7 Best Day Trips from Brussels

Interested in Flights to Brussels? Great choice! Here are 7 great things to do around the Belgian capital during your vacation time: visits to museums, monuments to see, unmissable districts, activities, and tourist attractions.

Day 1 – Waterloo

The small town of Waterloo in Brabant became world famous thanks to the historic battle of June 18, 1815, when the French army under Napoleon met the united armies of Great Britain, Hanover, the Netherlands, and Prussia. The battlefield is located south of Waterloo, mostly in the parish of Braine-l’Alleud, and now appears as a peaceful scene of pastures and grain fields.

There is a convenient half-day tour to the Brussels Battle of Waterloo Sites that gives small groups 6 or less the chance to visit Hougoumont Farm, Lion Hill, Memorial 1815 Museum, and more important sights; a variety of tee times are available.

Day 2 – Aalst

Once the capital of a largely self-governing Flanders, Aalst straddles the banks of the River Dender and is a rather laid-back place famous for its thriving flower industry. One of the dazzling attractions is the colorful spectacle of Aalst flower market Bloemenveilinghal, which takes place every morning in Albrechtlaan.

Located 28 kilometers northwest of Brussels, Aalst is a must-visit place, especially for people who take flights to the Belgium capital city.

Day 3 – Bruges

Located northwest of Brussels, Bruges is a picture-perfect city that seems to still live in the past. Largely pedestrianized, it is a city best explored on foot. Bruges is essentially surrounded by a circular canal, so it’s easy to navigate and you’ll always be close to water views. The central square, known as the Grote Markt, houses the famous belfry. You can climb to its top and be rewarded with stunning views if you are willing to climb 366 steps.

You can get there with your own vehicle, by train or on a day trip (round trip) from Brussels. 

If you’re taking a vacation to Brussels, visiting Bruges is very worthful. 

Day 4 – Amsterdam

The Dutch capital is a fascinating city with incredible scenic beauty. Nicknamed the Venice of the North, Amsterdam has many canals that provide waterfront views of the entire city. If you’re just there for the day, spend it in the medieval town center.

From Brussels Midi, direct Thalys and Eurostars trains run between the two cities and the journey usually takes around two to two and a half hours in total. Once you arrive at Amsterdam Central Station, you’ll find that most of the city’s top sights are just a short walk away. To make the most of your time in Amsterdam, it’s not a bad idea to take a guided tour from Brussels, as it will take you to all the major sights without having to worry about finding your way around. After a scenic drive through beautiful countryside, you’ll visit a craft center in the Netherlands to learn about Dutch cheeses, clogs, and pottery before exploring what central Amsterdam has to offer. 

Day 5 – Ghent

North of Brussels is Ghent, a city with a unique blend of history and modern sophistication. In the Middle Ages, Ghent was a major hub, and this influence is evident when walking around Ghent and admiring the architecture. Ghent is best known for the magnificent 15th century Ghent Altarpiece, or Adoration of the Mystical Lamb, painted by van Eyck. Today, this marvelous work of art is located in Sint-Baafskathedraal, or Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. Canal cruises are also incredibly popular in Ghent, and a short cruise can be a fantastic way to see more of the city in a single day from Brussels. 

Only 40 minutes from Brussels by train, Ghent is very easy to reach, and trains leave very frequently during the day. At night, they leave less regularly, so you may end up with an hour of waiting when returning to Brussels. From Gent-Sint-Pieters station (Ghent’s main station), you can walk half an hour to the city center or take tram number 2, which takes about 20 minutes.

Day 6 – Huizingen Park

The Provincial Domain of Huizingen is a hilly landscape park with winding footpaths, loosely planted groups of trees and a castle with a castle pond. In the heart of the domain there is a recreational animal park. In 2008, the province of Flemish Brabant commissioned a design agency and an architectural firm to design a new housing for the animal collection – ‘Castle Collection’, ‘Cuddle Collection’ and ‘Heritage Collection’. The aim was to rearrange the existing, outdated animal park, including the surrounding paths and roads, into a new whole within the domain.

Truly, an amazing experience to discover its boating pond, playgrounds, vast woods, one-of-a-kind rock garden, animal park, and sports grounds. The park is located a few kilometers south of Brussels. 

Day 7 – Ath

The city of Ath is very pleasant to visit by following the Circuit of Lights.

In principle, at night, the circuit is punctuated with blue diodes symbolizing the old course of the Dender.

As for museums, it’s highly recommended to focus on the region’s rich Gallo-Roman history.

At the end of a small famous alley, you will find the Grand Place with its Flemish-style town hall, houses from all eras, in particular a beautiful “Modern Style” performance hall, and very pleasant shops.

Common walk takes the visitors through passages, gardens, alleys, old ramparts etc., as they discover the site of Château Burbant with its massive keep made of local gray stones, the Burbant Tower, which dates back to the foundation of the city in 1166.

 

 

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