Family holidays in Belgium
Belgium is a compact country that’s full of varying landscapes and terrains, so it’s wonderful for groups of all ages to explore. You could easily find yourself leading the family down the flat cycle routes of Ghent in the morning, and wandering through the world-renowned Antwerp Zoo in the afternoon. Brussels is a natural choice with Choco-Story and the Belgian Comic Strip Centre to entertain all ages, while beautiful Bruges is perfect for boat trips – or maybe even a hot air balloon ride. If you’d rather be closer to nature, head to Dinant for a fairytale escape full of green spaces for walking – not to mention stunning castles with plenty of activities and re-enactments throughout the year. Here, we’ve selected some of our favourite destinations for fun-filled family holidays in Belgium.
Family holidays in Dinant
Placed as it is in the picturesque Walloon region, Dinant is a city that’s sure to capture the imaginations of the whole family. Perched on a hilltop and surrounded by fortifications, the Citadelle de Dinant is easily the city’s main landmark, and is accessible via a cable car that kids are sure to love. Once inside, you’ll learn all about the history of the area, wandering through subterranean tunnels before catching sight of the structure’s canons, which you’ll find in its courtyard. If you’d rather embrace nature, take a guided tour of the Caves of Han, where you can discover the area’s indigenous flora and fauna. Temperatures can be significantly lower here, so do be sure to bundle up. The city’s surrounding area is also perfect for hiking, walking and cycling – with routes and trails to suit all abilities.
Family holidays in Brussels
With over 20 city parks and more than 90 museums – including the Belgian Comic Strip Centre – there’s certainly lots for families to do in the capital city of Brussels. At the foot of the gleaming Atomium, kids can play giants as they explore the Mini-Europe model park, which features some of the continent’s best known landmarks. Found amidst many of the official EU buildings, the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences takes you on a different kind of journey – an adventure through time. Here, you can walk with dinosaurs, retrace the stages of evolution, and discover the many past and present creatures that have roamed the planet’s surface. The city is also known for its countless murals and outdoor art, so be sure to join a tour to see some of the area’s best examples.
Family holidays in Antwerp
While Antwerp may be known around the globe as one of the capitals of the diamond industry, there are plenty of local gems that make it fun for the younger explorer too. The Antwerp Zoo was founded in 1843, making it one of Europe’s oldest, and its collection of bears, flamingos, elephants, giraffes, gorillas, koalas, and kangaroos make for a full day activity. If you’re looking for something more easy-going, head to the riverfront to enjoy a 90-minute cruise along the scenic River Scheldt and see the ships, containers, and bustling activity in Europe’s second largest port. Once back on dry land, you can explore the Red Star Line Museum which tells the story of the millions of Europeans who emigrated to the United States, including some very famous names like Albert Einstein. Kids under 12 get free entry and the interactive exhibits means it’s smooth sailing all day long.
Family holidays in Ghent
Described by travel experts Lonely Planet as ‘Belgium’s best kept secret’, this medieval city is a picturesque and fascinating place to explore. One of its greatest draws is right at its heart: Gravensteen Castle, a 12th century fortress with ramparts that provide great views of the city, a spooky dungeon, and a chance to let the kids play at being a Belgian knight. A great way to explore Ghent during your family break in Flanders is on two wheels, especially since the city boasts 250 miles of designated cycling routes. The Green Belt route on the edge of the city is ideal for families, as its trail runs through leafy parks, across meadows, and takes in some of the suburb’s most scenic delights. After a day of exploring, be sure to sample the area’s favourite snack – frites (chips) enjoying them as the locals do with a good dollop of mayonnaise. Other delectable treats include waffles and, of course, chocolate.
Find more adventures in Belgium with our travel guide.