Known for historic architecture, Belgium is home to well-preserved castles. More than 3000 castles and palaces are scattered across the country, dotting urban areas and the countryside. From the fortifications dating back to the Middle Ages to lavish palaces, Belgian castles are beauties.
In 1830, Belgium became an independent country separate from the Netherlands. The first King of Belgium, Leopold I, the Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was crowned in 1831, and since then, the country has had seven monarchs. The current monarch, King Philippe, became King in 2013 after his father abdicated. Belgium has a hereditary parliamentary constitutional monarchy where the King swears to observe the Constitution and laws of the Belgian people to maintain national independence and territorial integrity. Here are 20 fairytale castles in Belgium to visit.
- Belgian Castles
- 20 Fairytale Castles in Belgium
- 1- Walzin Castle
- 2- Vêves Castle
- 3- Gravensteen Castle
- 4- Modave Castle
- 5- Beloeil Castle
- 6- Gaasbeek Castle
- 7- Groot-Bijgaarden Castle
- 8- Alden Biesen Castle
- 9- Ooidonk Castle
- 10- The Royal Palace of Brussels
- 11- Attre Castle
- 12- Freÿr Castle
- 13- Miranda Castle
- 14- Annevoie Castle
- 15- Borrekens Castle
- 16- Jehay-Bodegnee Castle
- 17- La Roche-en-Ardenne Castle
- 18- Bouillon Castle
- 19- Bornem Castle
- 20- Crupet Castle
- 20 Fairytale Castles in Belgium
20 Fairytale Castles in Belgium
1- Walzin Castle
Standing regally on a steep rock above the right bank of the Lesse River, Walzin Castle is in the province of Namur.
Construction of this structure started during the 13th century, and it was rebuilt when the French army burned it down in 1554.
The castle belongs to the Count and Countess de Limburg-Stirum and is not open to the public. However, you can visit the park below the castle to admire the fairytale structure.
The area is popular in summer for kayaking and hiking.
Walzin Castle is at Rue de Walzin 1, 5500 Dinant, Belgium.
2- Vêves Castle
This 7th-century castle in Belgium looks like it’s straight out of a fairytale.
The castle is in the village of Celles, perched on a small hilltop and is classified as a Major Heritage of Wallonia.
One family has continuously owned Chateau de Veves for the last eight centuries. The current owner is Count Hadelin de Liedekerke Beaufort, who has a small flat within the castle where family members can stay.
The castle is also associated with a miracle. In 1609, a woodcutter found a statue of the Virgin Mary hidden in a tree and gave it to the Baron de Celles.
When the Baron’s son fell down the staircase, the household prayed to the statue for a miracle, and the boy recovered.
Visitors can tour the Vêves Castle to visit its beautifully decorated impressive old rooms and spaces.
Vêves Castle is at Rue de Furfooz 3, 5561 Houyet, Belgium.
3- Gravensteen Castle
The Gravensteen Castle (Castle of the Counts) is one of the best medieval castles in the country.
Situated in the gorgeous city of Ghent, Gravensteen was constructed in the 9th century. However, the existing structure dates back to the 12th-century.
Count Philip of Alsace established the structure of the famous castle in Belgium, which was restored in the 19th century and is now among the best tourist attractions of Ghent.
Right next to the castle is the moat, colossal towers, and ramparts.
The structure includes the typical medieval dungeons, which houses a fascinating museum of torture instruments.
Gravensteen Castle is at Sint-Veerleplein 11, 9000 Gent, Belgium.
Love castles? You’ll want to read about these:
4- Modave Castle
Also called the Chateau des Comtes de Marchin, the Chateau of Modave is the best-preserved example of High Baroque country-house architecture in the southern Netherlands and Prince-Bishopric of Liege.
The castle sits over the rock 200 ft (61 m) above the Hoyaux river.
The oldest region of this castle belonged to the 13th century, but the complex was rebuilt during the 1600s.
Every year during Christmas, the castle becomes alive when interior designers and florists are commissioned to decorate its lavish rooms.
The castle remains open from April to October except on Mondays.
It’s a prestigious venue for wedding receptions and concerts.
Modave Castle is at Rue du Parc 4, 4577 Modave, Belgium.
5- Beloeil Castle
Located in the province of Hainaut in Wallonia, Beloeil Castle was the 14th-century palace of the Princes of Lignes – one of the country’s oldest and famous noble families.
