Belgium

Things to do in Flanders

Boasting 40 miles of sandy beaches along its coastline, and many stunning towns and cities, the Flanders region of Belgium offers visitors the perfect European escape.

Accessible by a short drive from the port of Calais, all you need to do is pack up your car and you'll soon be exploring this diverse and fascinating destination. 

There’s a whole range of things to do in Flanders for all ages, so whether you want to visit the zoo in Antwerp, discover the comic strip art of Brussels, or explore the Technopolis science museum in Mechelen, you’ll find plenty to enjoy during your trip.

Want to make the most of your visit to Flanders Fields? The Welcome Back to Flanders Fields Pass allows significantly discounted – and in a lot of cases free – entry into many of the region’s museums and visitor attractions including the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres, and Memorial Museum Passchedaele in Zonnebeke, as well as a wealth of the smaller, privately-run sites, such as the Hooge Crater museum in Ypres, Talbot House and Poperinge;s Hop Museum in Poperinge and the Lange Max Museum in Koeklaere. 

The Pass also offers significant reductions on regular pricing of set tours, private tours, discounts on bike hire and accommodation. You'll receive our Welcome Back to Flanders Fields Pass completely free of charge when you book a stay in Flanders directly with one of the participating accommodation providers. If you’d like to learn more about World War I by visiting Flanders Fields, book your ferry crossing to Calais and start planning your trip today. Please see here for more info.

Visit Flanders 2022

 

DVR

Dover Port

CQF

Calais Port

Morning

02:00

04:25

06:50

09:15

Midday

11:40

Afternoon

14:05

16:30

Evening

18:55

21:15

23:40

Ghent City Belgium

Things to do in Flanders

Places to visit in West Flanders

The coastline of Flanders boasts plenty of pristine beaches and pretty port towns, which make it a beautiful place to explore. The peaceful villages of De Panne and Nieuwpoort are especially delightful, but the true jewel of the coast is Ostend, also known as the 'City by the Sea'.

If you love history, one of the best things to do in Flanders is to head south-west to the city of Ypres where many of World War 1’s key battles were fought, and see its remarkable trench line which once reached all the way to Switzerland. Make sure to check out the Menin Gate and the rebuilt Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall) in the Grote Markt square before you depart too. 

When you visit West Flanders you will also want to fit in a trip to Bruges, a truly charming city full of chocolate shops, winding streets, picturesque canals, and lively bars. Try Belgium's legendary ‘frietjes’ (or chips) at the world’s only Frietmuseum, learn all about your favourite sweet treat in the chocolate museum, and take a canal tour around the city’s peaceful waterways.

Beach huts in West Flanders Belgium

UNESCO World Heritage Grand Beguinage in Flanders

Explore Flemish-Brabant

East of Brussels lies the leafy province of Flemish-Brabant, which is less frequently visited but boasts all of the charm and picturesque scenery that Flanders is known for.

Located just 15 miles from Brussels, you will find the picturesque city of Leuven which is home to what locals call ‘The Longest Bar in the World': almost 40 bars and cafés located in the city’s Oude Market, and the perfect place to get a drink!

This isn’t the only reason why Leuven calls itself Belgium’s beer capital, as it’s also home to the world’s biggest brewery, AB In-Bev, where Stella Artois and Leffe are brewed. Don't feel like these are your only options though, as the city and its surrounding area is home to a plethora of smaller artisan craft brewers.

One of the city’s highlights is its UNESCO World Heritage Grand Beguinage, a stunning architectural complex that can't be missed. To simply get away from it all, take a walk in the nearby Heverlee Woods which are a guaranteed hit for all ages.

For something more undiscovered, the province of Limburg boasts charming retreats like Tongeren, where you will find antiques markets and Gallo-Roman museum, and Hasselt, which wows tourists with its Jenever museum and incredible dining options. 

Limburg

Limburg has so much to offer. Cycling and walking, lots of nature, fun activities, great sights, art and culture, good food and drink.

For something more undiscovered, the province of Limburg boasts charming retreats like Tongeren, where you will find antiques markets and Gallo-Roman museum, and Hasselt, which wows tourists with its Jenever museum and incredible dining options.

Limburg also features unique cycling attractions, including Cycling through the water and Cycling over trees.

The Hoge Kempen National Park in the north of Limburg is a region with varied landscapes, mining heritage, and many child-friendly attractions. Ideal for walking, cycling, horse riding, and getting out with the whole family.

 
Limburg Visit Flanders with P&O Ferries

Gravensteen Castle in Ghent, Belgium

Cities in Flanders

East Flanders is home to some of Belgium's largest cities, where you are sure to find plenty of things to do. Ghent is a popular choice due to its collection of early Flemish art, the striking 12th century Gravensteen Castle, a rock ‘n roll foodie scene, and a huge array of cycle lanes across the city.

In the north of Flanders, the diamond city of Antwerp attracts families from all over who come to experience its world-class zoo. As well as being one of the oldest animal parks in the world, it contains a huge reef aquarium, a brand new savannah exhibit, and everything from lions and tigers to penguins and seals.

Sandwiched between Antwerp and Brussels, Mechelen is a great place to stay in order to explore the region. The city boasts a toy museum, the Technopolis science museum, and the fabulous Planckendael animal park, so there is lots to do here before you decide to head further afield.

Discover Flanders Fields

Visit Ypres, Belgium to discover the history behind Flanders Fields. From peaceful walks through some of the many cemeteries from the First World War, to museum visits, battlefield tours and monument visits, there are plenty of opportunities to explore and pay tribute to those lost during the First World War.

This now peaceful landscape is home to the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world, Tyne Cot Cemetery – which is just a 15 minute drive from the centre of Ypres. Tours around Tyne Cot, and the many other war cemeteries, occur daily and are a poignant way to explore Flanders Fields whilst honouring those who lost their lives.

Visit our Flanders Fields page for more details.

Flanders Fields Belgium. Visit Flanders

Beer and cycling routes

The age-old hop landscape around Poperinge gives it away: the Westhoek is home to the world’s best breweries and, hence the world’s best beers. Once a well-kept secret, these days the Westhoek’s name is known the world over, so much so that is has become a mecca for beer lovers from all four corners of the globe.

In West Flanders (and especially in the Westhoek) 95% of all hops are grown in Belgium. Many breweries from the Westhoek therefore use some or all hops of Belgian origin. The imposing hop fields are beautiful to cycle along, be sure to try 1 of the 4 beer cycle routes! Along the way, information boards in the form of a beer bottle provide you with the necessary information about the places of interest. 

There are 4 beer cycle routes in the Westhoek; 

Poperinge Vleteren 33,7 km 
Vleteren - Alveringem Lo-Reninge 34 km
Poperinge - (Vleteren) Ypres 46,5 or 38 km 
Diksmuide - Lo-Reninge  Alveringem 44,9 km

Please download the information here.

 

In the north of Flanders, the diamond city of Antwerp attracts families from all over who come to experience its world-class zoo.

Reasons to choose a family break in Flanders Read more

Encompassing everything from the sandy beaches of Ostend to the diamond city of Antwerp and surrounding the Belgian capital of Brussels, there are plenty of reasons to choose a family break in Flanders.

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