Did you know that Belgium has the highest number of castles per square mile (or square kilometer) in the world? That’s right—there are more castles in Belgium per surface area unit than in any other country. This post includes my top 10 Belgian castles, that you must visit.
There are literally thousands of castles in Belgium, castles referring to everything from stately aristocratic mansions and châteaux to medieval fortresses and mighty strongholds atop riverside cliffs. Old strongholds still dominate the townscape of many towns around the country, while rural areas are home to some wonderfully ornate châteaux, including drawbridges and moats.
The reason for this unusually high number of castles, particularly for such a small country, is the fact that Belgium is virtually flat, lacking natural defensive features, and that the region was positioned in between the major European powers whose armies used to like to meet each other in this very region. The only way for rich civilians, landlords as well as entire towns to protect themselves was building fortified structures in which refuge could be sought whenever a foreign army—the French, Spanish and German, for example—passed through.
The following top 10 Belgian castles is merely a subjective list of some of Belgium’s most striking castles. There are more than 3,000 castles in Belgium, so it would be possible to compile an incredible 30 lists containing the top 10 Belgian castles. It really is mind-boggling how many castles there are in this small Western European nation.
I would definitely recommend including a castle visit or two in your itinerary for Belgium. This is a major characteristic of the country, along with its world-class food and beer, and medieval cities.