Impressive cylindrical turrets and rounded roofs make this edifice completely beautiful.
The castle is open to the public, but only seven rooms are open and decked out with furniture and artifacts.
The library has over 20,000 books.
The highlight here is the extensive parklands and Baroque garden with ponds, garden chambers and geometric landscaping.
Beloeil Castle is at Rue du Château 11, 7970 Beloeil, Belgium.
6- Gaasbeek Castle
Gaasbeek Castle, or Kasteel van Gaasbeek, is an ultimate fairytale castle located in the municipality of Lennik in the Flemish Brabant province.
The structure was established in the 1240s to defend the Duchy of Brabant against the nearby County of Flanders.
However, Brussels city troops later knocked down the castle in revenge for Everard t’Serclaes killing, which the Lord of Gaasbeek commanded.
Today, the castle operates as a national museum with an impressive art collection on display.
The beautiful grounds are extensive and are a famous spot for family picnics during summers.
On every Sunday, the gardeners conduct guided tours of the castle’s medicinal garden.
Gaasbeek Castle is at Kasteelstraat 40, 1750 Lennik, Belgium.
7- Groot-Bijgaarden Castle
It is a 12th-century castle situated in Dilbeek and about 7km away from the heart of Brussels.
Initially, it was home to the first lord of Bigard but changed hands many a time over the following centuries.
The original structure was demolished, and a magnificent Flemish Renaissance building took place during the 17th century.
The current castle has a substantial 14th-century Donjon and a medieval chapel.
The highlight here is the extensive five-arch bridge that spans the moat and leads to the castle’s entrance and drawbridge.
Its 14ha park is another striking area where over 50000 visitors gather for a limited period.
Groot-Bijgaarden Castle is at Isidoor van Beverenstraat 5, 1702 Dilbeek, Belgium.
8- Alden Biesen Castle
Located in a tiny village called Rijkhoven in the east of Belgium, Alden Biesen (Kasteel Alden Biesen) is a romantic castle, with all red brick and edgy grey turrets and sprawling rose gardens.
The original structure was constructed in the 11th century by the Knights of the Teutonic Order for their headquarters.
However, the current castle is an impressive Renaissance structure with turrets dating back to the 16th- and 18th-centuries.
After getting burned down in 1971, the castle was purchased and restored by the Belgian government.
Nowadays, the castle functions as a cultural centre, where classes, conferences, and festivals occur.
Next to the castle is a church, an orangery, a gallery, many other structures, and pretty French-style gardens.
People can wander through the beautiful gardens or check out any exhibitions usually held here.
Alden Biesen Castle is at Kasteelstraat 6, 3740 Bilzen, Belgium.
9- Ooidonk Castle
For those interested in a peaceful outing and who want to visit a place full of history, the Ooidonk Castle or Kasteel van Ooidonk is a must-visit destination.
This castle was initially constructed during the 1200s to guard the city of Ghent.
Later, it was rebuilt in 1595 in Renaissance style and became the residence in Hispano-Flemish architectural manner.
Its colossal moat and fairytale turrets are quite different from other castles as it is a living home.
Only the castle gardens and grounds are open to the public, which becomes even more beautiful during Spring and Summer.
Ooidonk Castle is at Ooidonkdreef 9, 9800 Deinze, Belgium.
10- The Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels is among the country’s most impressive palaces and an official palace of the Belgian rulers.
With splendid corridors and decorative art, the palace is a fantastic place to visit.
The palace also has prestigious reception rooms where different activities of the Royal Family like concerts, lunches, receptions, and meetings are organised.
It remains open to the public from July to September.
The Royal Palace of Brussels is at Rue Brederode 16, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium.
11- Attre Castle
Constructed during the 18th century, the Attre Castle is the only castle in the country that preserves the original decoration and furniture pieces from that era.
It sits in Brugelette municipality within Hainaut province in the country.
The outside of the castle was designed in the Neoclassical architectural style, while the mansion’s interiors have the Louis Quinze French style.
Extensive gardens and rocks surround this magnificent castle.
The place remains open for viewing from April to September on weekends.
Attre Castle is at Av. du Château 8, 7941 Brugelette, Belgium.
12- Freÿr Castle
Constructed in the Middle Ages, the Freÿr Castle is the top heritage site of Wallonia and a significant part of Belgian history.
