Flanders is a region in the north of Belgium, teeming with history and atmosphere. Wherever you go, you will find lively café terraces, gorgeous architectural facades, world-class museums, gastronomic restaurants and unique shops. The cities of Flanders exhibit their authentic charm with cobblestone streets, beguinages, shopping streets, cathedrals and internationally renowned art works.
Flanders is home to creative, passionate people who ply their trade with a sense of devotion and an eye for detail. Flanders’s chocolatiers, brewers, designers, scientists are waiting for you.
Brussels, the capital of Flanders, is easily accessible by train from Paris (1h22 trip), Amsterdam (1h13 trip), London (2h10 trip) and Cologne (1h47 trip). Using public transport in Flanders is quick, safe and gives you the freedom to see and experience a great deal in a short time.
Start your Flanders tour in its capital. Brussels, a mosaic of languages, cultures and traditions, hosts over 80 museums, numerous tourist attractions, a vibrant nightlife, countless restaurants and shopping opportunities. As the headquarters of the European Union and NATO, Brussels is often referred to as the Capital of Europe. The starting point for any visit to Brussels is the Grand Place, which is frequently described as the most beautiful square in the word. It was built as a merchants’ market in the 13th century.
Discover Brussels through the eyes of Tintin, a famous cartoon character, on a comic strip theme walk or go visit the Grote Zavel district (Grand Sablon) where you will find antique shops and a lively market during the weekend and exquisite chocolate shops at almost every corner. Indeed, Brussels is also famous for its beautiful chocolate shops and that might give you the urge to try to be a chocolatier yourself !
Stylish shoppers and fashionistas have come to the right place. Go trend shopping in the Antoine Dansaert street and try on some designer pieces. In the evening, go visit one of the many authentic bars or restaurants. You might want to try the regional specialties such as mussels with chips, endive with ham and cheese, Brussels waffles and of course the famous Belgian beers.
On your second day, you can visit the Magritte museum, which is dedicated to Belgium’s famous surrealist painter. Can’t get enough of the exquisite beer culture ? Step into the family-owned brewery Cantillion, where the brewing process has been left unchanged since 1900.
Take the train to Antwerp (40 min trip), one of the largest and most trendy cities in Flanders. Antwerp has always been boosting with creativity and was home to great artists such as Rubens and Anthony Van Dyck. Nowadays, the city houses the world-famous Antwerp Six, a group of influential avant garde fashion designers, who transformed Antwerp into a leading fashion centre. In the Lombardenvest street and Steenhouwersvest street you will find many international brands alongside Antwerp designers. If you have some time left between shopping sprees, go visit the Fashion Museum before heading to the famous Diamond quarter, near the central station, where trade and diamond shopping is concentrated. Don’t miss out on the MAS, a new museum which tell the stories of Antwerp’s centuries-long connection with the world.
Take a train to Ghent (55min), a city that is praised for its brilliant mix of history and liveliness. Here hides one of Europe’s finest panoramas and centuries-old grand houses. Ghent is Flanders’ biggest university town, which equals linger-as-long-as-you-like cafés, well-priced restaurants and a laid-back atmosphere.
The Castle of the Counts’ impressive walls allow your imagination to run riot. Discover the medieval prison life and weaponry at this 12th century castle.
Check out the famous polyptych ’The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’, painted by the brothers Jan and Hubert van Eyck in 1432. The lower left panel, known as the ’Just Judges’, was stolen in 1934. Countless amateur and professional detectives are still tracking clues. Maybe you can solve the mystery.
Make sure you try the local specialty Gentse waterzooi, a creamy chicken and vegetable stew. Afterwards you can have a taste of Gruut beer, unique and healthy because the local brewers use special spices instead of hops.
Take the train to Bruges (25min) and discover the best-preserved example of medieval Flanders. UNESCO has recognised the entire city centre as a world heritage site ! Brugge is surrounded by a ring of canals and is therefore often described as ’the Venice of the North’.
For an unforgettable experience, take a romantic ride in a carriage through the cobbled streets and discover Bruges’ rich medieval history. You can admire artistic masterpieces of the Flemish primitives (Van Eyck, Memling, Van der Weyden, etc.) at the Groeninge Museum.
Bruges is the perfect city to discover the work of our famous chocolatiers. Visit one of the many chocolate shops and discover our pralines ! Bruges also has a large number of Michelin star restaurants.
Give all of your senses a treat during this unforgettable journey through the Bruges of 1435 in the Historium, opening autumn 2012 !