beer World

Housed inside the stunning Brussels Stock Exchange building (Bourse) is Belgian Beer World, a museum dedicated to all things beer! Although not a bar in itself, this place takes a well-deserved spot on this list thanks to the rooftop bar that you can visit at the end of the museum tour.

During your museum visit, you can take a quiz to discover which Belgian beers you will enjoy. You can get these printed on a beer mat to take them up to the Beerlab, where you might just discover a new favourite. Then, drink your beer while you take in the amazing views over Brussels!

Location | Tickets | Website

A selection of beers on tap at Brussels Beer World

With all these Brussels bars saved, you’ll be ready to try all the best beer, cocktails and other drinks around the city! There are so many great bars in Brussels, and countless beers to discover, so I hope that this guide helps you pick out some great places to stop by on your trip.

If you’re looking for more Brussels travel guides, check out the best cafés in Brussels and the best day trips from Brussels !

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best places to visit in belgium for beer

Eight of the best places to buy beer in Brussels

08 March 2022

a lot of beer on bar table

Do you appreciate the finer things in life? Then you must love Belgian beers! White, blond, brown, triple... everyone in Brussels has their favourite. However, if you're looking to broaden your horizons, you can always seek the advice of connoisseurs.  

We in Belgium are so lucky that beer is part of our heritage, and even part of our DNA! Brussels is teeming with specialised  breweries  and  bars  where you can taste this most precious of beverages. You might want to build up your own stock of beers for your next evening with friends. People are proud of their wine cellars, so why not develop a beer cellar that will be the envy of many. The following shops specialise in beer and will be delighted to guide you in your choice. 

1. Beer Mania

Beer Mania  is a veritable beer merchant, who is always on hand to offer advice. More than 400 traditional Belgian beers are on display, including rare and ancient beers.

2. De Biertempel – Belgium’s best beers

With more than 25 years of expertise and almost 1,000 types of beer,  De Biertempel  offers a wide selection that mainly focuses on craft and rare beers.

vitrine du magasin de Biertempel

Opened in 1917,  Huens  is the oldest beer shop in Brussels. Located in a university district, it is a favourite with students. The offer is constantly evolving.

4. Le Barboteur

Le Barboteur  is a dynamic and vibrant beer boutique that explores tastes from here and elsewhere. You'll also find small selections of wines and sake from time to time.

display of beer bottles with colourful labels

5. Les Fleurs du Malt

In addition to hundreds of artisanal beers, Les  Fleurs du Malt  has a delicatessen on site and regularly organises tasting evenings and brewing training courses. 

6. Malt Attacks

Nearly 600 types of Belgian and foreign craft beers. A special feature of  Malt Attacks  is the possibility to fill a "growler" - a large reusable bottle - with draught beer.

7. Malting Pot

Malting Pot has a superb selection of craft beers from Belgium and abroad. More than 200 types, that will satisfy all taste buds.

choix de bière chez Malting Pot

8. Prik & Tik

Specialists in beverages of all kinds,  Prik & Tik  has a large assortment of Belgian and foreign beers brewed on a large scale (more than 500).

best places to visit in belgium for beer

Brussels, beer capital of the world

Brussels is overflowing with must-visit spots for beer lovers, and is justifiably known as the beer capital of the world. Have you heard of Belgian Beer World and its breathtaking rooftop terrace, The Beerlab ? Ever sampled the craft beers from breweries such as La Source and En Stoemelings ? Does the Wanderlust beer festival ring a bell?  Explore all that Brussels has to offer!

8 of the best places to visit in Belgium

Eileen Cho

May 5, 2024 • 8 min read

best places to visit in belgium for beer

Explore Belgium with this guide to the country's best places to visit © RossHelen / Getty Images

Travelers often overlook Belgium in favor of neighbors like France and the Netherlands, but it’s one of Europe’s best kept secrets. While its history means Belgium is linguistically and culturally diverse, it’s also small and compact, making it easy to hop between destinations. 

From perfect fries and chocolate to accessible nature breaks, picturesque medieval towns and vibrant art and fashion scenes, there's plenty to experience in Belgium. Here are the best places to visit.

Guild houses in the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium

1. Brussels

Best for shopping, museums and street food

Brussels , the capital of Belgium and seat of the EU and NATO, is one of Europe’s most multicultural cities. 

Art lovers can spend a whole day visiting the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium – its six different museums include the must-visit Magritte Museum – along with the Boghossian Foundation at Villa Empain, and the modern-chic Center for Fine Arts, a multipurpose cultural venue commonly referred to as BOZAR .

The city is filled with architectural masterpieces such as the Grand Place , a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, and the illustrious Maison Cauchie , which can be toured on certain weekends with advance reservations.

You can find some of the world’s best and most affordable vintage shopping at the Brussels flea markets, most notably the daily open-air antique market in Place du Jeu-de-Balle, and the shops in the Sablon district.

Planning tip: For food and drink lovers, Brussels is the place to taste all of Belgium’s highlights. Délirium Café is a beloved, always-crowded bar with more than 2000 types of beer, including the country’s famed Trappist beers. Nearby, there are a handful of outdoor kiosks, known as frietkot (snack stands), where you can get your fix of frieten – fries served in a paper cone with your sauce of choice. To satisfy a sweet tooth, try Belgian chocolate at Pierre Marcolini and the fluffy Brussels-style waffles at Maison Dandoy .

Start crafting your Belgium budget with these tips .

2. Namur Province

Best for forts, nature and river views

Known as the “Land of Valleys”, the land-locked province of Namur in the Wallonia region is rich in rivers, cliffs, rolling farm hills and lush Ardennes greenery.

