Saturday 10 October 2020
From 08h00 to 22h30
Ghent & Bruges
Transportation by train
There are places that captivate you, but you can’t quite understand why. Bruges is one such place. A city on a human scale, which has become large thanks to its fascinating history, which has earned it the distinction of UNESCO World Heritage City. As for Ghent, we don’t know anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with it! It’s time for you to discover it. Such a cool idea that we wonder why we have never been there before!
- Reserved seat on train
- Guided tour of Ghent
- Gravensteen Castle visit
- Guided tour of Bruges
- Canal cruise
- Dinner (optional)
- Great group of international people
- A lifetime expat memory
Who can join this trip?
Expat Club is known for welcoming a wide variety of international people on its trips. This creates a special, open-minded, safe and friendly environment in which everyone should feel comfortable.
– Members & non-members
– Expats & (international) Belgians
– All ages, including children
– Singles / couples / retirees / friends / colleagues / families
– Foreign tourists
Child tickets available
Expat Club loves welcoming the youngest expats! If you want to bring your child(ren) up until 18 years, please first add the regular adult ticket(s) to the cart and then go to the cart page (price to be announced).
As with any Expat Club trip, our schedule is carefully designed so you can enjoy the visit Ghent and Bruges and have time to get to know the other people in the group. To that end, we also organize a welcome coffee at the train station just before departure. Note, all times below are tentative and depend on availability at the museum. We can only confirm this later.
08h00 – Departure Brussels
08h30 – Arrival Ghent
09h00 – Ghent guided tour
10h30 – Coffee break
11h00 – Gravensteen castle visit
12h00 – Lunch break
13h30 – Departure to Ghent
14h00 – Arrival Bruges
14h30 – Bruges guided tour
16h30 – Coffee break
17h00 – Canal cruise
17h30 – Free time
19h00 – Dinner
21h30 – Departure to Brussels
22h30 – Arrival Brussels
We will start our day trip by visiting Ghent, not even half an hour by train from Brussels. Ghent is the capital of the Province of East Flanders and since 1559 the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ghent. With 255,000 inhabitants, it is the second-most populous municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp, but the third largest city since Brussels is divided in 19 municipalities. We begin with a tour by a local expert who will take us around the city.
Ghent is an old town with a lot of history. During the tour, we will get to see all the must-see parts of the city such as the Belfry, the Saint-Michael’s Bridge, and the Saint-Bavo’s Cathedral. After the tour, we will enjoy a nice cup of coffee to get to know each other a bit more and we will be heading to Gravensteen, an ancient castle in the middle of the city. This imposing castle is a real treasure.
Also known as the “Castle of Counts”, Gravensteen was built in 1180 by Count Philippe d’Alsace to show the power of the counts in the city. It houses a collection of objects from the Middle-Age (weapons and armour), a torture room, a crypt, a dungeon, a stable, and the residence rooms of the counts. Our visit to the Castle of the Counts will give us an insight into the chivalric culture of the 12th century. At the top of the dungeon, the view over the town is magnificent. It offers a 360° view of Ghent with all its must-see monuments.
The Belfry of Ghent
The Belfry of Ghent is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with many other belfries in Belgium and Northern France. In 1402, the privileges of the city were kept in a secret safe stored in the Belfry. The dragon that has dominated the tower since 1377 watches over the city and defends the Belfry. It is one of the most famous buildings in Ghent and the top also offers a really nice view.
After our lunch in Ghent we will continue to our next destination in Flanders, Bruges. Yet another historic city, Bruges became a central port, commercial and financial hub in medieval Europe, linking the countries of the North Sea and the Baltic to the Mediterranean. This economic boom led to cultural and artistic flourishing. Like other cities, it is sometimes nicknamed the “Venice of the North” because of its canals that surround or cross the old town in a picturesque setting. Nowadays, Bruges has become the most popular tourist city in Belgium and earned the distinction UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Historic Centre of Bruges Brugge is an outstanding example of a medieval historic settlement, which has maintained its historic fabric as this has evolved over the centuries, and where original Gothic constructions form part of the town's identity. As one of the commercial and cultural capitals of Europe, Brugge developed cultural links to different parts of the world. It is closely associated with the school of Flemish Primitive painting. (Source: Unesco website)
We will start our visit to Bruges also with a private guided tour. Another local expert will show us the best of Bruges including the belfry tower, the Brugge Markt, and the lovers’ bridge. You will walk along the must-see places, historical squares, and mysterious places while learning the Bruges essentials. Afterwards, we will board a boat and get to discover the city from a very different angle. After some free time we will finish our day with a nice dinner, because Bruges is also a great city for food!
Lunch & Dinner
As we know that the day will be rich in discoveries, wonder, and encounters, we thought about everything to recharge our batteries. For lunch, we have a nice place in Ghent where we will eat just before our departure. For dinner, we will eat in Bruges after the boat trip and free time. The city is full of restaurants offering specialties and we are sure to find what we are looking for.
These two meals are optional, however, they are a great opportunity to get to know each other and share a friendly moment with the other members of the group. We would love to enjoy these moments with you.
Normally we travel by bus on our day trips, but Ghent and Bruges have such excellent train connections that we might as well just do that. We travel more often by train to places in Belgium, such as Antwerp or for our kayaking trips, and as usual we will also now reserve seats for everyone so we can all sit together.
Meeting at Midi station
For those that come to Gare du Midi, we will meet at the JAVA Cafe, which is right in the middle of the terminal near the escalators. The exact track is not yet known, but we meet about 30 minutes before departure for those who feel like a coffee.
Photos: © visitbruges.be and © visit.gent.be