The delights of Flanders are closer than you think

Posted on: 11 November 2010 by Editor at Large

Tucked in the northern part of Belgium, Flanders is a little pocket of cosmopolitan, easy-to-reach towns and cities that offer so much more than just beautiful main squares, magnificent medieval architecture, cobbled streets and museums.

The region charms its visitors and is world-renowned for its cuisine, chocolate and quality beer. With so much to see (and sample) it’s a wonderful place to visit whatever your taste.

Which Flanders destination appeals to you?

Ostend, dubbed as the 'City by the Sea', is the jewel in the Flemish Coast’s crown. It’s a cosmopolitan city with a harbour yacht-basin and a promenade where you will find many shops, bars and restaurants. Its main attraction is, no doubt, its unbeatable gastronomy.

Appreciated by fashionistas, art lovers and diamond dealers, Flanders’ capital of cool, and the country’s second-largest city, revels in fame and fortune. The whole city is something of an architectural masterpiece and most distinctive is its Gothic and Flemish baroque architecture.

Ghent is Flanders’ hidden gem, sandwiched between Brussels and Bruges.  Its 900-plus listed buildings are testament to the fact that not only did the city survive the World Wars, but also that it was very wealthy in medieval times.

Leuven is home to Belgium's oldest university with great food, fantastic shopping, lively bars and an uber-cool music scene all packed into this easy-going University City. M for Museum Leuven is the newly-opened museum housing early and modern art.
Mechelen (pictured) may be small, but it is perfect for a weekend break. Renowned for its carillon bells concerts, this laid-back Renaissance gem is only 20 minutes away from Brussels and is made for exploring by foot.

Suspended in time centuries ago, Bruges is now one of Western Europe’s most-visited medieval cities. Picturesque market squares, dreamy canals and whitewashed almshouses all evoke a world long since past.

Top 5 events - Not to be missed this Autumn! 

- Halloween from 29th October to 7th November in Ostend. The city centre welcomes the festivities to ghosts, spiders, pumpkins and vampires – enjoy the dressed window displays. 

- Antwerp’s Diamond Museum is hosting an exhibition of Jewellery during the Napoleonic era. 

- MoMu Fashion Museum in Antwerp is presenting an exhibition of the work of British milliner, Stephen Jones, who has worked with some of the greatest names in fashion: Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Christian Dior and many others. 

- Ghent’s new city museum, STAM, opened on 9th October this year with an exhibition of the history of this city. 

Enjoy the festive experience at Flanders’ famous Christmas markets 

Bruges – 22nd November to 2nd January - includes ice rink

Ostend – 3rd December to 9th January - includes ice rink

Mechelen – 17th – 19th December

Antwerp – 8th to 26th December - includes ice rink

Ghent - 11th to 30th December

For further information on these events, visit

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