To mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, take this profoundly moving private tour of Belgium’s Flanders battlefields from Brussels – a Viator Exclusive available nowhere else. Visit the Vladslo German War Cemetery, Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and memorials to the many soldiers who lost their lives during the war. See where John McCrae wrote his famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ and the sites of major battles. Finally, witness an emotional daily tribute to the fallen at the Last Post ceremony in Ypres. Being on a private tour allows you the flexibility to adjust the itinerary and ensures more individualized attention from your guide.
After morning pickup from your central Brussels hotel, travel by comfortable luxury private vehicle through Ghent toward Flanders Fields. As you travel, your knowledgeable and passionate guide will share facts, figures and stories about the war that started a century earlier. You will learn of the enormous toll of World War I and the sacrifices of the brave soldiers who fought and died on the battlefields you visit. Your first stop on this exclusive tour will be the Vladslo German War Cemetery, where more than 25,000 soldiers are buried. Walk among the somber rows of markers and see the heart-rending sculptures of 'Grieving Parents' by Käthe Kollwitz, whose youngest son is buried in the cemetery. Continue to the town of Diksmuide, where Belgians opened the floodgates of the Yser River to stop the Germans' advance during the war, and see the 'Trench of Death,' where many Belgian soldiers lost their lives. In the village of St-Julien, visit a monument to Canadian forces, including those who perished in the first poison gas attack in 1915. Your next stop is Passchendaele, where a particularly bloody battle took place. Then visit Tyne Cot cemetery, the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world, where a memorial contains the names of some 35,000 soldiers who remain missing. Stop briefly at Polygon Wood to see a monument to Australian soldiers before heading to Essex Farm field hospital, where doctor John McCrae wrote his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields.' In the nearby city of Ypres, you can visit the In Flanders Fields Museum to learn more about WWI (own expense). You'll see additional monuments to Canadian and Australian soldiers after driving along Hellfire Corner to Hill 62 and Hill 60. Then, enjoy some free time to have dinner in Ypres (own expense) before rejoining your guide at 8pm for the Last Post ceremony at Menin Gate, a daily tribute to soldiers who died defending the city. You can ask your guide about adjusting this itinerary to suit your interests, though the overall duration of and distance covered on your tour should remain about the same. Your guide can even help you locate the grave of a relative in the military cemeteries. This kind of personal touch makes this tour a truly special experience. After the Last Post ceremony, travel directly back to Brussels, where your 12.5-hour tour of some of Belgium's most significant World War I sites concludes. It's an incredible experience that's sure to stay with you -- and it can't be booked anywhere else!