Top 10 Walled Cities

Binche, Belgium

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Another small country that felt the need to fortify itself against France and Germany, Belgium is home to many former walled cities, but it is Binche that retains the greatest sections of wall, with 2.1km of fortifications dating from 1230. Binche is also known as the home of binge drinking (apparently that’s where the term came from), and its annual beer festival takes place just before the start of Lent each year. There’s a surreal atmosphere – some would say downright terrifying – as men in clown masks parade through the streets, drinking hair-raisingly strong beer and beating drums. The 1,000 “Gilles” also wear hats with large ostrich feathers on them and throw oranges into the crowd (and occasionally through nearby windows). You’d be forgiven for thinking you were hallucinating due to all the beer but no, it’s really happening…Worth a visit to see the walls and the festivities, but remember to pace yourself when it comes to the beers.