Welcome to Flanders, a land of beautiful architecture, delicious cuisine, and a rich cultural heritage. If you are planning a trip to Brussels, be sure also to set aside time to explore the surrounding area! From medieval towns to quaint country towns, there is no shortage of day trips from Brussels that will leave you breathless. In this article, we have compiled a list of the best day trips from Brussels that will make your trip unforgettable. So buckle up and get ready for adventure – let’s explore the beauty of Flanders together!
Flanders is a region rich in history and culture in Belgium. It has many beautiful towns, villages, and important historical sites.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium, located in Flanders. The city is an excellent base for exploring the region, as it is well connected by public transport to the rest of Flanders. There are many day trips from Brussels.
Here are some of the more popular options:
Bruges: This charming medieval town is about an hour by train from Brussels. Bruges is famous for its canals, cobbled streets, and picturesque market square. There are also many museums and art galleries to explore.
Ghent: Another historic city close to Brussels, Ghent is worth a visit for its architecture and lively atmosphere. It is also home to many excellent restaurants and cafes.
Ypres: This town was destroyed during the First World War but has since been rebuilt. Ypres is now home to several memorials and museums commemorating the conflict.
Day Trip 1: Ghent
Ghent is a historic city in Belgium that tourists visit the country often overlook. However, those who take the time to explore Ghent will find a charming city full of medieval buildings, canals, and cobbled streets.
Start your day in Ghent with a stroll through the well-preserved old town. Marvel at the Gothic architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica. Saint Bavo Cathedral and visit Gravensteen Castle. Then stroll along the canals and admire the picturesque waterfront buildings.
Afternoon transfer to one of Ghent’s many museums. Housed in a beautiful neo-Renaissance building, the Museum of Fine Arts houses a diverse collection of works of art by Belgian and international artists. Or learn about the city’s history at the Ghent City Museum.
Round off the day with a delicious meal in one of Ghent’s restaurants. Be sure to try traditional Belgian dishes like mussels or waffles!
Day Trip 2: Bruges
Bruges is a beautiful city located in the northwest of Belgium. It is known for its canals, cobbled streets, and medieval buildings. Visitors can explore the town on foot or by boat, and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Bruges is also home to some of the best chocolate shops in the world, making it the perfect place to indulge.
Day Trip 3: Ypres
If you want to explore the battlefields of the First World War, a day trip to Ypres is a must. This charming town was destroyed during the war but has been painstakingly rebuilt to regain its former glory.
Start the day at the Flanders Fields Museum, which tells the war story through personal stories and artifacts. Then head to the Menin Gate Memorial, where the names of the 54,896 soldiers who died on the Ypres Ardennes are inscribed.
For something more relaxing, stroll through the bustling market square or visit one of Ypres’ many breweries. Try traditional dishes such as stomp (chopped potatoes and vegetables) or waterzooi (chicken and vegetable stew).
Day Trip 4: Leuven
Leuven is a beautiful historic city just a short train ride from Brussels. Visitors can explore the well-preserved medieval old town, visit the University of Leuven library and sample a delicious local beer. There are also plenty of green spaces, including the Botanical Gardens and Vrijbroekpark.
Day Trip 5: Mechelen
Mechelen is a beautiful medieval city located in Antwerp, Belgium. A short train ride from Brussels, Mechelen is the perfect day trip for those looking to experience the beauty of Flanders.
The city has many historical and cultural attractions, including the Church of St. John. Rumbold Cathedral, dating from the 13th century, and the Grand Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as views of the River Dyle.
Day Trip 6: Antwerp
If you want to see more of Belgium than Brussels, Flanders is the place to go. And what better way to experience all these vibrant regions than on a day trip? Here are our top picks from our first six-day trip from Brussels.
Antwerp is the capital of Flanders and the second-largest city in Belgium. It is famous for its diamond industry, fashion scene, and art history (Flemish primitives at the Koninklijk Museum in Schone Kunsten).
Start the day with a visit to Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in the world, before heading to Central Station to admire its magnificent architecture.