With postcard-perfect aesthetics and a mighty citadel perched atop limestone cliffs, Dinant is the ideal day-trip destination. Stroll around the town, cruise along the river, ride the cable car up to the fortress to take in the sweeping views and enjoy the scenery from a cafe while tasting regional specialties like the Couque de Dinant, a hard biscuit that comes in various shapes. Made of equal parts wheat flour and honey, it can be kept indefinitely, making a great souvenir to take back home.

For a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience, head to Liernu, an even smaller town that’s the epitome of tranquility. Here you’ll find L’air du Temps , a fine-dining restaurant in a beautifully renovated farmhouse set on 5 hectares of private gardens. Most of the dishes served are sourced from the garden and often feature highlights of the local terroir, like Wallonia’s most sustainable food source, the Petits-Gris de Namur snails.

From there, you’re a stone’s throw from the city of Namur , capital of both the province and the region. This relaxed city is home to one of Europe’s largest citadels and also the adults-only Musée Félicien Rops , which exhibits the life and work of the scandalous 19th-century Belgian artist.

Two small canal boats take tourists around the canals of a small city

Best for wandering and romantic escapes 

A visit to Bruges feels like stepping into a fairy tale. Often called the Venice of the North, the city is incredibly charming with an intricate network of tree-lined canals, cobblestone streets and well-preserved architecture. To add to the allure, many of the distinctively medieval buildings look like gingerbread houses, thanks to the red Gothic brick. All that and the fact that it’s the birthplace of Flemish Primitive painting led to the entire historic center of Bruges being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Bruges is best experienced at a leisurely pace. Wander around the Old Town on foot, soaking up the atmosphere of the city squares, the Markt and the Burg ; hop on a canal boat tour and count all 54 bridges, then bike along the canals to the less crowded places. For the best bird’s-eye views, head to the Belfort , one of Bruges’ most recognizable landmarks, and climb the 366 steps to the top.

Catch your breath with a crisp Belgian beer, which can be found on every corner of the city. Noteworthy destinations are De Halve Maan , a brewery that also offers tours with tastings, and ’t Brugs Beertje , a legendary beerhouse with more than 300 Belgian brews on the menu.

Last but not least, no visit to Bruges is complete without a visit to the Groeningemuseum , a fine art museum with an impressive Flemish Primitive collection.

Best for fashion and design 

Home to the world-renowned Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp , Belgium’s second city is also its coolest. Some of fashion’s top creatives, including Martin Margiela and Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia, have connections to Antwerp . A few have gone on to open shops here that are worth a visit, such as Dries Van Noten’s Het Modepaleis and Ann Demeulemeester’s sleek, black-and-bone-white flagship store .

There are more trendy shops in the Kammenstraat and Nationalestraat areas that make up the Fashion District, where you can also find the impressive fashion museum MoMu .

Beyond its stylish inhabitants, Antwerp has a visual edge driven by the contrasting architectural styles of contemporary projects and medieval buildings. Make your way down to the port to marvel at late architect Zaha Hadid’s Antwerp Port House and the MAS , home to exhibitions and collections revolving around the city.

Stairs to Blankenberge beach, Belgium

5. The Belgian coast

Best for beaches 

The  Belgian coast stretches for 65km (40 miles), meaning you can pack multiple towns into a visit without feeling overwhelmed. Making things even easier is de Kusttram , a coastal tram that’s one of the longest in the world. It starts near the French border at De Panne and travels all the way to Knokke-Heist near the Dutch border, making 67 stops. The complete journey takes 2.5 hours and allows you to admire the coastline in its entirety, jumping off whenever you like without having to worry about parking.  

The two must-visit stops are De Haan and Oostduinkerke. De Haan is unlike other towns in that all buildings must be under five floors, which helps preserve its small-village charm. The low beachfront made up of Belle Epoque architecture and unspoiled grassy dunes is love at first sight for many. Still not convinced? The sweet treats at the retro Wafelhuis Annie or high tea at the vintage 't Stil Genot tearoom are sure to win you over. 

Oostduinkerke, or East Dunkirk, is a protected dune area and the only place in the world where shrimpers still use horse-dragged nets to collect tiny gray shrimp from the sand. This centuries-old tradition is practiced by just over a dozen highly trained locals and takes place at low tide during the warmer months, usually between April and October. In 2013, shrimp fishing on horseback in Oostduinkerke received UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity status. To learn more about this and the other local sea traditions, visit Navigo , a national museum housed in a 19th-century fisher’s cottage.

Best for a quirky weekend break

Located between Brussels and Bruges, Ghent encapsulates the best of Belgian cities: winding canals, medieval architecture, enviable museums and cobblestone alleyways filled with shops and restaurants. The difference is that it’s also home to the largest student population in Belgium – a young, beating heart in one of the country’s oldest urban areas. 

Take a closer look and you’ll find an unconventional creative community, flourishing music scene and so many plant-based menus that it’s often referred to as the vegetarian capital of Europe. 

Since 2009, Ghent has proudly held the title of UNESCO Creative City of Music. There’s a wide range of options for everyone’s tastes, from Belgium’s first silent disco at Abacho to performances at the never boring Vooruit Art Center and De Bijloke Muziekcentrum , and live music on the street and in bars and cafes like Kinky Star , a record-label-owned cafe famous for its Irish coffees and alternative concerts.

Best for thermal hot springs and well-being

Spas around the world take their name from this peaceful and breathtaking Ardennes town. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2021, Spa is known for its healing thermal springs and lightly sparkling mineral water. The most famous spa in Spa is Thermes de Spa , a modern and surprisingly affordable complex in the hills that’s backed by more than 150 years of knowledge and tradition. With a stunning natural landscape as your backdrop, resting and relaxing feels easy here.

