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Belgium's charms are frequently underplayed, even by loyal Belgians. But if you dismiss this country as just good for beer, chocolate and the European Parliament you'll be the one missing out. Belgium is perfect for those who like the finer, more beautiful things in life, but without the attitude of, say, the French. And many of the best places to stay in Belgium reflect this with their understated service and charming yet chic interiors.

Bruges and Ghent are famed architectural beauties packed with wonderful art, Brussels is rife with fascinating museums and a very lively multicultural cultural life and Antwerp has long been a key trading port - and of course it has the diamonds.

These cities are some of the best places to stay in Belgium if you're looking for a city break, or you only have a few days, but if you get out into the undeniably flat countryside you'll find your visit even more rewarding.

Northern Belgium, oft called Dutch-speaking Flanders, is the flatter region, dotted with pretty towns and cities and significant battlefields. Leuven is an ancient university town, known for its brewing, while Ypres is best known for its war memorials.

Southern Belgium is French speaking, called Wallonia, and this is the more rural of the two, a great place to see by bike. This is the countryside of the Ardennes Forest and Spa, the elegant small town which put the 'spa' into spa-town.

Best Places to Stay in Belgium

Brussels: Beyond the Bureaucrats

Don't let the European Parliament put you off, Brussels isn't at all bland. This multicultural city is packed with art and design, good food and a very independent cultural flavour, influenced by its international meting pot of inhabitants. It is also home to many of the best places to stay in Belgium.

  • Close to the Abbey of la Cambre, the National Geographic Institute and the Avenue Louise, Made in Louise is an unfussily elegant townhouse with lots of natural light and choice of local beers.
  • For more traditional decor, try Le Dixseptieme. Two minutes from the Grand Palace, this hotel has four poster beds, fireplaces and wooden floors - but it's refined not opulent.
  • If you're looking for somewhere you can feel like it's just the two of you, then have a look at the three bedroom B&B, X2Brussels. Close to the main sights, and also the fashionable Dansaert area, this B&B has large airy rooms done in white. It's simple. And reasonable. And most important, intimate.

Antwerp: For the Diamonds, Banks and Art

Antwerp has a historic reputation for fine living: this city had held an important spot on key trade route since the 16th Century - which is also when many of Antwerp's most grand and glorious buildings were built.

The art came in the 17th Century, when the city inspired the likes of Rubens and Van Dyck. Antwerp's more recent pursuit is fashion. Many of Antwerp's main sights are within the old walls - about a 2km radius.

  • Book The Glorious Inn if you're looking for something traditionally Belgian. This old inn only has three rooms, and they all have glorious details - wonderful antiques and art, and cracking original features. And it's on top of one of Antwerp's trendiest concept stores.
  • For the ultimate in intimate urban simplicity try the Hotel Matelote's airy, loft style rooms. These and the charms of the 16th Century building speak for themselves.
  • For unfussy city style perfectly located in the shopping and fashion district, you can't go past Sleeping at Linnen's three rooms.

Bruges: Tiny yet Aesthetically Perfect

Bruges is one of Europe's best preserved pre-motorised cities. A charming warren of cobbled streets, vast churches, canals lined with gorgeous old warehouses, a spectacularly lovely main square and chocolate shops. Lots and lots of chocolate shops. And beer. And waffles. And moules and frite. But mostly beautiful, romantic architecture and lots of the the best places to stay in Belgium!

  • Right on the canal, just around the corner from the Basilica of the Holy Blood, you'll find Die Swaene. Sophisticated and historically listed, this hotel also has a Michelin Bib Gourmand recommendation.
  • If you're looking for somewhere small and personal try Number 11, for its tasteful decor and quiet courtyard.
  • If you love chintzy luxury and old fashioned manor house hotels, the Hotel de Orangerie is probably for you. It's right on the canal - the boat trips leave from just outside its tea rooms.

Gorgeous, Romantic Ghent

Ghent's beautiful canal-side architecture makes it look similar to Bruges, but more intimate and romantic. And with significantly less visitors!

  • Around the corner from Castle Gravensteen and St. Bavo Cathedral and right on the canal, Hotel Harmony has some of the best views of Ghent in Ghent.
  • With only four gorgeous rooms in an 18th Century mansion house, Hotel Verhaegen, run by two interior designers, is a romantically restored haven of charm.

Still not sure which to book? Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Belgium, or contact, one of our friendly gurus for advice.

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The best hotels in Belgium

See all » 20 hotels in Brussels

  • Pantone Hotel


    Simple contemporary hotel with bright splashes of colour and lots of natural light. Bright rooms and suites without clutter, some with private balconies. Excellent breakfasts and bikes to rent. An understated spot.

    61 rooms from $72
    Value chic
    City Style
    Views  -  Many of the bedrooms have great city views
    Sights nearby  -  Located close to the Avenue Louise
    Recommended by  -  Tablet
  • Aloft Brussels


    Centrally located, super contemporary chic, this hotel offers great working space, is light and airy with great facilities, including fitness area. The bar provides light snacks while you listen to music with a DJ in the evenings, live music on certain dates. The European Parliament is 500m away.

