Smack-bang in the middle of Western Europe, this compact multilingual country effortlessly blends the historic with the new; from countless castles and medieval belfries to innovative art museums and hip cafes. And with some of the best comfort food on offer, you'll need to pack an empty stomach for gorging on waffles, chocolate, frites and piles of steaming mussels, all washed down with the country's famous frothy beer. Belgium’s exquisite medieval towns are home to a bounty of Unesco sites, but happening big cities, caves, kayaking, industrial sites and sandy North Sea beaches are just some of the other attractions. The region was a crucible of European painting and has remained astonishingly creative ever since. Revel in the strange, affecting beauty of the Flemish Primitives, the voluptuousness of Rubens, the sinuous curves of art nouveau and the country's great contemporary scene. Popular culture too is a hoot: comic strips and fashion have dedicated museums, and Belgium’s carnivals are some of the world’s weirdest and wildest. Belgium is both tiny and a place of distinct.