Three cities in three days! It might sound hectic but it was a great way to get to know Belgium and its really easy and cheap to get between cities too. I’m excited to share my itinerary for a weekend in Belgium… and you get the chance to win an awesome Belgium Beer scratch map too! Woo!
I had seen a few surprise trips advertised before and thought they sounded right up my street. People often ask me where I want to go and my answer is always EVERYWHERE! Yes I have places I am more interested in visiting than others and certain places that are better to visit at certain times than others, but I can honestly say there isn’t anywhere I don’t want to go to.
So a surprise trip with WowTrip sounded right up my street and when Monica invited students from her Blogger Course to join her on a WowTrip I jumped at the chance.
We picked our dates and airport we wanted to leave from and the rest is left up to WowTrip. You are able to pick places from their list that you definitely don’t want to go to or can just leave it 100% up to them.
I was so excited it was Belgium when I found out as despite it being so close, its a country I’ve never been to. Add in lots of lovely blogger buddies, sunshine and last minute adventures to not one, but three cities in Belgium and you have the recipe for a fab weekend.
My itinerary for a long weekend in Belgium
Day 1 – Brussels
We left early from Manchester airport and arrived into Brussels around midday. We made a small mistake leaving the airport and instead of getting on the bus that takes you into the city centre got a local bus which took us to a train station near the airport where we then had to get a train. There wasn’t much in it time wise or cost. You can also get a taxi if there’s a group of you that doesn’t work out much more.
We were staying at the Hilton Brussels City which was great for a weekend break. Big modern communal areas and clean rooms. Mine was a bit small but as we didn’t spend much time inside it was just what we needed. I always find Hilton have the most comfy beds too.
(Thanks to Monica from The Travel Hack for taking lots of photos of me on this trip)
I hadn’t heard great things about Brussels so wasn’t sure what we were going to do with three days there, but when day trips were suggested I got very excited. That said what we did see of Brussels was beautiful.
Here are my top three things to see in Brussels:
- The Grand Place – a large square surrounded by magnificent guild halls is the first place you must visit. Fit for a Queen, and every tourist that visits Brussels, but worth it for the photos, the atmosphere and the buzz. Make sure you grab an ice cream or waffle to enjoy as you watch the crowds pass by.
- Visit ALL the chocolate shops – If there’s one thing Belgium is known for it’s chocolate and the chocolate shops won’t disappoint. I possibly went in about 15 chocolate shops in Brussels, taking as many tasters as I could and purchased ‘the odd one’ too.
- Mannekin Pis & Jeanneke Pis – a statue of a boy and a girl pissing. Such an odd thing to want to see but Brussels is famous for it. I was a little underwhelmed by the two small statues and dare I say a little disgusted? So random and weird, but I guess if you’re visiting Brussels you can’t miss these two ‘interesting’ water fountains.
There is so much more to see in Brussels, including the Atomium, mini Europe and the Royal Palace of Brussels. There’s loads of great places and things to eat too, from bowls of piled high mussels with frites, to creamy chicken filled vol au vents and fresh warm waffles.
Day 2 – Bruge
On the second day we decided to head straight to Bruge in the morning. We got the train from the Brussels Nord station which was just 5 minutes from our hotel. Trains were very regular and took only an hour. The train I got on was pretty packed and I ended up standing most of the way, but for 16Euro return I couldn’t complain too much.
As soon as I arrived into Bruge I fell in love. As soon as you cross the road from the station, following the church tower (and the crowds) for reference you are instantly transported to another age, with cobbled streets and cute terraced cottages at every turn. The Old Town seems to stretch so far and we could have easily spent more than a day wandering the adorable old streets.
Obviously I spent much of my time moving from one chocolate shop to the next and even found a make your own hot chocolate shop where you choose which flavour chocolate drops you want and they quickly turn it into a delicious melty hot chocolate. You can mix and match, so imagine chocolate orange with dark and white and milk or whatever you fancy all mixed together. Delicious. Anyway enough chocolate chat…
Here are my top 3 things to do in Bruge.
- Just wander – I could’ve spent the full 3 days exploring Bruge. It’s such a beautiful city with gorgeous medieval buildings at every turn. The cobbled paths intertwine with canals with cute little bridges connecting you from one part of the city to another. You could easily spend your day in Bruge exploring by foot and admiring the views. There is currently an art walking tour called ‘Liquid City’ where there are various giant art installations around the city which is worth exploring on your travels.
- Take a boat ride – We took a short boat ride around the city and it was a great way to get our bearings and learn a bit about the history of the city. The half hour boat ride costs about €8.
- The Belfry of Bruge – We waited in line for over an hour to walk up many many steps to get to the top of the Belfry. The 360 views around the city were pretty incredible, though it was pretty windy and I might have given a few people a shock in my floaty dress.
While wandering around the town make sure you add in regular beer and wine stops. I’m not a beer drinker myself but legend has it the beer in Belgium is pretty good (see competition below). I can tell you sitting at a bar on the river front as the sun sets is an experience not to be missed though!
Day 3 – Ghent
Originally we had planned to spend the final day in Brussels as we were flying out that evening, but our flight wasn’t until the evening and Ghent is only half an hour by train so we thought why not?! The trains were still very regular for a Sunday so it’s easy to get there and back and just spend a few hours in city number 3.
I didn’t love Ghent as much as Bruge, but there were still lots of pretty buildings and some cool places to eat too.
Here are my top 3 things to do in Ghent
- Visit Holy Food Market – Day or night this is the place to eat, drink and socialise with friends. We came across this little gem by accident on our afternoon stroll and stopped for a quick cocktail. We’d already eaten otherwise we would have definitely stopped for some food. There are numerous creative, tasty looking food stalls around the edge and a grand bar in the centre of the room. The high ceilings and beautiful food make it an Instagrammers dream and I imagine the bar that circles the room upstairs is buzzing after 6pm.
- The graffiti alley – I don’t think anyone visits Ghent without walking through the graffiti alley. Another instagram dream. We spent a good half an hour walking up and down this narrow street snapping photos from various angles against colourful graffiti filled walls. It’s the one place in the city where graffiti is allowed and people definitely make the most of it. Some art work is of course better than others!
- Eat more waffles – I think we only ate two waffles on our weekend in Brussels, which personally I think is a disgrace, it should definitely have been at least 4. But with tasty food at every turn we quickly ended up filling our bellies with savoury food and not saving much space for waffles. Go to one of the little food carts in the market for an authentic Belgium waffle experience. I like mine smothered in nutella and topped with banana. What about you?
So there you have it. My little itinerary for a long weekend in Brussels. Three cities in three days, lots of food, booze and sites. What more could you want?
Win a Belgium Beer Scratch the World Map – this competition is now closed.
I may not have drunk any Belgium beer myself, but my blogger buddies certainly did and there is plenty of different beers to choose from. So if you’re a beer drinker say a big thank you to Maps International who have given you the chance to win one of their new Scratch the World Maps.
We’ve all seen the traditional Scratch the World maps, but they’ve now brought out a new range of maps, including a Belgium beer one, a European wine one and some Alpine Climbs and skiing maps. I have just received the European wines one and can’t wait to start scratching them off. Any excuse for a glass of wine right?
This competition is now closed. Congratulations to our winner Linda G.
Have you been to Belgium? I’d love to hear any more tips you have for how to spend a day in each city.
I was invited to Brussels (well on a surprise trip) by WowTrip and The Blogger Course (<- affiliate link but the course is awesome, I even got an awesome trip to Brussels!!). I didn’t HAVE to write anything so all words and opinions are my own as always 🙂