10 Most Beautiful and Best Castles in Belgium
A guide to the best Belgium castles including castles near Brussels
For any castle lover out there, Belgium is the place to go! Not only is the country known for its ice cream and chocolate, but also for its beautiful architecture. Belgium has some of the most well preserved and best castles in the world.
Many think of the Royal Palace as the only castle in Belgium. Well, there are plenty more! There are over 3,000 castles that you can explore in Belgium, and they are dotted all over the cities and the countryside.
So, no matter where you are staying in Belgium, you’ll easily be able to explore a castle on your travels.
They are all different as well, so there is something for everyone! From fortified structures that date back to the early Middle Ages, to imperial palaces and lavish mansions, you’ll never have a dull moment. There are plenty of castles that you can pick from.
Did you realise that Belgium has more castles than France? And thanks to its smaller size, it makes visiting all these castles a lot easier!
Here are some of the biggest and best castles that you should go and visit when you get the chance.
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Best Castle Hotels in Belgium
If you can’t get enough of Belgian castles, have a look at these castle hotels in Belgium:
1. Gravensteen – Castle of the Counts
If you are planning a weekend trip to Ghent, you need to visit this mysterious Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts). It is the perfect castle for people who love the Middle Ages. But beware; you might find that visiting this place will send shivers down your spine!
It certainly has a turbulent past, but that just makes it even more interesting.
Besides the moat, massive towers and fortifications, the castle also includes a typical medieval dungeon where you will also be able to explore a museum of torture. It’s not for the faint-hearted mind!
That being said, it is still a top tourist attraction of Ghent, often considered one of the most beautiful cities in Belgium.
This is probably because it is the only remaining medieval castle that has a moat and a largely still intact defense system in Flanders, and you’ll get to see what it would have been like in the 12th Century for the people who lived in/near this castle.
This medieval fortress is also one of the best photo motives in Ghent which is also known for having one of the best Christmas markets in Belgium.
The gatehouse, ramparts, keep, count’s residence, and stables are open to visitors.
Where: Sint-Veerleplein 11, 9000 Gent, East Flanders
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 10.00 am all year round.
Tickets: Adults – 12 €; Reduced 10 €; Children under 12 – free
2. Kasteel van Gaasbeek – van Gaasbeek Castle – Most Romantic Castle of Flanders
Completely different to a castle that is known for its torture museum, the Kasteel van Gaasbeek (van Gaasbeek Castle) is often described as the ultimate fairy-tale castle. But don’t worry; it’s more than just a pretty building.
Today, it is also a national museum that exhibits important art collections, from furniture to the testament of the famous painter Rubens, all displayed in lavish rooms.
The building we see today dates back to the 16th Century. It was however built on the ruins of a medieval castle from the 13th Century. It is truly an impressive building, and what is interesting is that it obtained its medieval appearance as a result of a renovation from 1887-1898.
Even so, it is still a remarkable building, one where you can just imagine the prince riding up to the gates on his white horse. If you don’t see a prince, don’t worry; there is plenty for you to see here though! The grounds and gardens are extensive and a popular spot for family picnics on summer weekends.
On Sundays, guided tours of the castle’s medicinal garden are given by one of the gardeners.
Where: Kasteelstraat 40, 1750 Lennik, Flemish Brabant
Style: Fairy Tale
Visiting Times: Yes, daily except Mondays from 10.00 am from April to November
Tickets: Adults – 10 €; Reduced – 8 €; Children under 7 – free
3. Château de Freÿr-sur-Meuse – Freÿr-sur-Meuse Castle – Most Scenic Castle of the Meuse Valley
There are hundreds of castles that you can visit in Belgium, so it can be tough to know exactly which one to visit first. But the Château de Freÿr-sur-Meuse (Freÿr-sur-Meuse Castle)in Wallonia is a great one to start with, and it’s a must of every weekend getaway in the Ardennes.
This castle was first built in the Middle Ages and was originally a keep. It survived like this for only a century before it was destroyed by the French during a battle, so it is not quite the original keep if you go and visit.
Having said that, this is still a spectacular place to go visit, as, when it was rebuilt, the new structure was done in a Renaissance style. And this is the building that you can see today.
