Best Castles in Belgium
Already known for the beautiful historic architecture of its cities, Belgium is also home to some of the most well-preserved and glamorous historic castles in Europe. Over three thousand castles are scattered all over the country, dotting both the cities and the countryside. From fortified structures dating back to the Early Middle Ages to imperial palaces and lavish mansions, Belgian castles are worth your time.
This is our list of the best castles in Belgium to visit if you happen to make your way to this beautiful country.
26 Belgian Castles you need to visit
1. Alden Biesen Castle
Alden Biesen Castle is one of the most famous Belgian castles, behind which lies a long history. The original structure was built almost a millennium ago by the Knights of the Teutonic Order. The current castle, however, is a magnificent Renaissance edifice with turrets that was expanded from the original castle between the 16th- and the 18th- centuries. For many decades, the castle served as the headquarters of the Teutonic Order. Its fate changed, however, in 1971 when it was burned down. Fortunately, the Belgian government purchased and restored the property. Alden Biesen is used today as a cultural center.
Where: village of Rijkhoven, Bilzen
When: 16th- to 18th- centuries
Open to visit: Yes, daily except Mondays from 10.00 am, but only during exhibitions or with a guided tour.
Tickets: Adults – 5 euros; Reduced – 4 euros; Children under 7 – free
2. Bornem Castle
Bornem Castle is a gorgeous historic castle transformed recently into a country house. Also known as the Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde Castle, the original structure was built in the 10th-century as a defense against Viking and Norman raids.
The castle seen today dates back to the 16th-century and was built as a residence for the 3rd Baron of Bornem and Lord of Bobadilla, Pedro Coloma.
In the 19th-century, after being purchased by the family of Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde, the castle was demolished and a new, more grandiose structure was built to replace it.
The 14th Earl of Bornem is the current owner of the property. However, visitors are welcome and a museum was opened on the grounds.
Where: Bornem, province of Antwerp
Style: Renaissance revival
Open to visit: Yes, but only with an appointment from mid-April to October. Without an appointment, the castle is only open on 15 August, the last 2 Sundays of August and the 2 first Sundays of September from 1.30 pm.
Tickets: Adults – 8 euros.
3. Bouchout Castle
A castle existed at the site of Bouchout Castle ever since the 12th-century when a first structure was built as the seat of the Duchy of Brabant. At the beginning of the 16th-century, a new owner expanded it, building a much larger and imposing castle and adding moats and gardens to give the residence an Italian Renaissance look.
In the 17th-century, the castle was bought by the Roose family. Two centuries later, King Leopold II acquired the beautiful property to serve as a residence for his sister, Charlotte, who lived there for almost five decades. Today the Bouchout Castle is located on the site of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium.
Where: town of Meise, Flemish Brabant
When: 12th-century/ 16th-century
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 9.30 am with a ticket to the Botanic Garden.
Tickets: Adults – 7 euros; Reduced – 6 euros; Children 6-17 years old – 1 euro; Children under 6 – free
4. Bouillon Castle
Located on an outlying rock above a quaint little town, Bouillon Castle is one of the most dramatically-looking castles in Belgium. Built somewhere before the 10th-century as a residence for the Dukes of Ardenne, its history took a new turn in 1090, when the owner at the time, Godefroy de Bouillon became the first Crusader to set off to the Holy Lands, thus inspiring a religious and political movement that would last for centuries.
To pay for his journey to Jerusalem, de Bouillon mortgaged the property and eventually lost it. Although it changed owners, the castle remained in use over the centuries and was further modified into a massive fortress with drawbridges, dungeons, and torture chambers.
Where: town of Bouillon
Style: Medieval Fortress
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 10.00 am from April to November; from 10.00 am during weekends and 1.00 pm during weekdays from February to December
Tickets: Adults – 11 euros; Children 4-12 years old – 8.5 euros
5. Castle of Corroy-le-Chateau
Built at the beginning of the 13th-century, Castle of Corroy-le-Chateau is one of the most interesting Belgian castles as it is among the best-preserved medieval buildings in the country.
The first owner of the castle was William of Brabant, and the castle remained in the possession of his descendants ever since. Featuring massive towers and a moat, the castle is a scenic sight and a great place to immerse into an atmosphere of historical charm.
Open to visit: Yes, from 10.00 am every Sunday and holiday from May to September; during July and August, the castle is open Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 am.
Tickets: Adults – 7 euros; Children 6-10 years old – 4 euros;
6. Chateau de Beloeil
Chateau de Beloeil was built in the 14th-century as a residence for the Prince of Ligne, the descendant of one of the oldest noble families in the country.
Surrounded by parkland and landscaped Baroque gardens, this beautiful castle with massive round turrets is one of the most picturesque sights in the Belgian countryside and an especially unique sight for lovers of history.