Spa is also home to the world’s first casino , a permanent exhibition of Joan Miró lithographs , and the annual Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix at the world-class Spa-Francorchamps track.

These road trips will take you to all the highlights in Belgium .

8. Hoge Kempen National Park

Best for nature

Hoge Kempen National Park is the only national park in Belgium. A former coal-mining site, it opened in 2006 following the cooperative conservation efforts of businesses, government agencies and environmental organizations.

The 57 sq km (22 sq mile) nature reserve is mostly heathland and pine forest, a lush landscape of evergreen trees – and vibrant purple-flowering shrubs in August and September – next to expansive artificial waterways. Today, it’s inhabited by more than 6000 species of flora and fauna, which is especially impressive considering the area’s industrial history. 

Planning tip:  There are numerous entrances to the park. For those without a car, the park can be accessed through the Kattevennen Gateway , first by taking a train to Genk station, followed by a De Lijn bus ride or a short walk. Once inside, there are different routes depending on whether you’re exploring by bicycle, mountain bike, horseback or on foot. Admission is always free, and the park is open all year long. Rangers offer guided experiences for all ages with advance registration.

This article was first published May 13, 2022 and updated May 5, 2024.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Belgium

By Mike Kaplan · Last updated on March 4, 2024

Traveling in Belgium brings forth images of medieval rooftops, lovely canals, tasty beer, and even more indulgent chocolates. However, there is much for one to see in this remarkable European country, where time seems to move at a slower pace and the people are friendly and welcoming to tourists. From modern cities boasting designer shops and glamorous galleries to cobblestone streets laden with museums and native indulgences, the best places to visit in Belgium have something for everyone to enjoy on a vacation.

10. Mons [SEE MAP]


As the capital of the province of Hainaut, Mons is best known for the magical and surprising ringing of the town’s glorious Belfry bells, which hail from the 80 meter (270 foot) tower. Winding streets allow visitors to easily traverse the city sites that are a rich mixture of architectural styles. The Gothic-style Mons Town Hall is eye-catching, and the Collegiate Church of Sainte-Waudru boasts a highly impressive collection of 16th century Jacques Du Broeucq alabaster statues. Naturally, a stop by the Van Gogh House is a must to see amazing reproductions of this master’s works.

9. Dinant [SEE MAP]


This city lies along the sparkling Meuse River in the Namur province just 65 km (40 miles) south of the capital city. The Caves of Han and the Grotto of Dinant are some of the natural attractions that bring visitors here. These caves are some of Europe’s largest and most beautiful and are situated in within a Wildlife Reserve teeming with native flora and fauna. However, the city’s landmark, The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame is still remarkable after being partially rebuild post a massive landslide, as does the restored Citadel that overlooks the city. Accesses to most of Dinant’s sanctuaries are accessible with an appointment, but the Sanctuary of Beauraing is open daily.

8. Leuven [SEE MAP]


Home to the oldest Catholic university in the world, Leuven is home about 100,000 residents with nearly 35,000 of them being students that keep the city lively when classes are in session. Two seemingly endless streets are laden with interesting shops and galleries, while the more historical section of the city boasts sites such as the The Belfry on St. Peter’s Church and the Grand Beguinage. Visitors will find much action and things to do in the Grote Market in Leuven, where sites like the City Hall are adjacent to exceptional dining options and street side pubs and cafes. This city’s location makes it an ideal alternative to Brussels as a vacationer’s main hub to explore the rest of the country.

7. Tournai [SEE MAP]


Adjacent to France, the quaint and lovely community of Tournai is an excellent place to tune out the hustle and bustle of larger Belgium cities. More than 2000 years of rich cultural history can be explored here, and this city is home to what is believed to be one of the most beautiful churches in the world – the five-towered Gothic and Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral. Constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral houses the Shrine of Our Lady and works by Ruvens and Jordaens. The town Belfry is the oldest in the country and offers visitors 257 steps to the most remarkable views in the city of Tournai. The Museum of Fine Arts is filled with masterpieces from primitive and contemporary artists ranging from Campin and Rubens to Roger Van der Weyden and Van Gogh.

6. Mechelen [SEE MAP]


A vibrant town that doesn’t draw the tourism that many other Belgium cities do, Mechelen is actually one of the best places to visit in Belgium. From tours of the Beguinage Brewery to river boat tours, there’s much to see and do in this Flanders locale. A trip to the top of the St. Rombout Cathedral’s massive tower is the best way to get a panoramic view of the Antwerp Port and this lovely city. One don’t miss stop is the magnificent Carillion School, where students come from across the globe to get instruction on playing this complex instrument of bells.

5. Ardennes [SEE MAP]


For hiking, biking and camping, visitors to Belgium should head to the rugged hills of the Ardennes with their tight forests, caves and cliffs. They are home to wild boar, deer and lynx and hide a number of friendly villages, lots of castles and a few other notable sights. The impressive caves of Han-sur-Lesse, the castle of Bouillon and the modern Labyrinth of Barvaux are some of the best picks. The city of Namur makes a great base from where to explore the Ardennes and has some fine sights itself too.

4. Antwerp [SEE MAP]


Antwerp is a city with many faces. While it may not be as historically preserved as Bruges or Ghent, it is a very dynamic city, offering a perfect mix of history and present-day modern life. Lovers of great food, great beer, and good times, this city is most well-known for the Diamond District, where more than 70 percent of the world’s rough diamonds are traded. Art abounds in Antwerp , with Revenshuis celebrates the baroque works of Peter Paul Ruebens and the Plantin Moretus Museum is the home of printer and bookbinder Christoffel Plantin. Architectural wonders await with the 1351 construction the gothic Cathedral of Our Lady, and the majestic combination of baroque and Gothic architecture of the Saint Paul’s Church.

