Are you tired of always visiting the same places and you’re ready to discover some true hidden gems in Belgium? I am here to help you! When the lockdown in Belgium started to ease up and we were allowed to go out and explore I made it my mission to discover my own country. And damn… I found some truly amazing places that completely blew me away.
From majestic castles, to secluded cabins and beautiful architecture, this post will cover all of the hidden gems in Belgium that I discovered during those weeks.
Belgium might be a pretty small country but it has so much more to offer than most people think. It’s more than the canals in Bruges and eating waffles in Brussels. And while those cities are world famous for a good reason I also want you to get to know a different side of my country!
10 Hidden Gems In Belgium You Have To See To Believe
Zimmer Tower – Lier
The Zimmer Tower in Lier, also known as the Cornelius tower, is a beautiful piece of architecture in the heart of this fantastic city. It used to be a part of the city’s fortifications and in 1930 the astronomer and clockmaker Louis Zimmer built the Jubilee clock, which consists of 12 clocks all circling a central one. Every dial on the clock has a different function such as showing the following: the phases of the moon, the zodiacs, the seasons, the tides, etc…
And you want to know the best part? You can admire this beautiful piece of architecture while sipping on a cocktail on one of the many terraces in front of it!
Right next to the Zimmer Tower you’ll find the Zimmer Museum which you can visit every day from 10am to 5pm, except on Mondays. You can combine your visit to the museum with a drink and a bite at ‘De Zimmer’, which is located inside the complex. The price for a visit to the Zimmer Tower and Museum ranges from €2 to €5.
La Maison de Hary Cot – Wéris
La Maison de Hary Cot is a restaurant close to Durbuy that will make you feel like you stepped onto a movie set by Tim Burton. You can enjoy a cocktail in the bar which is located underneath the pond and have dinner in an interior that will have you look around in wonder the entire time.
The designer of this restaurant didn’t just leave it there. He also created the quirky hotel La Balade des Gnomes which consists of 11 different magical worlds. Go to sleep in a Trojan horse or wake up in a magical forest. Anything you can imagine is possible!
Graefswinning – Nieuwerkerken
Graefswinning is one of the most beautiful peony farms in Belgium! Every year during Spring you can visit their peony fields. Make sure to keep an eye out on their website to check the official visiting times for 2021! It is not allowed to just drop by whenever so please respect that!
Reading Between the Lines – Borgloon
This see through church is a stunning piece of architecture and is actually really close to the peony farm mentioned above! The art installation was created by Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh and consists of 100 steel sheets stacked on top of each other in the shape of a church. Due to it’s construction the landscape behind the church is always visible and according to the British newspaper The Guardian this is the most beautiful place in Belgium.
I don’t know about that but I do know that it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset on a clear day. The art installation is free to visit and a popular place for families and couples to enjoy the end of a sunny day.
Villa Fridhem – Maasmechelen
Well it’s not actually the villa itself that you’ll be visiting cause that one is private property. But it’s the fairytale cabin that you’ll find at the entrance of it and a true hidden gem in Belgium. I haven’t shared this location before because I wanted to be able to give you all the information needed so you won’t be disappointed. Cause this little cabin is actually a small police guard house, police sign on the door included. And usually the gate in front of it is closed.
If you’re a landscape photographer you can still take stunning photos with the gate closed cause your camera will fit through the bars. Otherwise you might be in a bit of a pickle. We were lucky enough that when we arrived the gate was open and that the guard was there. We politely asked him if it was possible to quickly take a few photos and he agreed. So always be mindful of this when visiting. Do not attempt to climb the fence cause there is a security camera present and well that’s simply not done and could ruin it for people that want to take a photo here in the future.
Walzin Castle, my favourite hidden gem in Belgium – Dinant
The Walzin Castle has to be one of my favourite castles in Belgium and it is located near Dinant and overlooks the river Lesse.
The castle itself is private domain and it’s not possible to visit it. However, this should not hold you back from taking a day trip to this area! It’s the perfect place to take some stunning photos but I have to be honest you’ll have to do some crawling…
The first viewpoint can be easily reached if you park your car at the parking lot next to the river Lesse next to the castle grounds. After that you follow the small road next to the water, cross the bridge and you’ll see the castle appear on the left. To get on the meadow you do have to go underneath some barbed wire. But the only reason that it’s there is so the cows won’t escape. So just make sure you don’t disturb them and watch out for the poop ;).
The second viewpoint is a little trickier cause you have to go onto a private road so if you do this it’s at your very own risk. You’ll find it after driving up the hill next to the castle and it’s the first road on the right that you’ll encounter. It will involve some crawling through the bushes and climbing over a fence but you’ll be greeted by one of the most spectacular viewpoints in Belgium! Do not attempt to go here if you’re scared of heights or if you are not sure footed. Cause if you fall, you don’t just break a leg, you fall, you die.
One of the most popular Summer activities in the area is to go down the Lesse with a kayak. This way you will float past the Walzin castle and you can make a quick stop here!
Hallerbos – Halle
Hallerbos is one of the most beautiful and magical forests that we have in Belgium. Every year around the 13th of April the bluebells start to bloom and cover the entire forest in a purple carpet haze.
The forest is free to visit but please be respectful! It is not allowed to go off the designated pathways cause if you step on the bluebells they will never grow back in that spot!
St Anna’s Tunnel – Antwerp
The St Anna’s Tunnel in Antwerp is a pedestrian tunnel which connects the left and right bank of the city of Antwerp. It goes underneath the river Scheldt and is the fastest way to go from one side to the other! It was built in 1931 and still has the original wooden escalators from that time.
The Wizard’s Cabin – La Bruyere
The moment I saw a photo of this cabin on Instagram I knew I had to find it. And never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined to find a hidden gem like this in Belgium! But it does exist and it’s actually pretty easy to get to, if you walk in the right direction that is :p. I got a little lost in the woods on my way over there and discovered afterwards that there is a paved road leading to it. It’s not allowed to drive on this road so you can only reach the cabin on foot.
You can’t stay at this cabin and it is private property so for that reason I will not share it’s exact location. I know most of you would be respectful but we all know there would be a bunch of idiots who would ruin it for the others.
The Villers Abbey – Villers La Ville
The Villers Abbey is located in the small town of Villers La Ville, about 30 minutes driving from Brussels. The Villers Abbey was built in 1146 and is a beautiful witness to how the Cistercian monks lived. This site is considered to be one of the most complete ones in entire Europe!
Daily opening hours are from 10am – 5pm, in the summer months they stay open until 6pm. Prices for visiting range from €4 to €9.
I hope you’ll have fun exploring these hidden gems in Belgium and I’ll make sure to keep on adding new ones in the future!