The castle is also home to one of the most impressive libraries in Belgium. Although elegant and rich in details, the interior is rather small, with only seven rooms open to the public. The gorgeous Baroque gardens can also be visited by train ride.
Where: Beloeil, province of Hainaut
Open to visit: 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 euros; Reduced – 10 euros; Children under 6 – free; Children 6-12 years old – 5 euros;
7. Gaasbeek Castle
A gorgeous construction dating back to the 16th-century, Gaasbeek Castle is one of the top castles in Belgium. It belonged initially to the Horne family and was built on the ruins of a medieval castle from the 13th-century.
During the 19th-century, the castle was restored to its medieval look during a long process of renovation. Today it is a national museum that exhibits important art collections, from furniture to artworks by famous painter Rubens, all displayed in lavish rooms.
The castle grounds are a popular picnic spot for local families during summer, and also a popular place for open-air concerts.
Where: Village of Gaasbeek, Flemish Brabant
Open to visit: Yes, daily except Mondays from 10.00 am from April to November
Tickets: Adults – 10 euros; Reduced – 8 euros; Children under 7 –free
Located in the beautiful city of Ghent, Gravensteen was originally a medieval fortress built as early as the 9th-century. The current structure, however, dates back to the 12th-century and was built by Count Philip of Alsace.
For many centuries, the castle served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders, which has given it the name “the Castle of Counts”. In the 19th-century, the medieval structure was restored and is now considered one of the top tourist attractions of Ghent.
Besides the moat, massive towers and fortifications, the castle includes the typical medieval dungeons which are home to an intriguing museum of torture instruments.
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 10.00 am all year round.
Tickets: Adults – 10 euros; Reduced 7.5 euros; Children under 18 – free
9. Groot-Bijgaarden Castle
Built in the 12th-century, Groot-Bijgaarden Castle was the home of Almaric Bigard, the first lord of Bigard, but passed from owner to owner many times over the following centuries.
The original construction was, unfortunately, completely demolished and a stunning Flemish Renaissance edifice replaced it in the 17th-century. The current building incorporates a tall 14th-century Donjon and a medieval chapel.
The tower has four floors and offers a stunning panoramic view from the terrace over the city of Brussels. Besides the beauty of the building, the gardens of the castle are also renowned for their charm.
Where: Groot-Bijgaarden, Flemish Brabant
Style: Flemish Renaissance
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 10.00 am in April and May
Tickets: Adults – 14 euros; Reduced – 12 euros; Children 6-14 years old – euros; Children under 6 – free
10. Het Steen
Located in the old town area of Antwerp, Het Steen is a medieval fortress and one of the best castles to visit in Belgium for history fans as this is the oldest building in the city.
Known originally as the Antwerpen Burcht, the fortress changed its name to Het Steen ( “the stone castle”) after a significant process of renovation at the beginning of the 16th-century.
From the 14th-century to the 19th-century, the fortress was used as a prison. At the end of the 19th-century, however, it was transformed into a museum of archaeology.
Style: Medieval Fortress
Open to visit: no, currently in renovation.
11. Jehay-Bodegnee Castle
Jehay-Bodegnee Castle was originally a 12th-century medieval castle that served as a residence for many noble families. Over the centuries, however, the original structure suffered a lot of damage.
The current form of the castle dates back to the 16th-century. New important changes were also made in the 19th-century when the castle was renovated and expanded in the Gothic style.
Today, Jehay-Bodegnee Castle is a national museum, housing an exquisite collection of tapestry, antique furniture, paintings, and various artworks. The interior itself is also splendidly decorated.
Where: Amay, Liege
Open to visit: 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 euros; Reduced – 4 euros; Children – 3 euros
12. Jemeppe Castle
Originally a fortified house built as a defense at the beginning of the 13th-century, Jemeppe Castle was transformed a few centuries later into a square castle building with two wings and a double moat. The fortified tower was incorporated into the new structure.
Throughout the entire 18th-century, the castle drastically changed its appearance, becoming an imposing edifice. The current appearance dates back to the 19th-century, but the castle was neglected in the 20th-century and only recently has been restored to its former glory. Today this historic castle functions as a luxury hotel.
Where: village of Hargimont
Style: Medieval/ Renaissance
Open to visit: Yes, only by hotel reservation.
13. La Roche-en-Ardenne Castle
Perched above the wide valley of the Ourthe River, La Roche-en-Ardenne Castle was built between the 11th- and the 13th- centuries to guard over the town of La Roche.
During the Early Middle Ages, the fortification had an important strategic position, providing protection and support for the development of a commercial route through the area.
