GhentDistance from Brussels: Approximately 30 minutes by train
Ghent (pictured above) is a beautiful city with a rich history and stunning architecture. Highlights include Gravensteen Castle, St. Bavo's Cathedral with the famous Ghent Altarpiece, and the Graslei and Korenlei canalside streets. It has a lively atmosphere, a mix of medieval and modern elements, and plenty of cultural attractions to explore.
BrugesDistance from Brussels: Approximately 1 hour by train
Bruges, often referred to as the "Venice of the North," is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed city known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and picturesque canals. Visitors can explore the Markt square, climb the Belfry of Bruges for panoramic views, visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and take a boat tour along the canals. The city's charm, cobblestone streets, and historic sites make it a perfect day trip destination.
AntwerpDistance from Brussels: Approximately 45 minutes by train
Antwerp, known for its vibrant arts scene and as the diamond capital of the world, offers a mix of historical and contemporary attractions. Visitors can explore the Cathedral of Our Lady, home to works by Rubens, visit the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, and stroll around the Grote Markt. Antwerp is also a great destination for shopping, especially for those interested in diamonds and fashion.
So there you have it, three options that between them will have you exploring medieval architecture, taking in spectacular views or just soaking up the vibrant local culture. All three only a short hop from Brussels on the train.