11 Perfect Day Trips to Belgium From Amsterdam

Nadia Nadia

Written by Nadia

Amsterdam Belgium
Day trips from Amsterdam to Belgium

Belgium is a multicultural, multilingual country famous for its delectable food, good beer, and many great castles. It is a proven perfect location to experience for many travelers who want to explore off-the-beaten-path Europe.

Here are 11 day trips to Belgium from Amsterdam that you will not regret taking if you are looking for more adventures.

The best day trips to Belgium you should not miss

Key takeaways


  • Brussels is the first to see, with stunning architecture, beers, and waffles.
  • Antwerp is a trendy place with some shopping opportunities.
  • Dinant and Leuven as non-touristy spots.
  • Bruges, for the basilica, the views and the best fries in Belgium.

Unless otherwise stated, to travel to Belgium from Amsterdam, you can ride either the Thalys high-speed trains or the buses operated by FlixBus.

1. Brussels, Manneken Pis

The iconic Manneken Pis is a little bronze statue just about 55 cm tall. Besides being an iconic landmark of the city, this statue is believed to have many legends behind it.

In addition to the stories related to the statue, it has become a tradition to dress it up. Over the years, this statue has accumulated over 1,000 costumes. It even has an Official Dresser, and the city also built a museum for his wardrobe, the GardeRobe MannekenPis.

The oldest surviving costume of the Manneken Pis dated back to 1747 and was commissioned by French King Louis XV. It is said that he presented it as an apology for the theft of his invading forces. However, gifting costumes to the Manneken Pis started way back around the 1600s. Back then, the city leaders often donated clothes to the statue to ask for favors from the citizens. 

Whether you believe these legends or not, this is one place that should definitely be on your itinerary.

Other great things to do in Brussels

  • Visit the Atomium (symbolyc iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times).
  • Walk through the old town, see Galerie de la Reine and Grand-Place.
  • Check out European quarter.
  • Go shopping at the Avenue Louise.
  • Go for beers near Place du Châtelain and Parvis de Saint-Gilles.
  • Go for even more beers (see the map by Olivier Ponteville).
  • See the Palais de Justice.
  • Visit the underground Palace of Coudenberg.
  • Visit the botanical garden in Meise in Summer.
  • Eat waffles (I recommend you to have a waffle without toppings!)
  • Visit the parks such as Parc Duden, Bois De La Cambre, Parc de Laeken.

The map of attractions in Brussels

How to Get to Brussels From Amsterdam

By Train (Thalys)

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Brussel-Zuid / Bruxelles-Midi
  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 4 minutes
  • Tickets: from $60-$130

By Bus (Flixbus)

  • Departs: Amsterdam Sloterdijk
  • Arrives: Brussels-North train station
  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Tickets: from $8
Read also: 7 Day trips from Amsterdam to Germany

2. Antwerp (Antwerpen), Diamond District

The Antwerp Diamond District is also referred to as the Diamond Quarter. It got its name because this is where the major diamond mining companies are located, thus making it the undisputed diamond capital of the world.

It is located near the Antwerp Centraal and Meir, Antwerp’s main shopping street. After wandering around the Diamond District, you can also experience Meir’s preserved traditions and spirit.

Other great things to do in Antwerp

  • Visit the Grand Market (Grote Markt). In Winter you will also find a Christmas market there.
  • See Het Steen, a remnant castle located on the quay.
  • See the 16th-century gothic Cathedral of our Lady.
  • See Saint Charles Borromeo Church.
  • Explore Antwerp Zoo.
  • Go for shopping in the Meir pedestrian zone.
  • Visit the House of Rubens Museum.
  • Walk through the City Park (Stadspark). It is better not to go there at night, though.
  • Want a beer? Go to medieval cellar De Pelgrim, jazz bar De Muze or harbour pub Café Beveren.
  • Explore Zurenborg quarter, a fancy Art Nouveau neighborhood with fascinating architecture.

The map of attractions in Brussels

How to Get to Antwerpen From Amsterdam

By Train (Thalys)

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Anvers-Central
  • Fastest travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Tickets: from $42

By Bus (BlaBlaBus)

  • Departs: Amsterdam City Center – Sloterdijk
  • Arrives: Antwerp
  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 27 minutes
  • Tickets: from $7

3. Ghent, The Fortress of Gravensteen

The Gravensteen Castle, also known as the Castle of the Counts, is a protective 10th-century citadel open for tourists every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

This medieval fortress is renowned for its sordid past. As you tour the grounds, you will learn everything there is to know about the counts of Ghent, their lust for power, and the horrifying acts of torture they subject their victims to.

Other great things to do in Ghent

  • Visit STAM museum to learn the history of Ghent.
  • Climb up the Belfort/Belfry tower (better take the elevator).
  • Walk down the old quiet Patershol district.
  • Have quality meal at Martino restaurant.
  • Go to Yuzu, the best chocolate shop in Ghent.
  • Enjoy city’s relaxed atmosphere.

