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I feel like Belgium doesn’t get as visited as many other countries in Europe which is strange because it offers great architecture, chocolate, and beer and what more do you really need? If you’re looking for a short European city break from the UK or elsewhere in Europe, Belgium is a good answer because you can see a lot of places in Belgium in a short amount of time due to the size of the cities, the size of the country and a good train system.
I visited Belgium for a long weekend over Easter and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is what my 3 days in Belgium looked like visiting the 3 amazing cities of Ghent, Bruges & Brussels.
Due to high plane ticket costs around the Easter weekend, I decided to take the Megabus from London to Belgium after seeing a return trip for just £45.00 and I decided to head to Ghent first.
Getting the bus from London to Belgium is actually really easy and quick once you account for the time you spend getting to an airport in London, waiting, flying and getting into the city the other side.
The same goes for other cities in Europe. MegaBus / FlixBus offer lots of bus options to Belgium!
Train is another great way to get to Belgium. I use The Train Line to search for the best trains, they sell tickets from London to Europe including Belgium!
Or you may prefer to fly and luckily flights to Brussels are always really reasonable from the UK and many other places in Europe because it’s such an important capital city. Search for the best flights on Skyscanner here!
I left London Victoria Station at 9:00 am on Friday, I should have got there by mid-afternoon but due to the Easter traffic I didn’t get there until 9:00 pm which was a shame as it meant that one of my three days in Belgium was wasted but luckily I still had 2 days to see Belgium!
Ghent in Belgium is a really beautiful and small city so after getting up at a good time and spending the morning seeing Ghent I felt I had a good feel for it and I was happy with what I saw. It was pretty quiet on a Saturday morning so I avoided any of Ghents tourist attractions and instead wandered about its pretty streets, along the canal and seeing some of its many churches.
Here are some ideas of things to do in Ghent for you by my friend Kash who gives lots of food and drink recommendations in the post too!
Bruges (also sometimes spelt Brugge) was the place I mainly wanted to visit on this weekend trip to Belgium after seeing so many photos of its gingerbread-like buildings so I was keen to get there.
Ghent has a tram system which I used to get to the main train station. At the station, I used the self-service ticket machine which was easy to work out, got a train ticket from Ghent to Bruges for €6.00 and jumped on the train which only took 30 minutes, and gave some great views of the countryside.
Bruges Train Station is not in the old part of the city which as a tourist to Bruges is the place you’ll spend most of your time.
I stayed at St Christophers Inn Hostel in Bruges (which I recommend) and I could have got a bus from the train station to close to the hostel but instead, I decided to walk and explore on my way seen as my time in Bruges was quite limited. It only took about 10-15 minutes to get right into the centre of Bruges from the station.
Straight away I could feel that Bruges has a much more touristy feel than Ghent, that is to be expected as Bruges is the top place to visit in Belgium and it’s popular to spend a weekend in Bruges. Plus, I had only seen Ghent in the early morning when it seemed to be very quiet, however, I loved what I saw of Bruges!
For Hotels in Bruges, I would recommend you stay in the Old Town, it looks like an egg shape on the map, and you can look for the right accommodation in Bruges for you here on Booking.com!
Places to see in Bruges include the Grote Markt which is pretty big and surrounds the big and famous Bell Tower.
There are also many more beautiful buildings and lots of restaurants in the Grote Markt including the iconic, colourful, gingerbread type buildings that I was so desperate to see.
The City Hall is perhaps even more stunning though and I ended up taking far too many photos of Bruges’ City Hall when there.
There’s a canal that winds through the centre of the old town of Bruges offering boat rides and it made me realise why Bruges is often referred to as the Venice of the North!
The old town of Bruges is also full of shops, the majority of which are chocolate shops so wherever I went I couldn’t get away from the sweet smell of the best chocolate in the world!
Related Post: 10 Things To Do In Bruges, Belgium!
I spent my afternoon wandering around this area and of course trying out the local food in Bruges.
