Explore 8 of the Best Day Trips From Brussels

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Brussels is a vibrant city full of culture, history, and delicious food. But if you’re looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of great day trips from Brussels that are worth exploring. From the picturesque city of Bruges to the charming town of Ghent, there are plenty of options for the best day trips from Brussels. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day in the countryside or an exciting adventure, these places to visit in Belgium will give you the perfect escape. So grab your passport and get ready to explore the best day trips from Brussels!

No matter what kind of day trip you’re looking for, there are plenty of great options from Brussels. From the Belgian coast to the Ardennes, there’s something for everyone.

Exploring the City of Bruges

Bruges is a beautiful city located in the northwest of Belgium, and it is a great destination for a day trip from Brussels. With its cobbled streets, canals, and medieval architecture, Bruges is a must-see for anyone visiting Belgium.

The city is full of history and culture, and it is easy to explore on foot. There are plenty of attractions to visit, such as the Belfry of Bruges, the Groeningemuseum, and the Church of Our Lady. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy, as well as plenty of shops to explore. Bruges is a great destination for a day trip from Brussels, and it is easy to get to by train or car.

Whether you are looking for a relaxing day of sightseeing or a more active day of exploring, Bruges is the perfect destination for a day trip from Brussels.

Practical information about a trip to Bruges

If you are planning a day trip from Brussels to Bruges, there are a few things you should know.

The train from Brussels takes about an hour and a half, and tickets can be purchased at any major train station in Brussels or you can book your tickets online.

If you prefer to drive, it takes about an hour and a half by car, and there are plenty of parking options available in the city.

Would you like to spend a night in this historic city? Then be sure to check out these beautiful boutique hotels in Bruges.

Things to do in Bruges

  • Take a canal tour: Experience the charm of Bruges on a boat tour along its canals. See impressive medieval architecture and natural beauty.
  • Visit the Historic Chocolate Museum: Learn about the history of Belgian chocolate and sample some at the Choco-Story Museum.
  • Climb the Belfry: Scale the 366 steps for a stunning panoramic view of the city.
  • Explore Minnewater Park: Serene ‘Lake of Love’ perfect for a stroll or picnic.
  • Enjoy Belgian Beers: Visit local breweries or beer cafes like ‘De Halve Maan’ and ‘Brugs Beertje’ for unique Belgian beers.


Read more about interesting things to do in one day in Bruges.

Discovering the Medieval Town of Ghent

Ghent is a medieval town located in the Flemish region of Belgium, and it is one of the best day trips from Brussels. This charming city is full of history and culture, and it is the perfect destination for a day trip. Ghent is known for its beautiful architecture, with its cobblestone streets, canals, and old buildings. The city is also home to many museums, galleries, and churches, making it a great place to explore and learn about the history of the area.

Ghent is also known for its vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day trip or an exciting night out, Ghent is the perfect destination.

Practical information about a trip to Ghent

To get to Ghent from Brussels, you can take a train which takes about 45 minutes or drive which takes about an hour.

Tickets for the train can be purchased online or at any major train station in Brussels, and there are also parking options available if you choose to drive.

Once in Ghent, it is easy to explore the city on foot or by bike, with many bike rental options available. The city is also well connected by public transportation, making it easy to get around and visit all the main attractions.

Things to do in Ghent

  • Explore the majestic Saint Bavo’s Cathedral and marvel at the world-famous altarpiece, “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.”
  • Take a leisurely boat tour along the scenic canals and soak up the city’s medieval charm.
  • Visit Gravensteen, the iconic 12th-century castle, for a glimpse into Ghent’s past.
  • Discover local delights at the Vrijdagmarkt, a bustling square filled with eateries and shops.
  • Walk around Patershol, the oldest neighborhood in Ghent, known for its narrow, winding streets and historic buildings.
The city of Ghent, on a day trip from Brussels
The city of Ghent, on a day trip from Brussels

Exploring the Coastal City of Ostend

Ostend is a charming coastal city in Belgium, located about an hour away from Brussels. This beautiful town has a rich history, being an important port during medieval times. Today, it is a popular tourist destination, with its sandy beaches, seafood restaurants, and lively atmosphere.