3. Ghent [SEE MAP]


Belgium’s best kept secret, Ghent is a city of history. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the richest and most powerful cities in Europe. It was once considered the second largest city north of the alps, after Paris. The impact of this rich past can be clearly seen when viewing the imposing architecture of churches and the houses of rich traders. The whole of the city center is restored in this fashion, and still breathes the atmosphere of a thriving late-medieval city state. This is particularly so along the scenic old Graslei harbour, and grand medieval cathedrals and the Gravensteen castle.

2. Brussels [SEE MAP]


Known for its diversity of sites and places of interest, Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and is likely where visitors will begin their sightseeing. As the headquarters of many European institutions, Brussels might also be considered something of a capital for the European Union.

Most notably, the Grand Place is the city’s center and was established in the 13th century. Terrace cafes and pubs are plentiful around this central square, as are other sites of interest such as the stunning Gothic style Town Hall. Shopping is plentiful amid the Galeries St. Hubert, a centrally located glass-roof arcade filled with shops, cafes, and theaters.

1. Bruges [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Belgium

Located in northwestern Belgium, Bruges is one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval towns, boasting an old world charm and romantic atmosphere. Once an important center for Flemish art and textiles, Bruges today is best known for its beautiful canals.

Bruges may be the largest city in the West Flanders province, but it is still small enough to explore by walking. The main attraction in Bruges is the postcard-perfect Old Town. Surrounded by picturesque canals and medieval walls, the historic district is teeming in beautiful old architecture including Romanesque and Gothic churches like the Church of Our Lady that houses a Michelangelo sculpture, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood, which claims to possess a vial of blood from Jesus Christ.

The city’s most famous landmark is the Markt Square belfry. Visitors can climb this 13th-century bell tower to admire spectacular views of the city. Other sites not to miss include the spectacular Gruuthuse Mansion, and the impressive Saint John’s Hospital, which was built in 1188.

Must-do activities in Bruges include visiting the museums, which exhibit the city’s culture, traditions and art works by famous Flemish artists. Strolls down cobblestone streets offer dozens of shops selling delicious chocolates, Belgian beer and traditional lacework. Scenic canal cruises are readily available, while horse-drawn carriage rides present romantic experiences.

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The best Belgian beers you can find everywhere

Get to know belgian beer.


When it comes to European beer  destinations, there are quite a few to choose from. You can find outstanding beers in Germany, the Czech Republic, England, Amsterdam, Ireland, and beyond. Today, however, we’re turning our attention to one of the most popular beer destinations not just in Europe, but in the world. We’re talking about Belgium.

What beers are made in Belgium?

How many breweries are in belgium, the best belgian beers you can find anywhere, bottom line.

If you didn’t know it already, beer is a big deal in Belgium. If you don’t believe us, you should know that UNESCO added “Belgian beer culture” to its list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2016.

They’ve been brewing since the days of Rome. There’s also a long history of monks brewing beer as far back as the Middle Ages and even before. There’s still a glut of traditional breweries, such as Trappist monasteries, that are brewing beer even today. On top of that, there are many other breweries, producing award-winning, flavorful beer that deserve your attention.

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If you’re a beer drinker, you’re probably aware of the Belgian-style wheat beer or witbier. While this style is wildly popular in Belgium and imitated by American craft brewers like Allagash and Avery, Belgian brewers also produce a ton of sour ales, strong ales, pale ales, lambics, Flemish red ales, stouts, and more.

Before we get into that, you need to know that Belgium is a country of around 12 million people, while the US has a population of almost 350 million. So, while the 417 plus breweries currently operating in Belgium pale in comparison to the more than 9,000 in the US, you have to assume it’s a quality-over-quantity type of thing.

The best thing about Belgium being a beer destination is the fact that so many of its award-winning, flavorful beers are available here in the US. And not just at specialized beer stores. You can find myriad noteworthy Belgian beers at your local grocery store, or anywhere beer is sold where you live. Keep scrolling to see five of the best options.

Orval Trappist Ale

This Belgian pale ale is known for its fruity, acidic flavor profile, along with a ton of hop aroma and bitterness. It gets its unique flavor from being bottled with Brettanomyces. This adds a dryness and tart flavor to this very interesting, flavorful beer. This is the kind of beer you need to taste to believe.

Achouffe La Chouffe

This 8% ABV Belgian blonde ale has been brewed the same way at Achouffe Brewery for the last forty-plus years. This award-winning beer is known for its mix of malts, citrus peels, fruit esters, gentle spice, and lightly floral hops. If you’re a fan of big-ABV blonde ales, this is a must-try.

St. Bernardus Abt 12

One of the most popular Belgian beers in the world, St. Bernardus Abt 12 is the brewery’s flagship beer. This quadruple is made using the same recipe from 1946. It’s well-known for its malty, fruity flavor profile and lightly floral, bitter finish. There’s a reason this well-balanced, flavorful beer is one of the most popular in the world.

Chimay Grande Réserve Blue

When it comes to Belgian beer brands, there are few more well-known than Chimay. This Belgian dark strong ale was originally brewed back in the early 1950s as a Christmas beer. Now available year-round, it’s known for its complex flavor palate featuring notes of caramel malt sweetness, raisins, orchard fruits, brown bread, and sweet sherry-like flavors. It’s a beer that gains even more aroma and flavor when it’s aged.

Delirium Tremens

There’s no Belgian beer more beloved than Delirium Tremens. This 8.5% ABV pale blonde ale is brewed with pale malt, three types of yeast, water, as well as Styrian Golding, and Saaz hops. It’s known for its highly effervescent mouthfeel profile featuring a malty, fruity, lightly spicy flavor profile. If you only try one of the Belgian beers on this list, make this one.