Belgium Frites were on my list to try because they’re a popular food in Belgium (and cheap!). I saw them offered in most places and the difference between Belgium fries and normal fries, in case you are wondering, is that Belgium fries have been fried at least 2 or 3 times more than normal fries meaning they are even more tender and delicious!
I walked past ‘The Old Chocolate House’ which claimed to have the best Belgium Hot Chocolate so obviously I had to test it out and I can confirm it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had so add that to your list, especially if you’re visiting Bruges in Winter and need warming up.
Even though I wasn’t hungry I had to have a waffle because well… I was in Belgium after all and with only the long weekend in Belgium, I needed to try as much food in one day as possible.
There are many waffle shops in Bruges but I decided to head to a waffle cart by the City Hall and got a waffle topped with Nutella and I sat in front of the City Hall people watching and eating it and getting chocolate all over my hands and face! I’m sure no one judges that in Belgium right?
One of the most popular things to do in Bruges seems to be a boat tour so I headed out on one which I only paid €8.00 for and it was such a great way to see the city from another perspective, and the boat driver gave us some of history and information on Bruges as well as being extremely comical.
I really recommend you take a boat trip when you’re in Bruges!
Unsurprisingly after all that not-so-healthy Belgium food, it’s no wonder that by evening I was feeling very sick and because I was travelling to Belgium solo I had no need to see Bruge’s nightlife so I had an early night and woke up fresh for the next day.
I always try to do a walking tour when I visit a new city as you get to see parts of the city you probably wouldn’t have found on your own and you get a good history lesson, this was definitely the case with the free Legends of Bruges walking tour! I met the group in the market square at 9:45 am on Sunday morning for 2 hours of exploring and hearing more about this beautiful city and I would highly recommend taking this Bruges free walking tour.
With time not particularly on my side, I left Bruges straight away after the walking tour had finished. In the end, I spent 24 hours in Bruges but I felt I saw a lot and I definitely learned a lot by doing the free walking tour so I was happy to leave!
I headed back to the train station to head to my last city- Brussels. The train from Bruges to Brussells took one hour and was also only €6.00. Once again it was super easy to buy the ticket at the station, find the platform and the train was nice and comfy.
Brussels has 3 train stations- Midi (South), Central and Nord (North). My Megabus was leaving Brussels that evening from Nord Station so I got off the train from Bruges here and stored by bag untl later so I could see Brussels that afternoon.
I wasn’t too sure where to go or what to do with one day in Brussels so I used the main square, also known as the Grand Place or Grote Markt, as my go-to point and to be honest I ended up spending most of my time around here.
For actual ideas on things to do in Brussels for your trip, have a look at this post on the best things to do in Brussels!
I was pretty tired by this point showing that trying to see 3 Cities in 2 days in Beligum is quite hard work but I still felt like I got a good feel for Brussels and part of the fun of travelling around countries in Europe is that you can see so many places in a short time of time so I have no regrets!
I got the overnight bus from Brussels to London with MegaBus, I didn’t get a great nights sleep and we needed to get off at Calais to get our passports checked, but seen as it was Easter I still had all of Easter Monday off work.
If I was you I’d recommend getting a late flight or early morning flight from Brussels and potentially staying the night there to see more of the city and have a bit more time making it a full 72 hours in Belgium!
Another option would be to base yourself in just Bruges or Belgium, depending on which city is easier to reach, and doing day trips from there so you don’t need to move with your bags. As you can see it’s very quick, cheap and easy to get the train around Belgium from city to city. Antwerp is another beautiful city in Belgium to visit which I would love to go to another time so keep that in mind for your Belgium trip too!
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I’m Ellie Quinn!
I’m a travel addict who has been travelling on and off since 2010. In the Summer of 2018 I quit my office job in London, left my flat and I now travel and blog full time! Yes, I’m living that dream!
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If you want to join or read more about the details of the group tour.