16 Most Popular Day Trips from Brussels

Day trips from Brussels

Brussels, the heart of Belgium, is where history comes alive through the people of the city and their traditions. From the stunning Grand Place to the mouthwatering Belgian chocolates and waffles, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this bustling metropolis. Whether you are exploring the cobblestone streets of Brussels or venturing out to nearby towns, one thing is for sure is – the beauty and charm of this city will enchant you. 

Setting off on day trips from Brussels opens up a world of possibilities to discover the beautiful attractions surrounding Belgium’s capital. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures, art exploration, or a peaceful retreat, these nearby destinations are conveniently close yet wonderfully unique from Brussels. 

Popular day trips from Brussels

Popular day trips from Brussels

Ready to escape the hustle and bustle of Brussels for a day? 

While Brussels has its own appeal with its remarkable architecture, delicious chocolate, and traditions, exploring beyond the city limits offers a chance to delve deeper into Belgium’s rich history, diverse landscapes, and culinary traditions. Explore medieval towns rich in history, scenic countryside views, culinary delights, and cultural experiences on these day trips, offering a refreshing break from the commotion of city living. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures, art exploration, or a peaceful retreat, these nearby destinations are conveniently close yet wonderfully unique from Brussels. These short trips from Brussels will allow you to experience more of what this small but fascinating country has to offer, all conveniently reachable from here.

1. Ghent

Day trip to the charming city of Ghent

Just a short train ride away from the bustling city of Brussels lies the charming city of Ghent, one of the best places to visit near Brussels. Nestled in the heart of Belgium, Ghent combines its medieval past with a modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The city’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting impressive architecture, cobblestone streets, and lovely canals. Take a stroll along the Graslei and Korenlei, two iconic waterfront streets lined with beautifully preserved guild houses, cafes, and restaurants. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the famous Ghent Altarpiece, a masterpiece of Flemish art, housed in Saint Bavo’s Cathedral. And to make things easier, you can let Go Real Travel guide you on an unforgettable Brussels day trip experience.

  • Distance from Brussels: 55 km (35 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 40 mins
  • Time taken by train: 30 mins

2. Bruges

Embark on a journey to Bruges for an unforgettable one-day trip from Brussels. Get lost in the history and scenic allure of this medieval paradise, also called the “Venice of the North.” Indulge in the fairytale-like ambiance of Bruges with a delightful horse-drawn carriage excursion through its charming streets, including the famous Belfry Tower, offering awe-inspiring panoramic views. Make sure to try the renowned Bruges lace, a traditional art form that has been handed down through generations. A little over an hour away, Bruges is the perfect short trip from Brussels. Experience the thrill of a guided day trip with GoReal Travel as your knowledgeable guide while you enjoy the scenic views of Bruges.

  • Distance from Brussels: 95 km (60 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 1 hour
  • Time taken by train: 1 hour

Further Read: 16 Most Romantic destinations in Europe

3. Ypres

Tucked away in the West Flanders region of Belgium, Ypres is a treasure trove of medieval marvels, streets that whisper tales of the past, and poignant memorials that pay homage to the sacrifices made during World War I. Indulge in the past as you explore iconic landmarks like the Menin Gate, a solemn memorial honoring the brave soldiers who laid down their lives, and the In Flanders Fields Museum, an interesting journey into the war’s profound impact on the region. Ypres invites you to step back in time while savoring the modern comforts it graciously offers. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture connoisseur, or simply seeking solace in a breathtaking setting, a weekend getaway to Ypres is hands-down one of the most enjoyable Brussels day trip.

  • Distance from Brussels: 130 km (80 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 1 hour
  • Time taken by train: 2 hours

4. Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery

Dive into a memorable journey from Brussels to the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, a significant site commemorating the Battle of the Bulge. The scenic drive by car will take you through the scenic Belgian countryside, offering glimpses of charming villages and rolling hills along the way. As you approach the cemetery, you will be struck by the solemn beauty of the meticulously maintained grounds, where thousands of American soldiers who fought in World War II are laid to rest. A weekend trip from Brussels by car – a visit to the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery will leave with you a deeper appreciation for the history and significance of the Battle of the Bulge, as well as a sense of gratitude for the sacrifices made by those who fought to defend freedom and democracy.

