About Discovering Belgium

  • Are you moving to Belgium? Perhaps to work in one of the European institutions, international organizations or a Belgian company? Or, like me, to set up here as a freelancer? Or perhaps to study here at one of the universities or on an Erasmus scheme?
  • Are you planning to take a vacation in Belgium? Maybe just for a day or two on the way to somewhere else? Or maybe you are intending to spend a week or more in this country?
  • Maybe you are visiting friends or family in Belgium and want to know a little more about this country?
  • Or maybe you already live in Belgium and just want to discover more about this fine country.

Whatever your circumstance, Discovering Belgium is here to help. It aims to give you insights into the country of Belgium that will enable you to enjoy your stay here.

The objective isn’t to repeat information that you can easily find elsewhere. For example, there is a lot of information on Belgium available from official sources such as Belgium.be. Moreover, Internations gives comprehensive info on moving to Belgium, while Expatica provides useful information for expats moving to and living in Belgium. So for questions around Housing, Working, Healthcare, Education and Residency, you’re best trying one of those sites or similar ones.

What’s the aim of Discovering Belgium?

My goal with Discovering Belgium is to help you get out and about in this country. More specifically, to give you ideas of where to go walking in Flanders and Wallonia. This could be for a short stroll with the family, or a longer hike of a day or more. I often like to focus on “off the beaten track” places in Belgium that are less well-known and touristy.

On the homepage tab “Where to in Belgium” you can choose the region you wish to explore: Flanders or Wallonia, and then select the individual province. (I know that Brussels is the third region of Belgium, but so many other blogs focus on Brussels that I don’t want to repeat information that is available elsewhere). Or you could immediately head to specific areas like The Ardennes, The Belgian Coast or Flanders Fields.

Under “What to visit?” you have a variety of tabs you can open. Here I have suggestions for a day out in the major cities like Gent, Bruges or Mechelen. Or you can look for something of specific interest such as Castles, Museums, Parks & Gardens, or Rivers & Canals.

Under “Get to know” you can find articles that go in-depth on a variety of topics concerning this country, such as its History. In Remarkable Belgians you can discover the life stories of some amazing but not so well-known Belgians. Don’t take my word that Belgium is a great place to live in or visit. In My Belgium you can read the recommendations of some of Discovering Belgium’s readers.

Finally, we don’t forget the children and the grandchildren! Under Cool for Kids we list a number of great places to visit and fun activities for children. It’s an ideal source of ideas for parents and grandparents too!

About me

I am a British-Belgian, or a Belgian-Brit. Born and educated in the UK, my wife Liz and I moved to Belgium in October 1987. I had taken a job with an advertising agency in Brussels. However, it soon became apparent that it wasn’t the right job for me, so after two months I left and setup as a freelance technical copywriter. You can read more about how I ended up in Belgium here.

Technical copywriting has been my day job since then. I have also written extensively on Belgium for various publications such as The Bulletin, Flanders Today, Brussels & Wallonia, AWAY magazine and others.  I started Discovering Belgium in 2010. So I’ve been running it for nearly ten years and it’s been a lot of fun.

Denzil Walton

Liz and I have four adult children and two young grandchildren. All our children were educated in the local Flemish schools, which I can highly recommend.

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In the meantime, if you have any questions about this website, an aspect of Belgium, or a particular walk, just drop me a line.

I wish you much pleasure in Belgium, whether you are passing through or here to stay. I hope that Discovering Belgium gives you the resources to do so.

Denzil WaltonSave

78 replies »

  1. Hi Denzil:
    Taru from WIC TOURS has forwarded your website/blog to myself and Helen Palk as we will be taking over the WIC TOURS group for next year. Of course we have to get busy now to plan ahead…I have submitted my email for blog updates and look forward to taking a day trip with you one day. I’ve just returned home from the floralia-brussels…splendid, indeed.
    Thanks!!
    Lori

  2. Hi,
    Just came across your blog & thought you might be able to offer ideas.
    We are travelling to Begium for the 1st time later this month. We arrive at Brussels airport and have booked 1 night in Brugge & 1 night in Antwerp. Originally, thought we’d rent a car at BRU and travel, we are staying 3 nights outside of Namur with family friends. Our final destination is a wedding in Heidelburg the first weekend in July.
    I just found out that there is a 300euro surcharge to return rental car in Stuttgart, so I am now thinking about renting 2 cars, one for Belgium and i for Germany and taking trains in between.
    I would love any advice that you could offer, including places to see, where to find train inf, etc.
    best,
    Donna

  3. Hi Denzil. So happy to have found your site. I am looking for a good 3 day walk in a scenic part of Belgium that is accessible by train from Brussels. There is so little I found on the web in english.

