Whether searching for a gift for that special someone or something to bring home for mom and dad, in Belgium you will be met with a pleasant variety of possibilities. While art lovers can find both modern antique crafts as well as fine art, taste buds can be entertained by a range of sensations, from chocolate to cheese to beer. With such a diversity of offerings, you have the option of buying a small or large gift, inexpensive or fairly pricey, and are bound to find something for everyone, regardless of their interest.
World-Renowned Belgian Chocolates and More
Perhaps the most irresistible gift to be brought back from Belgium is its chocolates, called pralines. Chocolate stores are abound throughout the country, offering famous Belgian brands such as Galler, Godiva, Leonidas, Neuhaus, Guylian, and Burie. Pralines can be bought in boxes or chosen by hand. Belgian cookies are another sweet that makes a wonderful gift. Cookies such as sabl, spuloos, and pain la Grecque can be found in pastry shops as well as supermarkets throughout the country. Caramella Mokatine, a sugary mocha flavored candy, is a Belgian favorite as well. A different kind of delicacy to enjoy is Belgian cheese. Cheese shops as well as supermarkets offer a wide variety and uniformly high quality with specialties such as Maredsous and Pi Cheese is often enjoyed alongside beer in Belgium, which is famous for having the widest and most varied collection of beer in the world. Any of the 500 types currently in production from 115 breweries in the country make great gifts.
While Belgian chocolates, cheese, and beer may be considered art by some, there is also a wide variety of crafts fitting the more traditional definition of the word. Lace, both antique and new, is one of the most popular gifts to bring home from Belgium. Lace varies in style by region but is widely available, especially in bigger cities such as Antwerp, Brussels, Ghent, and Bruges. Belgian lace makes a very special gift because it is handmade. Other popular gifts include: ceramics and hand-beaten copperware from Dinant, crystals from Val Saint Lambert, diamonds and other jewelry from Antwerp, woodcarvings from Spa, comic-strip books from Brussels, and tapestries from Tournai.
With so many craft traditions, in addition to new goods, once can find crafts from Belgian history at one of the many antique shops or at one of the flea markets. Offering an extensive assortment of antique, Brussel’s flea market is the largest, but Antwerp and Tongeren have similar markets, selling a wide variety of items, including furniture, books, jewelry, paintings, and more. These are good places to find a gift representing a piece of Belgium’s history.
Shopping Centers in Belgium
Belgium also has some interesting fashion opportunities. Leather goods and Belgian textiles are especially popular, along with accessories such as designer and vintage jewelry. Outlet stores sell many top names in fashion affordably. Various music and bookshops throughout the country also offer wonderful gift ideas. Major shopping centers are located in Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Liege, Mechelen, Mons, Namur, and Ostend. Main shopping centers are generally open Monday through Saturdays from 9:00am to 8:00pm (9:00pm on Fridays) and closed on Sundays. Antique and flea markets are usually open on Saturdays and Sundays.
When and Where to Shop
Main shopping centers are generally open Monday through Saturdays from 9:00am to 8:00pm (9:00pm on Fridays) and closed on Sundays. Antique and flea markets are usually open on Saturdays and Sundays.