The Best Day Trip Destinations to visit near Brussels
Brussels is one of the great must-visit cities of Europe, and is also well placed to allow you to call at other places and attractions close by. Next time you’re planning a stay at the capital of Belgium, book an extra few days, and take in a few of these appealing cities to visit near Brussels.
Bruges – Venice of the North
An hour’s drive north from Brussels, and about the same time on the train, Bruges is a city of history, magnificent architecture, and home to some of the best of Belgium’s famous chocolate. A short walk from the station and you’re at the centre of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Visit the medieval Belfry of Bruges, the Hospital of St John and the Historium Bruges. Drool while you learn the history of Belgian chocolate making in the Chocolate Museum before a glass of Belgium beer, and your train ride back to Brussels.
The Port City of Ghent
One of the best day trips from Brussels is Ghent. Just a 35-minute train ride from the capital, this medieval city has, over recent times, rebranded itself as a magnet for art students from across Europe. To get the most from this old city with a young heart, do your touring on foot or by bicycle. Visit Ghent’s Design Museum and the Werregarenstraat, known as graffiti alley, where young artists are allowed complete freedom of expression for all to see. And, before returning to Brussels, spend a little time in St Peter’s Square, the gardens of St Peter’s Abbey.
Namur – A City on Two Rivers
One of the nicest places to visit near Brussels; Namur nestles in the junction of the Meuse and the Sambre rivers, and is surrounded by castles. Its medieval old town charm is enhanced by narrow cobblestone streets, shops selling vintage everything, bookstores, museums, and café bars. Stop for some light refreshment on a sunny terrace, and enjoy a pleasant Namourette boat ride.
The Diamond City of Antwerp
Who hasn’t heard of the city’s diamond centre. But there’s a lot more to this port city than just diamonds. For instance, if you make the forty-minute journey by rail, you will alight at Antwerp’s central rail station with its baroque and modernist adornments. Visit the statue of Brabo in the market square, and learn its fascinating legend. Enjoy a must-have caffeine hit in one of the many coffee shops, while mulling over the fact there are over 300,000 tons of the magic beans stored in the port at any one time. Add a visit to the MAS Museum (Museum at the Stream) for its history of Antwerp – and its quirky architecture.
Leuven – City of Beer
Famous for its breweries, and home to Stella Artois, Leuven is a great place to sample Belgium’s famous beers. It’s also a popular place of learning, with a large student population. Visit the University Central Library and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Great Béguinage. For those with a love of horticulture, pencil in a visit to the Hortus Botanicus Lovaniensis, one of Belgium’s oldest botanical gardens. Before making your journey back to Brussels enjoy a beer in the Oude Mark, billed as ‘the longest bar in the world.’
Just a small selection of day trips from Brussels, but there are many other beautiful cities to consider that are just a short drive or train journey from the capital of Belgium.