Belgium may be compact and it could be described as unassuming but this small country in the heartland of Europe is not just a place to travel through on your way to France, the Netherlands or Germany, it has many scenic delights of its own worth exploring and, of course, its beer is legendary and certainly one good reason to visit. It has a way of effortlessly combing the old and new and a holiday in Belgium can combine visits to castles and medieval monasteries with funky restaurants and hip cafes. Plus, it is the home of Tintin, and fans of European-style comics will find numerous outlets to pick up collectors items. Then there is also the food: waffles, frites with mayonnaise and steaming mussels are staples of the country’s cuisine, and most visitors love them.
The first time visitor to Brussels may be surprised at how the administrative capital of the EU manages to be both historic and hip. One moment you are surrounded by imposing glass building housing the bureaucrats and the next you are facing a funky trompe l’oeil façade on a row of derelict houses. The historic central Grand Place is majestic and don’t miss the St-Gilles Town Hall, plus you’ll find some of the best chocolate shops near here, including Godiva and Neuhaus. Then it’s on to Antwerp, Belgium’s largest port and one of Europe’s biggest centres for the diamond trade. Historically, Antwerp played a very important role in trade and now it’s a mecca for fashion designers and has some of the coolest clubs in the country. Bruges seems to have been caught in a fairy-tale with its cobbled lanes and canals. It is famous for its lace, but its architectural beauty is the thing that attracts most visitors.
Driving on Belgium’s excellent roads is a pleasure and if you want to match the Belgian cutting edge cool and quirkiness, then our BMW i8 is a perfect fit. The country has a network of toll-free, well-lit motorways that should offer the supercar fan some fun and we’d recommend the Audi R8 because, like Belgium, it isn’t over-ostentatious and you can explore the country roads without looking as though you’ve lost your way from Belgium’s F1 track at Spa. And for a tour of the country in pure comfort it has to be a luxury 4x4. Titanium Luxury Hire has so many great ones to choose from, but why not try the new Bentley Bentayga.
Perhaps most famously the administrative headquarters of the European Union, this beautiful capital city that has a flavour of Paris about it, but with a much quirkier and laid back attitude, is an impressive one with something for everyone, and it is just as much a chocolate lovers heaven as any place in Switzerland. Fashion lovers should head for Martin Margiela, the seventh member of the Antwerp Six that includes Dries van Noten. You’ll also find all their designs at Stijl.
Those visitors who love an outdoor market must visit the Gare du Midi market, which is one of Europe’s largest and is a sprawl of colourful stalls that will keep you intrigued for hours. There are food markets and the Place du Jeu-de-Balle Flea Market, plus many specialist shops, such as Pierre Marcolini where you will find rare chocolate beans and experimental chocolate flavours. There are art museums ancient and modern, restaurants that will take your breath away and wonderful bars stocked with that excellent Belgian beer.
The birthplace of Pieter Paul Rubens has numerous places where you can see his work and that of other Flemish Old Masters. It was heavily bombed during WWII, but this ‘comeback kid’ of a city has not let that prevent it from becoming a centre for fashion and entertainment, as well as a city where you’ll find some striking architectural contrasts from medieval to modern.
Its Museum Plantin-Moretus is a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses the world’s oldest printing press plus priceless manuscripts. The Rockksoxhuis is a 17th century temple to the arts, but if you’re looking for something a bit more modern, then MAS is a 10-storey complex that will make you rethink the idea of an art gallery.
The city’s most dramatic restaurant is The Jane, where Michelin-starred chef Sergio Herman wows his diners in this old military chapel with its enormous chandelier. If you’re looking for a good beer bar then De Groote Witte Arend in yet another 15th-17th century chapel also serves excellent Flemish cuisine to accompany it.
When it comes to shopping, you are truly spoilt for choice and the groundbreaking designs of the Antwerp Six designers are everywhere. Don’t miss Het Modepaleis, which is Dries van Noten’s flagship store, or Ann Demeulemeester. If you’re more of a market person then the Vrijdag Markt has been going since the 16th century. Antwerp is also an excellent place to buy diamonds, antiques and antiquarian books.
There is just so much to look at in Bruges, considering that it is relatively small. The Museum St-Janshospitaal is a 12th-century building with some interesting, or torturous, medical displays from the early years of modern medicine. However, its Old Masters are more of an attraction for visitors and it has several priceless Memlings. At the city’s centre is the historic Markt surrounded by medieval buildings and filled with horse-drawn carriages and open-air restaurants. The 13th-century Belfort towers above the city and if you’re looking for a good view then the 366-step climb up its tower will provide it.
Den Gouden Harynck is a highly regarded Michelin-starred restaurant serving an international cuisine in a beutifully tranquil location. And if you’re looking for something more traditionally Belgian, Den Djver is a pioneer of ‘fine beer cuisne’ where you can match your beer to the dish you’re eating. The beer comes in wine glasses and the tablecloths are starched – this is no tavern! The city offers a truly eclectic mix of shops and as with everywhere in Belgium, you’re bound to say at some point, “That’s really quirky,” whether it is a lace shop or a fashion outlet.
At Titanium Luxury Hire we can offer you a range of prestige vehicles for hire, which will ensure that wherever you arrive in Bruges, you will always make a good impression. And, to make sure you have the maximum enjoyment on your trip to Innsbruck, we offer you a number of delivery options. You can relax, while we arrange delivery of your car to Belgium’s major cities including: Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges.
We can also deliver your luxury car to the following airports:
- Brussels Airport
- Brussels South Charleroi Airport
At Titanium Luxury Hire we pride ourselves on delivering our prestige vehicles to the exact location required by our customers.