- Visit the charming cities of Antwerp and Ghent
- Sample regional treats on a Belgian food tour
- Cycle around the streets of historic Ghent
- Explore the medieval Gravensteen Castle
- Shop for bouquets at a famous flower market
|Day 1||Arrive in Antwerp||Antwerp|
|Day 2||Taste Local Specialties on a Food Tour of Antwerp||Antwerp|
|Day 3||Cycle Around Ghent||Ghent|
|Day 4||See Ghent's Top Markets and Cultural Highlights||Ghent|
|Day 5||Depart Ghent|
Day 1: Arrive in Antwerp
Welcome to Antwerp! Upon arrival, you'll find yourself in the middle of a major landmark. The train station, built in 1905, has magnificent interiors and a grand facade.
The afternoon is free for you to explore the heart of this historic city. The city center occupies a relatively small area, so it's easy to see on foot. Follow narrow medieval streets past countless Renaissance buildings. You can easily wander from one square to the next, ending at the Grote Markt, the biggest and most important square in the city. Close to the Grote Markt is the enormous Cathedral of Our Lady. The construction of this Roman Catholic cathedral started in 1352. Inside, you will find a significant number of paintings by the Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens.
Afterward, do as the Belgians do and stop to enjoy a cold Belgian beer on one of the many open-air terraces in the city center. If the weather is good, stroll over to one of the city's river beaches at Sint Anneke or Sint Annastrand on the other side of the Scheldt River. You'll find food and drinks at the cafés along the riverbanks, or bring your own picnic. Back in the city, a good dinner option is Fish a'gogo, a tiny restaurant specializing in fresh seafood.
Day 2: Taste Local Specialties on a Food Tour of Antwerp
After breakfast and a leisurely morning, indulge in Antwerp's cuisine with a walking food tour through the city. No food tour of this area would be complete without a stop at a classic Belgian bakery, where you'll try the famous Belgian frieten (chips), chocolate, and waffles. Since Antwerp is a port city, the local cuisine is made up of a mix of Belgian and international influences.
After the tour, walk over to the Rubens House, once the home of the 17th-century painter Peter Paul Rubens. The house is open to the public, offering a great opportunity to see some of the artist's works and to learn more about the way Rubens lived.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Cycle Around Ghent
After breakfast, catch a train to the fairytale-like city of Ghent. The city is home to many wonderful monuments and museums, including SMAK (focused on modern art), STAM (a history museum), and the Design Museum. Pay a visit to the medieval castle Gravensteen, located right in the city center, and the massive St. Bavo's Cathedral.
The Gothic cathedral is well-known as the home of part of the famous Ghent Altarpiece, a famous set of paintings created in 1432 by a pair of artist brothers, the Van Eycks. Parts of the paintings were stolen in the past, and one was never found again. Conspiracy theories persist about the theft and the whereabouts of the missing panel. You'll explore many of these top highlights during a guided bicycle tour in the afternoon.
Later in the day, head to the Leie River near the Grasbrug Bridge. Here, you will board a boat that will take you through the canals of medieval Ghent. Sit back and enjoy the views of this picturesque city. After the boat tour, dine at Pakhuis, a restaurant housed in a former warehouse.
Day 4: See Ghent's Top Markets and Cultural Highlights
If today is a Sunday, head to the Kouter to visit the large flower market and indulge in fresh oysters. Another great spot is the Vrijdagmarkt (literally meaning Friday Market). The market is open on Fridays and Saturdays—a great spot if you like seafood—but even if your schedule doesn't match up, the square is still worth a visit. Take a stroll and gaze up at the magnificent old buildings, and enjoy a drink at one of the cafés on the plaza.
You'll have time in the afternoon to visit any museums or sights you didn't have time for yesterday. On the last evening of the trip, enjoy a leisurely Belgian meal in one of the city's many restaurants. Finish your adventure with a nightcap at 't Dreupelkot, specializing in locally made gin. It's located close to Gravensteen Castle.
Day 5: Depart Ghent
Load up on chocolate and bid farewell to beautiful Belgium. Today you'll travel onward to your next destination. Safe journey!
More Belgium Itineraries
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