    157 rooms from $84
    City Style  -  Just over a 5-minute walk from Jubelpark and the Cinquantenaire Museum.
    Sights nearby  -  Leopold Park and European Union Parliament Building.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Quirky  -  An experience!
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller

See all » 16 hotels in Bruges

  • Hotel Jan Brito


    Historic 16th century listed building with classical rooms. Bedrooms, suites, and family rooms, all with noble themes, have marble mantlepieces, oak beams, four poster beds, romantic fabrics and wall papered walls. Stunning boxed hedge garden, bar and sitting room.

    37 rooms from $95
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Situated in the centre of Bruges. All attractions can be reached on foot.
    Private Hot Tub  -  The four best rooms all have jacuzzi bath tubs
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • Anselmus Hotel


    A charming redbrick house with a gorgeous little garden. Rooms, small and large, sleep up to five people. All are colourful and modern. An excellent value choice for groups of friends or a family.

    16 rooms from $111
    Garden  -  The hotel has a really charming garden.
    Groups  -  Triple/quaruples rooms.
    Value chic
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Recommended by  -  Good Hotel Guide

See all » 9 hotels in Antwerp

  • Boulevard Leopold


    Beautifully decorated B&B with classic rooms and apartments. Enormous rooms, some with four poster beds, have creamy furnishings, stand alone bathtubs, fireplaces and parquet floors. A romantic choice for couples, and the apartments serve families or groups well.

    5 rooms from $140
    Romantic Break
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Located in Antwerp's Jewish Quarter
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller
  • Hotel Matelote


    Sleek designer loft-style rooms and suites in a 16th century townhouse. All white walls, sloping wooden beams, minimalist lines and sky lights. Cosy sitting room with fireplace, breakfast rooms and meeting area. Urban cool.

    10 rooms from $146
    City Style
    Sights nearby  -  Just steps from the Grand Place and Antwerp Cathedral
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller

See all » 8 hotels in Ghent

  • Hotel Onderbergen


    Modern boutique hotel set in a 19th century townhouse. Light rooms decorated in soft hues with splashes of colour coming from feature wallpaper and contemporary art. An Irish bar and restaurant. A short walk from the centre. Ideal for business stays.

    24 rooms from $89
    City Style  -  A contemporary hotel set on the Leie River in the heart of the Medieval town.
    Sights nearby  -  A short walk from the lovely Saint Bavo Cathedral and historic centre.
  • Monasterium PoortAckere


    Situated in an ancient monastery, this characterful and good value hotel offers a range of rooms. A number of awe inducing venue halls set in the old church. Well positioned near the historic centre. Spacious bedrooms, many with multiple beds, makes this an ideal choice for groups or families.

    47 rooms from $89
    Local exploring  -  Located in a historic building in the heart of the Medieval town, perfect for soaking up Ghent's rich history.
    Families  -  There is a great value dorm style option or family suites ideal for children or families.
    Sights nearby  -  An easy walk to Monastery of the Carmelite Fathers and St. Michael's Bridge.
    Full of character

See all » 1 hotel in Wanze

  • Naxhelet Golf Club


    A modern countryside hideaway with a spa, fitness centre and large golf course. Surrounded by gorgeous countryside, this converted farm offers contemporary, elegant bedrooms featuring parquet floors, natural stone and fine fabrics. La Cuisine offers fresh inventive menus from local produce.

    35 rooms from $196
    Golf  -  Come for a golf break and use the on site facilities.
    Spa  -  Including sauna, hammam, ice pool and rooms for a wide range of treatments
    Views  -  Lovely views over the golf course and surrounding countryside
    Sights nearby  -  The town of Liege
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

See all » 1 hotel in Namur

  • The Royal Snail


    Intimate and eclectic hotel close to river Meuse. Unique rooms honour Namur's history, and have wooden floors, flat screen TVs and modern bathrooms. Outdoor pool, spa, gym and beautiful vertical garden. Innovative Belgian cuisine in atmospheric restaurant. Something different and good value.

    30 rooms from $107
    Local exploring  -  Take a riverside walk or boat trip, explore one of the many museums, citadel and finish the day with traditional Belgian beer
    Great walks  -  City of Namur has plenty of walking paths and routes
    Sights nearby  -  The Citadel
    Full of character

See all » 1 hotel in Mons

  • Dream!


    This former chapel in Mons city centre has cleverly combined the heritage of its past with contemporary design. Rooms are all unique with exciting furniture, original church windows and vibrant colours. There's also a gourmet restaurant, bar and brasserie, plus a spa is on offer for a small fee.

    57 rooms from $126
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the 15th Century Gothic town hall. Dream is ideally situated in Mons' historic centre.
    Local markets  -  Explore the Sunday maret at Place Nervienne
    Full of character
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