Celebrate Valentine's Day in Flanders : Seven romantic tips

Zeebrugge 2 © Toerisme Zeebrugge, Westtoer
Valentine’s Day, the celebration of love. It is a special day that you can celebrate in Flanders. In the most romantic spots in Bruges, Ghent and in nature, enjoy a delicious Belgian chocolate or a magnificent work by the Flemish Masters. In Flanders, there is plenty to enjoy.
Bonifacius bridge Bruges © Toerisme Brugge - © Jan D'Hondt

Bruges, the capital of romance

The snow-white swans that glide gracefully on the waters of the canals. The winding medieval streets in which the clatter of hooves echoes. The centuries-old buildings, hidden parks and charming squares. Picturesque Bruges is an unofficial capital of love and romance. This makes it an ideal destination for a Valentine’s Day city trip. Find each other on the idyllic Boniface Bridge, seek the tranquillity in the Beguinage, or stroll through the Lake of Love Park, the romantic hotspot par excellence. You are already in love with each other but soon, both of you will also be in love with Bruges.

city-pavilion-Ghent-by-night © Stad Gent - Dienst Toerisme

Ghent at sunset

Of course, you can also find plenty of romantic spots outside Bruges. A trip by train to Ghent takes less than half an hour. Another city with a medieval look, but with an extra contemporary vibe. Romantics feel at home in the shadow of the Castle of the Counts, by the Lievekaai. Relax in the company of the weeping willows and the murmuring water, the ideal setting for a romantic moment before enjoying a special evening stroll. Once night falls, The streets, squares and buildings of Ghent are enveloped in an artistic interplay of light and ambiance. And thus the city really reveals its romantic soul.

Botanic Garden Meise (Plantentuin Meise)_24091494798_o

Romance in the open air

The Flemish art cities have a great deal to offer for lovebirds, but romance is also found elsewhere, such as in Meise Botanic Garden, north of Brussels. Enjoy a cosy walk there through the rose garden, an ode to that iconic symbol of love. After taking in the surroundings, settle down and savour a romantic picnic. You might also like to visit the town of Borgloon. There you can find the enchanting see-through churchReading between the lines. The structure itself will already take your breath away. The view over the rolling Limburg landscape provides an extra romantic touch.

Koningsgalerij | Koninginnegalerij 12 © Kris Jacobs

Belgian chocolate, symbol of love par excellence

According to an old proverb, both in Flemish and in English, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But doesn’t that actually apply to everyone (m/f/x)? In our part of the world, you very soon come across our world-famous Belgian chocolate. In their time, the Aztecs believed in the power of chocolate as an aphrodisiac and symbol of love. Who are we to contradict them? A stroll through the St. Hubert galleries in Brussels will convince you of that too. That is where chocolatier Jean Neuhaus made the very first praline more than a century ago. Nowadays, several master chocolatiers can be found there with their delicious creations that will add some extra flavour to your romantic getaway.

Winter in Blankenberge © Westtoer APB

A breath of fresh air on the Flemish coast

Where the foaming waves kiss the North Sea beach, time stands still for a moment. Flanders has 67 kilometres of North Sea coast; Perfect for long walks. walking barefoot in the surf or just a breath of fresh air. There is not much that beats a walk on the beach. If you do that in Ostend, you will find a charming, romantic place for an overnight stay nearby. In Les Cabanes d’Ostende, you can unwind in a luxurious log cabin from where you can hear the North Sea waves. Much further inland, in Limburg, there is recreational domain Warredal. Here you will find a collection of unusual log cabins, perfect for cosying up together. With Slow Cabins, you can escape the hectic daily life, surrounded by peace and tranquillity at a secret location, somewhere in the Flemish countryside.

‘Fietsen door het Water’ in Bokrijk © David Samyn

Cycling through the trees and water in Limburg

Those who like to combine romance with a good dose of nature and physical activity can find what they are looking for in Limburg. This hospitable province is a wonderful place for cycling. And you get something special out of it too. Start with Cycling through the Trees, in Bosland National Park which will elevate you both literally and figuratively. The cycle path gradually climbs here, and suddenly you are cycling ten metres above the ground, weaving between the treetops. From there you pedal on to the next experience: Cycling through the Water. Here, the path takes you right through a vast pond, from one bank to the other. Along the way, the path dips down, bringing the water on either side up to eye level. From there, you cycle on to the Hoge Kempen National Park, a magnificent nature reserve. The viewing point at the Terhills entrance gate provides an irresistible panorama, as the final touch to a romantic day on the bike.

KMSKA (c) Woodmonkey (1)

The love of the Flemish Masters

Passion, love, ardour and romance are all grand emotions. Something that our Flemish Masters relished. These illustrious artists let not only their paintbrush speak, but also their hearts. When baroque painter Anthony Van Dyck happened to meet the stunningly beautiful Isabelle, he was figuratively knocked from his horse. She stole his heart and he painted St. Martin Dividing his Cloak for her which can still be seen today in St. Martin’s Church in Zaventem. Jan van Eyck, famous for the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, created an artistic ode to his beloved. His top piece Portrait of Margaret van Eyck can be viewed in the Groeninge Museum in Bruges. Baroque master Peter Paul Rubens went a step further and portrayed his (second) wife Hélène Fourment in several of his works. You can recognise the woman of Rubens’ life in the major art museums in Europe. So both she and their love are immortalised on canvas. Intrigued? Discover more of the Flemish Masters at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (KMSKA). 

From artworks by Flemish Masters to Belgian chocolate, from cosy picnics to city walks and bike rides through nature. Flanders has plenty of romantic jewels to offer. Maybe it will set you on the path of the raven, a common species in our region. These birds fall in love, form a couple and then stay together forever. Perhaps a romantic trip to Flanders will take you down the same path?

Zeebrugge 2 © Toerisme Zeebrugge, Westtoer

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