Excursions from Brussels: the best day trips around Brussels

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a fascinating city full of history, waiting to be discovered. You will be immediately greeted by the majesty of Grand Place, the central square, by the large parks, by the magnificent neighborhoods such as Ilot Sacrè or Sablon, not to forget the European quarter. And let's not forget the beers and great food, such as waffles and chocolate or the national dish "moules-frites", consisting of mussels and fries, another Belgian specialty.
In addition, you can base yourself in the city to explore all the surrounding areas, which will be very easy to do thanks to theexcellent rail network in Belgium.
Here are some tips and some ideas on best day trips around Brussels.



Index

  1. Leuven (Leuven)
  2. Aalst
  3. Antwerp
  4. Ghent
  5. Namur
  6. Tournai
  7. Dinant
  8. Bruges
  9. Rooster
  10. Ypres and Battlefields of Flanders
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Leuven (Leuven)

Leuven is located in the eastern part of Belgium and is close to Brussels, from which it is just under 26 kilometers, about half an hour by car. As for other destinations, the best means of transport to reach it is the train. In just 20 minutes you will arrive from one of the Brussels stations to Leuven station. Alternatively, we recommend a comfortable guided tour from Brussels with bus transport and half-day walking tour in Italian.

Leuven is mainly one university city, known above all for its lively and innovative spirit and for beer. This, in fact, is the birthplace of Stella Artois beer, drunk all over the world. Moreover, the city is full of breweries, you are really spoiled for choice. And between one beer and another, don't forget to visit the magnificent Gothic-style town hall, the Church of San Francesco and the Church of San Michele in its beautiful parks, such as the Dijlepark.



  • Range: 26,1 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Leuven station; travel time 22 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

2 - Aalst

Aalst is a Belgian city that it is located halfway between Ghent and Brussels, from which it is less than 26 kilometers away, reachable in 40 minutes by car or in just half an hour with one of the direct trains that leave every 30 minutes from the capital.

The city develops on the left bank of the Dendre River and is best known for its carnival and for being the hometown of Pieter Daens and Luois-Paul Boon, to each of which a museum is dedicated.
In one day, among the things to see you must absolutely mark: the Grote Markt, the central square and for centuries it has been the commercial, administrative and social center of Aalst, the bell tower of the Town Hall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Begijnhof Aalst, the old quarter of the Beguine community of the city, similar to the best known in Bruges; is a river cruise in the heart of the city, to see it from a different perspective.

  • Range: 26,2 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Alost / Aalst station; trains depart every 30 minutes, journey time 33 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

3 - Antwerp

Antwerp is located in the north of Holland and is 44,5 kilometers from Brussels, just under an hour by car. The best means of transport to reach it is, also in this case, the train. From one of the Brussels stations you will arrive at Antwerpen-Berchem station in about 45/50 minutes. The best solution is a guided tour from Brussels with transport included: for about € 35,00 you will have the train trip and guide for the whole day in Antwerp.

Belgium's second largest city and its main port, Antwerp is one dynamic and modern city that still retains its medieval charmand thanks to its historic center, which develops around Grote Mark, the market square. Here you will find a mix of nightlife, multicultural atmosphere and architectural wonders, making it one of Belgium's most loved and suitable for everyone. On your visit, don't forget to visit Grote Markt, the Cathedral of Our Lady and Het Steen, a medieval fortress that stands out above the city.



  • Range: 44,5 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Antwerpen-Berchem station; travel time 45 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

4 - Ghent

Ghent is located halfway between Bruges and Brussels, from which it is just under 53 kilometers, about an hour's drive. Also in this case, the best way to reach it is by train from one of the Brussels stations. In just under 40 minutes you will arrive at Gent-Sint-Pieters station. In reality the advice is to combine the visit of Ghent and Bruges in a single day excursion (see info and prices here).

Less known than Bruges, Ghent is no exception when it comes to beauty and charm. Here too you will find medieval palaces and romantic canals, museums and art galleries. Also, his old town is the largest pedestrian area in all of Belgium. Among the things to see you cannot absolutely miss its bell tower, 91 meters high and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the cathedral of San Bavone and the Gravensteen, the castle of the counts of Flanders.

  • Range: 53,5 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Gent-Sint-Pieters station; travel time 40 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

5 - Namur

Namur is located in southwestern Belgium, 66 kilometers from Brussels, just under an hour by car. You can reach the city comfortably by train, with departures every 20 minutes and a journey time of about an hour and 10 minutes.

Namur is one romantic and charming city which develops around the river Meuse. Stroll through its characteristic alleys, full of small boutiques and typical restaurants and if you go up to the top of the Citadel you can admire a beautiful view over the whole city. Symbols of this city are the famous characters Djoseph et Francwès (not well known outside the national borders) and the snail, one of the greatest local products. E French fries are said to have originated right here in Numar: in the eighteenth the inhabitants of the city loved to eat fried fish, but one winter it was so cold that the lake froze, so the idea came to cut the potatoes into small pieces and then fry them.



