Welcome to West Flanders
The West Flanders is certainly the province the most visited by the tourists in Belgium. For foreign tourists, Bruges is the top destination. They all succumb to the charms of this Venice of North with its waterfront residences. The North sea coastline is also a factor in its success, as the attraction of the seashore is irresistible and romantic under the sunset light.
Select a model of lodging in West Flanders
West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen in Flemish)
This province is the most western part of Flanders and of Belgium. To the north it borders the Netherlands, the belgian provinces of East Flanders and Hainaut, France and the North Sea. The regional capital is Bruges and the province is divided into 8 districts. It is a major tourism destination of Belgium, as it occupies the entire Belgian coast of the North Sea.
What is there to discover in West Flanders?
Flanders' culinary treasures
The taste and the various flavors of food are part of the DNA of Flanders together with the good mood and the joy of living. Naturally, there are french fries, mussels, beer and chocolate, as well as much more to enjoy.
The craft heritage of Flanders
Flanders has an authentic know-how of old traditions that has been preserved over the centuries. Over the centuries, this region has acquired expertise in tapestry, lace and and even diamond work.
The lovely beaches of Flanders
The splendid Belgian coast extends over 367km from the french border in the south, from La Panne to Knokke in the north at the border with Netherlands. A littoral dotted by a dozen seaside resorts with their own identity.
The cycling paradise of Flanders
For those who love cycling, a bike tour in Flanders is the favorite destination. Due to a solid and well maintained network of bicycle lanes, you will be able to explore the region at your own pace.
The cultural heritage of Flanders
The Flemish cultural heritage has been strongly influenced over the centuries. This is particularly true for paintings, religious monuments, administrative buildings, squares and belfries, train stations etc.
The field of honor of Flanders
Tragic scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the First World War, its landscapes, heavy witness of the past, host hundred of memorials and graveyards. The interactive museums present several aspects of the conflict.
Where to start ? not so easy...
17 Belgian seaside resorts
- Zeebrugge beach
- Westende beach
- Wenduine beach
- Sint-Idesbald beach
- Raversijde beach
- Ostend beach
- Oostduinkerke beach
- Nieuwpoort beach
- Middelkerke beach
- Maboge beach
- Lommel beach
- Koksijde beach
- Knokke-Heist beaches
- Beach of De Haan
- Beach of De Panne
- Bredene beaches
- Beach of Blankenberge
15 places you must visit
- City of Ypres (Ieper)
- City of Veurne (Veurne)
- City of Damme
- City of Kortrijk
- Natural Park of Het Zwin
- Memorial of King Albert I (Nieuwpoort)
- Dune of Hoge Blekker
- Venice of the North (Canals of Bruges)
- Old town and square of Bruges
- Belfry of Bruges (Belfort)
- Bonifacius bridge in Bruges
- Salt docks of Bruges
- City Hall of Bruges
- Beguinage Ten Wijngaarde (Bruges)
- Old civil register (Brugse Vrije)
8 main towns and 9 more cities
- Bruges (Bruges)
- Dixmuide (Diksmude)
- Ypres (Ieper)
- Courtrai (Courtrai)
- Ostend (Ostende)
- Roeselare (Roulers)
- Veurne (Furnes)
- Damme (Bruges)
- Oostkamp (Bruges)
- Thourout (Bruges)
- Lo-Reninge (Diksmude)
- Poperinge (Ypres)
- Wervicq (Ypres)
- Menin (Courtrai)
- Ingelmunster (Roulers)
- Coxyde (Furne)
The 8 most important cities in West Flanders
The provincial capital and most touristic city of Belgium, the Venice of the North is well known. The 83 m high belfry overlooks the well-kept medieval city, a lot of ancient buildings adorn the featured city. With easy access by train or car, the city attracts up to 2 million visitors per year.
As the first city with a pedestrian street, Kortrijk is the ideal location for shopping. Traces of its past can be seen in the Broel towers that straddle the Lys, the Town Hall, the Belfry and the St. Martin's Collegiate Church in the main square, the Notre Dame church and hospital, the St. Elisabeth beguinage and Schouwburg hall.
The center of the city still preserves many testimonies of its past through the buildings and the museums. Some of the highlights are the Beguinage, the Town Hall, the Spanish Governors' House, the main square, the Town Park, St. Nikolas Church and the fish market.
Less than 10 km from the north sea coast, it is a renaissance town built in yellowish bricks. All points of interest are grouped around the square, the Belfry, the Town Hall, the ancient Court of Justice, the spanish pavilion and the St. Walburga church plus the presbytery alley.
The so-called "Queen of the beaches" has inspired many artists. Walking along the dike or tasting an oyster dish by the sea, it is easy to imagine why. This is a seaside harbor city, besides the parks and some thematic museums, the city is only worth seeing because of the amazing coastline.
Its geographic situation is an asset to take advantage of calm and tranquillity. In the middle of the triangle Ghent-Kortrijk-Bruges, Tielt is a friendly provincial town with a few historic sites and ideally situated for visiting East Flanders, the tourism zone of Bruges Ommeland and the nearby area of the river Lys.
It is a chief town in the province of West Flanders, which, with a European project, belongs to a group of large cities called " metropolitan area of Lille " and is organized around the Eurometropolis Lille-Courtrai-Tournai. Up until the defeat of Waterloo, the city was part of the old mining basin of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.
Founded in the 12th century, Ypres was one of the most prosperous fiber-producing cities in Flanders in the end of Middle Age, with Bruges and Ghent. During the first World War, the city was almost completely destroyed. Between 1936 and 1958 the city center were restored to its former glory.
The most beautiful beaches of West Flanders
The main attraction for tourists in this seaside resort is certainly the huge beach and the surrounding nature. Everything is done to make sure that not see the time pass, from the walk in the district "Dumont", to the sand yachting to enjoy the fresh air, or a swim.
A playground for the aristocracy, the queen of Belgian beaches once rivaled cities like Monaco, Brighton or Deauville, quite unabashedly. Today, Ostend has lost its charm and its former glory. To regain it, the city has undertaken major works and has transformed itself into a cultural city full-fledged.
From the crest of the highest dune on the Belgian coast, in the heart of a 700 ha natural domain, you can explore the beach for miles. Watching the authentic shrimp fishermen on horseback and those who like water sports. Then, many bars and restos are waiting for you in town.
For family vacations or naturism by the sea, Bredene is the only coastal municipality with a suitable beach for every one. The access to the dunes is free and without obstacles, they blend in completely with the beach. The Twins Club, integrated in its environment, invites you to its terrace to experience a great sunset.
It is the biggest marina in Northern Europe. The Ballet movement of the masts is already a spectacle, and in contrast, the medieval architecture of the old town will take you back in time. Just outside the city the immense beach offers all you need to enjoy the nature and calmness.
Knokke-Heist is trendy, friendly and welcoming, the favorite destination for tourists, due to its proximity to the Netherlands, to its nature parks and domains, to its many walking options, among other things. The casino and the art galleries enhance the prestige of Knokke-Heist and make it a top destination.
The seaside station is modest, but it is a nice and quiet place for family vacations on the beach. Nearby Westende has a well-maintained beach, as well as summer events and tourism amenities. It is therefore a bit more busy here compared to Middelkerke.
In the "belle époque" style of De Haan (Le Coq) there are only a few high buildings, you will find little houses with red roofs, with small balconies and turrets on the half-timbered facades. For a walk, there are 157 ha of wooded dunes linking De Haan to Wenduine, a perfect place for a restful stay.