It’s not just the building that you can visit though. If you are a fan of the outdoors, you need to make sure that you explore the garden that was added in the 18th Century. It is best viewed from above and from the opposite side of the river to fully appreciate its design.
This is a castle that can’t be missed! It has remained in the same family for the last 20 generations, and it’s easy to see why they chose to remain in one wing of the building.
Where: Freÿr 2, 5540 Hastière, Namur
Visiting Times: Yes, from 11.00 am on weekends from April to mid-November and daily except Mondays from 11.00 am in July and August
Tickets: Adults – 8.5 €; Reduced – 7 €; Children under 12 – free
4. Kasteel van Groot-Bijgaarden – Groot-Bijgaarden Castle – Castle with the Best Garden
If you are ever near Brussels in the spring, the Kasteel van Groot-Bijgaarden (Groot-Bijgaarden Castle) is the castle that you need to visit! Particularly if you want to contemplate the 14-hectares of gardens in full bloom. This castle wins for the most beautiful spring garden in Belgium.
You can see some beautiful tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and roses! So, this is the perfect place to visit for anyone who has a soft spot for flowers.
Unfortunately, the original castle was completely destroyed, but a stunning Flemish Renaissance edifice replaced it in the 17th-century. So, it is still an incredible building to look at.
If you manage to visit this place in the spring, you will get breathtaking views of Brussels from the tower. This is not one to miss in the spring!
Where: Isidoor Van Beverenstraat 5, 1702 Dilbeek, Flemish Brabant
Style: Flemish Renaissance
Visiting Times: Yes, daily from 10.00 am in April and May
Tickets: Adults – 14 €; Reduced – 12 €; Children 6-14 years old – 5 €; Children under 6 – free
5. Château de Beloeil – Beloeil Castle – Most Enchanting Castle in Belgium
Are you a lover of books? Or simply have a passion for photography? Then this is the place that you need to visit! Famous for its library and picturesque setting, it is perfect for a nice afternoon for people who are in the area.
Unfortunately, it is rather small inside as only seven rooms are open to the public. But the rooms that you do see are some of the most elegant and detailed rooms in the world! Plus, you have an incredibly impressive library!
You won’t be disappointed though. Just the view you get from the outside is worth a trip to the Château de Beloeil (Beloeil Castle) with its rounded turrets surrounded by water. A building like no other, well worth the visit, even just to see the outside.
The castle is still the private property of the family de Ligne, they stay there since the XIVth century.
Where: Rue du Château 11, 7970 Beloeil, Hainaut
Visiting Times: Yes, from 1.00 pm during weekends and public holidays from April to June; daily from 1.00 pm from July to September
Tickets: Adults – 12 €; Reduced – 10 €; Children 6-12 years old – 5 €; Children under 6 – free
6. Kasteel van Ooidonk – van Ooidonk Castle – Most Elegant Castle in Belgium
If you are planning on visiting Ghent, this castle is only a stone’s throw away from the Gravensteen (Castle of the Counts). This means that you can visit both castles with great ease.
If you are interested in a peaceful outing and a place of tranquility, and want a place that is just full of history, the Kasteel van Ooidonk (van Ooidonk Castle) is the place for you!
Not only is this a peaceful place to visit, but it is also one that is incredibly unique. It is a fine example of the Hispanic-Flemish architectural style that came about during the Renaissance period. Although it was rebuilt in 1595, it is one of Belgium’s finest castles.
With its grand moat and fairy tale turrets, this is the place to go. It is different from other châteaux as well, as rather than being a museum, this is a living home, and it’s something which visitors can easily sense when they visit.
Where: Ooidonkdreef 9, 9800 Deinze, East Flanders
When: 13th Century
Visiting Times: April 1st until September 15thon Sundays and holidays 14:00 – 17:30
Tickets: Adults – 10 €; Children under 12 – 3 €
7. Château Fort de Montaigle – Fortified Castle of Montaigle – Most Beautiful Ruined Castle in Belgium
This isn’t the typical castle that you can go to and see in all of its glory. The Château Fort de Montaigle (Fortifed Castle of Montaigle) is a ruined castle that was built in the 14th Century but was destroyed by Henry II of France in 1554.
Despite being a ruin though, this is a castle that can transport you through time. You only need a little imagination to be able to picture this castle in all its glory.