    I was hoping for a 30-35 mile walk. I will do this in November so I know it will be chilly :). Any recommendations on the right maps, etc. would be great.

    Thanks so much for your recommendations.

  4. Hi Denzil, This week I am spending four days exploring parts of Flanders and I would like to see Castle Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde in Bornem. I know I can’t go inside without an organised tour, but can you advise where might be a good place to view the castle? Can it easily been seen from the street or is it better to view it from across the water, Oude Schelde?

    • Hi Wendy. You can see the castle from across the other side of the River Schelde, from Binnendijkstraat. Unfortunately you are more likely to get a better view in the winter when the trees are not in leaf. But I am fairly confident that you will be able to see it in June too, although it’s a few years since I was there. In fact there is a marked footpath that goes along the Binnendijkstraat. I will email you a map that shows it.

      • Hi Denzil, just to let you know I did get a good view of the castle across the River Schelde. As you said there are a lot of leafy trees but there was one very clear view, and its a beautiful castle. Thanks for your advice and for sending me the map.

  5. Dear Denzil, Thanks to you that I came across the wood craft in Belgium… I am very very interested in learning wood crafting especially using scroll machine… Do you know someone apart from Patrick who can teach me.. He gives lessons, but they only start in September… I would be very thankful for your info !

  6. Hoping to do a linear walk in the Ardennes next spring,over 5 to 8 days staying at band b or small hotels. Is there any publications in English if possible of recognised routes.

    Regards

    Jim

  7. Dear Denzil, Kudos to you! Just came across your blog and your words are really inspiring. I am moving with my husband to Belgium in a couple of months and I am planning to discover more of Belgium through your blog. Do you have any suggestions on the best places for us to live in Belgium(Flanders or Brussels area) so that we both can really explore the charm of Belgium and yet be in a good and safe neighborhood ? Would love to see a post on that probably!!

    • Hi there, thanks for your positive comments! So glad you enjoy the blog, and for your idea for a post on good and safe neighborhoods, which has given me something to think about. Let’s take this discussion offline as there are so many influences on where is a good place to live in Belgium (work, school, language, etc.).

  8. Hi. Love your writing and the way you arise appetite to follow your footsteps. Was thrilled to read about Bruegel trail. WE are 2 young ladies (60+) staying in Hoogstraten for 5 days (came for the Zundert flower parade)
    Plan to do the trail on the day we plan to go to the amazing Hores art galery in st marten latem. I have 2 Q: how long it takes the trail – easy walking? 2/ where in belgium can we see Bruegel’s (all of them) paintings?
    Thank you for answering
    Amira

    • Thanks for the compliments Amira! I have sent you an email with a brochure and map of the walk, plus a video link. It’s 7 km so about 2 hours of easy walking. As far as I know, there is no single place in Belgium (or anywhere) where you can see all his originals. Enjoy your visit to Hoogstraten and Sint-Anna-Pede!

  9. Hi Denzil, I’ve been looking for information about Belgium and your blog has been the most helpful! Thank you!

    I’ll be traveling in January with two kids (9 and 5) who have never seen snow, and I’d like to make the most of it. Skiing is too much, but playing with sledges and other winter fun would be great. I think they’d appreciate walking tours as well, although they’re not used to the cold, so I’d rather not make it too long.

    I believe you have suggested the area around Modave to go with small kids?

    Do we need to have a car or is possible/better to just get there by train? I’m thinking about the roads, we’re still not that used to driving through the snow.

    Thanks again for all the great information. Should you ever need advice when traveling to Barcelona, please let me know.

    Kind regards,

    Luciana

  10. Hi Denzil,

    What a great site you have! I got more info in a few minutes than much time spent already.I am a writer working on a story (sequel) where characters go to Belgium. Difficult to find info needed–much written about this charming and fascinating little country’s cities, little about forests. I need info about the forests between St. Vith and La Roche. My character searching for portal to another world hidden in the forests–British soldier in WWII is supposed to have found. Of course, difficulty of hiding anything there today creates a problem: locate probable spot where he could have wandered alone from just south or west of St. Vith and gotten into deep forest–and that spot would have to be still there today, perhaps disguised somewhat.

    Am excited to make story partially features this exciting place–want to travel there in future–wonder if you could help me out with ideas for solution to my problem? I would be very appreciative! Thanks. Roger Crane

    • Thanks for your positive comments about my blog Roger, and for such an interesting question. Never been asked such a question before. I will reply to you by email and hope I can help.

