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101 Short Breaks

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Annabelle Thorpe
The Times travel writer Annabelle Thorpe
 
 

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Cities of Flanders

Annabelle's verdict:

Anywhere that has a joint love affair with beer and chocolate has to be a great bet for a short break, and the quirky towns and cities in Belgian Flanders serve up both in abundance. Choose picturesque Bruges - all tranquil canals and cafe-lined squares - or quirky Ghent, with its atmospheric, medieval centre. Or try historic Ypres or little-known Leuven or Mechelen.

Recommended tour operator: Great Escapes

Great Escapes says

Remarkably, Flanders covers an area of more than 5000 sq miles – and when you consider just how much is packed into this area, it is little wonder that people return time and time again to experience its charms.

There is the beautifully preserved medieval city of Bruges with its mix of stunning architecture and lazy canals; it’s justifiably renowned for its choice of excellent restaurants and vast range of beers.

Brussels –  ‘the capital of Europe’ – has more than 80 museums, the lovely Grand Place and more great restaurants than you could ever hope to visit.

Ghent is increasingly popular, not least thanks to its wealth of over 900 listed buildings and the gentle ease of its canals and pretty cobbled streets. Antwerp is Belgium’s capital of cool, ideal for a weekend break.

The superbly restored town of Ypres features the Menin Gate, scene of the Last Post for more than 80 years, and is a superb base for exploring the many WWI & WWII battlefield sites.

There are Mechelen and Leuven too, both charming medieval cities and great bases for exploring the wider area – and of course Leuven is home to the world famous Stella Artois brewery.

And have we mentioned the beautiful poppy-covered countryside and the historic Belgian coastline? Or how close and accessible it all is? You can be in Flanders from the UK in no time, lazing in one of the region’s fabulous hotels, or on a canal, drink in hand.

Wherever you choose, you can either travel via Eurostar or drive yourselves, using the various Calais or Hull-Zeebrugge ferries. Two-night breaks to the cities of Flanders cost from as little as £88 per person including ferry crossings with a car (four passengers) and hotel accommodation with breakfast.

Find out more about our city breaks in Belgium and latest special offers, including three nights for the price of two.

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