Great Escapes

European Travel Blog


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The best views in Belgium

A beautiful country, Belgium is filled with many a fantastic photo opportunity. But in case it’s your first visit, or you’re looking for a little inspiration for some truly magnificent views both from the ground and the sky, we’ve selected a few of our personal favourites which may help you see a little bit more during your short break in Belgium.

Belfry Tower, Bruges

One of the most prominent buildings in the city, the belfry of Bruges is a magnificent medieval bell tower right in the heart of the town. Standing 83m tall, to look up at this architectural splendour from the ground is a grand sight, however if you’re feeling energetic and choose to climb the very respectable 366 steps up to the bell tower at the top, one of our favourite panoramic views awaits, over the market square below and the surrounding area of Bruges.

Belfry tower

Image credit: Wolfgang Staudt, Flickr

Belfry tower2

Image credit: John Cooke, Flickr

Meuse Valley

Located in southern Belgium, this luscious countryside balanced on the edge of the glorious River Meuse is certainly a sight to behold. Limestone cliffs are a backdrop to charming little towns and dense forest, as well as some breath-taking architecture. Capture the best pictures from the river, or on the numerous hiking and cycling trails available to explore.

Meuse Valley

Image credit: Peter.Lorre, Flickr

Grand Place, Antwerp

With cobble-stoned streets leading to ornate 17th century architecture and a bustling Grote Markt (Main Square) filled with flower stalls and bird markets, there’s not just one great view here but far too many to count. From the Brabo Fountain to the Guild Houses and magnificent city hall, many a photo opportunity awaits for visitors to the Grand Place in Antwerp.

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St. Peter’s Church, Leuven

In the centre of Leuven, shining a glorious gold hue is St Peter’s Church (or Sint-Pieterskerk). A very well preserved example of 14th century Brabantine Gothic architecture, this church is just as impressive inside as out. With a museum dedicated to religious art, with metalwork, paintings and sculptures as well as a stunning baroque carved pulpit, you’ll be truly absorbed into a past world.

St Peter's Church

Image credit: Renata Sedmakova, Shutterstock

Panoramic views from the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), Brussels

Located in central Brussels along Rue Montagne de la Cour, an intriguing museum and stunning terrace awaits. The building itself is rather spectacular, being art nouveau in style and boasting a fabulous glass elevator. However, the sunlit rooftop café is what we really love, as this is where you can sit and enjoy a Sunday brunch whilst ogling over the 360° panoramic views of Brussels. If you’re inside, you’ll find that the decorative building design will frame your photographs, and when outside on the terrace, you’re met with a breath-taking cityscape. This is certainly a perfect afternoon spent during your short break in Brussels.

Image credit: Daniel Lobo, Flickr

Image credit: Copright of WBT – Ricardo de la Riva

Automium, Brussels

With an interesting and rather unique infrastructure, the Automium comprises nine spheres which are linked by escalators. Constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Fair, its purpose was to symbolise peace among all the nations, as well as being a vision for a more modern, technological world. A vision in itself, a 360° panoramic view of the 19 municipalities of Brussels also awaits at the top sphere, 102m up.

Image credit: http://www.atomium.be – SABAM 2011 – Axel Addington

Image credit: http://www.atomium.be – SABAM 2010 – Axel Addington

Ardennes

For those in search of views not of architecture but nature and wildlife, simply head south for the rugged hills of the Ardennes. With cave systems, river valleys, wooden canyons and limestone hills, as well as lynx, deer and wild boar to be discovered, we couldn’t possibly name even ten great views here, as there are just so many. A town called Dinant, in the province of Namur is a good place to start your adventure in Ardennes, located around 100km south east of Brussels.

Image credit: Daviddje, Flickr

If we’ve inspired you to take a short break in Belgium and see some of these wonderful sights for yourself, you can visit Great Escapes to book.

 


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The best views in Amsterdam

The Netherlands’ capital, Amsterdam, is one of Europe’s most picturesque cities, boasting a network of fairy tale-like canals, romantic bridges and splendid architectural gems. The city is also famed for being home to the one of the most extensive historic city centres in Europe, with 7,000 buildings registered and recognised for their history. It’s safe to assume then that your camera will be busy during a holiday to Amsterdam, and to ensure you capture the finest photographs to take home with you, we’ve put together a list of the best views in Amsterdam – make sure you pack an extra memory card and battery!


The Canal Ring

Given that the city is built around and on a winding and curving network of canals, it is likely that you’ll stumble across one or two top spots for capturing that perfect view of Amsterdam’s waterways. We think one of the best views in Amsterdam can be enjoyed from one of the several bridges crossing over the Keizersgracht, especially at the junction with Leidsegracht where you can enjoy a fantastic view of several bridges, boats and canals.

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Source: Holland.com

The historic buildings

There are numerous historic buildings of interest to those on holiday in Amsterdam, from Anne Frank’s House and the Oude Kerk, to the Begijnhof and the countless traditional, medieval houses that line the canals. The best way to absorb Amsterdam’s architectural splendour is from the water on a canal boat tour. From here you’ll enjoy some of the best views in Amsterdam, as well as the opportunity to access nooks and crannies unreachable on foot.

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Photo credit: Alberto Mateo | Holland.com

Amsterdam in the snow and ice

If you find yourself on an Amsterdam holiday in the winter months, you’ll have the best chance of seeing Amsterdam in the snow. The wintery façade of the city is beautiful, providing some incredible snowy views for your camera to capture. During particularly cold winters it isn’t unusual for the canals to freeze over, triggering a bizarre scene of ice skaters whizzing along the winding canals.

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Source: Holland.com

The city skyline

One of the best ways to absorb the sprawling beauty of Amsterdam, especially the old centre, is from up high where you can enjoy a view of the city skyline. There are several places that offer an impressive view across the roofs of Amsterdam, but the most popular is Sky Lounge Amsterdam, a classy bar serving up tasty drinks and bites.

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Photo credit: INTERPIXELS | Shutterstock

Canal sunrise

The orange glow bouncing off the water and heritage buildings are a beautiful view not to be missed in Amsterdam. The sunrise is the cause of this marvel, best enjoyed from any canal bridge in a relatively open area, such as along Brouwersgracht. Just make sure you’re facing east!

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Image credit: Dennis van de Water | Shutterstock

Church of St. Nicholas

Easily one of the best views in Amsterdam, peering across to the towering turrets of the Church of St. Nicholas, with the shimmering waters of the Oudezijdsvoorburgwal canal before you, is an unforgettable moment to capture in your memory and on your camera.

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Image credit: Neirfy | Shutterstock

Amsterdam by night

The city lit up at night is one of the most breath-taking scenes from any holiday in Amsterdam. There are several spots to discover the best of the city’s illuminated character, but we think Amsterdam Centraal Station emits an extra special sense of grandeur when the sun goes down and the lights come on.

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Image credit: Neirfy | Shutterstock

 

Tempted by a holiday to Amsterdam? Whether it is a self-drive adventure or a comfortable journey by Eurostar, check out our range of holidays to the Netherlands.

Share your favourite views of Amsterdam by commenting below.