If the high stained glass windows and gothic knaves is your thing then Belgium is the perfect place for you. Belgium is country in Europe that is rich in history and culture and the strikingly beautiful cathedrals are the vibrant evidence of this.
A lot of Christian abbeys and churches started emerging in the lower European countries during the 7th century and the number has been constantly increasing. Belgium itself boasts of some of the striking, historic places of worship.Each of the churches in Belgium are a mark of hard work and they all carry stories of their own. The architecture of these cathedrals are equally impressive and some of them are even internationally acclaimed.
10 Best Churches In Belgium
Belgium like other European countries has a lot of beautiful churches of historic importance. When you visit these churches you will be definitely left in awe with the beautiful architecture and the beauty of these cathedrals. Take a look the list to know about the 10 best churches in Belgium.
1. Cathedral Of Our Lady, Antwerp
This is supposedly the most cathedral that you will witness while in Belgium. The beautiful soaring tower of the cathedral largely dominates the city skyline of Antwerp and it is considered as one of the most finest and elegant Gothic building in entire Europe. Inside the building you will spot many stunning paintings of famous artists like Peter Paul Rubens. The architecture of this beautiful cathedral is simply astounding with 34 high stained glass windows. The place is also very easy to reach. It is located right in the heart of Old Town Square, which you can easily access while you are in Antwerp.
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Timings: Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm, Sat – 10am – 3pm, Sun – 1pm – 4pm.
2. St. Michael And St. Gudula Cathedral
Located in Brussels, this is another beautiful cathedral that is a must visit if you are visiting Belgium. This stunning cathedral has been a place of worship for over hundred years. This breathtaking Gothic construction simply cannot be missed by visitors of Brussels. The twin spired exterior, and the interior architecture comprising of giant columns and magnificent artworks and altar spaces, adds to its breathtaking charm. The cathedral itself can be considered as a piece of artwork in display and the best thing is, this cathedral is completely free to explore.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Timings: 7:30am – 6pm
3. St. Bavo Cathedral
St. Bavo is one of the most important historic buildings in the country of Belgium. This beautiful cathedral is surrounded on all sides by traditional old houses of Ghent region. Apart of the stunning masterpiece that the cathedral is, it also boasts of a vast 12 panelled magnificent artwork by celebrated artist Hubert and Jan van Eyck, which dates back to around 1432. This painting is simply amazing and one of the most complex pieces of art in the entire world.
Location: Ghent, Belgium
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4. Cathedral Of Our Lady, Bruges
This church is considered as the second tallest brick building in the entire world. Not only this, this beautiful piece of brick architecture holds the stunning artworks of the celebrated Italian sculptor, Michelangelo. The painting ‘Madonna and Child’ that adorns the walls of this marbled masterpiece of a church, is one of the iconic works of Michelangelo.
Location: Bruges, Belgium
Timings: 10am – 5pm
5. Basilica Of The Holy Blood, Bruges
Basilica of Holy Blood may not be one of the biggest churches in Belgium, but this small building can definitely be considered as a showstopper in Bruges. Earlier this church used to serve as a private chapel to the Count of Flanders, this place allegedly contains a relic that has the blood of Christ. The interior is of Neo-Gothic style architecture with beautiful stained glass windows and vibrant and colorful wall murals.
Location: Bruges, Belgium
Timings: Thu – Tue 9:30am – 12pm, 2pm – 5pm
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6. Eglise Saint Loup
Eglise Saint Loup is definitely ranks among one of the most important churches in Belgium. The black and red marble pillars sets apart the church from the other ones. This distinctive feature of the church created quite a significant effect on Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, who drew the comparison of the church to a delicious, albeit a very formidable coffin.
Location: Rue du College, Namur, Belgium.
Timings: Upon appointment.
