West-Flanders, the most western province of Belgium, is bordered by both the North Sea and France, as well as The Netherlands. The ‘Westhoek’ (Flanders Fields), ‘Leiestreek’ (Lys region), ‘Brugse Ommeland’ (Bruges and the polders) and the Belgian coast are the 4 touristic regions, each with its own specific attractions. Four short films will show you what enjoying in an extraordinary manner means in West-Flanders.
Both cultural and recreational, the offer is wide and diverse. Cyclists and hikers will love the flat northern polders or the slightly rolling Interior, which provides some great panoramas. In addition to numerous local hiking and cycling trails, there are also comprehensive and cross-regional cycling and hiking networks. The open and rural character introduces you to a wealth of goodies that grow on the fields. The province was heavily marked by the historic events. With the start of the commemoration of WW I, exactly 100 years ago in 2014, you will be able to attend many events about the Great War over the next four years.
THE ‘WESTHOEK’ (Flanders Fields)
The ‘Westhoek’ is a rural region which is characterized by vast polder plains on the one hand and green hills on the other. Lots of charming and authentic ‘Westhoek’ towns lure visitors with their rich cultural history and gastronomic delights. Especially in this region, the first World War left deep scars, of which the numerous military cemeteries are silent witnesses.
Diksmuide appeals with its picturesque city centre and its widely known war memorials such as the ‘Ijzertoren’ (Yser Tower) and the authentic trenches, known as the ‘Dodengang’ (Trench of death).
Ypres offers several remarkable war memorials such as the ‘Menenpoort’ (Menin Gate) and the ‘In Flanders Fields’ war museum. The city exudes medieval bravado and charm with its hustle and bustle. The ‘Bellewaerde’ theme park offers an unforgettable day for both young and old.
THE ‘LEIESTREEK’ (Lys Region)
The ‘Leiestreek’ is characterized by industrial archaeology and artistic activity. The ‘golden river’ Lys, which was particularly important to the former flax culture, is a returning factor in the region.
Nearby Hooglede-Gits is the city of Roeselare with its many shops, the national cycling museum and the castle domain ‘Sterrebos’. A little further you will find Kortrijk with its medieval ‘Broeltorens’ (Broel Towers), the ‘Belfort’ (Belfry) and the ‘Begijnhof’ (Beguinage). With the interactive ‘holder-de-bolderwagon, you can explore the city and discover all of this together with your children in a playful way.
THE ‘BRUGSE OMMELAND’ (Bruges and the polders)
The ‘Brugse Ommeland’ is situated near the North Sea and combines an open landscape with a green belt with many woods around Bruges. The region offers numerous castles and alleys, protected village views and monuments, historic farms and mills, nature reserves,…
Outside its city centre, Torhout offers quite a few scenic areas with its numerous alleys, paths and vast forests. The castles of ‘Wijnendaele’ and ‘d’Aertrijcke’, various museums and the domain of the ‘d’Oude Smelterij’ with its own petting zoo and herb garden are well worth a visit.
Bruges enjoys fame throughout the whole of Europe for its impressive art-historical and cultural heritage. With endless shopping opportunities, museum hopping, a boat trip on the canals, a walk on the green fortresses or a simple stroll in the medieval city centre, this is the top West-Flemish city. Children will certainly appreciate a visit to the chocolate museum and the ‘Boudewijnpark’.
THE NORTH SEA COAST
In addition to the wonderful beaches, the lively activity and the total holiday atmosphere for the children, the North Sea coast also offers the popular amusement park ‘Plopsaland’ (De Panne) or the educational ‘Earth Explorer’ (Ostend).