Seven reasons to visit Flanders this Spring
Jack Frost is slowly packing his bags, and spring is in the air. The perfect time to enjoy Flanders’ delights. Here are a few tips.
1. The birthplace of cycle racing
Bergs, cobbles and unforgettable, heroic duels fought on two wheels. Flanders is a Mecca for cycle racing. The iconic spring cycle racing season is living proof of that. Races like Dwars door Vlaanderen the E3-Prijs and Ghent-Wevelgem are a whirlwind roller coaster, and the highlight is yet to come. The Tour of Flanders takes place on the holiest of Sundays. This is traditionally a day when ordinary riders can become immortal heroes. Discover the Flandrien atmosphere along the side of the road, or take on the challenge of the bergs and cobbles in one of the many cyclosportives for enthusiasts. Or set off on your own, at your own pace, along one of Flanders’ beautiful iconic cycling routes.
2. The Master's house
Anyone who hears the word Antwerp immediately thinks of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). This brilliant painter, diplomat and architect is the figurehead of the Baroque. The Flemish Master was at home in Antwerp, and still is today. The city palace where he lived and worked is now a museum: The Rubens House. This stately icon will be conserved for eternity, but will soon have to close for a while. Next year, the Rubens House will undergo extensive restoration work: providing more space for visitors and international exhibitions, optimal climate control and a thorough restoration of the interior. Here’s a tip: make the most of the time to visit the Master’s house before it closes. If you don’t manage it, we look forward to seeing you at the festive reopening in 2027, exactly 450 years after Rubens was born.
3. Natural splendour
Flanders is well-known for its picturesque landscapes. Throughout our region you will find beautiful forests, parks and heaths. There are also several natural gems worth a mention. For example, the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, literally in the King’s garden. This spring, they will also (briefly) open their doors to the public. Marvel at the exotic flowers and plants under shining domes, in monumental pavilions and long galleries. If that paradise is not enough, travel a few kilometres further to Meise Botanic Garden. This 92-hectare green oasis is home to more than 18,000 different plant species. The Floralies is the third fabulous destination. This historic and iconic exhibition of flowers and plants is returning to Ghent after an absence of six long years. It’s definitely worth a visit.
4. Festivals for gourmets
Good food is in Flanders’ DNA, it’s a fact. In spring, we celebrate our love of flavours with a series of culinary festivals. In March there is Antwerp Chocolate Week and in May there is Antwerpen Proeft (Taste of Antwerp), at a breath-taking location on the river Scheldt. Ghent offers an alternative - or additional option, depending on how you look at it - with Gent Smaakt. And those with a sweet tooth should note 25 March in their diaries: International Waffle Day. What better place to honour this unofficial holiday than in Flanders? Exactly: nowhere.
5. Historic castle, contemporary masters
Art history would not be the same without Flemish Masters such as Van Eyck, Bruegel and Rubens. And since then, numerous successors have followed in their footsteps in Flanders. This spring you will find a sample of this contemporary art in the Castle of Laarne, a stone’s throw from Ghent. The foundation stone of this elegant moated castle was laid some 700 years ago, yet this historic house also embraces the new. The exhibition Nadir brings together works by contemporary Flemish masters such as Michaël Borremans, Francis Alÿs and Berlinde De Bruyckere. A unique experience, in an equally unique historical setting.
6. Our liquid gold
We pretty much invented beer - you’re welcome!- It is an invention we enjoy considerably. In the spring, we do so with some fantastic beer festivals, celebrating our tasty heritage. Honour our liquid gold during the Leuven Beer Weekends or Zythos Beer Festival and discover the very latest at the Innovation Beer Festival, or get to know the iconic Lambic and Geuze beer during the Tour de Geuze near Brussels. And finally, enjoy the pleasant terrace weather. The first rays of sunshine are a sign that we can venture out once again and enjoy the varied nature, culture or a refreshing beer on a convivial café terrace.
7. Where heritage meets history
Flanders is first and foremost a region with extraordinary heritage. Bruges is a wonderful example. Every year in May, The Procession of the Holy Blood takes place; a devout remembrance of the suffering of Jesus Christ. A key element is the display of a relic of the blood of Jesus himself. This unique experience can be combined with a visit to the historical monuments of Bruges, such as St Saviour’s Cathedral, the Belfry, the Church of Our Lady and the renovated Gruuthuse Museum.
The first spring-like rays of sunshine boost our energy, as does Flanders. Whether you have a penchant for Flemish Masters or Flandriens, a good glass of beer or our natural splendour, there is always something to explore. Welcome!
Story created on 23 March, 2022