Fabulous Flanders Belgium
Collected by Alison Cornford-Matheson , AFAR Local Expert
Northern Belgium is the land of flat fields where folks speak Flemish. It's also home to Belgium's 69 km of coastline and the famous cities of Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges. With fabulous food, unique hotels, stunning gardens, countless festivals, history, architecture and more, Flanders is sure to have something for everyone.
Oostduinkerke, 8670 Koksijde, Belgium
Visit any good seafood restaurant in Belgium, and you'll see gray shrimp on the menu. In fact, you may even be offered a bowl of these small, sweet delicacies to nibble while you decide on your main course. These days, the majority of the gray...
Jan Breydelstraat 5, 9000 Gent, Belgium
If you like your art to have practical purposes, don't miss Ghent's lovely Design Museum. Here you will find decorative arts such as furnishings, appliances and dishware from Belgium's design history. The museum is inside the 18th century Hotel de...
Kasteelstraat 40, 1750 Lennik, Belgium
A short train or car ride from central Brussels will get you to the village of Gaasbeek, home of the beautiful Gaasbeek Castle (Kasteel Van Gaasbeek in Flemish). This 16th-century chateau looks like something out of your favourite fairy tale. But...
Vrijdagmarkt 22-23, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
I'll be the first to admit, a museum of printing didn't sound terribly exciting to me, at first. Antwerp Belgium's Plantin-Moretus Museum certainly changed my mind. This is the only museum on the UNESCO World Heritage list and the recognition is...
Doel, 9130 Beveren, Belgium
If you're up for a unique and slightly strange experience, head to the abandoned town of Doel, near Antwerp, to view some incredible street art. The town of Doel has been mostly abandoned, although there are a few stubborn folk who refuse the...
Komedieplaats 18, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Even if you aren't hungry, it's worth stopping for a drink at the stunningly beautiful De Foyer cafe in Antwerp. You'll feel like royalty under the magnificent dome of the the 19th century Bourla Theater . The stained-glass, rich velvet curtains...
You could easily walk right by the entrance to the International Rose Garden of Coloma, without a hint to the beauty that waits inside. The small town of Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, not far from Brussels, is home to one of Europe's largest rose gardens,...
Koningin Astridplein 20-26, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium
With its super-convenient location, right beside Antwerp's central train station, there's no excuse not to visit the Antwerp Zoo. The zoo is very well maintained despite its age (circa 1853) and city-centre location. The animal habitats are...
Cogels-Osylei, 2600 Antwerpen, Belgium
Just a few minutes walk from Antwerp, Belgium's Berchem train station, is one of the city's most beautiful neighbourhoods, the Zurenbourg. A handful of streets form the 'Golden Triangle' an area famous for its Art Nouveau and rival architecture....
Fernand Scribedreef 1, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Art-lovers should not miss the Museum of Fine Arts (Museum voor Schone Kunsten) or MSK, in Ghent, Belgium. This bite-sized museum offers a great overview of of European art, particularly Belgian, from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century....
Kammenstraat 81, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
Imagine listening to classical music while surrounded by the art and architecture of a former Augustine monastery. At the AMUZ concert hall in Antwerp, Belgium, you can do just that. AMUZ is home to the Laus Polyphoniea concert series each summer....
Koningin Astridplein 27, 2018 Antwerpen, Belgium
Traveling by train can be a wonderful way to explore Belgium. A few of the country's train stations are destinations in and of themselves. Antwerp's Centraal (or Central) Station is one of the prettiest. Renovations and expansion have restored the...
Jan Breydelstraat 36, 9000 Gent, Belgium
As Canadian expat in Belgium, one thing I miss is the sea (and good lobster), so when I saw "Lobster Six Ways" on the menu at the House of Eliott in Ghent, I had to try it. Far from the traditional 'crack it open and dig in' style lobster I was...
Godshuizenlaan 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium
The new and high-tech city museum of Ghent is well worth a visit. Interactive exhibits make the museum fun for all ages, but it's the contrast of modern and ancient that is truly unique. The STAM is located on the larger Bijloke site. Now a haven...
Groot-Bijgaarden, 1702 Dilbeek, Belgium
Most garden-lovers have heard of the Dutch tulip garden, Keukenhof, a few hours north of Belgium. Few, however, have heard of Belgium's own wonderful spring tulip garden at Groot-Bijgaarden Castle. Also called Grand Bigard (in French), the castle...
Buizingen, 1501 Halle, Belgium
Hallerbos (Flemish) or Bois de Halle (French) is a beech forest just south of Brussels. It's a popular spot for walking, cycling and horseback-riding. Every spring, for a few short weeks, the forest makes a magical transformation into a blue...
Karmelietenstraat 4, 2800 Mechelen, Belgium
It's not easy to identify the Martin's Patershof as a popular hotel in Mechelen, unless you know what you're looking for. The outside still looks much as it was intended, when it was built in the 19th century as a Franciscan church. In 1999, the...
Oeselgem, 8720 Dentergem, Belgium
Belgium is known worldwide for its beer, but some small, local producers have been experimenting with other alcoholic beverages as well. Bezegaard is an organic farm that has been producing fruit, jams, grains and turkeys for several years....
You'd be forgiven for thinking the largest Caribbean Festival in the world is in, oh I don't know, the Caribbean... If you're like me, the last place you would guess is in a farmer's field in rural Flanders Belgium. But that's exactly where the...
Westvleteren, 8640 Vleteren, Belgium
The Westvleteren Brewery is a Belgian brewery founded in 1838 inside the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus of Westvleteren in the Belgian municipality of Vleteren, not far from the hops-producing town of Poperinge and the medieval city of Ypres. The...
Grote Markt 34, 8900 Ieper, Belgium
Once the general summer tourist season finishes, a different and more sombre sort of tourism begins in Belgium. Autumn is a time of remembrance and there is no more poignant place to remember the Great War than the Flemish city of Ypres. Ypres (or...
Montevideostraat 3, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
A lowly warehouse in Antwerp may not seem like a life-changing sort of place. However, this was the start of a completely new life for over 2 million emigrants and a lifesaver for many of them. The brand new Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp tells...
2440 Geel, Belgium
Dream of escaping to the countryside and a simpler home-grown style of life? Test-drive your dream on the Quinn’s smallholding in Geel, where you can learn a skill, meet some animals, and eat locally produced food. If you fancy learning how to do...
Leopold II-laan 1, 8400 Oostende, Belgium
One of the highlights of our visit to Oostende (Ostend in English) was a gastronomic seafood feast, à l’Ostendaise, at the acclaimed Bistro Mathilda. À l’Ostendaise is a restaurant venture running until the end of September 2014 (so you still have...
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