The end of the long, hot summer is in sight so what better reason to get out and enjoy some of the many wonderful attractions Belgium has to offer?
This website has compiled a list of some of the best and most popular places to visit. All make for a great day out and are suitable for people of all ages, young and old alike.
This, then, is the second and concluding part of our “Top Ten” of “must see” attractions to try and enjoy before the summer is out (or later in the year if you wish). Here we look at what’s on in the capital, the west and on the coast.
Of course, the capital, Brussels, can not to be left out of any such list and has several “must see/do” attractions. These include Gaasbeek Castle which dates back to the 13th century but owes its present form to an extensive refurb in the late 19th century.
This month is actually your last chance to visit the castle before it closes for three years of renovation work, the final phase of an 11-year project to prepare the Gaasbeek estate for the future. For this last season of visits, the castle highlights its role as an architectural and historical cabinet of curiosities. Twelve showpieces from its collection, each with a particular story to tell, have been put in the spotlight.The castle is not due to reopen in 2023 but you can follow the restoration work on its website (see below)
Another great (and unusual) attraction in the city is Koezio which, happily, will not be closing. Koezio is an adventure park but one with a difference on the outskirts of Brussels
The centre, marking its 4th anniversary in October, is a great place to let off steam and have lots of fun but there’s also a serious side to Koezio (pronounced Ko-wa-ze-o).
There are now two exciting and brand new activities: a karaoke room for up to 16 persons and which is 100% corona proof where there are some 30,000 songs to choose from. This area can be rented for €150 for a couple of hours. There is also “social darts”, an interactive way of playing darts with an electronic darts board keeping track of your score. This is rented for 1 hour for €15 and is also great fun.
There are, of course, Koezio’s very popular “Elite Agents” games, which last up to two hours per “mission”. Teams comprise 2 to 5 “agents” (participants) but if there are more, 6 to 7 teams can undertake missions every 15 minutes and follow each other throughout the long adventure.
Communications officer Kjell Materman said, “We get many visits from all sorts of people, including companies and sports clubs but Koezio is still being discovered by lots of people in Brussels and much further afield.”
Close to Brussels is Walibi and Aqualibi, two other highly popular attractions. These re-opened to visitors on July 1, with new and strict social distancing measures in place.
The park was due to open for the 2020 season on April 5, but remained closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Walibi is a unique concept of leisure parks based in 3 countries in Europe. Walibi Belgium is located in Wavre, just south of Brussels and popular rides include the Pulsar power splash coaster and Werewolf wooden coaster.
So, what of the west of Belgium, an area we tend to hear relatively little less of in terms of tourist attractions? Well, it has at least one stand out attraction: the famous Pairi Daiza park with over 7,000 animals in a huge range of landscapes.
Its most famous inhabitants are its Chinese pandas which have in themselves attracted huge numbers of visitors since they first arrived here several years ago.
But there’s lots more besides, of course, including no less than 700 different species from all continents. The park is also involved in more than 80 international conservation and breeding programmes for endangered species. Little wonder, then, that it was voted the best zoo in Europe in 2019 – some accolade.
You will notice that the animals’ welfare is respected in the 75 hectares and you also get the chance to feed animals such as lemurs, giraffes and elephants (under the supervision of their keepers). A new feature for this most surreal of years is the “land of the cold”, an area dedicated to the arctic. The park, ideally located between Mons and Ath and close to the E429 and E19 motorways, also puts on a special festive atmosphere during Halloween.
Right on the Belgian coast is another fine attraction, not just for kids but adults too.
Plopsaland De Panne, a theme park located near the town of Adinkerke on the coast near the French border, opened on 20 April 2000 and is the country’s answer to Disneyland.
The park, which attracts lots of visitors from across the border in France as well as Belgians, is great for small children as well as teenagers and adults and you can find attractions for all tastes and ages. It is actually a great alternative to its more famous French counterpart in terms of price and attractions and, if you intend to go more than once a year, you can take out a yearly subscription with which you have access to the three Plopsa parks in Belgium and benefit from discounts.
So, come on, with so much on offer throughout the country there is no excuse for staying indoors – even in these surreal times.
Each of the attractions listed here have gone to great lengths to ensure that all social distancing requirements laid down by the Belgian Government are fully respected. It has been costly and time consuming but has been done all the same.
After a long period of enforced closure, the attractions have been doing brisk business, bringing real pleasure to many folk, including families, who this year have had little choice other than to put off overseas vacations in favour of a more modest stay-at-home break.
Even so, the rest of the summer really is a great opportunity to (re) discover some of the best attractions that this country can offer. If you have seen them before then try another visit – you might be pleasantly surprised!