Flanders, one of two regions in Belgium, is a unique example of how such a small part of the Old Continent, could have such a high concentration of spectacular architectural sights to discover. We have been exploring this region for almost 10 months now, and just now we believe that we have seen the bigger part of the things that there is here to see. Therefore, we came up with an idea to takeover the official Visit Flanders tourism Instagram account and to share the best of our discoveries with the ones interested in hearing more about this rich and extraordinary region. Hope that you are one of them, Dear Reader!
Discovering Seven wonders of Flanders was so much fun! These seven destinations, which we are going to present to you today, are special in a way that they all gave us this wonderful discovery! feeling, as if we would have found something unique, extraordinary. Some of these cities are small; some of them are big metropolitans; the strength of most of them is architecture; others – charm by their atmosphere. What is more, the ones with extraordinary architecture – they are magical! But, most importantly, when you combine all these destinations into one route, you get the awesome Belgian road trip.
Wonder One – Bruges
Bruges is a true fairytale! Due to its sweet little houses, charming streets and canals, majestic churches and spectacular towers, this well-preserved fairytale, is at the top of things to see in the country of Belgium.
The thing that we love the most about Bruges is its authenticity. No matter where you go, every house, square, backyard or street will greet you with the same magical fairytale mood. Considering that the worst feature of Belgian cities, is the modern buildings in the middle of lovely old ones, Bruges really pops out with its preserved, cherished and nourished looks!
Wonder Two – Ghent
Ghent is the city that owns the most photogenic spot in the whole country! Well, at least for us. The view from the bridge of St Michael’s is the most spectacular, magical and breathtaking that we have discovered in Belgium or anywhere around it. The thing that makes it so special, is the unexpectedness. Just imagine, that you turn around the ordinary street corner and in front of you graciously stands four majestic Gothic towers in the background of an astonishing medieval bridge. Simply wonderful!
Anyway, Ghent is not only the view from St Michael’s. It is a city with rich culture and glorious history. What is more, it is a city built at the confluence of two lovely rivers and framed with really spectacular facades. To be fair, sometimes seems that Ghent isn’t a real city. It is a magical theme park!
Wonder Three – Leuven
Leuven is a city-surprise just outside Brussels. With the oldest Catholic university in the world, Leuven is an example of the glorious days of the Middle Ages. What is more, this city is ruled by students! Therefore, the combination of spectacular architecture and lively atmosphere is the main strength of this city.
The thing that simply can’t leave anyone apathetic, is the astonishing Leuven’s Town Hall! With its high-rising towers and ornamented style, this building is the central figure here. Though, not the only one! Lovely squares and streets, along with the vibrant atmosphere in there is something every visitor of Flanders should feel.
Wonder Four – Mechelen
Mechelen is the city with one of the most charming and the most peaceful Grote Markt squares at the same time. Not so big one, not so crowded, framed with lovely medieval houses and an ornamented Town Hall in the corner. Perfect place for a tasty and peaceful Belgian lunch!
What is more, the symbol of the city, a 97-meter-high tower of St Rumbold’s Cathedral, also is here. The extraordinary carillon music from the top of the tower will sure make your meal even tastier!
Wonder Five – Antwerp
Antwerp is the richest, the most interesting and the liveliest city that we had a chance to discover not only in Belgium but also around it. Centuries-long traditions, glorious history, a rich culture formed this city into the destination where it is always good to be back. A huge number of points of interest, majestic architecture, magical streets and squares, wide and spacious promenades, unique museums and a variety of activities – all this is Antwerp!
There are only a small number of cities in Europe, that has such a harmony between the variety of things to discover and the atmosphere to enjoy. Antwerp is the city where you want to be back again and again!
Wonder Six – Ostend
Ostend is a completely different place from all the others in Belgium. With the North Sea breeze on the wide promenade and sandy beaches along it, Ostend is the most relaxing city to discover in Flanders. And the only one where you shouldn’t search for the architecture!
The thing that made Ostend so special for us, is the scent of Southern Europe in the streets of the city. After exploring all the architectural sights that there is to admire in the other wonders of Flanders, Ostend charms by completely different things – by its relaxing holiday mood floating in the city streets, parks and squares. After all, it is the Queen of Belgian Seaside!
Wonder Seven – Ypres
The old town of Ypres is a museum in the open air! It is a town that has probably the highest concentration of astonishing medieval architecture per square meter in the whole territory of Belgium. Sky high cathedral there, sky high museum tower there. Medieval arches, church courtyards and lovely squares everywhere!
Ypres is a small, but a spectacular destination that will definitely warm a heart of every true architecture lover. And the best things is that all this majestic architecture is mixed with the green and bright colors of nature!
Flanders is an architectural wonderland. Small, but really rich one! Yes, it isn’t the place for a nature explorers. Without the North Sea, you won’t find anything extraordinary here. But! But if you are seeking to discover the hub of Europe’s culture and history, then Flanders is your place.
Pack a pair of comfy shoes, great travel companions, a map with these seven places marked on it, and we promise you the greatest road trip of the year!