Ostend is also known for being the birthplace of surrealist artist James Ensor, and you can visit his former home which now serves as a museum showcasing his work.

Practical information about a trip to Ostend

To reach Ostend from Brussels, you can take the train which takes about an hour and a half or drive which takes about an hour and 15 minutes. Get your tickets in the train station or online.

The city is easily walkable, but there is also a tram system that can take you to different areas of the town. For those looking to spend some time relaxing on the beach, there are many options to visit different beaches in Belgium with the Coastal tram (kusttram).

Things to do in Ostend

  • Stroll along the Albert I Promenade and enjoy the stunning sea views.
  • Visit the James Ensor House to delve into the life and work of this renowned surrealist artist.
  • Explore the Royal Galleries of Ostend, a neoclassical structure dating back to the 19th century.
  • Wander through Leopold Park, a peaceful green space perfect for a relaxing picnic.
  • Experience the vibrant nightlife at Ostend’s many bars and clubs.

Exploring the Ardennes Region

The Ardennes region is a great destination for day trips from Brussels. Located in the south of Belgium, the Ardennes is a beautiful area of rolling hills, forests, and rivers. It is known for its picturesque villages, stunning landscapes, and outdoor activities. From hiking and biking to kayaking and canoeing, there are plenty of ways to explore the Ardennes. The region is also home to some of the best beer in the world, so be sure to sample some of the local brews.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day trip or an adventure-filled excursion, the Ardennes has something for everyone. With its stunning scenery and abundance of activities, it’s no wonder why the Ardennes is one of the best day trips from Brussels.

Practical information about a trip to the Ardennes

The Ardennes region is easily accessible by car or train from Brussels.

It is recommended to rent a car to fully explore the area and its many villages. For outdoor activities, it is best to plan ahead and bring appropriate gear and clothing. Don’t forget to try some of the local delicacies, such as Ardennes ham and Belgian waffles.

Best villages in the Ardennes

  • Durbuy: Often referred to as the “smallest city in the world,” Durbuy is renowned for its charming stone houses, cobbled streets, and stunning natural surroundings.
  • La Roche-en-Ardenne: Known for its medieval castle ruins, La Roche-en-Ardenne offers a romantic, historic setting amidst the beauty of the Ardennes.
  • Bouillon: Home to one of Belgium’s most impressive fortresses, Bouillon is a delight for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
  • Rochefort: Famous for its Trappist monastery and beer, Rochefort also offers scenic beauty and tranquility.
  • Spa: Known as the “Pearl of the Ardennes,” Spa is famous for its thermal baths, giving rise to the term ‘spa’ for wellness centers.

Visiting the Historic City of Antwerp

Antwerp is a great day trip from Brussels, and a must-see for anyone looking to explore the historic cities of Belgium. Located just an hour away by train, Antwerp is a city steeped in history and culture. From the iconic Grote Markt, to the stunning architecture of the Cathedral of Our Lady, to the vibrant nightlife of the city’s many bars and restaurants, there is something for everyone in Antwerp. The city is also home to some of the best shopping in Belgium, with its many boutiques and designer stores. Whether you’re looking for a day of sightseeing, shopping, or just relaxing in one of the city’s many parks, Antwerp is the perfect destination for a day trip from Brussels.

Practical information about a day trip to Antwerp

Getting from Brussels to Antwerp is a straightforward journey, providing you with a few transportation options. The most convenient method is to take a train from Brussels Central Station. Trains to Antwerp depart every half hour, and the journey takes approximately an hour. Tickets can be purchased at the station, or in advance online.

For those preferring to drive, Antwerp is roughly an hour away from Brussels, depending on traffic. There are several parking garages in the city center. Alternatively, bus services also run between the two cities, although the journey may take a bit longer.

