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Waffles, chocolate beer - and culture. A mouthwatering journey through Belgium

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  • Luxury accommodation throughout
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  • Privately guided city tours and cooking classes
Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

At a glance

From chocolates and waffles to beer and gin, this epic journey across Belgium will be a foodie’s dream. Discover what each region is famous for and learn how to work with the various flavours and ingredients to create a taste of Belgium you’ll never forget.

The adventure begins in Brussels where you’ll spend some time getting to know the city’s highlights before exploring some of the most popular beer cafes, and discovering a few hidden gems. Then work up an appetite again with a walking tour of the royal district, followed by a private chocolate workshop. You will get to make a traditional Belgian mendiant under the guidance of a local chocolatier.

Next, it’s on to Antwerp for one night. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to discover as you wander down the cobbled streets of this historic city. From there you’ll head to the beautifully preserved medieval city of Bruges. Together with a private chef, you will learn to prepare the Flemish dish Carbonade Flamande, a sweet and sour beef stew. Bruges is best explored either on foot or by horse tram, and you’ll get to do both on this trip. Admire the towering gothic architecture and stroll along beside the waterways. You’ll even have time to take a short boat trip along the canals.

There are over 40 chocolate shops waiting to tempt you in this picturesque town, and you’ll get the chance to visit a fair number of them in search of the perfect sweet treat. Beer enthusiasts will be delighted with a behind-the-scenes visit to De Halve Maan brewery and the opportunity to taste some of their world-famous beers. Here again, you’ll get to balance the indulgence with a little exercise as you take a gentle bicycle ride to the beautiful village of Damme.

The final leg of this tour takes you to Ghent, a city bursting with fascinating architecture and popular restaurants and bars. You’ll go on a guided beer walk and tuck into traditional Belgian sweets and waffles, bringing it all to a close with a tour looking at the history of genever in the city and the rise of micro-gin distilleries in recent years.

 

Example Trip Itinerary

Days 1-3

Brussels

brussels-city-hall
Scenic transfer to your hotel in Brussels, with stops for photographs Scenic transfer to your hotel in Brussels, with stops for photographs

Accommodation in Brussels

brussels-grand-palace
Two nights in Brussels Two nights in Brussels

Brussels might be at the centre of European politics but it’s not all about policy and procedure. This city is both a buzzing metropolis and a historical gem, and should certainly not be overlooked. The city centre is divided into the upper and lower town, the former traditionally inhabited by the Francophile ruling classes who kept watch over the workers down below. Most of the city’s main sights are contained within what is known locally as the ‘petite ceinture’ and easily navigated by foot.

The Grand-Place is one of Europe’s most beautiful squares, four sides of magnificent baroque architecture. The spire of the Town Hall soars towards the sky, flanked by 17th century guildhalls with gilded facades and scrolled gables. Originally marshland, the square was drained in the 12th century and became a bustling centre for trade. The surrounding streets are a reminder of this past and are named after foods such as chicken, herbs and cheese. Every two years a flower carpet is laid in the centre of the square, consisting of over 600,000 colourful begonias.

Walking tour of downtown Brussels Walking tour of downtown Brussels

Go on a guided walking tour through downtown Brussels, with an emphasis on history. You will see the world-famous market square, and the remarkable city hall. Discover the Manneken Pis, the Gallery Royal Saint Hubert, the Central Station and Gallery, the Bozar and other popular sights along the way.

belgian-beer
Beer tour Beer tour

This tour will take you to some of the bars regularly voted among the best beer cafes, where you'll find a good selection of artisanal beers on tap, but also some hidden ones known as "estaminets". Many of them date back to the 18th century and have remained unchanged since then.

Royal District Royal District

This walking tour of the Royal district will take you to Royal square, Royal Palace and Royal Park. You will pass by the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula, Mont des Arts and the beautiful art-deco building of the Music Instrumental Museum, the Magritte Museum, dedicated to the work of the surrealist artist René Magritte.

chocolate-truffles
Sablon visit and chocolate workshop Sablon visit and chocolate workshop

Pay a visit to the Sablon, which is especially known for the numerous antique dealers who settled in the area, but is also associated with the many Belgian chocolate and confectionery stores you'll find there. Enjoy a private chocolate workshop in the atelier of a true Belgian chocolatier in which you'll learn to create mendiant, a traditional confection made of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit. The workshop will be followed by a chocolate tasting.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Antwerp

Days 3-4

Antwerp

Accommodation in Antwerp

One night in Antwerp One night in Antwerp

Belgium’ second city and biggest port, Antwerp is a vibrant destination with a flourishing cultural scene and a sea of great restaurants. The city fans out from the east bank of the River Scheldt and its pretty medieval centre is easily navigated along the cobbled streets. At the heart of the city is Grot Markt home to the town hall, its facades decorated by the flags of the 28 countries of the European Union, and an impressive statue of Brabo throwing the severed hand of Antigoon.

Antwerp boasts one of Belgium’s finest Gothic cathedrals, the Cathedral of Our Lady. Its 123m spire seems to follow you round the city, popping its head up between the myriad of art nouveau buildings and narrow town houses with stepped gables. Its huge seven-aisle nave dwarfs all who visit and four Rubens canvases hand proudly within its walls.

