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IN FLANDERS, YOU'RE NEVER FAR AWAY
IN FLANDERS, YOU'RE NEVER FAR AWAY
TEN TIPS FOR YOUR VISIT TO FLANDERS
Flanders is a region teeming with history and atmosphere and wherever you wander you will find café terraces, lively markets, gastronomic restaurants and great shopping.
But while many people are familiar with Brussels' sights such as the Grote Markt, the Atomium and Manneken Pis, there is so much more to discover in Flanders. Here are ten tips for an unforgettable visit to our region that will have you coming back for more!
In Flanders, public transport makes moving around quick, safe and easy. A trip from Brussels to Antwerp only takes 40 minutes by train. All of the other main sites are within less than 1 hour from Brussels. This gives you the freedom to see and experience a lot in a very short time.
The language in Flanders is Dutch but the people generally speak French, English and German fluently and with pleasure. In Flanders, language is no barrier!
FLANDERS FOR FOODIES
The people of Flanders are true connoisseurs of life. The culinary culture is part of our history and Belgians love to share it with visitors. Wherever you go in Flanders you will find attractive restaurants, taverns and cafés serving well prepared food, whether it's gourmet dishes cooked by a top chef or chips at a local chip shop. Prepare to be delighted!
TIPS: Make sure you sample some of our local specialties: Gentse Waterzooi (chicken and vegetable stew), Vlaamse Stoofcarbonades (Carbonnade à la Flamande), Endive with ham and cheese, Mussels with Chips, Brussels Wafflesand More. Every city has its own local delicacies: Antwerp hands, Hasselt speculoos, etc. HAVE A TASTE AND TAKE SOME HOME!
INDULGE YOURSELF WITH CHOCOLATE
Discover for yourself why we have such a fantastic reputation for chocolate. Our pralines are real works of art.
TIPS: visit a Chocolate Museum and learn all there is to know about chocolate. Choco-Story: www.choco-story.be,Planète Chocolat, www.planetechocolat.be You will find beautiful chocolate shops tempting you with their creations on every corner: don't forget to TAKE SOME HOME!
TASTE 400 KINDS OF BEER
Nowhere else on the globe will you find so many different types of beer: Belgium is the world's number one beer country. Note: most of the special beers have a high alcohol content. They are made for savouring, not for quaffing in large quantities.
Flemish cities offer the visitor the oppertunity to experience the living past. Bruges is a special example: nowhere else in Europe have the monuments of a city's rich medieval history been preserved as they have in Bruges. UNESCO has recognised this and the entire city centre designated a world heritage site.
TIP: take a romantic boat trip through the Bruges 'Reien' (small canals) or take a ride in a caleche (horse-drawn carriage) through the cobbled streets. (www.brugge.be)
WANDER BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW
The past and the present are both vibrantly alive in our stunning cities. While cities of Flanders are treasure troves of history with lovely, historic centres, there are also buzzing, enterprising cities that have embraced the 21st century with open arms.
TIPS: Local café? Wine bar? Lounge bar? Fashionable brasserie? Flanders abounds with fun and relaxing places to drink and enjoy a snack. Highlights include the cafés on the Graslei in Ghent and on the old market in Leuven. Also, take a stroll around one of our peaceful and exquisitely preserved beguinages in Kortrijk, Leuven and Mechelen.
FOLLOW THE ART NOUVEAU TRAIL
Brussels has about a hundred buildings dating from the art nouveau period, many by the renowned architect Victor Horta. Antwerp and Ghent also have their share of art nouveau treasures waiting to be discovered by the discerning visitor.
TIPS: you can select an art nouveau walking tour of Brussels at www.brusselsartnouveau.be or pick up an Art Nouveau walking map at the Information Office. There is a good brasserie with an amazing view over Brussels at the top of theMusical Instrument Museum. (hofberg 2, stunning art nouveau building!)
EYE CANDY: FASHION AS AN ART FORM
The impact of the 'Antwerp Six' is ever present in the fashion boutiques of Antwerp. These innovative designers have transformed this city into a leading fashion centre. Brussels too has everthing to offer the stylish shopper.
TIPS: Visit the Modenatie Fashion Museum. In the Lombardenvest and Steenhouwersvest, you will find the leading international names alongside Antwerp designers. In addition to exclusive boutiques, the Kammenstraat is also home to vendors of streetwear for the stylish, young and trendy. Go trend-shopping in the Antoine Dansaerstraat in Brussels. You can find an overview of Brussels fashion shops at www.modobruxellae.be. Visit the famous Antwerop Diamond Quarter, near the central station, where trade - and shopping for diamonds! - is concentrated. You will find the largest diamond showroom here: 'Diamondland'.
FIND THAT SPECIAL ANTIQUE
From old painting and valuable antiques to fun curios: Flanders has it all. Renowned antique shops and buzzing antique and flea markets at the weekends offer something for every taste and budget.
TIPS: on the Grote Zavel (Grand Sablon) in Brussels, you will find antique shops as well as a lively market on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Visit the largest antique and curiosities market in the Benelux, every sunday from 6am - 1pm in Tongeren. Stroll from one lively market to the other on sundays in Ghent: antiques and curiosities, flowers, crafts, and so forth.
ADMIRE FLEMISH ART
From the Flemish primitives to modern art: our artists are know all over the world. You can admire many of the masterpieces of Flemish art in our prestigious museums.
TIPS: Hieronymus Bosch, Belgian Expressionists, ... Museum voor Schone Kunsten, (Museum of Fine Arts), Citadelpark - Gent. Flemish Primitives (Van Eyck, Memling, Van Der Weyden, etc.) Groeninge Museum - Bruges.Ensor, Fouquet, Rubens: Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Leopold De Waelplaats - Antwerp. Magritte Museum: Place Royale - Brussels.
CATCH THE SEA AIR ON THE BELGIAN COAST
If you need bigger spaces and a change of pace, take the train and head for the North Sea. There are 67 kilometres of fine sandy beaches for an invigorating walk, or why not spend an hour or two in one of our lively coastal towns? Each has its own character and its own range of activities and dining opportunities.
TIPS: Ostend is a cosmopolitan city-by-the-sea with a harbour and many cultural offerings such as the Ensor Houseand the Mu.Zee (Modern Art). There are exciting events programmed throughout the year. From March to October this year, you can view works of art on the beach up and down the coast as part of theBeaufort 03 Project, organised as a joint effort by the coastal communities. Programme and information: Mu.Zee or the Tourist Information Offices of the coastal towns. Explore the coastline by bike! Pick up the Coast Bicycle Touring map at the information office.