- Do as the locals do and explore the historic streets of Antwerp and Ghent by bike
- Kayak along Ghent's canals and get a view of its medieval and Gothic architecture
- Spend an action-packed day climbing and zip lining in the forests of Dinant
- Between tasting chocolate and beer, ride a paddle boat in the center of Brussels
|Arrive in Brussels, Transfer to Antwerp, Antwerp Walking Tour
|Antwerp Guided Cycling Tour, Optional Activities
|Transfer to Ghent, Ghent Guided Cycling Tour
|Kayak Around Ghent's Canals, Optional Activities
|Day Trip to Bruges
|Transfer to Dinant via Waterloo & Namur
|Explore Dinant, Outdoor Adventure Park
|Kayak on the Lesse River, Transfer to Brussels & Discover its Museums
|Explore Brussels, Paddle Along the Bois de la Cambre
Day 1: Arrive in Brussels, Transfer to Antwerp, Antwerp Walking Tour
Welcome to Belgium! When you arrive at Brussels airport, catch a direct train to Antwerpen-Centraal, Antwerp's central railway station. From here you can either walk or take a taxi to your hotel. Once settled in, meet your guide for a walking tour of the city. Explore the historic heart of Antwerp with its main town square, Grote Markt, home to the extravagant city hall and numerous guildhalls, many of which were reconstructed in the 19th and early 20th centuries to look like paintings of the old square by Flemish artists.
Day 2: Antwerp Guided Cycling Tour, Optional Activities
Antwerp is much more than the historic center. On this bike tour, you will explore fascinating and flourishing neighborhoods, such as the hip Zuid (South), home to the impressive Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, and Zurenborg, with the equally impressive architecture of the Cogels-Osylei and a multitude of cozy cafés, and the quiet Groen Kwartier, home of star restaurant The Jane. Enjoy this excursion that passes by many quirky mansions and stunning architectural highlights led by a guide and in a small group.
After seeing a little bit of Antwerp on your ride, there's still more to discover. With its geometric glass and red sandstone design, the contemporary Museum aan de Stroom is a landmark near the Scheldt riverfront. Its rooftop terrace, called the Panorama, offers splendid views of the city and Port of Antwerp. If the sun is out, catch the DeWaterbus (water bus) at the Steenplein stop for the 10-minute journey along the River Scheldt to Sint Anna River Beach. This vast, flat, sandy beach offers panoramic views of the river, the port, and the Antwerp skyline.
Day 3: Transfer to Ghent, Ghent Guided Cycling Tour
After breakfast, you'll return to the Antwerp railway station to catch a train to the fairy-tale city of Ghent. This university town is a port city at the confluence of the Leie and Scheldt rivers. It's a cultural hub in northwest Belgium easily navigable by bus, tram, taxi, or foot. But it's perhaps best enjoyed as you'll experience today, on a bicycle. Embark on a leisurely cycle with other travelers to discover what makes Ghent a charming place to visit.
Learn about the city's history and prominent position in the Middle Ages as you spot the main sites and landmarks. Enjoy the friendly vibe of the pedestrianized center with its impressive medieval architecture, and discover some lesser-known highlights and captivating street art on two wheels. Listen closely for insider tips on where to go for dinner or a drink. After the tour, wander the city at your own pace, perhaps exploring some of the intriguing spots pointed out on the ride in more detail.
Day 4: Kayak Around Ghent's Canals, Optional Activities
Time for some action! Board a kayak in the heart of Ghent's enchanting historical center to see the sights from an unusual perspective. Armed with a map, you'll take off on an independent adventure to paddle along the city canals, past Gothic architecture, and beneath stone-arched bridges. After a few minutes, you'll reach the medieval castle of Gravensteen. You'll be captain of your vessel for three hours but can always take a break at one of the many bars along the quay.
The remainder of the day is free, so you could spend your last afternoon in the city at the prestigious Ghent University Botanical Gardens. With more than 10,000 plant species and extensive greenhouses, the colorful, fragrant gardens feature tropical and subtropical sections as well as delightful outdoor spaces. To add some culture to your day, the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art is near the gardens in the vast Citadel Park.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Day Trip to Bruges
Head out early to Gent-Sint-Pieters railway station for the 20-minute train ride to Bruges. Once you've arrived, explore the cobbled streets linking up countless charming squares, and as the city is compact, you'll come face-to-face with monuments at nearly every turn. The best views to take it all in are from the 272-foot (83 m) medieval bell tower and city emblem, the Belfry of Bruges, which overlooks the Grote Markt, or Market Square. The neighboring 13th-century Church of Our Lady Bruges houses a priceless Michelangelo sculpture of the Virgin Mary.If you didn't take a canal boat tour in Ghent, you should definitely consider one here. Or just stroll among the Gothic to 19th-century buildings, and stop at one of the chocolatiers that have become an icon of the city. See if you can snag a table on one of the historic squares to try one of many local Belgian beers, such as the coveted Brugse Zot. After a pleasant day of sightseeing, catch a train back to Ghent for your final night in the city.