Things to do in Antwerp

  • Visit Rubenshuis, the former home and studio of the famous Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens.
  • Explore the Antwerp Zoo, one of the oldest and best-known zoos in Europe, right next to the Central Station.
  • Stroll along the Meir, Antwerp’s main shopping street, lined with beautiful Rococo buildings.
  • Take a diamond tour in the Diamond District, where 80% of the world’s diamonds are traded.
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the MAS Museum rooftop, a modern art museum located in the old dockyards.
Antwerp: interesting day trip from brussels
Antwerp: interesting day trip from brussels

Exploring the City of Dinant

Dinant is a beautiful city located in the Wallonia region of Belgium, just a short drive from Brussels. It’s a great destination for a day trip, with plenty of activities to keep you busy. From exploring the city’s historic sites to taking a boat ride along the Meuse River, there’s something for everyone in Dinant. The city is also home to some of the best restaurants in the region, so you can enjoy a delicious meal while taking in the stunning views of the city.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day trip or an adventure-filled day, Dinant is the perfect destination for a day trip from Brussels.

Practical information about your trip to Dinant

Traveling to Dinant from Brussels is quite straightforward. The quickest way to reach Dinant is by car, with the journey typically taking around one and a half hours via the E411.

If you prefer public transport, direct trains are available from Brussels Central Station to Dinant, with the journey usually taking around two hours. You can get your tickets at the train station or buy them online.

Once in Dinant, the city is compact and easily walkable, so there’s no need for public transport within the city.

Things to do in Dinant

  • Visit the Cave of Dinant (La Merveilleuse), known for its impressively formed stalactites and stalagmites.
  • Take a cruise along the Meuse River for picturesque views of the town and surrounding countryside.
  • Explore Dinant Citadel, a fortress offering a panoramic view of the city and fascinating history.
  • Tour Leffe Brewery and enjoy tasting some of the world’s most renowned Belgian beers.
  • Try your hand at saxophone at the Saxophone Museum, honoring the city’s famous son, Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.
Dinant: day trip from Brussels Belgium
Dinant: day trip from Brussels Belgium

Take a day off at one of the Belgian beaches

Belgium’s coastline is a fantastic day trip option from Brussels, offering a delightful blend of leisure and culture.

Just a short train ride will bring you to towns like Ostend or Knokke-Heist, where you can bask in the golden sand or take a refreshing dip in the North Sea. These bustling towns are replete with excellent seafood restaurants serving local specialties, chic boutiques for shopping enthusiasts, and plenty of picturesque walking trails.

History buffs can explore the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum in Ostend, while nature lovers might prefer a visit to Het Zwin nature reserve in Knokke. No matter your interests, a day spent at the Belgian coast offers a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of Brussels.

Practical information about the Belgian coastline

Reaching the Belgian coast is straightforward and efficient from Brussels. Regular trains depart from Brussels to the coastal cities of Ostend and Knokke, with travel times typically around an hour.

Once there, the coastal tram, known as the Kusttram, operates along the entirety of the Belgian coast, from De Panne near the French border to Knokke-Heist near the Dutch border.

The Kusttram provides a convenient and scenic way to explore the various towns and beaches along the coast. With trams departing every 10 minutes during peak summer periods, it offers a flexible way to discover the charming and diverse Belgian coastline.

Best villages in on the Belgian coast

    • De Haan: Captivating seaside village with Belle Époque architecture and tranquil atmosphere. Perfect blend of beachy leisure and old-world charm.
    • Blankenberge: Lively beachfront destination known for fun and entertainment. Hosts summer festivals and features attractions like the Sea Life Centre.
    • Nieuwpoort: Chic coastal town with trendy marina and vast natural reserve. Ideal for nature lovers and sailing enthusiasts. Don’t miss its pristine sandy beaches.

    For more detailed information on each location, refer to our comprehensive blog post: Best Beaches in Belgium.

Nature Parks in Belgium on a day trip from Brussels

Belgium is home to a wealth of natural parks that offer a tranquil escape from city life. These natural havens are easily accessible from Brussels, making them ideal for day trips or weekend getaways.

