I live in Belgium and therefore would like to show you some destinations that aren't the the typical tourist-spots.
Highs & Lows
Beer, fries, chocolate of course. But also beautiful forests and historical cities.
The weather can be mediocre, it often rains or is gray.
Leuven is a very old city with a beautiful historic center. It is home to a university that was founded in 1425, which is why the city is filled with grand academic buildings. Nowadays there are still a lot of students living in the city which gives it a vibrant and young vibe.
Go to: the bell tower on Ladeuze Plein, the Botanical Garden which is 200 years old, the beguinages (there is one big and one smaller), drink some Belgian beers in the bars at Oude Markt (for parties as well) Grote Markt or Vismarkt, eat Belgian fries in one of the many "frituurs", go for a hike in Arenberg Park, Provinciaal Domein, or the forests around the city: Heverleebos, Meerdaalwoud, Bertembos, Kesselberg.
Nationaal Park Hoge Kempen is one of the biggest national parks of Belgium, and it is the perfect location to get away for some quiet time in nature. There are many hikes in the area, beautiful lakes (unfortunately not for swimming), and wonderful views from the tops of the 'terrils' which are hills that were once formed with mining excess.
Sports: go to Terhills Cablepark for some waterskiing or wakeboarding.
Culture: visit the mining village of Eisden and follow the walking route with historical information.
Shopping: go to Maasmechelen village if outlet brand shopping is your thing.
Viroinvalle is one of the small villages in the rural, forestry area of Belgium. Go here for some hikes in the many forests and enjoy nature. If you are in the area you should definitely visit brasserie d'Achouffe which is the brewery of the Belgian beer La Chouffe.
Sports: For swimming, go to Plage de Maboge or look for a quiet spot next to the river. If there isn't a drought you can go kayaking on the river Ourthe.
Architecture/culture: visit some other typical villages of the Ardennes, for example La-Roche-en-Ardenne where you can visit a castle. Or go to Bastenaken to visit the Bastogne War Museum.
Q & A
What would you have changed?
Remember to make a reservation if you want to go kayaking because it can get crowded when the weather is nice.
Leuven: Optimist, all the restaurants in de Mechelsestraat and Muntstraat, Fatayer, Viavia, het strand, Palmyra, Otomat, Baracca, Raffat. All these restaurants have goog vegetarian options.
Tips you would give a friend?
Belgium is bilingual, so pay attention to the destinations you want to visit and see if they speak Dutch of French. In general, people in Belgium speak English as well.
bring clothing according to the predicted weather, since it can be warm/cold/rainy/dry. Bring a refillable water bottle because the tapwater is healthy.
Trains (nmbs) and buses (de lijn or mivb) are easy to use in or between cities. if you want to visit more rural areas you should rent a car.