Day 6: Transfer to Dinant via Waterloo & Namur
Another exciting day awaits you as your driver/guide picks you up from your hotel and takes you to the Waterloo Battlefield, where Napoleon's final defeat took place. Visit the Waterloo Battlefield Museum here (Mémorial 1815). The next stop is Namen (Namur), another charming city in the Ardennes region, in a landscape filled with rivers and castles. It is well known for its citadel and belfry, but the peaceful gardens of Annevoie are also worth a visit.
The last stop is the town of Dinant. Located deep within the countryside of Wallonia on the Meuse River, Dinant is known for its stunning landscapes and dramatic cave systems. In the evening, explore this charming town, have a locally brewed beer, and be on the lookout for some moules-frites (mussels and fries) at one of the many cozy restaurants lining the river. Tomorrow you have a full day to relax and discover the city.
Day 7: Explore Dinant, Outdoor Adventure Park
Enjoy a full day to relax and visit Dinant on your own. The city skyline is impressive with its tall mansions, a high church, even higher rock walls, and, to top it off, a citadel. Climb the 408 steps (or take the cable car) to marvel at the Citadel, which rises commandingly over land and water. Later, visit the Church Collégiale Notre-Dame de Dinant. This 13th-century Gothic landmark is recognizable from afar by its spherical bell tower. Inside, you will find work by Belgian artists such as Ladon and Antoine Wiertz, including one of the largest stained glass windows in Europe.For the more daring, head to Dinant's adventure park, where you can enjoy a three-hour circuit full of climbing and zip lining in the forest. This sporting challenge is oriented for climbing by taking the Via Vita, a circuit almost 131 feet (40 m) high, which is a highlight. There are also four small monkey bridges suspended at a maximum height of 6.5 feet (2 m) and various bridges of 164 feet (50 m) in length on average, suspended at the height of 6.5 to 40 feet (2-12 m), all around the site. Be prepared for an adventure-packed excursion!
Day 8: Kayak on the Lesse River, Transfer to Brussels & Discover its Museums
If you're visiting Dinant during the summer months, don't miss the chance to kayak down the Lesse River. The Lesse meanders through breathtaking scenery to the confluence with the Meuse at Anseremme. The route takes you through peaceful, sparsely inhabited woodlands, wild rock formations, and fairy-tale castles looming over the banks. Start in Anseremme, a short walk from Dinant, along the Meuse River. From here, there's a shuttle taking you to your starting point. As you float back toward Anseremme, you'll pass lovely scenery with plenty of places to pull your kayak ashore for a drink or snack.
Later, take the two-hour train ride to Brussels, where you'll spend the remainder of your trip. Get to know this warm, welcoming, and quirky city by visiting one of its 49 museums celebrating everything from art history (try the Design Museum, Old Masters Museum, or the Magritte Museum) to comic books and cars (head to the Comics Museum or Autoworld). Choose what suits your mood the best. Don't forget to stop at one of a plentiful array of waffle shops for some sweet and satisfying Belgian waffles on the way.
Day 9: Explore Brussels, Paddle along the Bois de la Cambre
This morning you're free to explore, and Brussels has many significant historical and architectural sights to discover. Landmarks such as the Louis XVI-style Royal Palace, the medieval Cathedral of Sint-Michel and Sint-Goedele, and the futuristic Atomium building are not to be missed. Curiously enough, a tiny statue of a peeing boy, Manneken Pis, is also a popular landmark. As Belgium has the reputation of being the world's best chocolate creators, you could also visit some of the many chocolate boutiques in town.
Continue soaking up the harmony of Brussels' beautiful natural spaces at the city park Bois de la Cambre. Designed in English, forest-like paths wind through soaring beech trees to reveal a lake where you can hire rowboats and pedalos. Paddle out to the Chalet Robinson on Robinson Island to enjoy a drink or a snack at the restaurant. You can also take the cable ferry, a small captained raft, instead. In the evening, try some of Brussels' many local comfort foods, such as moules-frites, waterzooi (a stew with fish or chicken), or Brussels sprouts.
Day 10: Depart Brussels
Today it's time to load up on chocolate and bid farewell to Belgium. Take any train heading to the Brussels Airport (located in the municipality of Zaventem), or a taxi can be arranged upon request. Safe travels!