Before it was destroyed, it was enlarged with new windows, chimneys, vaulted cellars, and other new elements in the 15th Century. So you can easily imagine just how impressive this castle would have been in the past.
Don’t worry about it being a ruin though. This castle is set in a romantic location, on a rocky hill at the confluence of two important rivers, and it is just breathtaking. It is not one to miss!
Where: Rue du Marteau 10, 5520 Falaën, Onhaye, Namur
Visiting Times: Yes, from 11.00 am during the weekend from April to June and September to October; daily from 10.00 am in July and August
Tickets: Adults – 4 €; Reduced – from 1 € to 3.5 €
8. Château de Jehay – Jehay Castle – Castle with the Best Interior in Belgium
The Château de Jehay (Jehay Castle) was originally built in the 12th Century as a medieval castle and it must have been spectacular. It served as a residence for many noble families, and of course, they would only want to live in the best home that they could.
Unfortunately, the building we see now is not the same as the original castle that was once built due to it suffering a lot of damage.
But there is some positive as the current building does date back to the 16th Century. So there is still a bit of history there. When you visit though, you might note that some of the castle has been restored in the 19th Century in Gothic style.
When you visit Jehay-Bodegnee, you will realise that it’s a bit different from the other castles on this list as it’s actually a museum now. You can look at an exquisite collection of tapestries, antique furniture and paintings.
You can still get a really good sense of what history would have been like, so it is well worth a visit!
Where: Rue du Parc 1, 4540 Amay, Liege
Visiting Times: Yes, from 2.00 pm from Tuesday to Friday and from 11.00 am Saturday and Sunday from April to October; open daily in July and August
Tickets: Adults – 5 €; Reduced – 4 €; Children – 3 €
9. Château de Crupet – Crupet Castle – Best Private Castle in Belgium
No Belgium castle list would be complete without the Château de Crupet (Crupet Castle).
Although you are unable to visit the castle properly (as it is a private property owned by the Limbosch family), this is one of the best castles in Belgium. It dates back to the 11th Century and stands in a little lake.
It is picture perfect. Small, but elegant.
From a simplified fortified country home, it was soon transformed into a lavish Renaissance castle in the 16th Century, and it is one that is in the perfect location.
Standing in a lake, and only connected to the rest of the world by a stone bridge, this castle is a still image of the past. And it is one that will impress whoever looks upon it, even without stepping inside.
Where: Rue Basse 27, 5332 Assesse, Namur
Style: Early Medieval/Renaissance
Visiting Times: Unfortunately, as it is a private property, you cannot visit this castle.
10. Kasteel Alden Biesen – Alden Biesen Castle – Most Famous Castle in Belgium
The Kasteel Alden Biesen (Alden Biesen Castle) is one of the most famous castles in Belgium, and it has a long history behind it. Although this is last on the list of castles, the best has been saved till the end!
This castle dates back almost a millennium ago and the original structure was built by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. How impressive is that?!
The main building that you can see now when you visit though, is a magnificent Renaissance edifice with turrets that was expanded from the original castle between the 16th and 18th Centuries.
Unfortunately, in 1971, this castle was actually burned down.
But thankfully, the Belgian government bought and restored this castle, so you can still see it in all its glory although now, it is used as a cultural center.
Where: Kasteelstraat 6, 3740 Bilzen, Limburg
When: 16th to 18th Centuries
Visiting Times: Yes, daily except Mondays from 10.00 am, but only during exhibitions or with a guided tour.
Tickets: Adults – 4 €; Children under 12 – free
So, there you have it; the 10 Best Castles in Belgium!
Now this list does not begin to show or explain how impressive these castles are. The best way to truly experience these castles is by physically going there. A picture and description can only show so much.
But castles are much better when they are explored, and you can find out all of their secrets when you wander their rooms and corridors. Even a simple ruined brick wall can show you a lot.
Before you do go and visit one of these castles though, please double-check that they are open.
But once everything goes back to normal, these are the castles that you need to visit if you can. Put aside some time and just remember to have fun!
About the author
Isobel blogs over at castlesandturret.com, detailing historical houses, castles and general day trips. She also loves books and films. Give her a historical romance, and it would be an afternoon well spent. When it comes to her days off work, you can find Isobel outside and exploring as many places as she can with her partner!