15 best DAY trips from BRUSSELS
As the capital of Belgium and one of the de facto capital cities of the European Union, Brussels has an efficient and well-developed transportation system. From here, it’s easy to simply hop on the train or bus and travel to other destinations not just in Belgium but also neighboring countries like France, Germany, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.
If you are making Brussels your base, here are some of the destinations you can visit on a day trip. You can either pull a D-I-Y or join group trips from Brussels.
If you wish to explore independently, your jump off point is either the Brussels central (Brussels Centrale), Brussels South (Brussels Midi/Zuid), or Brussels North (Brussels Gare du Nord). These railway stations have dedicated bus stations/terminal adjacent to them and transport links such as the metro, taxi, and local bus.
If you choose a much more unwinded journey and you don’t want to worry about the getting-there part, consider joining a group trip instead. These day trips are typically led by well-informed guides, who are eager to share much more suggestions and insights about the attractions you’re visiting. We’re including Klook links in the items below when applicable so you can check trip rates or reserve a slot in advance.
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About 100 kilometers northwest of Brussels lies the port city of Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in the Flemish region. Its historic city center is practically entirely circled by canals, connecting the city center to the seaside resort and port of Zeebrugge through Baudouin Canal, before spilling into the North Sea.
The oval-shaped old town was declared a UNESCO world Heritage site in 2000. aside from the canals, the city is known for its well-preserved medieval structures and cobbled streets. The Burg Square and the Markt Square are adorned with historic landmarks. These two squares are not far from each other, linked only by Breidelstraat Street.
Popular Attractions: Burg Square, Markt Square, Burges City Hall (Stadhuis), Bruges Belfry, Church of Our Lady, the old city gateways (Smedenpoort, Gentpoort, Ezelpoort, and Kruispoort), Minnewaterpark (Lake of Love), the various museums, and the canal views.
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, there are direct train routes to Bruges Station. The travel time is about an hour. The historical center is just a short walk from Bruges Station.
If you want a problem-free trip where you can also gather much more information about the attractions in Bruges, you can book a guided day trip to Bruges from Brussels. Some packages combine Bruges and Ghent in one tour. If you want to visit both, you can book the trip with Klook. This includes roundtrip transfers.
✅ check rates & photos HERE!
Another port city northwest of Brussels is Ghent, the capital of east Flanders. It is the third-largest city in Belgium with its historic center converted into a pedestrian-only zone.
Image through Klook
Aside from the storied landmarks and architectural wonders, Ghent also is a major port hub for numerous international companies and an educational center with a huge student population. another popular event celebrated in Ghent is the annual ten-day Ghent Festival, held in July.
Popular Attractions: Gothic Saint Bavo Cathedral, towering at 89 meters, St. Nicholas Church, the Ghent Bell Tower between the aforementioned churches, the Gravensteen Castle, Campo Santo, the Graslei Old Harbor and the restaurants in the area, the museums, and the cuisines such as mastel, waterzooi, and cuberdon.
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, there are direct train routes to Gent-Sint-Pieters Station, the city’s main railway station. The travel time is about 30 minutes.
If you want to visit both Bruges and Ghent, you can book this day trip from Brussels through Klook! This is inclusive of a multilingual guide and roundtrip transfers.
✅ check rates OR RESERVE HERE!
Situated about 40 kilometers north of Brussels, Antwerp is also an essential port city. Its port is the second largest in Europe and one of the most significant in the world.
Its old town dates back to the medieval period and is home to the city’s historic sites. Although many of the ancient fortifications and structures are gone now, some of the ruins are still present. Antwerp’s diamond district is equally popular for its several diamond traders and shops.
Popular Attractions: Grote Markt and the Flemish Renaissance-style buildings, Antwerp City Hall, the Ruben’s House, Antwerp central Station, Rubenshuis, Cathedral of Our lady of Antwerp, St. James’ Church, palace of Justice, museum aan de Stroom, Nello & Patrache Statue, Ingang Sint-Annatunnel – Voetgangerstunnel, and Zurenborg neighborhood
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, take the direct train route to Antwerp central Station. The travel time is 30-50 minutes.
If you want to join a guided trip for problem-free roundtrip transfers, you can book Klook’s Antwerp Half-Day trip from Brussels. This also covers a multilingual guide.
BOOK THIS trip HERE
Located east of Brussels is Leuven, the largest city and the capital of the Flemish Brabant province. It is known for its huge student population and its reputable educational institutions, particularly Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KL Leuven), the country’s largest university.
Since Belgium is known for its love for beer, Leuven is home to a multitude of beer breweries and is the birthplace of Belgian beer brands Stella Artois, Keizersberg, Domus, and Leuvense Tripel.
The old town center cradles ancient buildings and historic monuments. The central square, Grote Markt, is dominated by Gothic-style buildings — the town Hall and St. Peter’s Church.
Popular Attractions: Grote Markt, Leuven town Hall, St. Peter’s Church, Arenberg Castle, KU Leuven, Ladeuzeplein, Oude Markt (Old Market), Fonske Statue, and the churches/abbeys
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, there are direct train routes to Leuven Station. The travel time is about 30 minutes.
One of the countries sharing borders with Belgium is Luxembourg. It is one of Europe’s smallest sovereign states but it is one of the world’s wealthiest countries. Its capital is Luxembourg City, with an old town that is inscribed on the UNESCO world Heritage list.
You can easily explore the city and its essential landmarks on foot, either on your own or joining a guided walking tour. The typical starting point for the walking trip is the Luxembourg central railway Station.