  11. Hi Denzil
    My children and I are travelling to Ostend next week. 15th to 19th. We would like to see Belgium from a local perspective. Would you suggest a place we could meet some Belgians or a place that is likely to be less touristy and more open? Or perhaps you know someone from your church who lives close to Ostend who wouldn’t mind some extra company on one day? 🙂

    Thanks

    • Hi Yvonne, I’m afraid I don’t know anyone in Ostend, so can’t be much help to you. Maybe someone reading this might be able to help. If I think of someone I will let you know. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your time in Ostend.

  12. I’ve been thinking about you, your family, and your beautiful Country as the news plays across my screen. May you and your loved ones be safe, the families affected find solace in others feeling their loss and sending prayers, and peace be restored to your wonderful city and Country.

    • Thank you for your kind thoughts Judy. I and my family are safe, although we were very concerned about our youngest daughter who lives and works very near to Maelbeek metro station. But thankfully she too is safe and well. Yes these are distressing times for the people of Brussels.

  13. Hi Denzil how do I purchase your books?!? We are in Belgium now w my 2 sons 8 and 6. I would like to take them to castles or mansions that we can enter and see the interiors somewhat intact. Can you help me?

    • Hi Corky, thanks for your questions. You can certainly purchase my books directly from me; I will send you the payment details by email. Regarding castles, if you look at the widgets on the far right column you will see the widget called “Categories”. Select “castles” and you will see the posts I have written on castles in Belgium. Depending on where you live in Belgium, you might find one near you. If you live in or near Brussels, and want to see an outstanding castle interior, Gaasbeek Castle is a great place to start.

  14. Trying to press like to your comment but it keeps sending me to wordpress. Thanks for all your suggestions and articles. I am a fan!

    • Thanks so much for your appreciation of my blog, Hemangini. Positive comments are always uplifting. Maybe one day you will visit Belgium and see these sites for yourself.

        • Great comment! We can “travel virtually” via blogs! Actually, although I write a travel blog and follow travel blogs, I don’t travel! I do in Belgium of course, but it’s only a small country. I don’t fly off to other places. I’m a home boy at heart.

          • haha isn’t that amazing? I read so many people writing about travel and how travel changes life and views about ones own countries, which must be true but how many of us can get the true colors of our own country? That makes what you do even more amazing. 😀 heehee Good night & sweet dreams to you.

  15. Hello Denzil,
    thank you for getting in touch through my other blog, Lia in Brussels. I’ll be keeping it silent for a while, as I’m posting from The Humble Fabulist since my move to New York – I thought I’d keep them separate. I’ll catch up when I get back to Brussels but meanwhile I’ll be keeping myself updated through your posts.
    Cheers,
    Lia

  16. Great blog! You don’t mind us sharing some posts to our Belgium community on Google+ do you? 140K followers now and growing fast. Keep up the good work.

  17. Hello..all the way from India..this is Priya here, myself, husband and 3 yr old are visiting Belgium between 26th April and 30th April. We are keeping Brussels as our base and we plan to visit one more town (ghent or bruge)..It would be nice if you could help us on some itinerary for the other two days . Cycling as a family to explore the country side seems like a nice idea or anything different that we could do as a family?? Pls do help…thank you

    • Thanks for contacting me Priya and looking at my blog. For these two days, do you prefer to stay in Brussels or nearby, or would you like to travel to see other parts of Belgium? Also, where in Brussels will you be staying? (The centre, or the outskirts?).

        • I used to do more photography but as my eyes deteriorated and I needed spectacles I was having difficulty seeing through the viewfinder of a DSLR properly and was getting more and more frustrated. Now I just use a Lumix portable which obviously is easier. Is this a problem you encounter, maybe not yourself but with other people? Do you know of a solution?

  18. Thanks for stopping by and liking my post on how important is a good night’s sleep. I am enjoying my visit to your little corner of the blogosphere.

  19. Hi Denzil, I came by to thank you for the follow of my blog. Now I’m off for a bit of armchair travelling to learn about a country I’ve never visited, probably never will, but certainly can appreciate through your eyes 🙂

  20. I’m one of those Americans who’s been to your country on one of those IF IT’S TUESDAY, THIS MUST BE BELGIUM (a 1969 American film) tours. Enjoyed my few days in Belgium immensely and would’ve liked to stay longer, but on “Wednesday” (or whatever day it was), we were off to France!

    P.S. If you’ve never seen the movie, it’s a spoof of Americans on a tour of Europe. Very funny.

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