  • The High Fens: This is Belgium’s largest nature reserve, featuring peat bogs, forests and streams. It’s a paradise for walkers and bird watchers.
  • The Sonian Forest: Located on the outskirts of Brussels, the Sonian Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers numerous walking and cycling paths.
  • The Ardennes: Encompassing forests, hills and ridges, the Ardennes is perfect for hiking, cycling and canoeing.
  • Hallerbos: Known as the ‘Blue Forest’, Hallerbos becomes a magical place in spring when a carpet of bluebells covers the forest floor.

Remember to always respect the rules and regulations of these parks to help preserve their natural beauty.

For more detailed information about these hidden gems in Belgium, check our comprehensive guide: Top Nature Parks in Belgium.

Practical information about your day trip

To ensure your day trip is an enjoyable and hassle-free experience, we have compiled some practical information that you might find useful. This advice helps you navigate your day with ease and enjoy the unique charms Belgium has to offer. Let’s delve into these handy tips to make your day trip even more pleasant.

Where to spend the night?

If you’re considering staying overnight, Brussels offers a wide range of accommodations suitable for all budgets and preferences. For a truly unique experience, we recommend trying one of the city’s boutique hotels.

Check out our guide on Boutique Hotels in Brussels for recommendations.

If you want to venture beyond the city and experience a taste of royalty, consider staying in a castle hotel in Belgium. Read more about these enchanting accommodations in our article: Castle Hotels in Belgium.

How to get to your day trip destination?

Belgium boasts an efficient and interconnected transportation system which provides several options for getting to your day trip destination:

  • Train: Belgium’s train network is extensive, making it a convenient and reliable option for reaching various destinations. Trains depart frequently from Brussels to numerous cities and towns across Belgium. Get your train tickets right away.
  • Bus: The country offers an extensive bus network that connects even the smallest towns. Though travel times may be longer compared to trains, it could be a more economical option and a great way to see the countryside.
  • Own Car: If you prefer the flexibility of traveling at your own pace, driving is a good option. Belgium’s roads and highways are well-maintained and well-signposted, making it easy to navigate to your destination. However, remember to check the parking facilities at your destination in advance.


Remember, the choice of transportation largely depends on your destination and personal preference. Be sure to consider the cost, travel time, and convenience of each option when planning your day trip.

How to get to Brussels?

Getting to Brussels, the starting point of your day trips, is quite straightforward thanks to myriad transportation options available:

  • Train: Major European cities have direct train services to Brussels, making it a convenient option for those already within Europe. Tickets can be purchased online or at the train station, and the city center is easily accessible from the main train stations in Brussels.
  • Flight: Brussels Airport receives flights from various international destinations. Upon arrival, the city center is easily accessible by train, taxi, or bus. Check prices for your flight immediately.
  • Own Car: If you prefer driving, Brussels is well-connected by an extensive network of highways. Remember to check the rules for on-street parking or consider using a parking garage in the city center.
  • Bus: Numerous long-distance bus companies operate services to Brussels from various European cities. While it may be a longer journey compared to other modes of transport, it could be a more economical option.

What to do in Brussels?

Brussels, the heart of Europe, is an incredibly fun and exciting city filled with a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity. This vibrant city offers an array of thrilling experiences ranging from exploring historic sites, indulging in delectable Belgian cuisine, to appreciating the city’s rich art scene.

To help you navigate through the endless attractions, we’ve curated the perfect 2-day itinerary for Brussels on our blog. Get ready to embark on a memorable journey as you discover the best of what Brussels has to offer.

Conclusion - the most interesting day trips from Brussels

In conclusion, Brussels is an ideal starting point for a variety of day trips. From exploring the medieval town of Bruges to discovering the Ardennes region, there are plenty of exciting and interesting places to visit. Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience, a historical journey, or a nature adventure, there is something for everyone. With its convenient location and easy access to public transportation, Brussels is the perfect place to start your day trip adventure.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and explore the best day trips from Brussels!

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