Why You Should Visit Flanders this Summer

Compact, easy to navigate and with a rich history, the region of Flanders, Belgium, is the perfect place to enjoy an escape this summer. Whether it’s the striking architectural gems of Bruges, the incredible food scene in Ghent or simply a glass of traditionally crafted Belgian beer: there is something for everyone to enjoy. Take a look at our top reasons to visit Flanders this summer and inspire your own adventure to this cultural melting pot.



Discover Alfresco Art

Summer in Belgium means it’s time to hit the beach. The lively ‘City by the Sea’, Ostend, is the ideal place to sample delicious local fare like grey shrimps and fresh mussels. But did you know you can also enjoy incredible outdoor art installations for free too? The Beaufort Triennial (until 30 Sept) sees the landscapes of the Belgian coast dotted with public artwork. If you’re also a fan of street art, the Crystal Ship Festival is an ongoing project that sees hundreds of new murals appear in Ostend each year – you can even follow a route map to find them all. Just a short distance inland is the city of Bruges and the Bruges Triennial. This open-air art festival will see this medieval city transformed by artists, as installations pop up that turn the fairy-tale town into a walkable art gallery.


Delve into the World of Diamonds

Did you know that Antwerp has been the epicentre of the world’s diamond trading industry for over 500 years? 84% of the globe’s rough diamonds pass through Antwerp and from 7 May the new DIVA Diamond Museum will tell the story of the city’s fascination with precious stones, jewellery and silversmithing. Spread across six distinct rooms, visitors can peek into a workshop, a trading room and even a vault to unravel Antwerp’s eternal connection to the world of diamonds.



Get cultural with Antwerp’s Baroque Festival

From 1 June 2018 – 13 January 2019 Antwerp is the place to be for a cultural fix. Antwerp Baroque 2018, Rubens Inspires is a festival that will shine a light on the influence of Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens and the Baroque legacy he left on the city he lived in. Attend the opening weekend on 1-2 June for a lively array of dance, music and performances. One of the biggest highlights of the festival is Michaelina, Baroque’s Leading Lady (1 June-2 September) which offers the first ever retrospective exhibition on Michaelina Wautier – a woman who achieved greatness at a time when it was extremely unusual for women to paint, let alone create daring masterpieces containing nudity.


Learn a lesser-known chapter in Europe’s History

This is one for the history buffs. Held inside Mechelen’s Hof van Busleyden, one of the finest city palaces in Belgium, this museum will have a permanent exhibition (from 17 June) that tells the story of the Burgundian Netherlands. As well as being a pivotal period in Mechelen’s history, the museum explores the unique story of the Burgundian empire and the famous people of this era like Margaret of Austria and Anne Boleyn.


Drink in our beer culture

Belgian beer is actually on UNESCO’s cultural heritage list and its legacy dates back centuries. So, every time you enjoy a glass of beer in Belgium, you’re physically tasting part of the country’s rich heritage. Antwerp’s Beer Passion Weekend (22-24 June) is the perfect chance to sample from at least 200 Belgian beers in the shadow of the Cathedral of Our Lady.



Embrace the festival fun

With more than 280 taking place in this region alone, it’s safe to say Flanders is the place to go for festivals this summer. Enjoy smooth sounds at the Ghent Jazz Festival (29 June – 8 July), or listen to some of the biggest names in music at Rock Werchter (5-8 July) near Leuven, where headliners Gorillaz, Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age and many more will be taking to the stage. If you want a more low-key celebration of music, Cactus Festival (13-15 July) is located in Bruges’ picturesque Minnewater Park and features local and international acts aplenty.


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