  • Range: 61,8 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Namur station; trains run every 20 minutes, travel time one hour and 10 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

6 - Tournai

Tournai is located in the southwestern part of Belgium, just 10 kilometers from the French border, and 91 kilometers from Brussels, about an hour and a half by car. As with all Belgian destinations, the best means of transport to reach it is the train, which runs every 20 minutes. In just an hour and 20 minutes you will arrive at the station.

Tournai, together with Arlon and Tongeren, is one of the oldest cities in Belgium. Moreover, this was the only Belgian city to have passed for a few years under English rule, during the reign of Henry VIII. IS' also called the city of the 5 bell towers for the 5 towers of the Cathedral.
The central point of the city is its triangular square, Grand Place, enriched by several fountains and surrounded by several historic buildings, once the headquarters of the guilds. Also, here too a simple walk in the historic center turns into a little adventure: ask for the toy bag at the Tourist Office and try to fulfill the mission that is required of you, that is to free the city from misfortune. The bag will provide you with all the tools you need to do this. An alternative and fun way to discover the place!

  • Range: 80,5 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Turnai station; trains depart every 20 minutes, travel time one hour and 20 minutes - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

7 - Dinant

Dinant is located southeast of Brussels, which is almost 87 kilometers away, an hour and a quarter by car. Also in this case there are direct train connections that will take you immediately to your destination from the capital. In this case, however, you will have to leave from the Brussels-Schuman station, in the European district.

You will hardly forget the landscape you will find once you arrive in Dinant: located on the banks of the Moselle River, the city is surrounded by rocky hills that rise almost vertically around it. But besides the fantastic view, Dinant is known for being the birthplace of Sax and Leffe beer.
We recommend that you absolutely visit the Citadel, located on top of the hill, from which you can enjoy a beautiful view over the whole city, undoubtedly the best viewpoint. You can climb 408 steps or take the cable car to climb.

Dinant can be visited in a couple of hours. For this reason, it is often included in a more comprehensive full-day tour that also includes Luxembourg, crossing the beautiful landscape of the Belgian Ardennes.

  • Range: 87 km
  • take the train from Brussels-Schuman station and get off at Antwerpen-Berchem station; travel time an hour and a half - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

8 - Bruges

Bruges is a beautiful city northwest of Brussels, which is almost 100 kilometers away, about an hour and a quarter by car. You can also reach it by train in just an hour, or alternatively through a comfortable tour organized from Brussels with transfer included, to optimize time and at the same time enjoy all the beauty of the city with a guide.

This medieval city is fairytale and romantic and is called the "pearl of Flanders". Its historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is spread over two nuclei, the Burg and the Markt, where the main squares of the city are located. Lose yourself in its streets, have a drink at one of the tables overlooking the squares and taste the delicious chocolate in one of the many workshops. IS don't forget to take a romantic boat ride through the canals of Bruges, to be able to admire it from another point of view.

  • Range: 94,6 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Bruges station; trains run every 40 minutes, travel time one hour - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

9 - De Haan

De Haan is a small town which is located on the coast, in the Flemish province of West Flanders, directly on the North Sea. It is 111 kilometers from Brussels, about an hour and a half by car. It can be easily reached by train from one of the Brussels stations, getting off at Ostende and taking tram 0, which will take you to your destination in 15 minutes.

This town, with quaint houses and Belle Epoque-style buildings, is a perfect place to relax and breathe some sea air. The many Norman-style houses, with red roofs, make the place even more fascinating. In addition, it is full of trails and paths to do both on foot and by bicycle and within walking distance you will find the De Kijkuit Nature Reserve. For all these characteristics, De Haan is one of the most popular seaside resorts from Belgium and, just think, Albert Einstein also stayed there for a few months. Enjoy a nice walk on its large beaches of fine sand, but beware of the wind which can sometimes be really strong!

  • Range: 111 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Ostende; from which take the tram line 0 and get off at De Haan Vosseslag - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

10 - Ypres and the Battlefields of Flanders

Ypres is located in the western part of Belgium and is close to the border with France. It is 112 kilometers from Brussels, about an hour and 42 minutes by car. If you don't have a rental car you can easily opt for the train or a full day tour from Bruges, with transport by minivan.

Precisely because of its position on the border with France, Ypres has a heavy past to carry on its shoulders: in fact, some of the most terrible and ferocious battles of the Great War were fought here, during which the city was almost completely destroyed and the countryside was covered with the bodies of soldiers who died in the war. But, the worst battle, the one for which Ypres became famous all over the world, is that of April 14, 1915, when for the first time, asphyxiating gases were used in combat. For this reason today, all around the city, you can find cemeteries and monuments that commemorate the poor people who lost their lives during the First World War. We must never forget what happened in the past, to prevent the horrors and mistakes from happening again in the future.

  • Range: 112 km
  • take the train from Gare de Bruxelles-Central or Bruxelles-Midi central station and get off at Ieper station; trains depart every 60 minutes, travel time one hour and 50 minutes / 2 hours - Get directions
  • always accessible; times vary according to attractions
  • free; prices vary according to the attractions

Audio Video Excursions from Brussels: the best day trips around Brussels
add a comment of Excursions from Brussels: the best day trips around Brussels
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.