ready. You are currently on: Visit Flanders

Visit Flanders

From 1 January to 30 June 2024, Belgium will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Flanders will have a hefty role to play, representing Belgium as president for Industry, Fisheries, Youth, Media and Culture. Besides this, Flanders will be hosting official events and meetings in a range of different cities, where touristic treasures, world heritage and unique and fascinating cultures abound.


© Milo Profi


It’s easy to say Brussels (opens in new window)is a special place. It’s only once you’ve visited that you’ll understand exactly why it is so special. Because visiting is the only way to truly see the worlds of business and politics exist alongside—and even pay homage to—Manneken Pis. Or experience the atmosphere of joy, pride and fascination of tourists and locals as they wander about the Galeries Saint Hubert and the Grand Place. Brussels is where a walk in a park leads you past an outdoor radio station, to a Royal Palace and a collection of world-class museums. Brussels is where one of these museums is devoted to comic books… And is utterly fascinating. It’s where the Atomium lights up the night sky, tourists visit the sewers and every street seems to have a chocolate shop tucked in among the fascinating architecture of other buildings. Yes, it’s easy to Brussels is a special place. It’s better to understand why it is.

© Havenbedrijf Antwerpen - Peter Knoop


Antwerp(opens in new window) seems to have everything. And it all exists side by side in unpredictable harmony. The cobbled streets lead to vibrant nightlife. The incredible train station shares walls with the zoo. The architectural grandeur and beauty of the Grote Markt or the Cathedral exist alongside the sparkling brilliance of the diamond district. You might find yourself wondering how the broad shopping possibilities lining either side of the De Meir shopping boulevard connect with the artworks contained within Rubens House, the eclectic MAS Museum, and the unmissable Museum of Fine Arts. Or questioning how the Plantin-Moretus Museum—dedicated to printing—ended up in a city built around the business of its shipping port … But there are no clear answers. The coolness, style and apparent contradictions are just part of the identity for the city of Antwerp.

© Pieter D'Hoop


You may have seen it described as magical. It’s been called a fairytale city. A trip back in time to the Middle Ages. Romantic, charming, picturesque. And as a place you must, must, must visit. But when you walk along cobbled streets, wander among the centuries-old buildings or cross bridges over the gorgeous canals in Bruges(opens in new window), you’ll forget about trying to describe it and just want to enjoy the experience it offers.

© Milo Profi


Ghent (opens in new window)pulses with a unique energy. There is an atmosphere of happy relaxation in the historic quarter and along the canal. It’s a town that combines history, friendliness, artistic talent, picturesque views and cuberdons. A wonderful sense of familiarity with the gorgeous architecture and centuries of history. And even though it may be waiting to be discovered just metres away, there is a sense of unspoken pride in the beauty—and bizarre story surrounding—Jan Van Eyck’s Gent Altarpiece. While this is a must-visit, Ghent itself really needs to be visiting at least twice to truly appreciate it. Plan one visit at any time of the year, but include another during the incredible 10-day Gentse Feesten, which is an experience in itself.

© Robin Reynders


Nature, fine food and drink, exquisite heritage and history and very little renown: the province of Limburg is modest about its treasures. With the possible exception of Hasselt(opens in new window). The city is also known as ‘The Capital of Taste’. And with its fine dining, delicious local jenever drinks and beautiful historic buildings, the title is not only deserved, but seemingly inevitable. Discover everything Hasselt offers.

© Piet De Kersgieter


Kortrijk (opens in new window)is either a large town or a small city. The shopping centres and the variety of museums might make you think of a city. But the incredibly picturesque views, charming historical centre and its inherently pleasant walking atmosphere immediately suggest a more intimate, friendly location. The variety of restaurants and liveliness of the cafés make it an enjoyable destination at any time throughout the day and perfect for anyone who likes to terrassen—relaxing on a terrace—in the evening.

© University Library Leuven


Leuven (opens in new window)appears to be built on university life. It is famously home to one of oldest universities in Europe, with other beacons of knowledge, from the university library to the many museums, spotted about the town. But the Stella Artois Brewery is about the same age as the university … Is it possible the university and city were built here to enjoy the brewery and the beer? A lovely, positive and joyous student atmosphere pervades throughout Leuven today, enthusing the magnificently beautiful historical centre with an optimism and energy that is always wonderful to experience. It’s one of the touristic highlights of Flanders.

© Visit Mechelen


A number of major attractions tend to dominate the schedule of tourists heading to Mechelen(opens in new window). St. Rumboldt’s Cathedral, the Kazerne Dossin Holocaust memorial and the Museum Hof van Busleyden all reward a visit with memories and amazement. But you’ll also want to enjoy and connect with Mechelen itself. The charm of the streets, gorgeous building façades, the beguinage and wandering along the Dyle river are the best way to discover the soul of the city.

© Westtoer


We challenge you: try to wander through the Royal Galleries of Ostend (opens in new window)without feeling like a king or queen. Or without imagining times when the rich and powerful would wander through, flanked by their entourages, dressed in the most recent fashions. It’s impossible. And yet, despite that, the beaches and seafood restaurants, the incredible artwork at museums, galleries and the outdoor Crystal Ship project, as well as the lively atmosphere and incredible sights and smells will almost immediately direct your thoughts elsewhere when you wander into any other part of Ostend. A wonderful coastal city even if you never make it to the water!

© Visit Genk


The variety of activities offered in Genk (opens in new window)regularly make it a destination for Belgians. A huge network of walking, cycling and skating paths take you through incredible nature. Perfect for picnics, but there are plenty of cafés and restaurants en route. Make sure to check out an exhibition at the C-Mine centre and definitely visit the Bokrijk open-air museum to experience life in Belgium as it was in times gone by.

© Hoge Kempen National Park


Maasmechelen(opens in new window) village offers everything the shopper in you could ever ask for. A broad assortment of fashion shops punctuated with wonderful restaurants and cafés. But Maasmechelen is also renowned for its proximity to De Kempen, for hiking and nature walks, the opportunity to cycle through the gorgeous purple-flowering heaths and moors. It’s a place for recharging and finding inspiration. Your opportunity to simply escape into nature and relax, relax, relax.

The full Flanders experience

Make sure you’ve experienced the best of Flanders. Art and heritage(opens in new window) are almost impossible to miss, whether you find them in the incredible creations of our Flemish Masters or in the churches, belfries and castles that still stand tall in our cities and countryside landscapes. And if you are headed to the countryside to see them? There are cycling routes(opens in new window) specifically designed to help you experience them one after another.

Of course, the incredible network of cycling paths is perfect for discovering the nature in Flanders(opens in new window), whether you cycle through or hike to enjoy the hugely different natural environments. And if this builds up an appetite? From frietjes and beer to the wonderful, wonderful chocolate, with restaurants, bars and cafés aplenty, Flanders is full of culinary treats and delights(opens in new window). Make sure you experience them all … And maybe more than once. Welcome to Flanders(opens in new window)!