If you’re new to Belgian beer, getting started might seem overwhelming. But, like with anything, you have to start somewhere. Don’t go to the store and buy every Belgian beer you see. Grab one or two from the list and see what you like. Also, if you enjoy an American blonde ale, give a Belgian blonde a try. The same goes for a strong ale, pale ale, or witbier. You’ll be amazed at how similarities and differences. Just don’t stick to your usual yellow, fizzy beer. Try something different. You’ll be glad you did.

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Christopher Osburn

With all due respect to the White Claw crowd, there are better hard seltzer options out there. Among them are the recipes you can tackle at home, provided you have at least a few popular spirits. After all, while canned cocktails can be delicious, it's tough to top one made fresh, especially when there's citrus and other fruit involved.

Bartenders know that sparkling water is a key ingredient in many cocktails and having some soda water or club soda ready is always a good idea. Sparkling water can balance out ingredients, add some fizzy texture, and impart a pleasant sense of minerality. Yes, it's clear and neutral looking but it pops with energy and is just begging to be in your next favorite cocktail.

Historically, the spirits industry has been dominated by men, their contributions immortalized by iconic bottles bearing their names. And though we all love a good Jack Daniel's, it’s always good to taste the hard work and contributions of not just men; the best spirits should be as diverse and unique as the people who enjoy them. And luckily, women-owned distilleries and the women distillers and blenders who run them are are stepping up. Female-owned spirits companies to support

Around the world, women have been breaking through that distillery glass ceiling, turning the world of distilling and spirits into a more varied and interesting field. From gin to whiskey and everything in between, these are some of the most paradigm-shattering female distillers that you should know about and support. Kirsty Black Arbikie Highland Estate distillery on Scotland’s Angus coast has made a name for itself as one of the most experimental distilleries out there with its “farm to bottle” approach, and one of the driving forces behind that innovation is Master Distiller Kirsty Black. Coming from a background as an engineer in the medical device field, Black switched over to distilling, studying at Heriot-Watt University before being asked to helm Arbikie’s (which originated as a multi-generational farm) distillery.

We know what you're thinking: a magnificent mimosa? Is that a thing? Isn't it just orange juice and cheap sparkling wine? Like most things, the mimosa can be vastly improved given the right helping of tenderness, love, and care.

The mimosa is widely considered a bottom-shelf cocktail. Many of us see it as both an excuse to drink before noon and a reason to buy the cheapest corner store bubbly one can. Well, this is when the record-scratch sound effect kicks in. Mimosas can be top shelf, provided you knock out a few important steps on the cocktail's to-do list. Read on to learn how to make a mimosa.

best places to visit in belgium for beer

15 BEST Souvenirs from Belgium to Buy on Your Trip

B elgium is an easy country to visit for a few days when traveling to nearby nations like France or the Netherlands. But with dynamic cities, like Brussels and Antwerp, and charming villages like Bruges and Dinant, Belgium is well worth more than just a few days. As you travel around the country, exploring cobblestone streets and lively plazas, you’ll likely find no shortage of unique souvenirs from Belgium that you’ll want to take home. 

This guide to the best things to buy in Belgium includes 15 fun souvenirs that will forever remind you of the country’s historic cities, interesting landmarks, and delicious cuisine. 

What to buy in Belgium | 15 Best Belgian Souvenirs

If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful western European country and you want to make sure to bring home the best gifts from Belgium, we have compiled a list of the top Belgian souvenirs and most popular things to buy that will ensure your memories linger longer after you return home.

Want to savor the memories of your time in Belgium? Bringing home a box (or lots of boxes) of Belgian chocolates will transport you right back to the heart of Europe’s chocolate capital. 

Belgian chocolate isn’t merely a sweet treat; it’s a culinary masterpiece that Belgium is known for . From smooth, velvety textures, to crunchy fillings, each small truffle is as unique as it is delicious. 

From the quaint cobblestone streets of Bruges to the bustling boulevards of Brussels, Belgian chocolatiers have perfected the chocolate making process.

You can take chocolate making classes in Bruges or Brussels and even visit the Choco-Story Museum to learn about how chocolate practically became synonymous with the small country. 

Whether you simply want to bring home a Belgian souvenir that will satisfy your sweet tooth or you’re looking for the perfect gift from Belgium, Belgian chocolate will be a delicious reminder of your trip. 

Beer and Matching Glass

In Belgium, beer isn’t just a beverage; it’s a revered tradition and one of the best souvenirs from Belgium you can bring home. 

From Trappist ales to fruity lambics, Belgian beer comes in a diverse variety of styles and flavors. Each Belgian beer is served in its own unique glass. The shape of each specialized glass is designed to enhance the aroma, flavor, and overall drinking experience.

Whether it’s the elegant tulip glass for strong ales or the iconic chalice for abbey beers, the glassware elevates the enjoyment and adds a level of sophistication to drinking a cold brew, making a Belgian beer and matching glassware the perfect gift from Belgium to bring home and share among friends.

Prepackaged Waffles

In Belgium, waffles aren’t just a breakfast food, these traditional delights are eaten as dessert or an afternoon snack, as well. 

Stopping for waffles will no doubt be one of your favorite things to do while you are in Belgium. They make for a great afternoon pick-me-up during a busy day trip to Bruges or Ghent.

A stop for waffles is the perfect way to break up the day when out sightseeing.  However, you can also buy pre-packaged versions of this Belgian treat to take home with you. 

Each neatly packaged waffle will remind you of the beautiful Belgian culture with every bite. The perfect for on-the-go indulgence, Belgian waffles also make for a thoughtful souvenir that will satisfy your hunger and your wanderlust. 