  • Distance from Brussels: 145 km (90 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 1.5 hours
  • Time taken by train: 3 hours

5. Lille

Day trip from Brussels by train to Lille

French cities offer delightful day trips from Brussels by train. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just looking for a new adventure, the train ride from Brussels to Lille is a great way to experience the beauty of both Belgium and France in a single trip. 

From the grandeur of the Palais des Beaux-Arts, one of the largest art museums in France, to the iconic Old Stock Exchange with its intricate Flemish architecture, Lille is full of traditional and historical wonders. Stroll through the streets of Vieux Lille, the city’s historic center, and admire the beautifully preserved 17th-century buildings that transport you back in time. 

Did you know? After being destroyed in World War I, Lille’s Town Hall and Belfry were rebuilt in 1932 and now stand as the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Don’t forget to indulge in the city’s famous dish, the ‘moules-frites’ amongst other regional specialties, including the renowned Maroilles cheese and the irresistible waffles known as ‘gaufres’.

  • Distance from Brussels: 106 km (65 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 1.5 hours
  • Time taken by train: 30 minutes

Also Read: How to plan a perfect family trip to Europe

6. Antwerp

Prepare to be amazed as you journey from Brussels to Antwerp, a trip filled with discovery and excitement. The day trip from Brussels by train treats you to breathtaking views of the Belgian countryside, showcasing its rolling hills and quaint villages. Antwerp’s unique blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication is evident as soon as you arrive. From the iconic Cathedral of Our Lady to the vibrant Diamond District, there is no shortage of sights to see and experiences to enjoy in Antwerp. Whether you’re strolling along the waterfront, admiring the works of famous artists like Rubens, or indulging in the local cuisine, Antwerp offers a diverse range of attractions that will captivate and inspire you.

  • Distance from Brussels: 45 km (27 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 30 minutes
  • Time taken by train: 45 minutes

7. Waterloo

The journey from Brussels to Waterloo is not just a physical distance, but a journey through time and history. This small town is famous for being the site of the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in 1815. Visitors can explore the battlefield, visit the museums, and learn about the events that shaped European history. The quaint town also offers an escape for adventure enthusiasts, from hiking and biking trails to picnicking in the beautiful parks. There are plenty of opportunities to soak in the natural beauty of the area.

  • Distance from Brussels: 16 km (10 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 25 minutes
  • Time taken by train: 30 minutes

8. Leuven

Known as the beer capital of Belgium, Leuven is a lively university town known for its historic architecture, international student population, and rich beer culture with a variety of breweries, bars, and beer-related attractions. Join a brewery tour, taste local brews at a traditional pub, and discover why Belgian beer is world-renowned.

  • Distance from Brussels: 30 km (18 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 30 minutes
  • Time taken by train: 30 minutes

9. Eifel National Park

A train or bus ride from Brussels to Eifel National Park, a pristine wilderness spanning the Belgian-German border, can take up to 4 hours! Take in the fresh air and enjoy the park’s tranquility as you explore its winding trails and breathtaking vistas. 

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Eifel National Park is the ideal destination to unwind and reconnect with the great outdoors. Keep an eye out for native wildlife such as deer, wild boar, and various bird species as you traverse the park’s diverse ecosystems. 

  • Distance from Brussels: 155 km (96 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 2 hours
  • Time taken by train: 4 hours

10. Hasselt

Get ready to be swept away on a mesmerizing journey from Brussels to Hasselt. The landscapes that unfold before your eyes will transport you to a world of natural beauty and tranquility. Rolling hills, adorned with lush greenery, and charming villages scattered throughout the countryside, will create a breathtaking backdrop that will leave you in awe. Hasselt has more to offer than just scenic views. It is a haven for art enthusiasts with a thriving art scene that will ignite your passion for creativity. Explore the numerous galleries and museums that showcase a blend of contemporary and traditional artworks and engage in the local customs. Don’t forget to visit the renowned Hasselt Fashion Museum, a true testament to the town’s status as a fashion capital.

