Characterized by its charming canals and bridges, as well as for its stepped gable facades which are dotted with energy-generating windmills, the Netherlands – home of Heineken – is inhabited by an incredibly well-mannered, open-minded, and environmentally friendly populace and filled with street-bikers – this densely populated, mostly urbanized, and highly evolved country offers a lot more than its “fame” for drugs and sex. Dutch marijuana shops and the red light districts are only a petite piece of a fairly large puzzle.
Home to world-renowned chocolate, beer, and jewelry trading and otherwise a founding member of the European Union, Belgium maintains a valuable position within its continent, even despite occasional calls for separatism from the northern region of Flanders, which houses many of the country’s most popular towns. If you are seeking architectural enchantment, then definitely visit the college town of Ghent, as well as Bruges. The Bruges is an aesthetically gifted, canal-laced town often described as an ‘open-air museum.’ Also in the Flemish region is Antwerp, which is best known for its diamond industry and, more recently, for gaining attention for its up-and-coming fashion scene.
Flanders dominates Belgium’s most popular trends, products, and sightseeing destinations. However, the southern French-speaking region of Wallonia is arguably where you’ll find the country’s finest cuisine. Centered between Flanders and Wallonia is Brussels, also home to exceptional dishes. Brussels is most recognized internationally for its title as the capital of both Belgium and the European Union, as well as the home of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) headquarters. Even if politics do not interest you, Brussels is worth a visit for its food, architecture, and nightlife alone.
Home of valleys, vineyards and unspoiled forestry, farmlands and moorlands, boasting rich beer and wine traditions as well as culinary delights and otherwise featuring medieval hilltop castles, the touristy but still somehow relaxing Vianden and the dignified and scenic capital that is Luxembourg City, yes, all of this is offered in a trilingual nation so tiny. What’s more, Luxembourg enjoys some of the highest wages and one of the highest standards of living on earth. Prosperous, proud yet humble and definitely civilized, Luxembourg proves why good things come in small packages.
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Before anyone I know takes a trip to Western Europe, I highly suggest your books to them. When I used this one, I enjoyed a more streamlined excursion and had some downtime to appreciate the small things the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg offer. Your organized and descriptive itinerary allowed me and my travel companions to unwind a little bit. We used more of our time following your guidelines and less of our time trying to define our own.
I had the greatest time on my trip thanks to the guidance I got from your itinerary. Not only did I get to see some of the region’s most stupendous sites, but I also met some fantastic locals who have invited me back next year. Traveling is never easy, but it’s a lot more enjoyable with this book in your hand, I can tell you that.