Tradition lies at the heart of Wallonia, from its Renaissance-style architecture right down to its rich local produce. The French-speaking region of Belgium may not be a well-known holiday destination, but with a range of activities on offer, it’s a true hidden gem that oozes old world charm. With multiple museums, historic sites and more than 1,500 castles to explore, you’ll find plenty to pack in, and all in a picturesque countryside setting.
Reminders of the Great War are present all along the Western Front. Trench lines can be seen for miles across the fields, while once beautifully thick woodlands remain flattened since the fighting and ponds have appeared in the craters left by shells. A visit to the First World War battlefields makes for a stark reminder of those lost in battle and is a moving way to mark Remembrance Day. Here’s our guide to the best routes for a World War I battlefield tour.
It was during a moment of contemplation in war-ravaged Ypres in 1915 that Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae noticed how quickly poppies grew from the graves of the recently buried. He reportedly penned the famous ‘In Flanders Fields’ the very next day, while sitting in the back of an ambulance:
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly”
If you’re thinking of visiting the battlefields of Belgium to pay your respects this November, take a look at our guide to Remembrance Day travel.
Marvin Gaye was drawn to the largest town on the Belgian coast before Lonely Planet had even written the guidebook. With majestic buildings steeped in history, golden beaches just off the beaten track, and the best pancakes this side of the Atlantic, it’s easy to see why. The town just seems to inspire everyone who visits. Buildings boast giant murals, sand sculptures line the water’s edge, and markets and festivals pop up throughout the year. Got 24 hours to spare? Here’s our handy guide to what to do in Ostend.
On the morning of 6 June 1944, the once pristine Normandy coastline became the site of the largest ever seaborne invasion in world history. The Allied land, air and sea operation became known as the D-Day Landings and within just one month 1,100,000 troops, 200,000 vehicles and 750,000 tons of stores were moved to France – heralding one of the most important stages of World War 2.
On the 1st July 2016 the world will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the defining conflicts of the First World War. The Centenary event will see thousands of visitors gather at the various battlements in and around Somme, northern France, to pay respects to the soldiers who lost their lives there. Take a walk through a historical landscape shaped by the Great War with our guide to some of the most significant battlefields and forgotten trenches of this area.
Along with wooden clogs and fields of budding tulips, the windmill is a true symbol of the Netherlands. Each year, visitors from around the world escape to the Dutch countryside for a glimpse of the many majestic sail-adorned buildings that have become the nation’s pastoral landmarks. To acknowledge the cultural importance of windmills across the country, the Netherlands will celebrate National Mill Day on the weekend of 13th-14th May 2016, an annual festival that sees 950 wind and watermills open their doors to visitors. To help you explore some of these iconic constructions, we’ve chosen some of the most beautiful windmills near Amsterdam that you can explore yourself.