The Best Castles near Brussels

The Belgian city of Brussels is a subtle, yet nonetheless impressive historic center, with centuries worth of architectural gems, historical monuments and landmarks, and a thriving modern character; it is a popular tourist destination for those that are fascinated by balances between the old and the new, for Brussels offers this juxtaposition seamlessly.

Yet, step beyond the city center and venture slightly further beyond, and you will be stunned as to how many beautiful and historical castles exist, offering visitors a different and multi-faceted side to the city’s heritage. This list will present the best castles near to the beautiful city of Brussels, their key highlights and points of interest, as well as practical information such as location, and opening and closing times.

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The Best 6 Castles to Visit Near Brussels

1. Groot-Bijgaarden Castle

Situated in the gorgeous Belgian village of Groot-Bijgaarden, which lies in the Dilbeek municipality, is the stunning and historical Groot-Bijgaarden Castle, which is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Brussels.

The original castle was built in the 12th century, around the year 1300, and was constructed for Almaric Bigard, who was the first Lord of Bigard.

The original castle was built in a classic motte and bailey architectural style, with a large, wide moat, as well as a typical medieval drawbridge.

Later, during the Renaissance, the castle was rebuilt into the contemporary Flemish Renaissance style, adopting the traditional red brick façade with a gorgeous slate roof.

Today, the castle is open to the public, many of which are attracted to the 14-hectare garden park that is adorned with beautiful Dutch tulips.

Where: Groot-Bijgaarden, Belgium
When: 12th century
Open to visit: Yes, check here for more information.

2. Château de Bouchout

Chateau de Bouchout, or otherwise known as Bouchout Castle, is a fantastic historic castle in the gorgeous Flemish town of Meise, in Belgium. It was originally constructed in the 12th century, in approximately the year 1150, and it is believed to have been built by Wouter van Craaynem.

There was a critical renovation in the early 17th century by Christoffel d’Assonville, where the castle was modernized and militarized; later, at the end of the same century, the castle took on its Renaissance appearance, and gorgeous, expansive French gardens were added.

Again, in the 19th century, the castle was renovated into the contemporary Neo-Gothic style by Count Amadeus de Beauffort, and some of its grandest features were added. Today, Chateau de Bouchout is open to the public and makes for a perfect day trip from Brussels.

Where: Meise, Belgium
When: 12th century
Open to visit: Yes, daily from 9.30 am with a ticket to the Botanic Garden. Check here for more information.

3. Kasteel van Beersel

The beautiful Kasteel van Beersel, or sometimes referred to as Beersel Castle, is an enormous medieval castle that lies in the Flemish Brabant region of Belgium, in the municipality of Beersel. The castle’s origins date back to the year 1300, though the remnants from this era are no longer in existence; the form the castle takes today dates back to the year 1357 when it was rebuilt.

However, over the centuries of the castle’s existence, it was destroyed and then rebuilt again in different styles, largely due to military conflict and battles that occurred at the site.

A large restoration of the castle was undertaken between the year 1491 and 1617, but the way it stands today is the result of construction that dates back to more recent times from 1928 to 1939.

Where: Beersel, Belgium
When: 14th century
Open to visit: yes, check here for more information.

You might also like: The best Belgian castles to visit. 

4. Gravensteen

Belgian Castles-Gravensteen

The Gravensteen, which also translates as ‘Castle of the Counts’, is a large and impressive historical castle located in Ghent, in the East Flanders region of Belgium. Until the year 1353, The Gravensteen was used as a residence for the Counts of Flanders, and its current structure dates back to around the year 1180.

However, over the years, the castle has been destroyed and then rebuilt, and its current façade dates back to the years 1893 and 1903; today, the castle serves as a museum and popular tourist site and is a key reason why visitors are drawn to Ghent.

Where: Ghent, Belgium
When: Origins in the 12th century
Open to visit: Yes, check here for more information.

5. Grimbergen Castle

Situated to the north of Brussels, in the small and scenic town of Grimbergen, lies the stunning Grimbergen Castle, which has a fantastic and vast heritage.

Historically, the castle used to serve as the residence of the Lords of Grimbergen during the Middle Ages, and the majority of the castle dates back to the 13th century.

Today, there are still ruins dating back to this era, though, in terms of the present castle, the oldest existing part dates back to the early 16th century. Today, the castle is a protected monument and is open to visitors.

Where: Grimbergen, Belgium
When: 13th century
Open for visit: Yes, check here for more information.

6. Arenberg Castle

Situated nearby to Leuven in Belgium lies the gorgeous Arenberg Castle; since the 12th century, this castle has been the residence of the Lords of Heverlee, though they had to sell it in the year 1445 due to impoverishment.

The castle has changed hands on several occasions, and rotated between various different noble families, each time bringing with it new additions to its architecture both internally and externally, as well as its overall history.

Architecturally, the castle also exhibits a variety of styles, such as Renaissance, Baroque, and Neo-Gothic. Today, Arenberg Castle is used by the Engineering Science faculty.

Where: Arenberg, Belgium
When: 12th century
Open for visit: No. The castle is open to students during the academic year, but unfortunately not accessible to visitors

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