6 Incredible Day Trips to Take from Brussels
As one of the smaller countries in Europe, most of Belgium and even parts of neighboring countries like France, Germany and the Netherlands are easily reachable to spend days out of the capital. With Brussels being centrally located, it makes for the perfect base to travel out to explore other cities along with the Belgian countryside. Here are six perfect day trips you can take from the Belgian capital.
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One of the country's most popular historic towns, Ghent is an easy trip from Brussels, under an hour by car or 40 minutes by the frequent trains that run there. It's one of several river port cities that flourished in the medieval ages, of which many buildings from the period still stand today.
If you're dates are flexible then consider visiting during the Gentse Feesten, a huge cultural and music festival that lasts for ten days in mid-July full of food, performances and of course, drinking.
This stunningly picturesque city in the south of the country is full of breathtaking scenery and quaint charming architecture on the banks of the River Meuse. The steep cliffs lining the banks of the river and various historical buildings around the center make for a highly unique urban scenery that shouldn't be missed. Dinant also offers various activities and events such as the quirky Bathtub Regatta, where participants build and race down the river in bathtubs every year on August 15th.
As a relatively small city most of Dinant can be explored in around half a day. If you're looking for a full day trip, considering heading to the nearby Vêves Castle, an impressive château which stands on a hill just ten minutes drive from Dinant.
For those who don't want to travel too far but still want to get out of the city, Leuven is just a short 30 minute drive from the center of Brussels. As one of the country's most famous university towns, there are plenty of buildings that date back to the founding of the university which was founded in 1425. Apart from just soaking in the old medieval atmosphere of the town however, Leuven is ripe with famous art galleries and a vibrant nightlife, home to one of the country's most famous breweries, Stella Artois.
An idyllic coastal suburb of Dunkirk in the north of France, the sandy beaches of Malo are just under two hours drive from Brussels, for those wanting a taste of the classic French seaside resort. For those who're looking for a little more than just sand and sea, Dunkirk offers a range of things to do from its long history as a fishing village to the more recent importance of the city during the Second World War.
Belgium's most famous medieval city, Bruges is easily doable as a day trip from Brussels, despite being double the distance away from Ghent. It takes about an hour by train from the capital and slightly longer if driving. As one of the most picturesque cities in Europe, the historic center of Bruges is particularly beautiful lined with historical buildings and charming canals along with its impressive market square.
At under an hour and a half by high speed train with departures every 40 minutes, the French capital is actually a highly viable option for taking a day trip from Brussels. The last high speed train from Pairs to Brussels leaves at 21:25, leaving plenty of time in between to explore the city of love. While it's not enough time to see all the wealth of historical sites in the city, it's plenty of time to explore the center and get a good feel for the city.
While the high speed line between Brussels and Paris might be one of the most used, there's a number of cities reachable from Brussels by train within three hours. Popular places such as Amsterdam, Cologne or Dusseldorf are some of the numerous European cities that can easily be done in a day trip from the Belgian capital.