As you wander through the streets of basically any Belgium city, you’ll find plenty of shops selling these iconic treats already pre-packaged for you to bring home.

We collect magnets from every new place we visit, so naturally our list of the best souvenirs from Belgium has to include a magnet.  

You can buy a magnet that has gabled houses on it, iconic landmarks, or Belgium’s recognizable flag.

Whether you choose to display your magnet on your refrigerator or a magnet board next to the magnets from all the other countries you have visited, stop into a souvenir store in any city, town, or village and buy a Belgium magnet to bring home.

If you’re looking for luxurious souvenirs from Belgium, head to Antwerp to do a little jewelry shopping. 

Known as the “Diamond Capital of the World”, Antwerp’s diamonds aren’t just prized gems; they’re renowned for their exceptional quality and exquisite beauty. 

With a long legacy of diamond trading and cutting expertise, Belgium’s historic diamond district in Antwerp is home to prestigious jewelry houses that meticulously craft each diamond ensuring that every stone radiates brilliance and elegance. 

While they are definitely pricey Belgian souvenirs, diamond jewelry makes for a timeless gift that can be passed down to future generations as family heirlooms. 

Manneken Pis trinket

Manneken Pis is not only an iconic landmark in Belgium, it is also one of the most famous statues in Europe . 

The 2-foot tall statue of a little boy peeing into a fountain holds a special place in the hearts of both locals and visitors alike, embodying the quirky spirit of the country’s capital city. 

The little bronze statue is located only a block or two away from Grand Place, making it an easy and must-visit addition to your itinerary – even if you only have one or two days in Brussels .  

The statue has become somewhat of a mascot for Brussels, so it is no wonder that people are drawn to Manneken Pis souvenirs as mementos of their time in Belgium. 

From miniature replicas to whimsical trinkets, these Belgian souvenirs are a lighthearted reminder of the unique character of Brussels. Whether displayed on a shelf or gifted to loved ones, Manneken Pis souvenirs serve as whimsical keepsakes.

Bottle of Jenever

If you are a fan of spirits, a bottle of Jenever is a great Belgian souvenir to bring back home. Much like Poland is known for its Vodka, Belgians are proud of their jenever. 

Often referred to as the predecessor to gin, Jenever is a spirit flavored with juniper berries. You can use it in a mixed drink or drink it over ice. But if you are an alcohol connoisseur or simply enjoy a stiff drink every once in a while, a bottle of jenever is a great addition to your liquor cabinet.

Christmas Ornament

A popular keepsake for many travelers, a Christmas ornament is a great way to reflect year after year on your previous trips as you put up your holiday decorations. 

Because of the famed Christmas markets that make places like Bruges popular holiday destinations, you’ll find an assortment of ornaments in most souvenir shops in Belgium.

Whether you’re solely exploring Belgium or you’re passing through as part of a Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg itinerary , be sure to stop in a Belgium souvenir shop and pick up an ornament for your Christmas tree.  


Speculoos Biscuits

Belgian speculoos biscuits are another irresistible treat often enjoyed during festive occasions. 

Traditionally made and eaten during the Christmas season, these spiced gingerbread cookies are popular treats at the incredible Christmas markets found throughout Belgium. These markets are just one of the reasons cities like Brussels and Bruges are among the best places to visit in Europe during Christmas . 

With their aromatic blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, and a crispy texture, speculoos biscuits are best when paired with a cup of coffee but can be savored on their own, as well. 


Lace is a popular souvenir from Belgium and one we personally stumbled upon unknowingly. Walk through the streets of Brussels or Bruges, and you’ll likely come across one of two dainty shops selling delicate, handmade lace crafts. 

The intricate patterns and delicate texture of Belgian lace reflect centuries of artisanal tradition.  As a Belgian souvenir, lace offers more than just a piece of fabric; it is a piece of art celebrating a historic craft. 

Whether adorning garments, home decor, or keepsake items, Belgian lace is a popular choice for travelers seeking a piece of the country’s heritage.


Smurf Plush or Figurine

The Smurfs may bring back 1980s nostalgia, but these cute, blue comic characters are still widely popular in Belgium. Why? Because the Smurfs were created by Belgian artist Peyo and are globally recognized with a whimsical appeal that transcends generations. 

While they originated from Belgian comic books the Smurfs were later popularized through television and film adaptations.

With Belgium being the birthplace of the Smurfs, taking home an adorable plush or figurine of your favorite Smurf is a great way for children to connect to the country and its place in pop culture. 

Belgium is credited with the invention of the French Fries, called Pommes Frites in Belgium. And while you can top off your frites with a variety of things including ketchup or mayonnaise, Andalouse sauce is among the most popular Belgian condiments. 

The condiment originated in Belgium and is used as a dip or topping on various foods – not just fries, but burgers, sandwiches, and grilled meats. 

Andalouse sauce is made from mayonnaise, tomato paste, peppers, onions, and various spices, giving it a slightly tangy and spicy flavor profile. It’s similar to a spicy mayonnaise with a hint of tomato flavor.

After trying this spicy sauce, you’ll want to bring some home to introduce your friends to a new way of eating fries! 

While the Netherlands may be better known for its cheese, in Belgium, cheese lovers are in for a treat, as well. Because Belgium is sandwiched between several cheese countries, including Germany, France, and the Netherlands, cheese is a popular snack or appetizer.

Among the standout varieties, one cheese you’ll love is the Belgian Westmalle Trappist cheese , which is still produced in an abbey to this day. There are several varieties of this cheese, so consider buying all of them to take home and savor. 

Other popular cheeses to bring home as Belgian souvenirs include Herve and Berloumi.


Another high-end souvenir from Belgium, crystal and crystalware make for a beautiful addition to your home. 