7. Cathedral Of Our Lady, Tournai
This church is considered recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The distinctive architecture of this beautiful church is characterized by the cluster of five bell towers as well as the semicircular ends. This is one of the biggest churches in Belgium and an example of the Romanesque architecture style. Inside the church you can admire the chasse of Our Lady as the lovely a painting by none other than Peter Paul Ruben, which adorns the walls of this church.
Location: Tournai, Belgium
Timings: Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm, Sat – Sun 9am – 12pm / 1pm – 6pm.
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8. Collegiate Church Of St. Gertrude, Nivelles
This church is designed in the style of a castle and the architecture of the church is of Ottonian style of around 992. The avant-corps in the western side is one of the most distinguishable architectural feature of this church sets it apart along with its height and the octagon shaped bell tower.
Location: Nivelles, Belgium
9. St. Rumbold’s Cathedral, Mechelen
St. Rumbold’s cathedral is another of the must visit churches in Belgium. This historic building is very important and is ranked among one of the top best churches in Belgium. This place of worship is frequented by a lots of locals as well as visitors in Belgium. The cathedral originally was supposed to have a 77m high spire and this cathedral along with Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, holds the seat of Archdiocese. The attractive architectural feature of this church is its distinctive flat tower. Students from all around the globe come to the Royal Carillon School, a part of the cathedral, where they are taught the art of ringing the church bells.
Location: Mechelen, Belgium
Timings: Sun – Fri 1pm – 6pm, Sat 10am – 6pm
10. Our Blessed Lady Of The Sablon, Brussels
The entire country of Belgium has a wide assortment of churches, located in various regions and parts of the country. One such location is Brussels in Belgium that has quite a collection of churches. The Old Blessed Lady of the Sablon is one of them. This church itself boasts of being one of the top rated one in Belgium and can definitely be considered as one of the most beautiful churches in Brussels region. The church has distinguishable Brabantine Gothic styled exterior and a very vibrantly decorated interior. It comprises of two stunning Baroque chapels. This beautiful church was originally built as a Crossbow Guild, which was later rebuilt around the turn of the 15th century, into the church it is today.
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Timings: Mon – Fri 9am – 6:30pm, Sat – Sun 10am – 6:30pm
These churches are among the most beautiful and important ones built in Belgium. Some of them have much historical importance and adds to the cultural heritage of the country, when you are planning your trip to Belgium, make sure to visit these stunning churches and absorb the cultural and historical heritage of the place.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Churches In Belgium
Are there any churches in Belgium that are open 24-hours for tourists?
No, as of now, there are no historic, heritage and cultural churches that are open 24-hours for tourists in Belgium.
Churches present in Belgium have what type of denomination or affiliation?
Churches present in Belgium have affiliation from Catholic, Ghent, Mechelen-Brussels, and Roman Catholic. Most of the churches are Roman Catholic in Belgium.
What are the major architectural styles that the churches in Belgium are built in?
Churches in Belgium are built in several different styles like Baroque, Brabantine Gothic, Classical, Eclecticism, French Baroque, French Gothic, Gothic, Gothic Revival, Meuse Gothik, Neoclassical, and Romanesque architectural styles.
Are the churches in Belgium worth visiting to see its architectural marvels?
Yes, you can find beautiful altarpiece, bells, chandlers, facade, gothic windows, motifs, murals, paintings, pipe organs, stained glass artworks, sculptors, statues, stone artworks, towers, and a Victorian interior that add to the beauty of churches in Belgium.
Are there heritage churches in Belgium of tourist interest?
Yes, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Tournai, St. Peter’s Church, Leuven, and St. Rumbold’s Cathedral are UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Belgium that receive a heavy footfall every year.
What are the church timings in Belgium?
The cultural heritage churches are open from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM for tourists. The other major churches in Belgium open and close at different timings. A few of the churches are only functional or Fridays and Sundays.
Are cameras prohibited inside the churches present in Belgium?
No, you can carry your cameras inside the churches and take photos of its interiors as well as the exteriors.
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