Why I love Belgium
“My childhood bedroom in Sydney was decorated with postcards of Van Eyck Madonnas, but it wasn’t until a couple of decades later, during one of Europe’s coldest winters, that infatuation turned to love. My first impression of Antwerp was one of sheer wonder, the guildhalls of Grote Markt glinting as snow fell at the Christmas markets, and the dimmed, richly cosy interiors of the Rubenshuis and the Museum...” Read More
Top experiences in Belgium
Ghent and Bruges Day Trip from Brussels
Following a morning pickup from your hotel in Brussels, meet your guide and hop aboard your air-conditioned coach for the 1-hour journey to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Ghent, widely considered among the most beautiful cities in Belgium. Begin your tour with a visit to St Bavo’s Cathedral, home of world-famous late-medieval treasures such as the painting, ‘Mystic Lamb’. Admire the cathedral’s ornate interior (optional) and learn of its impressive history from your guide. Leave St Bavo’s behind and head onward for a walking tour of Ghent. Take in top city attractions such as the belfry, St Nicholas’ Church, the Castle of the Counts of Flanders (Gravensteen) and the historic buildings and medieval port at the Graslei. Continue on to the neighboring city of Bruges — also UNESCO-listed — with your guide and wander the cobblestone streets of the romantic Minnewater (Lake of Love). Here, perhaps take time to enjoy a little lunch at a nearby café or restaurant (own expense). Afterward, begin your walking tour and discover why so many people from across the world fall in love with this beautiful Belgian city. Take in Saint John’s Hospital, Our Lady’s Church with the statue by Michelangelo (optional), City Hall, the Market Square and the medieval Chapel of the Holy Blood. At the conclusion of your walking tour, perhaps enjoy a boat tour along Bruges’ picturesque canals (own expense) and soak up the city views from a different angle. When it’s time to depart from Bruges, hop back aboard your coach for the 1.5-hour journey back to Brussels where your tour will come to an end.
Small-Group Brussels Beer Tasting Tour
Brussels offers an astonishing range of quality beers - sample a traditional beer or be adventurous and taste some of the fun fruity beers. Brussels in particular offers many varieties of artisan brews, each with a different but delicious and unique flavor.This beer tasting experience visits some of Brussels’ oldest and most popular cafes where you can taste a selection of eight beers, and also enjoy some fine Belgian cheese, smoked ham and delicious Belgian chocolate. Sample well-known Belgian beers like Lambic, Chimay Triple, Faro, Orval, Adelardus Brune, Malheur Blonde, Bourgogne de Flanders, IV Seasons and the delicious Trappist beers that come with a creamy white head and go down particularly well on hot summer days. During the tour, your knowledgeable guide will help you unravel some of Belgium's beer mysteries. They will explain the different varieties of beer, their tastes and unique attributes, and you will also learn the do's and don'ts of Belgian beers.
Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop
Brussels Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop allows you to learn how to make the real Belgian pralines yourself through a fun workshop. Orangettes, pralines, Easter eggs... The chocolates are made with real cream or alcoholic filling, they do not keep well, but then, you weren't planning on keeping them for long anyway, were you? You will love this original and extremely delicious walking tour that looks at the authentic Brussels like no other does. You will also walk through the historic old town to Grand Place, the former market square. A short stroll away stands Manneken Pis, the iconic Brussel's statue sculpted by Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619. You'll also see Jeanneken Pis, the square of the Sablon filled with antique shops, the Royal Galleries - seat for the oldest chocolate shop Neuhaus and many more highlights.
Paris to Bruges Day Trip
Your drive to Belgium takes you through northern France to Bruges, not far from the North Sea in northern Belgium. Bruges is a simply exquisite town. The intact medieval centre of this Unesco World Heritage site looks like a living canvas painted by a Flemish old master. Upon arrival in Bruges, your guided tour begins with a walk through the city's medieval heart. Highlights include the magnificent Grand Place, quaint houses with elaborately decorated facades, the Halles (an outdoor market with a belfry), the Place du Bourg with the Saint-Sang Basilica, the Gothic-style Town Hall and the Beguine Convent. In summer (April to October) you'll then take a short cruise down Bruges' canals to see this lovely old city from the water. You'll have free time afterwards to pursue your own interests, perhaps visiting the museums of Flemish art or browsing for handmade lace and Belgian chocolates.
Bruges Day Trip from Amsterdam
Board your comfortable coach in central Amsterdam and travel 3.5 hours to the small, enchanting city of Bruges in Belgium. With its cobblestone streets, canals and many festivals, Bruges overflows with charm. After getting an overview of the city from your guide, set out to explore Bruges on your own. Tour the serene Begijnhof – a group of white houses once housing single and widowed women and now run by Benedictine nuns. Visit the Heilig-Bloedbasiliek, a church that holds a vial of Christ’s blood. Or marvel at the artistic masterpieces at the Groeningemuseum, which displays paintings dating back to the 14th century. Admire the architectural beauty of the buildings in bustling Markt and Burg squares and watch fascinating lace-making demonstrations at the Kantcentrum. Or simply stroll the streets of Bruges and cruise its canals, soaking up the warm, friendly atmosphere of this lovely Belgian city. If desired, you can also enjoy a 1-hour guided walking tour of the city. After 5 hours of discovering Bruges at your leisure, travel by coach back to Amsterdam.
WWI Battlefields Tour of Flanders from Brussels
Start your day with a pickup from your centrally located Brussels hotel, or alternatively, meet your guide in the center of town. Leave the city by coach and travel southeast toward the town of Vladslo, your first destination of the day! Stop to see the German Military Cemetery of Vladslo, the most important German cemetery from WWI, and as you walk through the hauntingly peaceful area, look out for the Käthe Kollwitz sculptures Grieving Parents – a heartrending portrayal of how the war impacted people at a personal level. Continue to the small city of Diksmuide to visit the Trench of Death, a stretch of the Western Front (the trench lines from Belgium to the Alps) that now serves as a symbol of Belgium’s heroism and resistance. See the impressive Gate of Peace (IJser Gate) and Yser Tower (IJzertoren), and then leave the city, passing alongside the Peace Mill and the Canadian Monument in St Julien.Stop in Passchendaele, and see how this once chaotic battlefield has turned into a sleepily tranquil town. Sit down for a hearty ploughman's lunch in a local restaurant, and then travel to Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, where some 35,000 soldiers from the Commonwealth forces are laid at rest. The sheer amount of graves puts the tragic scale of WWI into a semblance of perspective. Walk around and learn about the significance of this dignified site for nations around the world, not just the Commonwealth countries.Head to the Essex Farm Field Hospital next and see the impeccably preserved bunkers where John McCrae penned his famous poem In Flanders’ Fields. Hear how the soldiers were treated in the bunkers’ narrow, darkened corridors and then visit the In Flanders’ Fields Museum to learn the story of WWI in the Flanders region from an audio-guided tour. Entry to the museum is included, but you will be required to pay for a poppy as you go inside. This payment goes toward a war veterans charity.Visit Hill 60 – home to a series of strategically significant tunnels– and then travel to Ypres for some free time for dinner (own expense). In the early evening, meet your guide to attend the Last Post Ceremony at Ypres’ Menin Gate. Taking place daily, the ceremony is a simple, yet moving, tribute to the bravery of those who died defending their town. At the end of the ceremony, return to your coach and drive back to Brussels. Your tour finishes in central Brussels around 10pm.