  • Distance from Brussels: 85 km (52 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 1 hour
  • Time taken by train: 1 hour

11. Dunkirk

Dunkirk, a hidden gem along the northern coast of France, entices travelers with its remarkable wartime heroism and maritime legacy.  Known for its role in World War II, particularly the famous Dunkirk Evacuation, the city now stands as a symbol of resilience and rebirth. Today, visitors can explore its historical sites, sandy beaches, and bustling harbor. From the towering Dunkirk Belfry to the Musée Dunkerque 1940 – Operation Dynamo, there’s no shortage of places to soak up Dunkirk’s past. Walk the same streets as soldiers once did, marvel at artifacts from the evacuation, and gain a deeper understanding of this pivotal moment in history.

  • Distance from Brussels: 156 km (97 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 2 hours
  • Time taken by train: 2.5 hours

12. Ostend

If you’re seeking a coastal getaway from the bustling city of Brussels, then look no further than Ostend, a charming city in Belgium that offers a delightful day trip experience. Situated along the North Sea, Ostend has a fascinating history as a prominent seaside resort destination. Whether you’re in the mood for relaxing on sandy beaches, strolling along lively promenades, or immersing yourself in heritage, Ostend has it all. And, let’s not forget about the culinary delights! Indulge in the freshest seafood, from succulent shrimp croquettes to buttery North Sea sole. 

  • Distance from Brussels: 113 km (70 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 1 hour 7 minutes
  • Time taken by train: 1.5 hours

13. Citadelle de Namur

Citadelle de Namur, a historic fortress perched on a hill overlooking the lovely city of Namur, is an hour-long day trip from Brussels by train. Originally built in the Roman era, this impressive fortress has witnessed centuries of battles and strategic importance. 

  • Distance from Brussels: 71 km (45 miles)
  • Time taken by car: 50 minutes
  • Time taken by train: 1 hour

14. Rotterdam 

Visiting Rotterdam from Brussels on a day trip

Rotterdam is a city of contrasts, from the iconic Erasmus Bridge to the bustling Markthal, inviting exploration and discovery. Whether you’re interested in art, or history, or soaking in the local customs, Rotterdam has something for everyone, making it a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique European experience. Visiting Rotterdam after Brussels allows you to witness how two neighboring countries can have distinct identities that complement each other harmoniously. The city’s animated art scene, bustling markets, and diverse culinary offerings provide a stark contrast to the historical charm of Brussels, creating a well-rounded travel experience that showcases the best of both worlds. 

  • Distance from Brussels: 150 km (93 miles)
  • Time taken by car: 2 hours
  • Time taken by train: 1 hour

Read More: Plan a trip to Netherlands with your ultimate travel guide

15. Paris

Exploring Paris from Brussels on a day trip by trina

Paris, the city that captivates with its iconic sights and romantic vibes, is best enjoyed with ample time at hand due to its distance from Brussels. With a distance of almost 200 miles between both Brussels and Paris, we do not recommend taking this almost 4 hour journey. However, if you find yourself short on time, it is possible to briefly visit the city of love. Delve into the wonders of Paris, from the majestic Eiffel Tower to the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral. Treat yourself to the finest French cuisine and bask in the vibrant atmosphere before returning to Brussels, cherishing the memories made.

  • Distance from Brussels: 312 km (200 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 4 hours
  • Time taken by train: 1.5 hours

16. Amsterdam

Visiting the beautiful canals of Amsterdam on a day trip from Brussels

The journey from Brussels to Amsterdam can be a long and tiring one, hence we do not recommend it, especially if you’re traveling with family and kids. However, if you find yourself short on time, it is possible to make a quick detour to the beautiful city. Take a stroll through the historic canal belt, uncover the wonders of the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House, and savor delectable Dutch treats at bustling markets and charming cafes.

  • Distance from Brussels: 209 km‌ (130 miles)
  • Time taken by private car: 3 hours
  • Time taken by train: 2 hours

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So, are you ready to explore and delight yourself with the best day trips from Brussels?

From enchanting old towns to significant World War II sites, there’s an array of attractive destinations to choose from. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or an avid adventurer, these trips promise to satisfy your cravings for excitement and exploration. 

Don’t miss out on the chance to see more of Belgium and create lasting memories. Start planning your ideal short trips from Brussels today and get ready to embark on an incredible journey!

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