The oldest part of this castle was constructed in 1571 as a keep, damaged during the wars over Charles V.
The castle has many rooms that are open for viewing, including the Renaissance dining room with an impressive bluestone fireplace and spectacular wooden ceiling.
With 300-year-old orange trees, pools, and fountains, one cannot miss falling under the spell of its beautifully-designed garden.
The best view of the castle is from above and on the opposite side of the Meuse River.
Freÿr Castle is at Freyr 12, 5540 Hastière, Belgium.
13- Miranda Castle
A deserted castle with an impressive history, Miranda Castle is a 19th-century neo-Gothic structure located in the province of Namur.
The descendants of the actual owners stayed here until WWII when the castle was taken over by the government and used as an orphanage.
The castle has been abandoned since 1991.
The castle still belongs to the Liederkerke-Beaufort family, who weren’t willing to sell or renovate it, so the structure is in ruins today.
14- Annevoie Castle
Annevoie is another famous Belgian castle located in the village of Annevoie-Rouillon in the province of Namur.
It was constructed during the 17th century and belonged to several noble families over the years.
The highlight here is the extensive water garden, one of the great cultural treasures of the country’s Wallonia region.
The Gardens of Annevoie, built during the 18th century, are full of water jets, ponds, canals, fountains, and waterfalls, making it a popular tourist attraction in the region.
15- Borrekens Castle
Also called the Castle of Vorselaar, Borrekens is one of the picturesque castles in the province of Antwerp in Belgium.
It was built during the late 13th century by the Van Rotselaar family – a well-known family of noblemen who served at the Dukes of Brabant court.
The structure was renovated in the 17th century, but it got its current neo-Gothic appearance in the 19th century.
Since its establishment, the castle changed hands several times, and today, it is private property.
It’s not open to the public, however, the beautiful park in which it is located is free to visit at any time.
16- Jehay-Bodegnee Castle
Located in the province of Liege, this castle was originally a 12th-century medieval structure that served as the residence for several noble families.
However, the original building suffered so much damage over the centuries.
The current structure of the castle dates back to the 16th century.
Some changes were also made during the 19th century when the castle was renovated and extended in the Gothic style.
Jehay-Bodegnee Castle is quite different from other castles as it operates as a museum now.
Visitors can look at the exquisite collection of antique furniture pieces, paintings, and tapestries.
17- La Roche-en-Ardenne Castle
Sitting atop the valley of the Ourthe River, La Roche-en-Ardenne Castle was constructed between the 11th- and 13th-centuries to protect the town of La Roche.
The fortress had an important strategic position, and as a result, it was captured by French King Louis XIV and his armed forces in 1681.
In the late 18th century, the structure was no longer inhabited and later fell into despair and ruins.
La Roche-en-Ardenne Castle is at Rue du, Vieux Chateau 4, 6980 La Roche-en-Ardenne, Belgium.
18- Bouillon Castle
Bouillon Castle is one of the oldest remains of feudalism in the country that sits on an outlying rock looking over a quaint tiny town.
The castle was constructed before the 10th century as the residence for the Dukes of Ardenne.
In 1090, when its owner, Godefroy de Bouillon, became the first Crusader to leave for the Holy Lands, he mortgaged the property for his journey and lost it in the end.
Nowadays, the site features an educational falconry exhibition and remains open to the public throughout the year.
Bouillon Castle is at Esplanade Godefroy 1, 6830 Bouillon, Belgium.
19- Bornem Castle
Also called De Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde Castle, Bornem Castle is now a country house, formerly a castle, situated on the Oude Schelde.
The original structure was constructed in the 10th century to defend against the incursions of the Vikings and Normans.
In the 19th century, the castle was flattened, and a new, extended structure was constructed as its replacement.
Today, the building remains in the ownership of John de Marnix de Sainte-Aldegonde, and the visitors are welcome to see the museum on the grounds.
Bornem Castle is at Kasteelstraat 34, 2880 Bornem, Belgium.
20- Crupet Castle
It is another fairytale castle built as an 11th-century moated donjon kept by the Crupet family.
The castle was transformed from a simple country house into a luxe Renaissance castle during the 16th century when the Carondelet family purchased it.
Today, the castle stands in the lake and connects to the land through a stone bridge.
It is the private property of the Limbosch family these days.
Crupet Castle 5332, Rue Basse 27, 5332 Assesse, Belgium.