Popular Attractions: Passerelle, Notre Dame Cathedral, place de la Constitution, Pont Adolphe, Pétrusse Casemates, place D’Armes, palace of the Grand Dukes, trips Vauban, Pfaffenthal Lift, Casemates du Bock, Chemin de la Corniche, and the Grund
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, there are direct train routes to Leuven Station, but they are not frequent. Usually, you need to change trains at Arlon going to Luxembourg. The travel time is about three hours.
The Netherlands is another country sharing borders with Belgium. Its capital city is Amsterdam, well-known for its sophisticated canal system whose three main canals branch out to over 100 kilometers of smaller canals, much more or less 90 islands, and over a thousand bridges.
Aside from these historic canals, the city is also popular for its museum district hosting Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk, and Van Gogh Museum, among others. Amsterdam is also the birthplace of Anne Frank, Rembrandt, Spinoza, and Van Gogh. The whole city is bicycle-friendly.
Popular Attractions: Dam Square, museum district (and the museums within it), royal Concertgebouw, royal palace of Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Heineken Brewery Experience, Melkweg, Vondelpark, De Wallen, Oude Kerk, and the historic canals
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) Station, there are direct train routes to Amsterdam central station provided by high-speed train (Thalys), but this option is expensive. If you are on a budget, you can take a regular train with a transfer stop at Rotterdam central station to change trains to Amsterdam central Station. The travel time is about three hours by regular trains and about two hours by high-speed trains.
Situated near the southern suggestion of the Netherlands is Maastricht, the capital of Limburg Province. The city developed from being a Roman settlement to a medieval religious hub to a garrison town to an industrial city to what it is today — a cultural hub. It is no wonder it is part of the most ancient European towns Network.
The whole city center is a protected zone as it is peppered with over 1600 national heritage landmarks, drawing throngs of tourists yearly. The city also boasts a large student population in the country, giving the city a lively and youthful vibe.
Popular Attractions: Sint Janskerk, Basilica of St. Servatius, Bonnefanten Art Museum, Fort Sint Pieter Maastricht Underground, Maastricht Caves Zonneberg, Basilica of Our Lady, Meuse River, mount Saint Peter, Vrijthof Square, Onze Lieve Vrouweplein, Markt, and museums
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, there are no direct train routes to Maastricht. You need to change trains at Liège-Guillemins station going to Maastricht. The travel time is about two hours.
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands. Its roots can be traced back to the construction of a dam in Rotte. The largest seaport in Europe, it has allowed the trade and logistics industries to flourish and become the major economic chauffeurs of the city. The city is known for its maritime culture and the beautiful riverside setting.
It is also popular among the academe, attracting students from around the world and accounting for the significant number of foreign nationals in the city. and of course, the most visible attractions are the modern architectures that sprung after world war II.
Popular Attractions: Maritime Museum, Pilgrim Fathers Church, the Delshaven neighborhood and its canalside shops, Lawrence Church, Euromast, the Cube Houses, Rotterdam City Hall, and Markthal
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) Station, there are direct train routes to Rotterdam central Station. From both Brussels Midi and Brussels Central, there are also routes that require a stop at Breda to transfer to another train bound for Rotterdam Central. The travel time is about an hour and a half to two hours.
Lying several kilometers west of Brussels is Hasselt, the capital and largest city of Belgium’s Limburg Province. Yep, there are two provinces named Limburg: one in the Belgian region of Flanders and the other in the Netherlands.
The streets of Hasselt’s old town are mostly pedestrian-only zones and dotted with historical landmarks. The city is bustling with shopping streets, restaurants, malls, and parks. You can explore on foot or by riding a bicycle.
Popular Attractions: Herkenrode Abbey, Japanese Garden, Virga Jesse Basilica, St. Quentin’s Cathedral, Grand Place, Nationaal Jenevermuseum Hasselt, Demerstraat and Koning Albertstraat shopping streets
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, there are direct train routes to Hasselt. The travel time is about an hour.
Tournai is situated southwest of Brussels in the province of Hainaut of the Walloon region, near the borders with France.
As one of the oldest cities in Belgium, Tournai hosts significant cultural landmarks and sites. the most popular landmark is the Notre Dame de Tournai, a UNESCO world Heritage Site. It features the oldest belfry in Belgium, towers, a rose window, and a 12th-century reliquary.
Popular Attractions: Grand Place, Notre Dame de Tournai, Pont des Trous (Scheldt Bridge), St. Quentin’s Church, Red Fort Tower, Barre-St-Brice street old houses, old city gates, and museums
Getting There: From Brussels central Station, there are direct train routes to Tournai (Doornik) Station. If you are coming from Brussels Midi (South) Station, you need to change trains at Mons station going to Tournai Station. The travel duration is about an hour and a half.
Ypres (or Leper) in West Flanders province lies southwest of Brussels. The town is many noteworthy in history during world war I, particularly the series of battles in the Ypres Salient where numerous lives were lost.
Today, its map is marked with war museums, cemeteries, and memorials built in honor of those who perished in the war. It has become a sacred pilgrimage destination for British people who would like to pay tribute to their fallen soldiers.
Although a lot of ancient structures were destroyed during the war, reconstruction projects were able to save some of the most significant landmarks and sites. two of them are the Saint Martin Cathedral and the cloth Hall.
Popular Attractions: Grote Markt, cloth Hall, Saint Martin’s Cathedral, Menin gate Memorial to the Missing, the war graves, and St. George’s Memorial Church
Getting There: From Brussels Midi (South) station or central Station, direct train routes to Ypres are infrequent. Usually, you need to make one or two train changes to get to Ypres Station. The travel time is about two hours.
Located southeast of Brussels, Namur is the capital of both the Namur province and the Wallonia region.
The Old town center is many noteworthy for its ancient Citadel, dating back to the middle Ages and featuring seven-kilometer subterranean tunnels, golden turtle statue, gardens, and spectacular views of the city. The sights along Sa