Antwerp city tour Antwerp city tour

Your guide will introduce you to some of the most popular places in the city, from the medival majesty of Market Square and the beautiful Baroque facades of the Cathedral of Our lady, to the outstanding architecture of Antwerp railway station. Visit the Museum aan de Stroom, which houses several temporary exhibitions. From its rooftop you can enjoy panoramic views of the city. You can also visit Rubens House, where the famous painter spent most of his time.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Bruges

Days 4-6

Bruges

Accommodation in Bruges

Two nights in Bruges Two nights in Bruges

There are few medieval cities as beautifully preserved as Bruges, a picture-perfect scene of canals, bridges, secret gardens and colourful houses. Nestled in the top corner of Belgium, most people come to explore the old city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Although the city walls themselves have long gone, four gates, the ramparts and one of the water towers remain and just looking around, you know you’re somewhere special. The city is characterised by imposing Gothic architecture, the City Hall arguably the finest example of all. Its façade is impressive enough but reaches a new level once you step inside and see the murals and golden vaulted ceiling.

Private cooking class Private cooking class

You will head to the home of a Belgian interior designer where a private chef will teach you how to prepare a typical Flemish dish, the Carbonade Flamande with sweet-sour beef and onion stew made with beer, and seasoned with thyme, bay leaves and mustard. Then enjoy some local beers in the beautiful garden.

Horse tram ride Horse tram ride

Take a short ride through the city on a horse tram. This will be your first encounter with the medieval side of Bruges, and the tram will take you past both tourist sites and non-tourist areas.

Walking tour of Bruges Walking tour of Bruges

Enjoy a walking tour of beautiful Bruges. It is the best-preserved example of medieval Flanders and similarly to Amsterdam, the heart of Bruges is surrounded by an almost continuous ring of canals. Therefore Bruges is also known as "the Venice of the North". You will walk down small streets, pass green parks, see picturesque houses and city highlights like the Beguinage and Minnewater, the Burg and city hall, the belfry (if you're up to the challenge you can climb the 366 stairs to the top and enjoy the view over Market Square.), the Church of our Lady, the old nunnery and St. Saint Saviour’s Cathedral.

Chocolate tour Chocolate tour

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a delicious tour of some of the city's many chocolate shops. There are over 46 of them in Bruges, so you will almost definitely find the chocolate you like. Probably one of the most famous amongst them is the rock ‘roll chocolatier Dominique Persoone, a close friend of the Brazilian chef Alex Atala, who became famous by creating “the snuff machine” for a party organised by Mick Jagger. Thanks to the chocolate shooter, you can get a few mg of his cocoa spice catapulted directly into both nasal cavities.

Boat tour Boat tour

Enjoy a short boat tour through the waterways of Bruges.

Brewery visit Brewery visit

Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery De Halve Maan. For centuries the Maes family has been brewing beer in Bruges. Learn the history of the brewery and enjoy a tasting of their delicious world-famous beers: Brugse Zot or Straffe Hendrik.

Cycle to Damme Cycle to Damme

Take an easy bicycle ride to the beautiful village of Damme. Your ride will take you through the countryside along canals and through polders.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to your hotel in Ghent

Days 6-8

Ghent

Accommodation in Ghent

Two nights in Ghent Two nights in Ghent

Ghent is a city that has succeeded where many others struggle. Beautiful medieval architecture sits alongside scores of bustling restaurants and quirky bars making this Belgian city the perfect blend of old and new. What started as a couple of abbeys at the confluence of the rivers Lys and Scheldt soon became a prominent settlement and, thanks to the cloth trade, development flourished. By the 13th century, Ghent was one of the most important cities in Europe and second only to Paris in size.

The architecture in the old city centre reflects nearly 1400 years of history. The belfry is a proud city of the city’s independence and stands in the middle of a three-tower row, together with Saint Bavo’s Cathedral and Saint Nicholas’ Church. Attached to the belfry is the cloth hall which served as the headquarters of this illustrious trade.

Walking tour of Ghent Walking tour of Ghent

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a walking tour, introducing you to Ghent, one of the most vibrant cities in Belgium. You will get to see highlights like the new library ‘De Krook’ which has a specific contemporary architecture, St Peter Cathedral, the City Hall, the Patershol, the Castle of the Counts, the Beguinage, and St. Bavo’s Cathedral with the unique altarpiece ‘the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb’.

Guided beer walk Guided beer walk

In the evening, head out on a beer walk, guided by a beer historian, and enjoy tastings at some of the city's original beer cafes, including the bar of the city brewery which produces the Gentse Gruut. the tour will end with dinner at a brasserie.

Traditional sweets experience Traditional sweets experience

Your guide will meet you at your hotel and take you on a tour focussing on local delights. The first traditional sweet you will try is the Cuberdon. A typical treat from East Flanders, the Cuberdon or Gentse Neus (Noze from Ghent) has to be eaten fresh, otherwise the shell becomes too crispy. That's why you only find it in Belgium. Then you'll continue to the Etablissement Max, which was established in 1839 and served the very first Apple beignets and Brussels Waffles in Ghent. The traditional recipes from then are still being used today.

Genever tour Genever tour

After so much food, it’s time to enjoy a drink. In Belgium, the genever was once so massively popular it threatened industrial production. As a consequence, in 1880, the ruling Catholic Party passed a law forbidding its sale in cafés. The law was not repealed until the 1980s, which was perhaps better for the wealth of the nation, but it had a disastrous effect on the Flemish gin industry. Where once Flanders had been home to hundreds of distilleries, by the 1990s only one remained. All that has now changed, with many micro-distilleries offering a wide variety of options served in the bars of the city.

Flights & Transfers

Transfer

Private transfer to Brussels airport

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