Belgium is a federal state in the West of Europe with the countries of Germany, Holland, France and Luxembourg bordering it. Covering an area of 11,787 sq miles, Belgium straddles the cultural boundary between Germany and Latin Europe. With a population of 10.7 million, Belgium is divided into two main regions; there is Flanders in the north where the language is Dutch and the people are mostly Flemish; and then French speakers in the south region of Wallonia where the people are known as Walloons. Avalon’s European cruises will venture into the Flanders region in the north visiting places such as Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. The climate in Belgium is similar to most of northwest Europe. Avalon passengers will travel into the north of Belgium where they can expect warm bright summers and mild clear winters. Perfect weather for exploring Belgium’s lovely cities!
The first of the four places that Avalon passengers have the option to visit in Belgium is Antwerp, the second largest city in Belgium and once one of the world’s most important seaports. The Grote Markt with its beautiful city hall and the Church of our Lady is all included on sightseeing tour for Avalon passengers. The architecture in Antwerp is distinctively beautiful, with gothic and Flemish baroque influence, and is the home of Pieter Paul Rubens, northern Europe’s greatest baroque artist. Antwerp’s Grote Markt again displays exquisite architecture, actually triangular in shape the city hall stands grand and imposing in the square with the houses of the guilds bordering the two sides. The guildhalls are Renaissance in style and are richly decorated with golden statues: the Grote Markt is definitely an Antwerp sight not to be overlooked. The Church of our Lady will immediately catch passenger’s eyes, with its impressive spires stretching 410ft into the sky. The Gothic cathedral is listed as a World Heritage site, inside is a number of Baroque style paintings by artist Pieter Paul Rubens as well as some of the works from Otto Van Veen, Jacob de Backer and Martin de Vos.
Avalon’s European cruises will give passengers the option to visit Belgium’s capital city Brussels on itineraries. Brussels is a truly cosmopolitan city with a laid back style, friendly atmosphere, beautiful architecture, delicious chocolate and frothy Belgium beer. Avalon passengers will see Brussels attractions such as the Palais de Justice, a symbol of law and order in the city, the grand structure stands at the top of Brussels looking down over the city. Passengers can also visit the Chinese Pavilion and Japanese Tower, completed at the beginning of the 20th century after King Leopold II became enamored with oriental architecture.
Lastly, Avalon passengers will visit the Flemish city of Ghent. In a unique way Ghent ‘the diamond of Flanders’, has beautifully preserved its medieval charm and power whilst also keeping up with changing times. The city centre is a showcase of medieval Flemish wealth and commercial success: passengers will be given a local tour of the city centre and taken inside St Baafs Cathedral, an important landmark of the city. Avalon passengers will also be given the option to visit the city of Bruges. Bruges is amongst the very best preserved medieval cities as it has remained relatively untouched. Classed as the European city of culture, Bruges is home to a great variety of museums, theatres and concert halls, hosting a number of music, art and food festivals every year. Passengers will be able to visit the famous landmarks such as the Basilica of the Holy Blood and the Belfry of Bruges. Built in the 13th Century, it is one of the most famous landmarks in all of Bruges, standing over 262 ft high and providing the most breathtaking views from the top of the clock tower. With Avalon European cruises, passengers will truly get to see the hidden gems of Belgium where other cruise lines do not go!