Due to its political role, the fortress was often at the heart of power struggles, and in 1681, it was captured by French King Louis XIV and his army. At the end of the 18th-century, the castle was no longer inhabited and gradually fell into despair. Today the castle is in ruins.
Where: village of La Roche
When: 11th- to 13th- centuries
Style: Medieval Fortress
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 10.00 am in July and August, from 11.00 am from April to October, and from 1.00 pm from November to March
Tickets: Adults – 6.5 euros; Children 3-12 years old – 4.5 euros
14. Lavaux-Sainte-Anne Castle
Lavaux-Sainte-Anne Castle is a beautiful historic castle in Wallonia featuring 32 lavishly decorated rooms that house the Museum of the Life of the Lords of Lavaux which showcases how the noble family lived in the 17th-century.
The castle also includes cellars where various exhibits show the rural life in the Famenne of the 19th-century through the help of everyday objects. On the first floor, the castle hosts the Museum of Nature and Hunting with a wide collection of stuffed animals that showcase the rich fauna of the region.
Where: Rochefort, Province of Namur
Open to visit: Yes, from 10.00 from Wednesday to Sunday all year round and daily between June and September
Tickets: Adults – 8 euros; Reduced – 7 euros; Children 3-12 years old – 5 euros
15. Miranda Castle
Miranda Castle is a derelict edifice with a fascinating history, located in a remote area of Celles. The castle was built in 1866 by a famous English architect to serve as a primary residence for a wealthy family, Liedekerke-Beaufort.
The descendants of the original owners lived in the castle until World War II when the castle was taken over by the government and transformed into an orphanage.
In 1991, Miranda Castle was abandoned and has been left empty ever since. Since it still belongs to the Liedekerke-Beaufort family who has refused to either sell it or renovate it, the castle is now in ruins.
Where: Celles, province of Namur
Open to visit: No.
16. Rumbeke Castle
One of the oldest Renaissance castles in the country, Rumbeke Castle was built in the 16th-century and served as a home to the first Count of Flanders.
This beautiful historic building stands on the site of an early medieval fortress that existed as early as the 9th-century and it is associated with important historical legends about the creation of the County of Flanders.
In the 18th-century, the castle underwent extensive renovation and many Neoclassical features were added. Today Rumbeke Castle is privately-owned and used as an office. However, the castle is also home to exhibitions and public events.
Where: Rumbeke, West Flanders
Open to visit: The interior can only be visited during a public exhibition; there are no restrictions for the domain
17. Beauvoorde Castle
Beauvoorde Castle was built in the 15th-century for a noble family but was burned down a century later by bandits. In 1875, a young aristocrat, Arthur Merghelynck purchased the castle that had fallen into despair and renovated it.
Located in an area of incredible natural beauty, the castle was rebuilt in a truly romantic style following, however, the original design. After completion, the owner added an impressive collection of furniture and art pieces to decorate the stunning interior. After the death of Merghelynck and his wife, the castle became a historic monument.
Where: village of Wulveringem, Westhoek region of Flanders
Open to visit: yes, from 2.00 pm on Wednesdays all year round; from 10.00 during weekends and public holidays
Tickets: Adults – 8 euros; Reduced – 6 euros; Children under 6 – free
18. Beersel Castle
Built in the 14th-century, Beersel Castle suffered extensive damage over the centuries as it was often at the heart of military conflicts. With massive watchtowers and a wide moat, this strong fortress had an important role in the history of the region and served as a defensive base.
In the 20th-century, it lost its strategic importance and was transformed into a cotton factory. Today Beersel Castle is a charming fortress lying just on the outskirts of the Belgian capital, Brussels.
Where: town of Beersel, Flemish Brabant
Open to visit: yes, from 11.00 am from Tuesday to Sunday from March to November and from 11.00 am in June and August
Tickets: Adults – 3 euros; Reduced – 1.5 euros; Children 3-12 years old – 1 euro; Children under 3 – free
19. Borrekens Castle
Borrekens Castle was built in the late 13th-century by the Van Rotselaar family, an important family of noblemen who served at the court of the Dukes of Brabant. At the beginning of the 16th-century, the castle passed into the possession of another aristocrat family and then changed several other owners.
A renovation project was launched in the 17th-century, but only in the 19th-century the castle finally took its current Neo-Gothic appearance. At the end of the 19th-century, the castle was purchased by the De Borrekens family who gave the castle its name. Today Borrekens Castle is private property.
Where: town of Vorselaar, province of Antwerp
Open to visit: No.
20. Castle of Freyr
Built in the Middle Ages, Castle of Freyr was originally a keep and maintained this function for more than a century before being destroyed by the French during a battle.
When it was rebuilt, the original design was no longer considered and the new structure of Renaissance inspiration became the castle that can be seen today.
