Flanders was always a top tourist destination, thanks to its impeccably preserved villages and its highly spirited inhabitants. And after touring the region as part of a trip with Visit Flanders, I can definitely understand what the fuss really is about.
Say hello to f*cktons of chocolate, step gables and quaint town squares.
Instagram Flanders: Antwerp
Since I was visiting Flanders as part of a trip with Eurail.com and testing out the famous Eurail pass, it only made sense that I would visit one of the world’s most celebrated train stations in Antwerp. Lavishly decorated thanks to the very wealthy diamond industry that settled in the city, Antwerp’s train station is an attraction of its own, and not just a mere stop along the way.
Instagram Flanders: Bruges
Bruges’ train station, on the other hand, has nothing special but the city itself far makes up for it. It is what a lot of people describe as the Disneyland of quaint Europe. Indeed, Bruges is everything non-European imagine the continent to be. Cobblestone streets, canals, ancient buildings and an incredible atmosphere that simply can’t be put in words.
Bruges in the kind of place where every street corner seems to be prettier than the earlier, if that’s even possible. Lovebirds and awe-struck visitors abound, and I have to admit… I was one of them.
And while Bruges is the chocolate capital of the world, I’m afraid I have no proof of my purchases or my participation in any chocolate-related activity because of my inability to focus on anything else than his heavent-sent gift from God that is chocolate. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself — or rather, taste.
Instagram Flanders: Ghent
Ghent, while very pretty, has a slightly more alternative feeling to it, perhaps due to the student crowd. There are more quaint restaurants, more youngsters and an all-around chill-er atmosphere.
Also, tons of street art, as demonstrated here. This is the graffiti alley, which was entirely commissioned by the city of Ghent as a way to encourage street artists rather than criminalize them — and also, keep them away from graded and historic buildings, thanks to a dedicated space. The street art lover in me was very impressed!
For a city where the weather is hardly ever sunny, the residents certainly made up for the lack of sunshine by painting shop and restaurant facades in bright, cheerful colors. Whoever suffers from seasonal depression should definitely visit Ghent!
Instagram Flanders: Brussels
And although Brussels isn’t technically part of Flanders, it was the last stop on my Belgium itinerary and I couldn’t resists sharing those two snaps of the city. Brussels really has a lot more to offer than its reputation presents and it’s a city I look forward to visiting again.
Indeed, Belgium and Flanders should not be judged by their size but rather for what they are: an underrated, genuine and ancient part of Europe that boasts some of the most gorgeous villages, architecture and sights of the continent that I cannot wait to visit again, this time for more than just a few days.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Visit Flanders. As always, all my opinions are my own. Although large amounts of chocolate may have altered my judgement.