Written by Samantha North
You can find Samantha and follow her travel adventures on her Instagram page by clicking here
Belgium is an awesome country to travel to in the summer and it’s small enough to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. It’s perfect if you’re looking to make a quick stop during a Euro trip or for a weekend getaway! Here are my top suggestions for 48 hours in Belgium plus some much-needed insider tips!
Tips not to miss before you go:
- Book a hotel, AirBnb, or hostel at least 3 months in advance since its peak tourist season.
- The summer weather in Belgium can vary immensely, check the weather before you visit and definitely pack a raincoat.
- DO NOT fly into Brussels-Charleroi airport even if it’s the cheaper flight. It’s really the worst to travel to and from! Always choose BRU and pay the little extra for a ticket.
- Renting a car will be the fastest way to visit as much as you can in 48 hours but it’s not necessary. To be honest, parking is a nuisance and traffic can be awful. The train is quite comfortable but keep in mind most trips will cost you +/- 8 euros. You can book your train here or on their app. For this post, I will focus on travel by train.
- The bus/tram system is also very easy. De Lijn is responsible for the Flanders network, while TEC handles bus travel in Wallonia. The STIB buses cover the Brussels metropolitan area. Link Here and Here.
- Note: it’s a 150 euro fine if you get caught without a ticket so I wouldn’t try cheating the system.
- During the first Wednesday afternoon of the month, Brussels’ city-owned museums are free. On the last Wednesday, museums are free in Antwerp.
1. Take a 9am morning train from BRU airport to city center Ghent (Approx. 1h 5min)
Tip to the city centre- Tram 1 travels from the main railway station, Gent-Sint-Pieters, to the city centre every ten minutes. The city centre is also easily accessible from Gent-Dampoort railway station. The following buses travel frequently to the centre: 3, 17, 18, 38, 39 (get off at the Korenmarkt stop)
2. Ghent walking route and things to do:
- Start at Korenmarkt
- Lunch at your café of choice! There’s so many!
- Cross the St. Michielsbrug Bridge
- Walk along the Graslei canal (photo)
- Cross the Grasbrug bridge- My favorite photo spot! (photo)
- Gaze at the Gravensteen Castle (Tip: Don’t pay money to go in!)
- Indulge with a Liege waffle at Coffee 3,14 Thee (photo) (Tip- Belgian waffles are best naked; don’t get carried away with the toppings)
- Load up on cumberdons at the cart in front!
- Walkthrough Werregarenstraat or “Graffiti Street” (photo)
3.Take train to Antwerp Centraal around 3pm (Approx. 55min)
Tip- Take a moment to stare at the beauty of the train station!
- Take the tram to Antwerpen Groenplaats
4. Antwerp sights and evening eats
- Walk around Groenplaats and look at the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Cathedral.
- Dinner at De Bomma
- Walk along Het Steen and visit the castle.
- Head to Museum aan de Stroom and go to the rooftop for an amazing view!
- Head to Antwerp Grand Palace and relax with a beer at brown café Het Elfde Gebod.
- Late night snack at Frituur No1.
- Stay the night in Antwerp; preferably near Central Station!
Budget Friendly Places To Stay:
- Leonardo Hotel
1. Take the 9am train from Antwerp to Leuven (Approx. 1 hour)
2. Relax in Leuven
3.Take the 2pm train from Leuven to Brussels Central (Approx. 25 minutes)
- Take photos at Grand Place Brussels
- Visit Mannequin Pis (Tip- Grab a one euro waffle right next to him!)
- Dinner at 9 et Voisins.
- Delirium café, Floris Bar, and Floris Garden for an epic mini bar crawl.
There you go, a jam-packed quick trip that won’t disappoint!
I highly suggest staying longer than 48 hours to soak up everything Belgium has to offer, especially the huge festival scene! Basically every weekend you can find festivals and events of all sizes and music genres throughout Belgium. If you plan a longer stay then here are a few of my top festivals to check out by month (dates will vary depending on the year).
- Extrema Outdoor (End May or early June)
- Thé Dansant (First Sunday of the month from May- September)
- Sunrise Festival (End June)
- Rock Werchter or its cheaper sister festival Wrechter Boutique (beginning July)
- Cactusfestival (First week July)
- Gentse Feesten (10 days mid July)
- Tomorrowland (Last 2 weekends July)
- Brussels Summer Festival (10 days mid/end August)
- Pukkelpop (End August)
- Maanrock (End August)