A Whistlestop Tour of Belgium During the Festive Season

Belgium is a perfect destination for the end-of-year holidays because it's compact with every corner accessible from Brussels within an approximately two hour train ride.  Belgian Rail sells a ten trip rail pass which is ideal for an extended stay.  We used our pass to get to and from the airport to Bruges and then for traveling about to Ghent, Liege, Mechelen, Lier, and Leuven.  Here are some of the sights that we saw along the way.

1. Brussels

Brussels is a most excellent home base from which to explore with three major train stations (Brussels-North, Brussels-Central, and Brussels-South (or in French: Midi)) serving different parts of the country.  We stayed in Ixelles which was just a 15 minute tram ride from Bruxelles-Midi.  We took the opportunity to admire the amazing display of holiday lights and other festivities on the Grote Markt.
Christmas Light Show on the Grote Markt in Brussels

2. Ghent

Get above it all in Ghent by climbing the belfry and do some people-watching with the gargoyles on the square below.  During the holiday season, you'll find a huge Christmas market and ice skating rink spread out before you.
Ghent - Views from the Belfry

3. Liege

Liege is known for having the largest Christmas Market in Belgium and it's definitely worth investing one of the ten trips on your rail pass to get here.  We fueled up with a fruit-filled Belgian waffle and then got in quite a work-out climbing a long staircase to the top to drink in views of the city below.
Liege, Belgium

4. Maastricht

While not strictly part of the Belgian Rail Pass experience and not even in Belgium for that matter, it's worth calling out that Maastricht in the Netherlands is just a short detour from Liege.  Pop over the border for a Dutch Christmas market experience and nosh on bitterballen, beer, and a cone of frites before returning back to Belgium,
Maastricht, Netherlands

5. Mechelen

We loved using our rail pass as an excuse to visit towns we wouldn't normally have considered, like Mechelen.  Every place is worth visiting once and Mechelen boasted a lovely canal path and classic step-gabled architecture.  We were most intrigued by the self-service vending machine for bread that we found on the main street leading into town from the train station.  We couldn't resist giving it a go.  We popped our coins in and out popped a fresh loaf for us to take with us on the next leg of our journey.
Mechelin, Belgium

6. Lier

Lier was by far the quaintest town that we visited using our rail pass.  We did a partial lap around the town following the canal path. Cutting in, we passed through the historic Béguinage (Begijnhof in Dutch), formerly a protected community of white-washed houses for women living alone.  The main square in Lier is anchored by a former 14th century keep now emblazoned with a bold clock.  So charming.
Lier, Belgium

7. Leuven

Leuven is a university town less than an hour outside of Brussels.  It's even closer if you go there directly from the airport.  The Gothic town hall is simply stunning.  There are many places near the Grote Markt (Fiere Margriet and the Capital are two of them) where you can sup on a beer and admire the architecture around you.  
Leuven, Belgium

8. Bruges

No trip to Belgium is complete without a visit to Bruges.  The whole town centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It's fun to simply stop into a chocolate shop, pick up some treats and then stroll around town steeping in the atmosphere.  Bruges is also a convenient home base for exploring Flanders and the battlefields of World War I.
Bruges, Belgium

What other places would you recommend including on a train-focused tour through Belgium?