A popular Belgian brand, Val Saint Lambert, has been making crystal glassware since the early 1800s. Renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship, a crystal vase, stemware, or sculpted bowl will add an elegant touch and a talking point to any dinner party you host at home. 


Miniature Atomium

The Atomium is one of the best places to visit in Brussels. This recognizable structure isn’t just a peculiar piece of public art, it is a building you can actually go inside.

Because of its discernable shape, shop owners and independent sellers have made a career out of creating miniature Atomium trinkets, prints, and other souvenirs showcasing this Belgium landmark.

Originally built for  the 1958 World Fair, the Atomium is to Brussels what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris or the Space Needle is to Seattle .


Conclusion | Where to find souvenirs from Belgium

You don’t have to look far from the main tourist streets in any of Belgium’s cities or towns to find most of these Belgian keepsakes. We found plenty of small shops selling everything from inexpensive magnets and trinkets to boutique vendors specializing in beautiful lace or crystal.

If you have already returned from your trip and missed out on some of these unique souvenirs from Belgium, we have linked to a few places online that sell them, but keep in mind, not all of these souvenirs can be purchased online. That’s part of the beauty of travel… find those special items that can only be purchased there.

And while these souvenirs from Belgium will definitely have you looking back fondly on your trip – the memories you make – taking chocolate making classes, wandering along picturesque canals, and exploring quiet villages will be what you cherish most from your travels.   

Do you have a question or comment about any of these Belgian souvenirs and gifts to buy in Belgium? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your thoughts on these Belgium souvenir ideas in the comments below.

Like it? Pin this list of souvenirs from Belgium to save it for later!

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Belgium is an easy country to visit for a few days when traveling to nearby nations like France or the Netherlands. But with dynamic cities, like Brussels and Antwerp, and charming villages like Bruges and…

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5 of the best things to see and do in brussels, belgium this spring.

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Brussels, Belgium: The Boule & Bill Wall is located "Rue du Chevreuil". The wall illustrates Boule & ... [+] Bill playing in the street. Based on the "Billy & Buddy" comic series, it is one of the most popular classic Franco-Belgian comics created in 1959 by Jean Roba. Capital of the Franco-Belgium comic strip industry, Brussels has dozens of wall of that kind around the city.

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Self-Guided Comic Book Mural Tour

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Marolles Flea Market

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Bread and bagels at The Works Cafe in downtown Portland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

From New York-style boiled bagels to Montreal-inspired wood-fired ones, there’s lots of great bagels in southern Maine and several shops have the accolades to back that up.

In 2023, Bon Appetit named bagels from Rose Foods and Rover Bagel among the best in the country.

Two years before that,  Food & Wine Magazine put Rover, Forage and Scratch Baking Co. on its list of best bagels in the U.S.

Whether you like yours toasted with cream cheese or as the bread for your breakfast sandwich, you can find plenty of styles and flavors from Biddeford to Brunswick.


The offerings at Beach Bagels include a French toast and marble bagel, and the cream cheese menu comprises spreads like strawberry, olive and honey walnut. Along with breakfast sandwiches, Beach Bagels has hearty breakfast options like omelets and pancakes. Best of all, you’re steps away from a beach stroll. Just don’t let the seagulls steal your bagel. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily WHERE: 34 Old Orchard St., Old Orchard Beach. beachbagels.yolasite.com ______________

Dutchman’s opened in 2022 as a pop-up housed at Nomad pizza in Brunswick’s Fort Andross building. It’s since become a permanent fixture there and uses the pizzeria’s wood-fired ovens to bake its bagels. The hand-shaped, honey-boiled bagels come in plain, roasted garlic, poppy and a bagel-of-the-day flavor.

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday to Sunday WHERE: Fort Andross, 14 Maine St., Brunswick. dutchmans.me ______________


Making bagels at Forage Market involves a two-day aging process. The bagels are naturally leavened with wild yeast starter and baked next to a hardwood fire. There are usually five flavors available, including sesame and garlic. Breakfast sandwiches (including vegan options) are available. Forage also has a location in Lewiston. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday WHERE: 123 Washington Ave., Portland. foragemarket.com _____________


There are 10 or so Mister Bagel locations in Maine, including South Portland and Falmouth. It all began with the Portland location, which was the first bagel shop to open in Maine. The late Rick Hartglass started Mister Bagel in 1977, and it is still a family business. Music fans will appreciate the breakfast sandwich menu, which includes The David Bowie (bacon, egg and American cheese), the Jimmy Buffett (egg with roast beef and cheddar) and The Lady Gaga (avocado, salt and pepper, with or without egg).

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to noon Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday WHERE: 599 Forest Ave., Portland. misterbagelforestave.com ______________

At Rose Foods, the menu varies depending on the day, but there are usually six to eight flavors available. For example, should you pop in on a Friday, you’ll find a poppy and onion bialy (a cousin of the bagel that is not boiled). Rose Foods also makes a number of bagel sandwiches, including the Classic Nova with Nova lox and the Classic Whitefish. Advertisement

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily WHERE: 428 Forest Ave., Portland. rosefoods.me



At Rover Bagel, you’ll find wood-fired plain, poppy, sea salt, sesame and everything bagels available most of the time, and the spread game here is strong with cream cheese options like lemon-thyme-honey cream and chili-garlic.

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon Sunday WHERE: 10 West Point Lane Suite 10-204, Biddeford (Pepperell Mill). roverbagel.com

______________ Advertisement


You haven’t lived until you’ve experienced the line of devoted fans waiting for Scratch Baking Co. to open, especially on weekend mornings. Along with the popular Maine sea salt, plain and other everyday flavors, Scratch has a daily special bagel. There’s honeyed rosemary on Wednesday and jalapeno cheddar on Thursday. Scratch is also famous, at least to locals, for its P-Cheese spread. It’s a pimento cheese recipe made with cheddar, mayo, roasted red peppers and seasoning and was passed down to co-owner and head baker Allison Reid by her grandmother, Mern.

WHEN: 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to noon Sunday WHERE: 416 Preble St., South Portland. scratchbakingco.com ___________


The Maine Bagel is a drive-thru with several breakfast and other kinds of sandwiches available. With a bagel list that features egg and bialy among the standards, the family-owned spot is the perfect place to stop on your way to Pine Point Beach. The Maine Bagel really shines with a dozen kinds of cream cheese spreads, including raisin-walnut, lox, strawberry, cranberry-nut and bacon-chive.

WHEN: 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. WHERE: 117 Route 1, Scarborough. themainebagel.com Advertisement


The Works Cafe is an institution on the edge of the Portland’s Old Port. It opened in 1990 as Bagel Works before it changed its name in 2002. The original shop in this regional chain opened in Manchester, Vermont, in 1988, and there are 11 locations around New England, though just the one in Maine. Gone are the ’90s-era banana-walnut bagels and cold pizza cream cheese, but The Works Cafe is still a reliable place to grab a salt, multigrain or cinnamon raisin bagel, among others. The menu also has bowls, sandwiches and smoothies.

WHEN: 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily WHERE: 15 Temple St., Portland. workscafe.com

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best places to visit in belgium for beer

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7 Amazing Places to Visit in Belgium April 2024


Belgium, a country steeped in history and cultural heritage, offers a plethora of captivating destinations for travelers. From enchanting medieval cities to vibrant urban hubs, Belgium has something to offer every type of traveler. If you’re planning a trip to Belgium in April 2024, consider adding these seven amazing places to your itinerary:

Ghent: A Medieval Masterpiece

Immerse yourself in the medieval splendor of Ghent, a city that has preserved its historic charm amidst modern-day vibrancy. Explore the majestic Gravensteen Castle, wander through the picturesque canals, and admire the intricate facades of centuries-old buildings. Don’t miss the Ghent Altarpiece, a masterpiece of early Flemish painting, housed in the awe-inspiring Saint Bavo’s Cathedral.

Bruges: Venice of the North

Step into a timeless tale as you navigate the cobblestone streets of Bruges, a city that has earned its nickname as the “Venice of the North.” Cruise along picturesque canals, admiring the medieval townhouses and graceful bridges. Visit the Groeningemuseum to marvel at works by Flemish masters and the iconic Belfry of Bruges for panoramic city views. Allow ample time to savor the sweet delights of Belgian chocolate at one of the city’s many charming chocolatiers.

Antwerp: Diamond Capital and Art Haven

Discover the bustling metropolis of Antwerp, a city renowned for its diamond trade and vibrant arts scene. Explore the Diamond District, where you can witness the intricacies of diamond cutting and polishing. Visit the Rubens House, where the Baroque master once lived and worked, and admire his magnificent paintings at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. Antwerp also boasts a thriving fashion scene, with numerous boutiques and design studios showcasing the latest trends.

Leuven: University Town with a Rich Heritage

Escape the hustle and bustle in the quaint university town of Leuven. Admire the grandeur of the Town Hall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stroll through the historic Grand Beguinage, a former monastery for beguines. Visit the University Library, which houses a vast collection of ancient manuscripts and rare books. Don’t forget to sample the local beer at one of Leuven’s many taverns, a testament to Belgium’s renowned brewing tradition.

Brussels: Capital of Culture and European Union

Immerse yourself in the cultural and political heartbeat of Belgium in Brussels. Marvel at the iconic Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and witness the whimsical Manneken Pis statue. Visit the Royal Palace of Brussels and the European Parliament to gain an insight into the city’s diplomatic significance. Take advantage of Brussels’ vibrant culinary scene, from delectable waffles to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Dinant: Picturesque Meuse Valley Getaway

Escape to the scenic Meuse Valley and be captivated by the charm of Dinant. Admire the sheer cliffs that surround the city and take a cable car up to the Citadel of Dinant, a historic fortress with breathtaking views. Visit the Adolphe Sax Museum, dedicated to the inventor of the saxophone, which has its roots in Dinant. Enjoy a leisurely cruise along the Meuse River, soaking up the tranquility of the surrounding countryside.

Waterloo: Battlefield of Legendary Proportions

Step back in time to the Battle of Waterloo, a pivotal moment in European history. Visit the Lion’s Mound, a towering monument commemorating the fallen soldiers, and explore the Waterloo Memorial Museum, which provides a comprehensive account of the battle. Take a guided tour of the battlefield and experience the grandeur of this historic site where Napoleon’s fate was sealed.

Culture, Best Months to Visit, Nearby Transportation, Local Food, and Best Hotels

Belgium’s rich culture is evident in its art, architecture, and cuisine. From the Flemish Primitives to the Art Nouveau movement, Belgium has played a significant role in shaping European culture. The country’s culinary delights include exquisite chocolates, delicious waffles, and traditional dishes such as moules-frites (mussels with fries).

April is an ideal month to visit Belgium, as the weather is generally pleasant and the crowds are smaller than during the summer months. Brussels International Airport offers convenient connections to major cities worldwide, and rail services within Belgium are efficient and reliable. Consider staying at luxurious hotels like the Hotel Amigo in Brussels or the Grand Hotel Casselbergh in Bruges for an unforgettable stay.

Belgium offers a diverse array of captivating destinations, each with its unique charm and appeal. Whether you seek historical wonders, cultural immersion, or scenic beauty, Belgium has something to fulfill your travel aspirations. By exploring these seven amazing places in April 2024, you will create memories that will last a lifetime.

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