Six highlights to experience a wonderful summer in Flanders


When the sun shines, Flanders sparkles just that little bit more. With art and culture, 67 kilometres of coastline, Flanders Fields and a wealth of cycling and walking pleasures, Flanders welcomes you with open arms. Here ware six tips to make this summer an unforgettable one.


Tip 1: An open-air gallery on the Flemish coast

The picturesque sandy beaches of our Flemish coastline stretch out over 67 kilometres (41 miles), from east to west. There is more to experience on this coastline than we could ever fit into one page. However, you can discover our guide to a vibrant days by our North Sea. For those who like to immerse themselves in the artworld, we can offer must-see: The Crystal Ship. This dazzling street arts festival has been transforming Ostend into the largest open-air gallery in the country since 2016. Every year, including this one, a number of new masterpieces are on show in the streets under this title. Discover, for example, an impressive ode to the Ostend grandmaster James Ensor by SozyOne, a brand-new and colourful creation by Moulayé Sarr or the small but omnipresent garbage men by Jaune. Sometimes big, sometimes small but always impressive.


Tip 2: The landscape of Flanders Fields speaks

The Westhoek - also known as Flanders Fields - was one of the most important battlegrounds during the First World War. This is being given extra emphasis this summer by Landscapes - Feel Flanders Fields. The extensive remembrance project tells the stories of the landscape with its many craters, bunkers, monuments and cemeteries. Here is a small selection from the extensive programme. The For Evermore exhibition at the In Flanders Fields Museum tells the stories of the cemeteries of WWI. The Modderland cycling festival links the war scars of the region with a musical theme. The Front Eye provides a new and unique vantage point in war museum Hooge Crater. There, young visitors are welcomed by the Hooge Boys, who mark out an interactive and playful trail for them. And also highly recommended for the whole family: explore this meaningful landscape together: on foot, by bike or on water.


Tip 3: A duo of arts festivals

For art and culture lovers, you will be spoilt for choice. This summer, Flanders boasts an artistic opulence. Between July and September, the town of Watou, also in the Westhoek, will once again be taken over by the annual arts festival. Thirty artists and twenty poets will take up temporary residence and “compose” brand-new works on the spot. Once again, this guarantees a sensational interplay between poetry, visual art and the charming village itself. If you prefer the bustling metropolis as an artistic environment, then Antwerp is the place to be for the Barokke Influencers city festival. An impressive programme of exhibitions, concerts, lectures and an experience trail bridges the gap between 17th century baroque and the Flanders of today.


Tip 4: Flanders by bike

Flanders is a cycling paradise. This applies not only for the Lycra-clad cycling tourist, but also for the recreational cyclist. Nowhere is this better discovered than on the Iconic cycle routes. These nine routes thread together the most beautiful parts of Flanders. Each is structured around a central theme such as the art cities, the coast or the green belt around Brussels. The signposted trails follows cycle-friendly roads through undulating Flanders. Having difficulty choosing between all those options? Then make the bravest choice and keep your diary free for slow travel at its best. The Flanders Route threads all the different parts together, 962 kilometres long (597 miles). Those who complete these mighty bike rides have certainly earned a reward at the end, so make sure to find a terrace and enjoy a refreshing glass of Belgian beer.


Tip 5: Nature and more

Would you rather form an alliance with your walking boots than with your two-wheeler? If so, Flanders has plenty to offer. The Hoge Kempen National Park guarantees days of walking pleasure. There you will find 12,000 hectares of vast pine forests, purple-flowering heathland, shifting dunes and large lakes. Or perhaps combine your desire to walk with a dose of culture along the Scheldt. Festival Stroom will soon be casting a different light on the banks of this mighty river. For eleven days, Stroom takes you on a journey of musical and artistic discovery. A unique way to get to know Flanders’ nature better.

Tip 6: A wonderful summer of festivals

Stroom is just one of the many events descending on Flanders this summer. During these warmest months, our region will transform once again into one big festival. There are the giants such as Rock Werchter and Tomorrowland, but a great many events are also taking place in between. Take the Ghent Festivities, for example, to name a unique and quirky phenomenon. During the Festivities, the historic city centre of Ghent is completely taken over by an enormous, ten-day city festival. It includes hundreds, even thousands of activities and parties until the early hours (for those who want to).

If the summer sun does not put a smile on your face, then Flanders will. For the art lover as well as the festivalgoer, the avid cyclist and the adventurous foodie, the enthusiastic walker as well as the heritage lover: Flanders always has something in store.


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