Tips for an unforgettable summer trip to Flanders

When the sun shines, Flanders sparkles just a little bit more. Enjoy a wonderful summer full of art and heritage, castles and city palaces, nature and cycling highlights. Here are a selection of events and experiences for an unforgettable summer in Flanders.

An artistic summer on the coast

This summer, the Flemish coast will once again be engulfed by an artistic tidal wave. Beaufort24 takes over the coast, beaches and dunes. This triennial event brings 18 new contemporary artworks to our 67 kilometres of coastline. Those artworks engage in a dialogue with the legends, history and stories that resonate along the North Sea. After the summer, eight of them will join the Beaufort Sculpture Park, the permanent open-air exhibition recalling the past passages of this art event. Tip: stay a little longer in Ostend, where Ensor2024 continues to amaze. This multi-faceted city festival is an ode to modern art pioneer James Ensor, who is inextricably linked with the seaside town. Now, 75 years after his death, we discover the true face of the artist behind the masks. In September, Antwerp takes over the torch of this festive year with four major exhibitions paying tribute to the grand master.

Via the Flanders’ Finest cycle routes you can discover the very best of every corner of Flanders. For example, the Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip includes the highlights in this list. We want you to enjoy our nature treasures, but we also protect them because they are so valuable and unique. We value peace, tranquillity and respect for nature.

Driton Selmani - Lost For Words - Beaufort 24 - Blankenberge

The magnificent spectacle of the Kalmthoutse Heide

It is an unparalleled spectacle, repeated every summer. From mid-August until mid-September, the shrubs on the Kalmthoutse Heide are in bloom. The landscape is then overgrown with beautiful bright lilac and dark purple leaves. A view that takes your breath away.   

Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip: Antwerp highlights, a stone’s throw from the Kalmthoutse Heide.

Kalmthoutse Heide, 2020 © gemeente Kalmthout
campagne thumb 2

Walk in the footsteps of Bruges's nobility

There is no place quite like Bruges. You meander through historic alleyways, along canals and among centuries-old churches and city palaces. That grandeur continues further into the Bruges Ommeland, the green region around the city. Noble families spent their leisure time there in impressive residences and castles. Exploring this abundance of greenery while on your city trip to Bruges is very easy today. In the past, noblemen and noblewomen often had to travel for a whole day to reach country residences such as Loppem Castle or the Gruuthuse Castle domain. Today, you do it in next to no time. This is how you truly walk in the footsteps of the medieval nobility

Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip: Cycling in Bruges, through the surrounding countryside and past lost ports

Winter Garden of the Ursulines, a gem near Mechelen

Glorious Mechelen is a place of many stories and hidden gems. On the outskirts of this city, you will find the Winter Garden of the Ursulines. This is now part of a historic girls’ boarding school. The entire complex glitters like a beautiful art nouveau gem. The impressive stained-glass dome creates a magical play of light and colour that will leave you speechless. This heritage gem now welcomes you once again with open arms, after a thorough renovation. A touch of wonder guaranteed, just a stone’s throw from Mechelen

Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip: a tour of Mechelen-Boom

Wintertuin Ursulinen (c) Inneke Gebruers

Micro-adventures in the Zwin Region

Happiness lies in the small things. That wisdom applies both to life and to the Zwin Region. In this beautiful tidal area on the coast, there are micro-adventures that guarantee maximum enjoyment. They give you the chance to discover nature in another way. For example, on a packraft. Or on a dew walk with the early birds. Or on one of the many signposted routes, good for over 100 kilometres of walking pleasure. Or amid the purple glow of the sea lavender which blooms in August. Or at the stork tower, where you can search with your binoculars for the most famous visitors to the Zwin Nature Park (located in the Zwin Region Landscape Park). The possibilities are endless..

Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip: the Lost Ports of the Zwin route.

Toerisme Vlaanderen - Zwinstreek - Bjorn Snelders - 5

LANDSCAPES: the scars of Flanders Fields

Flanders Fields. A region changed forever by the Great War where the past is still very much present. Craters, bunkers, monuments and cemeteries mark the fields and villages. A valuable piece of heritage confirmed by UNESCO which recognises 27 WWI memorial sites in Flanders Fields as world heritage sites. This summer LANDSCAPES | Feel Flanders Fields takes you along those scars in a variety of ways. The expo Echoes of War looks at the landscape as the last witness to the war. Modderland sings the war stories on a musical-artistic cycling tour through the Westhoek. The Front Eye literally offers you a new perspective on the past battlefields. That and much more with LANDSCAPES, until the end of August. 

Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip: A peace route through Flanders Fields.  

Zonnebeke | Flanders from above 5

The European Championships: a top day for cycling

Flanders is the birthplace of cycle racing. Our spring classics are world-famous, but this summer we have something extra on offer. In mid-September, the UEC Road European Championships descend on the beautiful province of Limburg. For five days, top athletes will be competing for the European title in their categories. But you can also discover the rolling Limburg landscapes for yourself; find out more at Are you coming to watch? Will you be getting on a bike yourself? Whatever you decide, there are certain to be wonderful cycling moments that you won’t forget. 

Flanders’ Finest Cycling Tip: Pleasant pedalling through the fruit region.

Flandrien challenge 16 ©
Deurnis Maarkedal

Treinstappers from Grote Routepaden (GR)

Do you sometimes like to swap your bike for a pair of sturdy walking shoes? Then the ‘Treinstappers’ from ‘Grote Routepaden’ are a good tip. The concept is simple: you get to the start of your day’s walk via public transport and afterwards you can safely travel back the same way (or to go on to the next ‘Treinstapper’). That’s sustainability! And what’s more, you can prepare yourself for your walk while you are travelling on the train. The ‘treinstappers’ (from 18 to 27 km) take you past new places, beautiful landscapes and hidden gems (including many green ones). From De Panne to Nieuwpoort, from Ronse to Oudenaarde, from Groenendaal to Halle and from Sint-Joris-Weert to Leuven. This is just a small sample of a much larger selection of walks from ’GroteRoutepaden’.

It promises to be another summer full of highlights. And we have not even mentioned our famous festival summer yet. Blockbusters such as Tomorrowland, folk festivals like the Ghent Festivities, or one of the dozens of small, charming festivals: they always add extra flair to a summer in Flanders. Enjoy!