5 reasons to spend your summer in Flanders
What would you like to do this summer? Parade along the royal passages and beaches of Ostend like a king? Or be treated like a queen in the boutiques of Knokke? Why not take a bike ride through beautiful Flanders to a picturesque picnic spot? Or perhaps it's time to treat your ears to some delightful live music, or marvel at the artistic genius of the Flemish Masters in Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels. Finish your day enjoying a Belgian beer in the cool evening air, perhaps at one of the pop-up bars dotted across Flanders...
The Flemish coast is one of the most underrated areas of Europe. Beautiful sandy beaches stretch from east to west. The ideal setting to enjoy a refreshing beer while the children play on the beach. Visit fantastic cities like Ostend, or go shopping in Knokke. Enjoy a stroll along the beach or lose yourself in the dunes. And don't forget, there is a wealth of culture to take in. Along the coastline you will find an abundance of contemporary works of art, some of which are part of the The Crystal Ship street art festival in Ostend and the Beaufort Art Triennial, which stretches along the entire coastline. Both art festivals have left an indelible impression on the Belgian coast. Or dig a bit deeper and visit the Paul Delvaux Museum in Koksijde, dedicated to the life and work of the famous surrealist.
Where art is at home
Speaking of art, the Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art (M HKA) is an absolute must: a who’s who of European contemporary art. Here you'll find contemporary masters like Jan Fabre, Luc Tuymans, Panamarenko and many more. If the classical school is more your thing, you will enjoy the Rubenshuis or the museum of Fine Arts in Brussels or Ghent.
A city palace in Mechelen and sparkling stones in Antwerp
Flanders is the perfect place for culture vultures to get their fix. From famous art galleries to quirky museums, there’s a wealth of heritage to visit and enjoy. For instance, the beautiful city palace of Hof van Busleyden in Mechelen will open its permanent exhibition on 17 June. In this magnificent palace, you can learn all about the Burgundian Netherlands, a thriving era that looks into the lives of figures such as Charles the Bold, Margaret of Austria, Thomas More and Emperor Charles V. Also new this summer is Antwerp’s homage to the diamond with DIVA. This brand-new innovation centre in the diamond capital pays tribute to the craftsmanship and history of the sparkling diamond.
Enjoy the sounds of summer
Would your summer be complete without live music? Whatever genre of music you enjoy, you'll find it in Flanders where there are almost 300 festivals and concerts to choose from. Tomorrowland is a festival that's brings together hundreds of DJs from around the world to spin infectious electronic beats. The biggest rock bands in the world come together for the four-day Rock Werchter festival and anyone interested in something heavier will want to check out the Graspop Metal Meeting. Jazz Middelheim welcomes both enthusiasts and the curious to beautiful green surroundings in Antwerp, while at the Couleur Café Festival in Brussels, you'll find everything from brass bands to craft workshops and exotic restaurants. For incredible cultural diversity, make sure you drope by the Ghent Festivities. It lasts ten days (and nights), with an atmosphere that has to be experienced to be believed.
... Sit back, unwind and relax with a drink
With so much to do in Flanders every summer, you'll need time to unwind. And there's no better way to relax than with a nice cold beer. There are 1,500 different Belgian beers for you to choose from. Let your taste buds roam freely through the incredible varieties of brews found at festivals like the Belgian Beer Weekend in Brussels in early September of the Beer and Hop Festival later that month. Alternatively, check out one of the lively summer bars that pop up every year. They range from Parkkaffee in Ghent in July and the super-cool Baouzza beach terrace in Hasselt (open April to August) to the Skybar Antwerp rooftop lounge (July-August), while July sees the opening of Bar Amorse in Kortrijk, one of many riverside bars that capture the truly unique feeling of summertime in Flanders.
Story created on June 7, 2018