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Trip Report

Visiting Belgium & The Netherlands In December

City break Belgium style - discover a weekend break of cityscapes, lights, and shopping with this Belgium Netherlands itinerary.

  • Brussels+ 39
  • Brussels
  • Brussels
  • Visiting Belgium & The Netherlands In December
karito
About Me:The adamant wanderer. I started traveling with my parents as a kid and caught the vagabond bug. I've been traveling ever since. read more

EuropeBelgium, Netherlands4 days / December 2021

Highs & Lows

Book Store Dominicanen and a David Hockney exhibit

Sometimes it was too cold to stay outside for too long

Itinerary Overview

  • Day trip: Brussels
    Wandering around the city center and seeing a David Hockney exhibit in Bozar
  • 4 Nights: Tervuren
    African Museum and the park around it
  • Day trip: Leuven
    Admiring pretty Christmas lights in the city center
  • Day trip: Maastricht
    Gorgeous city center and the famous bookstore
Brussels - Wandering around the city center and seeing a David Hockney exhibit in Bozar
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Brussels Wandering around the city center and seeing a David Hockney exhibit in Bozar

Brussels - Wandering around the city center and seeing a David Hockney exhibit in Bozar - null
Brussels - Wandering around the city center and seeing a David Hockney exhibit in Bozar - null
Brussels - Wandering around the city center and seeing a David Hockney exhibit in Bozar - null7+

You could definitely spend a lot more than one day in Brussels but if you don't have more time, I would suggest wandering around the city center and maybe going to one of the museums that interests you the most. I visited Brussels in December so I wanted to check out some of the more decorative Christmas windows and also visited BOZAR to see a David Hockney exhibit. 

Tervuren - African Museum and the park around it
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Tervuren African Museum and the park around it

Tervuren - African Museum and the park around it - null
Tervuren - African Museum and the park around it - null
Tervuren - African Museum and the park around it - null11+

Tervuren is a small village in Flanders. It's a stone's throw away from Brussels. I highly recommend to visit it as a one day trip. If you're not charmed by cute, little streets then I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting the Royal Museum for Central Africa. It's an ethnography and anthropology musem that focuses on the Congo (that is a former Belgian colony) but also extends the exhibit to other parts of the continent. The museum is surrounded by a beautiful park that, if weather allows, is definitely worth a visit.

Leuven - Admiring pretty Christmas lights in the city center
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Leuven Admiring pretty Christmas lights in the city center

Leuven - Admiring pretty Christmas lights in the city center - null
Leuven - Admiring pretty Christmas lights in the city center - null
Leuven - Admiring pretty Christmas lights in the city center - null2+

Leuven is the biggest city in the Flemish Brabant province with the largest and oldest university in Belgium. You can admire some stunning architecture in the center of the city. It's hard to miss it but just in case, make sure not to miss Leuven City Hall. It looks amazing, especially the way it's illuminated at night. 

Maastricht - Gorgeous city center and the famous bookstore
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Maastricht Gorgeous city center and the famous bookstore

Maastricht - Gorgeous city center and the famous bookstore - null
Maastricht - Gorgeous city center and the famous bookstore - null
Maastricht - Gorgeous city center and the famous bookstore - null10+

We came to Maastricht for lunch and a walk. We were very lucky with weather as it was sunny. Chilly but sunny. If you don't have a lot of time, I recommend focusing on the center of the city. There's some lovely architecture in Maastricht as is has many rijksmonumenten (national heritage buildings), the second highest number in the Netherlands. We popped into a gorgeous book store to do some Christmas shopping. It's called Book Store Dominicanen and it's located in the medieval church. You'll find plenty of Dutch but also English titles here. I highly recommend to visit this place, even if you're not a bookworm. Inside, you'll also find a nice cafe where you can enjoy some snacks and a drink in a truly heavenly ambiance. 

Q & A

  • Restaurant recommendations?

    - Van Wijck in Maastricht is a very nice place for breakfast/lunch - there are a ton of good restaurants in Leuven but for an absolutely extraordinary bakery to go Korst - it's heaven for gluten lovers - Le Pain Quotidien is always a safe choice for breakfast/lunch, it's a bakery-restaurant chain that you'll find all over Belgium and The Netherlands.
  • Tips you would give a friend?

    If you're planning on visiting Belgium in Winter, be prepared for all kinds of weather including excessive rain. Plan your days in a way that you can spend some time indoors in between walking around.
  • Transportation Tips?

    There are crazy traffic jams in Brussels. If you're going to drive or take a taxi to the airport, take that into account.
  • Booking details?

    I stayed with my sister so didn't have to book any accommodation.