In the latter half of the 18th-century, a charming terraced garden with pools, fountains, and orange trees was added to the castle’s domain, transforming Castle of Freyr into one of the best castles in Belgium. The descendants of the Dukes of Beaufort-Spontin still live in the castle today.
Where: Hastiere, province of Namur
Open to visit: 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 euros; Reduced – 7 euros;
21. Castle of Veves
Located in the Wallonia region of the country, Castle of Veves lies on a rocky outcrop in a valley. In the early 8th-century, a local nobleman named Pepin de Herstal built a castle on this strategic location.
In the 13th-century, the castle was burned down and rebuilt, entering the possession of the Beaufort family. For the next centuries, the Beauforts were at the centre of Belgian politics, and their castle was transformed into a lavish residence.
In the 20th-century, Count de Liedekerke de Beaufort donated the castle so it can be restored and opened to the public. The current appearance of the castle dates back to the 17th-century.
Where: Celles, province of Namur
When: 13th- to 17th- centuries
Open to visit: yes, daily from 10.00 am from April to November
Tickets: Adults – 8 euros; Reduced – 7 euros; Children 4-18 years old – 5 euros; Children under 5 – free
22. Chateau de Louvignies
Located in a charming area in the countryside, Chateau de Louvignies was built in the 14th-century as the seat of a lordship. At the beginning of the 17th-century, it was purchased by a local nobleman, who expanded and modernized the original structure, adding a moat.
In 1798, the castle became the residence of the Villegas family, who further transformed it into an eclectic construction. The interiors are a stunning example of Belle Epoque and contain beautiful period furniture, art objects, and items of great historical value.
Where: Soignies, province of Hainaut
Open to visit: Yes, only guided tours every Sunday from 2.00 pm from June to October
Tickets: Adults – 8 euros
23. Citadel of Namur
Citadel of Namur is an impressive fortress built in the 10th-century that served as a home for the Counts of Namur. A few centuries after construction, it was transformed into an elegant holiday home for King Leopold II.
Today, Citadel of Namur is a popular events venue that offers stunning views over the city and the Meuse Valley. The main highlight of the fortress, however, is its extensive network of underground passages.
The 7 kilometers of underground tunnels and passages can be visited during an immersive guided tour with animations, projections, and sounds effects. Today the Citadel of Namur is home to the Terra Nova Museum which retraces various aspects of local and European history.
Style: Medieval Fortress
Open to visit: daily from 10.00 am from April to September
Tickets: Adults – 13 euros; Reduced – 11 euros; Children under 6 – free
24. Crupet Castle
Crupet Castle – also known as Carondelet Castle – was originally an 11th-century moated donjon owned by the Crupet family. From a simple fortified country house, it was transformed into a lavish Renaissance castle in the 16th-century when it was acquired by the Carondelet family.
In the 17th-century, it changed the owner once again, passing by marriage into the hand of the Merode family. Standing in a lake and connected to the land by a stone bridge, the castle is a scenic sight especially as it was beautifully restored at the beginning of the 20th-century. Today, the castle is the private property of the Limbosch family.
Where: Crupet, province of Namur
Style: Early Medieval/Renaissance
Open to visit: No, it is a private property
25. Montaigle Castle
Montaigle Castle is a medieval construction from the 14th-century that was gradually turned into an elegant residence for its aristocratic inhabitants. The original medieval fortress was enlarged with new windows, chimneys, vaulted cellars, and other new elements in the 15th-century when it became a principal town.
However, in 1554, the castle was destroyed by the French. Today, one of the most attractive features of Montaigle castle is its romantic location on a rocky hill at the confluence of two important rivers. Unfortunately, the castle is now in ruins.
Open to visit: 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 euros; Reduced – from 1 to 3.5 euros;
26. Annevoie Castle
Built in the 17th-century, Annevoie Castle belonged to several noble families over the years. Before taking the current appearance, the castle was modified gradually by its owners, which lead to a mix of architectural elements. Until 2000, the castle was occupied by the Montpellier family.
The most popular feature of the domain is the unique extensive water gardens, Gardens of Annevoie, built in the 18th-century. With their water jets, canals, ponds, fountains, and waterfalls, the castle’s gardens are a popular tourist attraction of Wallonia.
Where: Annevoie-Rouillon, province of Namur
Style: French Renaissance
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 9.30 from April to November.
Tickets: Adults – 7.8 euros; Reduced – 5.2 euros
With so many different castles of aesthetic, cultural, and historical value, Belgium is a European hotspot for lovers of scenic sights that can immerse you into a long-forgotten past. Either guarding over old, historic towns or lying serenely in the countryside, Belgian castles are a great discovery for lovers of romantic, aristocratic charm.