Belgian Castles

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.

Top 10 Belgian Castles

10. Borrekens Castle, Vorselaar

Borrekens Castle: Photo Nelly / CC BY-NC 2.0

9. Castle Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde, Bornem

Top 10 Belgium Castles: Castle Marnix Sainte Aldegonde, Bornem
Castle Marnix Sainte Aldegonde: Photo Luc.T / CC BY 2.0

8. Castle of Vêves, Celles

Top 10 Belgium Castles: Castle of Vêves, Celles
Castle of Vêves

7. Het Steen, Antwerp

Castles in Belgium: Het Steen, Antwerp
Het Steen Castle

6. Château of Havré, Mons

Castles in Belgium: Château of Havré, Mons
Château of Havré: Photo Tales of a Wanderer / CC BY-NC 2.0

5. Citadel of Namur, Namur

Castles in Belgium: Citdel of Namur, Namur
Citadel of Namur: Photo photophilde / CC BY-SA 2.0

4. Castle of Bouillon, Bouillon

Castles in Belgium: Castle of Bouillon, Bouillon
Castle of Bouillon

3. Château of Beloeil, Beloeil

Castles in Belgium: Château of Beloeil, Beloeil
Château of Beloeil: Photo LMM2304 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2. Citadel of Dinant, Dinant

Castles in Belgium: Citadel of Dinant, Dinant
Citadel of Dinant

1. Gravensteen, Ghent

Castles in Belgium: Gravensteen Castle, Ghent
Gravensteen Castle

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