Once a medieval trading centre, Ypres is a city with a long and rich history. During the First World War, Ypres was largely reduced to rubble as the intense fighting formed a curve around the city - no less than five of the wars' bloodiest battles were fought in the Ypres Salient. Though Ypres' history will forever be marked by these events, the city was rebuilt with a respect for the past. This can be experienced in many of the local museums and historic sights such as the In Flanders Fields Museum which is located in the reconstructed Cloth Hall and tells the story of the First World War. Another essential sight to visit is the moving Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. For an emotive experience head here at 8pm, when buglers sound the Last Post under the Menin Gate, a tradition they have done every evening since 1928.
As well as boasting one of the most picturesque market squares in Belgium, a beautiful view of the Ypres can be found by walking along the historic city ramparts, which are free to explore. For beer lovers, the Kazematten Brewery is located in the same historic building where the First World War Wipers Times newspaper was once produced. Ypres also makes a great base camp to explore the surrounding area, battlefields and memorial sites, especially by bike. Families can also enjoy a fun day out at Bellewaerde theme park, which is located on the site of a former battlefield.