Beyond the big cities of Brussels and Bruges, Belgium is home to a scattering of scenic small towns. We take in the country’s most beautiful urban spaces from Durbuy, the smallest town in the world, to Dinant, the fairytale town on the Meuse River.
Did you know you can now travel with Culture Trip? We have plenty of European itineraries you can choose from, including Spain, Italy, the UK and Portugal – all curated by our travel experts and led by our Local Insiders.
Undoubtedly one of the most picturesque towns in Belgium’s Wallonia region, the winding river valley and beautiful buildings of Dinant look like they are straight out of a fairytale. Nestled in a cliff face on the Meuse River, the picture-perfect town dates back to the Middle Ages. Dinant is also known as the hometown of Belgium’s most famous beer, Leffe, and the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone.
Located on the outskirts of Bruges, the beautiful medieval port town of Damme rests on the banks of Damse Vaart, a scenic, tree-lined canal that flows through town and continues into the neighboring Netherlands. Quite the ‘literary town’, Damme is home to a monthly book market and a number of bookshops and notable residents include Jacob van Maerlant, a 13th century Flemish poet whose statue is in the town square.
Nestled amid the rolling hills and verdant forests of the Belgian Ardennes, Spa is the location of warm spring waters whose healing powers have seen people flock to the area since the 1st century. Often called the ‘Pearl of the Ardennes’, Spa became a haven for intellectuals in the 19th century, with literary greats including Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas said to have sought sanctuary here earning the town the nickname ‘Café of Europe’.
Sitting on the banks of the Semois River just a few miles from the border with France, Bouillon is famed for its imposing castle located on a rocky bend in the river overlooking the town. Parts of the castle date back as far as the 8th century. Beyond Château de Bouillon, miles of footpaths allow visitors to explore the lush forests of the Semois Valley.
Voted one of Flanders’ most beautiful villages, the town of De Haan is one of the Belgian coastline’s most scenic spots. While parts of De Haan date back to the Middle Ages, much of the town today was formed when King Leopold II commissioned the construction of the resort town in the late 19th century. De Haan’s meandering streets are filled with beautiful Belle Époque buildings and the town was once home to Albert Einstein who lived there for a number of months before emigrating to the USA.
Located in rural West Flanders, Veurne is an idyllic market town whose stunning buildings have made it a must-see in Belgium for architecture buffs. Grote Markt, the town square, is the main hub of Veurne and home to many of its signature sights from the town hall. Behind Grote Markt, located in the small and pretty Walburga Park, is the impressive St. Walburga Church, parts of which date back to the late Middle Ages.
In the heart of Wallonia lies chocolate-box Durbuy; a Belgian Ardennes town that claims to be the smallest town in the world, and with its charming architecture and winding cobbled streets, one of the most beautiful too. A walk through Durbuy’s streets reveals quaint shops and plenty of opportunities to sample a Belgian beer or two. Look up on banks of the Ourthe River and you’ll see the stately 17th century Durbuy Castle.
A pastoral idyll on the banks of the River Lomme, Rochefort is a medieval town that has retained much of its beauty and charm, despite being the site of frequent conflicts, notably during the French Revolution and Second World War. Rochefort’s Rue de Behogne is the main hive of activity in town and leads up to the ruins of Chateau Comtal, a medieval hilltop castle. Ale fans will delight in Rochefort’s rich brewing history; beer has been brewed in town since as early as 1595 and Rochefort is renowned for its Trappist beer.
Not far from the border with Germany lies Malmedy, a lovely town dating back to the early medieval period that has maintained its charm and a number of historic buildings including the beautiful Cathedral of Malmedy, built in the 1770s. Cwarmê; a four-day festival held during Carnival and hosted in town for centuries, is one of Belgium’s best-known festivals and a must-do while in Malmedy.
Belgium’s southernmost town Torgny is located in Gaume and thus enjoys a much warmer climate than the country’s northern reaches. The picturesque village is widely considered one of the most beautiful towns in Wallonia, and its location on the banks of the charming Chiers River, as well as its winding streets and pretty houses topped with Roman tiles make it a romantic destination.
Looking for more travel inspiration for your next getaway? Browse our collections of Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips to find your next exciting destination.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.