#DrJSabbatical #pigsonparade #tasteoftravel 1916 Rebellion a City Break Absolut Fringe Adelaide Adriatics Africa Agra Aix-en-Provence Alameda Alamo Square Alfama Algarve Alliance Francaise Americas Amnesty Amsterdam Andolu Kavagi Android Ann Arbor Antwerp Argentina Arizona Art Gallery Arthur's Day Asia Asia Pacific Athens Augsburg AUNZ AUNZ_Archive Auschwitz Austin Australia Austria Auto Awesome Avignon Baixa Baltics Bangkok Barcelona Barrio Alta Basel Basque Basque Country Bath Bazaar Belem Belfast Belgium Bellagio Bergamo Berlin Bern Bernal Heights Best of Beyond Dublin Bidart Big Island Bird Watching Birmingham Blackrock Market bleisure Bloco de Dublin Blogger Fiesta BloggerFiesta Bologna Bonn Boston Brad Pitt Bray Brighton Bristol Bruges Brussels BTW Bucharest Budapest Buffalo California Camargue Cambodia Cambridge Canada Canary Islands Cannes Cannonball Cannonball Run Canterbury Cape Town Carcassonne Cardiff Carnival Castro Catalonia Catalunya Cats Central Europe Central Richmond Chemistry Chinatown Christmas Christmas Market City Break Itinerary Civic Center Cobh Coffee cole valley Cologne Comedy Club Commute Chronicles Connemara Copenhagen Cork Costa Brava County Kerry Cow Hollow Critical Mass Croatia Culture Night Cyprus Czech Republic Dalkey Dalkey Castle Danang Delft Delhi Den Haag Denmark Denver Derry Diamond Head Disneyland Dolores Heights Donegal Dover Downtown Dresden Dublin Dublin Castle Dublin Culture Night Dublin_Archive Dubrovnik Ducks Dun Laoghaire Dusseldorf Eastern Europe Edinburgh Eindhoven England Eruption Estonia Europe Europe_Archive Evora Fado Fall Foliage Faro Faversham Festival Film Film Festival Financial District Finland Fisherman's Wharf Flanders Florida Flugtag Food France Frankfurt French Riviera Fringe Fringe Festival Galway Gandhi Gdansk Gdynia Georgian Dublin Germany GhostBus Gig Girona Glasgow Glen Park Golden Gate Park Google Plus Granada Grand Canal Greece Greece and Cyprus Guest Posts Guiness Storehouse Guinness Gurgaon Half Moon Bay Halloween Hamburg Hanoi Hawaii Hayes Valley HCMC Helsinki Hermanus Hilo Ho Chi Minh City Hobart Hoi An Holland Honolulu Hula Hungary Hurling Hyderabad Ice Cream Sandwich ICS India Inner Richmond Inner Sunset Ireland Ireland_Archive Istanbul Italy Itinerary Izmir Jackson Square Jaipur Japan Japantown Johannesburg Kaunas Kenmare Kilauea Kilkenny Kilkenny Cats Killarney Kiluaea Kona Krakow Kuala Lumpur Kyoto Lake Como Lake Street Languedoc Lanzarote Las Fallas Las Vegas Latvia Laurel Heights Leeds Leinster Leipzig Lemesos Let's French 2011 Liechtenstein Limerick Lincoln's Inn Lisbon Lithuania Liverpool Lloret de Mar London Los Angeles Louisiana Lower Pacific Heights Lübeck Lucerne Lyon Mackintosh Madeira Madrid Mainz Malaga Malaysia Mallorca Malta Manchester Marina Marrakech Marrakesh Marseille Massachusetts Mdina Med Melbourne Menton Milan Mission Bay Mission Dolores Modena Monaco Monte Carlo Montenegro Monterey Montpellier Morocco Munich Munster Music NA_Archive Naples Netherlands New Orleans New Year 2011 New Year Festival New Years Eve 2010 New York New Zealand Nice Nicosia Nob Hill Noe Valley NOPA Normandy Norrkoping North America North Beach Northern Ireland Nuremberg Oahu Oakland Oktoberfest Oliwa Olympics On The Road Osaka Outer Richmond Outer Sunset Oxford Pacific Heights Padua Palafrugell Palma Panorama Paphos Paris Parma Pearl Harbor Pennsylvania Perth Philadelphia Pittsburgh Poland Porto Portugal Potrero Hill Prague Presidio Presidio Heights Pride Provence Queensland Rabat RAF2010 Rainbow Ranelagh Ranelagh Arts Festival Recent Red Bull Regensburg Reims Restaurant Review Riga Ring of Kerry Rochester Roman Ruins Romania Rome Rotterdam Rugby Russia Russian Hill Salt Lake City Samba San Diego San Francisco San Sebastian Sand Castles Santa Cruz Scandinavia Science Gallery Science Museum Scotland Seattle Segovia Seville SF - Further Afield SF_Archive Shakespeare Shave Ice Sicily Siem Reap Silent Film Festival Singapore Sintra Sligo Snow SOMA Sonoma Sopot South Africa South America South Beach South San Francisco Soweto Spain SPWC St. Petersburg Stellenbosch Stirling Stockholm Strasbourg Street Performance Stuttgart Sultanahmet Sweden Switzerland Sydney Tallinn Tasmania Tavira TBEX Telegraph Hill Temple Bar Tenderloin TenderNob Tenerife Texas Thailand Thames Festival The Haight The Kruger The Mission Theatre ThisIsAthens Tipperary Tokyo Toledo Toronto Toulouse Trad Trad Sessions Transylvania Trinity College Turkey UBTD10 Uganda UK Ulster Bank Theater Festival Union Square United States Uruguay Utrecht Vacation Rental Valencia Valletta Venice Vienna Vietnam Vilnius Volcano Volcanoes National Park Waikiki Wales Walking Walking Tour Warsaw Washington Waterford Western Addition Western Australia Westerplatte Westfield Where's Wally? Whiskey Whitsundays Wicklow Wine Tasting Wisconsin World Record World War II Wroclaw WWI WWII York Ypsilanti Zurich
Sidewalk Safari: A Whistlestop Tour of Belgium During the Festive Season
A Whistlestop Tour of Belgium During the Festive Season
How to use a 10 trip rail pass to the best advantage to explore Belgium for the holidays.
Sidewalk Safari
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read more Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy