We know that Antwerp is the best city in the world – we may be a little biased on that one – but every now and again we like to leave our vibrant little city and take a short day trip to one of Belgium’s other lovely towns. Here are our pick of the best:

Ghent ( 54mins drive – 60kms)

A colourful city, filled with a million things to see and do, Ghent is almost as trendy as Antwerp so it's a great place to visit and compare. It has everything from castles to museums and has a huge amount of culture and history to go along with it. We love the array of boat trips you can take. They vary from historical to photographic trips and you can even hire boats to drive yourself around Ghent’s beautiful inlands.

Lier(42 mins drive – 23kms)

If you want to visit a picturesque and historic canal town, you might also want to consider Lier, which is a very short train ride from Antwerp. The town is home to two UNESCO heritage sites, namely The Beguinage and The Belfry. (A Beginuinage is a word used to describe an architectural complex which was created to house lay-religious women). Lier is famous for its variety of delicious beers and its patron saint, Gummerous. Don’t forget to visit the fascinating and unusual clock on the Zimmer Tower.

Mechelen (29 mins drive – 24kms)

Another of Belgium’s underrated historical cities, Mechelen has no less than 336 listed buildings which make it one of the most culturally important places in Belgium. It’s particularly great for a family day trip as it is home to a brilliant Toy Museum. The museum is not just for kids but perfect for the young at heart to recapture memories of playing with the coolest toys from each decade. For a birds-eye view of the city, climb the 514 steps of St Rumbolds Tower for a 360-degree view.

Brussels (49 mins drive - 45kms)

Did you know that Brussels contains 20 of the most popular museums in Europe? Our capital is often overlooked as a tourist destination as it is perceived as ‘boring’ but there are plenty of exciting and interesting things to do. Where else would you find a colourful comic strip walking route, countless outdoor festivals and markets and of course some of the best Belgian food in the country – think frites, waffles and chocolate, mmmm!

Bruges (81 mins drive – 91kms)

Bruges’ beauty was brought to a wider audience when it was the focus of a blockbuster movie starring Colin Farrell in 2008 but it has always been a stunning place to visit. With canals reminiscent of Venice and gothic style architecture to rival any other European city. The city itself is a UNESCO Heritage Site and it’s not hard to see why. Make sure to climb the Belfry tower for the best views and for something really unusual, visit the Museum of Torture; it is exactly what it says!

If you are planning to explore Belgium, Astoria Hotel in Antwerp is the best base for you. We offer a flexible and friendly atmosphere and the best value rates are guaranteed when you book with us direct.

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