There is nothing better in Belgium than day trips from Ghent. We have all heard of something different in every location. Bruges is known as the “Venice of the North,” Brussels houses the European Parliament, and Antwerp is the history diamond of Belgium.
Despite having not many classified buildings, Ghent is full of surprises. It is the largest city of East Flanders after Antwerp in Belgium. The position of this beautiful port village is in the north-west of the country, and it is easily accessible from several towns.
What to Expect?
The city started to develop in the middle of the 7th century because of its strategic position where Scheldt and Leie Rivers connect. From the 11th to the 16th century, Ghent was among the most prominent cities in Europe in the Dark Ages, and it is quite larger than Moscow or Cologne. Ghent is lavishly known for beer, great food, and rich history to reveal.
Ghent and Bruges day trips from Brussels have so many things to explore. You cannot get the most in just one day in Ghent. From magnificent castles to fruit beers, medieval monuments, intriguing architecture, and beautiful canals – Ghent have so much to offer.
Ghent is easy to access from Brussels, Antwerp, and Bruges by train. It is located thirty minutes from Bruxelles-Midi Station and one hour from Antwerp Antwerpen-Central station.
Table of Contents
Top Day Trips from Ghent, Belgium
Ghent and Bruges’ day trip to Brussels is mesmerizing. Brussels is known as the heart of Europe. It grew from the rural settlement on Senne River and had become the major city-region in Europe. It has become a prominent center for global politics, and it houses a lot of tourist attractions.
It is the de facto capital as there are a lot of EU institutions, and Brussels is often used to describe its establishments. You can take regular trains from Brussels to Ghent to have panoramic views of the city.
Brussels has a lot of outdoor and indoor activities to enjoy. You will find a lot of attractions, even when it rains every day. The Shower Radar, Buienradar, shows the real-time status of clouds and estimates predictions of rainfall. It can tell when it will rain at your location with an accuracy of 10 minutes.
Where to stay: Best hotels in Brussels
It has many remarkable medieval buildings, such as the Church of Our Lady, one of the highest brick buildings or towers in the world. Madonna and Child is the ancient sculpture here, which can be spotted in the transept. It is the only statue by Michelangelo that left Italy during his lifetime.
The 13th-century belfry is the most famous landmark here in Bruges. It houses municipal carillon, which consists of 48 bells. Train from Ghent to Bruges takes you through a lot of tourist attractions.
Antwerp has a lot of centers of attractions and is well connected to the north of the Netherlands and Essen; to the south to Mechelen; to the east to Turnhout, Charleroi, and Brussels. International trains also link it to Paris and Amsterdam, and national trains to Bruges, Ghent, Ostend, Brussels, Charleroi, and other cities.
When it comes to tourist attractions, Antwerp Central station is a sightseeing attraction in itself before it was completed in 2007, the tunnel used to run northwards under the heart of the city to reach old Antwerp Dam station.
Where to stay: Best hotels in Antwerp, Belgium
Diksmuide is known for its belfry, which has a carillon of 30 bells. It is one of many belfries of France and Belgium listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Diksmuide is located in the proximity to several military cemeteries, including German War Cemetery, which is a resting hub for over 25000 German soldiers.
Around 1.5 km from the heart of the city, there is the Trench of Death, which houses the trench setting were Belgian soldiers survived and battled under very extreme conditions until the final war in September 1918.
Read also: Top 10 Best Christmas Markets in Europe
The Romans once conquered this ancient medieval town, Ypres, in the 1st Century BC. It is well known for its Town Centre. The impressive Cloth Hall was constructed in the 13th century, and it was among the leading commercial complexes in the Middle Ages.
After the war period, the town of Ypres was rebuilt well with money paid in reparations by Germany. The main square houses the Town Hall and the Cloth Hall restored as near to the original designs. The structure is the replica of the ancient medieval building. The Cloth Hall houses the In Flanders Fields museum, which is devoted to the role of Ypres in World War I.
The Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing is a tribute to the brave soldiers who fell in Ypres Salient during World War I before August 16, 1917. Another significant sight here is the War Graves in which both of the Central Powers and Allied sides cover the land across Ypres.
Followed by Bruges and Ghent, Ypres is the third-largest city of the County of Flanders. It played a vital role in the textile industry. Textiles could be found in Novgorod markets in Kievan Rus in the early 12th century.
Read also: Top 10 Beautiful Castles in Belgium
Also known as Doornik in Dutch, Tournai is a Walloon municipality in Belgium, and it is located 85km southwest of Brussels on Scheldt river. Tournai is situated in Hainaut province and is among the oldest cities in the country. It played a vital role in the cultural history of Belgium.
Tournai is known among the prominent cultural attractions. The mixed Gothic- and Romanesque-style cathedral and the belfry are known to be the oldest in Belgium. It has been ranked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Chasse de Notre-Dame Flamande is a striking ornate and reliquary from the 12th century.
De Haan is a coastal village known for the low skyline. Most of the buildings here are visible prominently. The town has an 18-hole golf course founded by King Leopold II in the year 1903. It is the only links course in Belgium. Albert Einstein lived in the most famous villa, Savoyarde, for six months after leaving Germany.
It is a beach resort in West Flanders, the sea coast in Belgium. It has maintained the old-world charm of the 1930s thanks to its strict and smart real estate norms. It has a range of white villas. It has a limited area of postwar blocks of apartments as compared to other seaside resorts. Here, it is restricted to build more than five floors.
Getting around in De Haan is relatively easy. The coastal tram is the most comfortable way to get there through public transport. The tram runs from De Panne around the French border to Knokke around the Dutch one. You can quickly get there by train from Bruges, Ghent, or Brussels.
Read also: Top 10 Places to Visit in Belgium
Leuven is a lively and prosperous town having a population of more than 100,000 residents. It is the capital of Flemish Brabant, a Belgian province. It is the typical university capital which is reflected in the streets. The city has no lack of young people during the academic year, especially on weekends.
The city has an impressive long-back history since it was founded in the 9th century. It was quite extraordinary due to the location at Dilje River and the proximity of Brussels. Most of the city was burned and ruined by the German invasion in the First World War. It was also damaged during the Second World War.
The historic center has been preserved well, and monumental buildings have been recovered, such as the University Library, partly because of foreign relief funds.
Leuven has the Province Building and a range of administrative services, where the provincial council is positioned. It is known for the beer and technology industry.
The Grand Beguinage “Groot Begijnhof” is one of the most amazing World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. St. Peter’s Church is another major attraction, and its belfry is a part of the Belfries of France and Belgium.
Where to stay: Best hotels in Leuven, Belgium
The picturesque village of Damme is positioned strategically in the north of West Flanders. Damme is placed only around 3 miles (5km) northeast of Sasplein, Bruges, on Damme Canal. It is a favorite side Ghent day trip if you are getting to Bruges and is a great venue to eat out. It is a world-renowned destination for boating.
Getting to Damme is very simple through direct bus service from Bruges to Damme. There is no service on holidays and weekends. So, it is advised to check bus info on De Lijn website. It is always recommended to take a boat trip along the canal.
Located in Central Bruges, Noorweegse Kaal is only 5km from Grote Markt. You can take bus 4 if it is too far for a walk, from Brugge station via Grote Markt. You may want to walk only 10 minutes to the boat.
Where to stay: Best hotels in Damme, Belgium
Check out these activities in Ghent