Then stroll along the Meir, the city’s main shopping street, or stop by Antwerp’s many museums. End the day with delicious Belgian fries (with mayonnaise, of course!) or chocolate ice cream before taking the train back to Brussels.
Day Trip 7: Namur
Namur is the capital of the Walloon region and of the Belgian province of Namur. The city has 108,000 inhabitants and is located on the banks of the Sambre. It is famous for its castle, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Celts first colonized Namur in the 4th century BC. It later became a large Roman colony called Namurcum. Conquered by the Franks in the 9th century, it became part of the Holy Roman Empire. It changed hands several times between France and Spain before finally falling under Belgian control in 1815.
The Château de Namur was built in 1554 in the name of Charles V to defend against attacks from France. It is one of the largest fortresses in Europe and has never been taken by force. The grounds include several museums as well as gardens and parks.
Namur has plenty to see and do and is an ideal day trip from Brussels. Do not miss visiting the castle, exploring the old town, and enjoying the view from the top of the Notre Dame du Bon Secur church.
Day Trip 8: Waterloo
A short train ride from Brussels, Waterloo, is the perfect day trip for exploring more of Belgian history. The city is famous for the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Visitors can learn about the battle at the Wellington Museum, housed in a former church. Other historic attractions include Lion Rock, built to commemorate the battle, and Hougoumont Farm, where some fiercest fights occurred.
For a parenthesis from history, go to Domaine Solvay, a large park with gardens and ponds. The park once belonged to the Solvay family, one of Belgium’s wealthiest and most influential families. Try local Waterloo specialties like waterzooi (chicken or fish stew) and waffles!
Day trip 9: Hasselt
There are many beautiful places in Flanders, and Hasselt is one of them! This charming city in the province of Limburg is known for its charming canals, pretty public squares, and quaint shops. It’s the perfect place for a day trip from Brussels, and here are some of the best things to do while you’re there.
Visit the Japanese garden: Hasselt has one of the two largest Japanese gardens in Belgium and is worth a visit. The gardens are beautifully landscaped with ponds, bridges, and sculptures, a great place to relax or take pictures.
Visit Hasselt Cathedral: Hasselt Cathedral is a beautiful Romanesque church built in the 11th century. If you
Day Trip 10: Tournai
Tournai is a beautiful historic town, a short drive from Brussels, and worth a visit. It is known for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture and its many museums and art galleries.
Tournai is the perfect destination for a day trip from Brussels, with so much to see and do. Start the day by exploring the Basilica of Our Lady of Tournai, one of Belgium’s most important Romanesque buildings. Next, head to the UNESCO-listed Donic Clock Tower for stunning city views.
Spend the rest of the time strolling the town’s charming streets, browsing the shops, and stopping to eat in one of the many cafes or restaurants. Before returning to Brussels, visit some of Tournai’s museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts or the Museum of Arts
FAQs on best day trips from Brussels
What are the best day trips from Brussels?
There are many day trips from Brussels. Some popular options include visiting Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, and Waterloo. The surrounding countryside also offers many charming towns and villages, perfect for day trips. Alternatively, buses and cars are also available for hire.
How long does it take from Brussels to Ghent? The
The train is the fastest way from Brussels to Ghent, taking around 45 minutes. Buses also run between the two cities, but the journey time is slightly longer, around 1 hour.
What to do in Antwerp?
Antwerp is a beautiful city with lots to see and do. Some popular attractions include the Cathedral of Our Lady, the Rubens House Museum, and the Antwerp Zoo. Additionally, there are many excellent restaurants and cafes throughout the city.
How to get from Brussels to Waterloo?
Waterloo is just outside Brussels, about 20 minutes by train. Alternatively, some buses run between Waterloo and Brussels, but the journey time is slightly longer, around 30 minutes.
Are there any charming towns or villages near Brussels?
Yes, the surrounding countryside has many charming towns and villages, perfect for day trips from Brussels. Some popular options include Tervuren, Mechelen, Leuven, and Gerval.