No, this isn’t a blog post about the hilarious Simpsons character of the same name, it is of course all about the beautiful Flemish cities that make up northern Belgium. Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp, Ypres and Ghent are some of our most popular short break destinations, so we felt it was only right to celebrate them and make them our Destination of the Month for March!
With that in mind, here’s a little more information about each location, and why a break to Flanders should definitely be on your ‘To Do’ list in 2015. We’re also throwing in a free Flanders Guide Book with all 2 night bookings made in March!
As I write this, I’m actually counting down the days until my very first visit to Bruges this coming weekend! Many of my colleagues have been and come back with wonderful tales of its beauty (as well as the delicious waffles, chocolates and of course, beer!), so I can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about first-hand. Famously, Bruges is as picturesque as it gets…with winding canals, medieval buildings and horse-drawn carriages riding along the cobbled streets, this is a haven for lovers or history and architecture alike. As well as the usual tourist hotspots, make sure you spend some time indulging in the city’s best sweet treats at Dominique Persoone’s chocolate shop, The Chocolate Line. For beer enthusiast, take a trip to the Halve Maan Brewery, home of famous ‘Brugse Zot’ beer.
Widely known as ‘The Capital of Europe’, Brussels heads up international affairs by playing home to the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. Due to its variety of inhabitants, the city has flourished into a cosmopolitan mix of lively bars and tasty restaurants, whilst retaining its medieval charm for visitors like you and me. There are more than 80 museums to discover in Brussels, as well as the usual Belgian beer and chocolate delights, so there’s no shortage of things to do on your short break. For something a little less ordinary, spend a few hours taking one of the renowned TinTin themed walks!
Anyone with an interest in history is guaranteed to be drawn to Ypres and its tales of World War I. Settled amongst the region of Flanders Fields, there are numerous landmarks in the area that you can take a tour around, pay respects and discover all there is to know about the trench war and ‘The Lost Generation’. Take a trip to the Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission military cemetery in continental Europe with almost 12,000 tombstones. Or head to The Menin Gate in Ypres itself where every evening at eight o’clock, a deeply moving ceremony takes place under the vast arch…SuperBreak’s Michael visited last year and shot the below video.
Ghent is fast becoming one of the most popular destinations in the country…a well-kept European secret that we’re all finally paying attention to! It’s a mix of everything; picturesque canals that dance around the centre, UNESCO World heritage Sites, gothic & renaissance architecture plus a vibrant university nightlife. A combination of Bruges and Brussels if you like. The best way to explore the city is to hop on a bike – the labyrinth of cobbled streets make for a stunning route, plus it gives you a chance to work off all of those lovely treats you’ll have enjoyed!
Regarded as Belgium’s most stylish city, Antwerp is a haven for fashionistas, travelistas and anyone with an eye for a great photo. As with all Flemish cities, the architecture is beautifully preserved and the impressive Town Hall sits pride of place in the main square. Historically, Antwerp was home to many great painters, but recent times have seen fashion designers take their place as the most famous artists to rise to fame. Take a trip to the Antwerp Fashion Museum – MoMu to see just how good they are.
So, now you’re probably even more confused than you were at the start of this post – how can one region offer so many great cities, each with something completely unique to offer?! The only answer is to make sure you visit them all at some point in your travelling life, and decide for yourself just which part of Flanders is the best for a short break!