How to Get to Ghent From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Gand-Dampoort
  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Tickets: from $54

By Bus

  • Departs: Amsterdam Prins Hendrikplantsoen
  • Arrives: Ghent Pr. Clementinalaan
  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Tickets: from $8

4. Ypres, WWI Battlefields

More than five bloody battles happened in the Ypres Salient region. As a result, many remnants of these incursions have been preserved and opened up for visitors.

There are several available Ypres tours you can join. Almost all of them will give you access to the sites where these battlefields took place. Some of these sites include trenches, bunkers, and mine craters.

Other great things to do in Ypres

  • See Tyne Cot cemetery, incredibly moving.
  • Do not miss the Hooge Crater museum, with livens mortars, sniper plates, and shells.
  • Explore Passchendaele Memorial Park.
  • Eat at Marktcafe les Halles.
  • Have a beer at Chez Marie.

How to Get to Ypres From Amsterdam

By Train (Thalys, then Belgian Railways)

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Ypres
  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours 29 minutes
  • Tickets: from $70-$129

5. Bruges, Basilica of Holy Blood

The Basilica of the Holy Blood is one of Bruges’ medieval chapels, and it is believed to be where the cloth stained with the blood of Christ is housed.

It does not matter if you are a believer or just purely curious. This sight is definitely worth adding to your day trip to Belgium. Even the exterior of the chapel itself is a sight to behold.

The basilica is often busy and filled with tourists. So, get ready to wait in line. There’s also a $2.50 entrance fee, and it is open only from 9:30 am–12:30 pm and 2:00 pm–5:30 pm.

Other great things to do in Bruges (Reddit opinions)

  • If you like Medieval art, get to know Flemish art at Groeninge Museum.
  • Get to the top of Concertgebouw (Concert Building).
  • And to the top of Belfry (Belfort), another point with a magnificent view.
  • Brewery De Halve Maan museum. It is worth it, even if you are not a beer fan.
  • Take a guided tour of the City Hall.
  • See Basilica of the Holy Blood.
  • Visit Begijnhof, the only preserved beguinage in Bruges.
  • Take a boat tour (a popular touristy activity in Bruges, but still quite pleasant).
  • For food, Frituur Royal (the best fries in town) and Books & Brunch (mildly interesting!)

How to Get to Bruges From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Bruges
  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours 37 minutes
  • Tickets: from $67

By Bus

  • Departs: Amsterdam Prins Hendrikplantsoen
  • Arrives: Brugge Wollestraat
  • Fastest travel time: 5 hours 50 minutes
  • Tickets: from $19

6. Dinant, Castle of Freyr

The Castle of Freyr boasts its Renaissance design in every little detail in its grand exterior. Also, the surrounding magnificent gardens give an air of royalty and grandeur.

This opulent castle was the summer house of the Dukes of Beaufort-Spontin. It was also used to welcome royal guests in the 18th century.

Now you can enjoy a leisurely walk through the same paths they walked on and admire the fountains and the orange trees that date back hundreds of years.

Inside Freyr Castle, you will find impressive halls, wall paintings, and ceiling mural paintings. The same antique furniture also belonged to the former owners, all decked out to take you back in time.

Other great things to do in Dinant, Belgium

  • Pedal down the old railway Draisines de la Molignée.
  • Head to Poilvache Castle ruins
  • Visit the Bastogne War Museum.
  • See Chateau de Vesves and Crupet.
  • Very beautiful walks and hiking areas everywhere.
  • Visit Musée Pataphonie.
  • Walk near the Chateau de Walzin.
  • Eat pizza at Pizza Fiesta restaurant.

How to Get to Dinant From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Dinant
  • Fastest travel time: 4 hours 33 minutes
  • Tickets: from $74

By Car

  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours 7 minutes
  • Approximate fuel cost: from $90

7. Ostend, Fort Napoleon

Fort Napoleon is a massive polygonal fortress built to defend against an expected British assault. However, the attack never happened, and the fort was soon abandoned.

The fort was later used as an accommodation for the Germans during WWI. Then it became a German artillery headquarters in WWII. After the war, it was used as a museum and even served as a children’s playground. Now, it has been fully restored and has reopened its doors to the public. 

Spending a day here taking in this historic site and admiring all the decorative murals in the fort will be a day well spent.

Other great things to do in Ostend, Belgium

  • Visit Walrave, an open-air museum in the dunes.
  • Go to Ensor museum, dedicated to the work of Belgian artist James Ensor, with the largest collection of his paintings in the world.
  • See the Atlantikwall, well-preserved remains of the German defensive line, including 60+ bunkers.
  • Try North-Sea shrimp croquettes at Madam Kroket restaurant.

How to Get to Ostend From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Ostende
  • Fastest travel time: 4 hours 16 minutes
  • Tickets: from $80

By Car

  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours
  • Approximate fuel cost: $84

8. Leuven, Brewery Stella Artois

Stella Artois, based in Leuven, Belgium, has over 600 years of brewing heritage. As a matter of fact, it is the second biggest brewery in the entire world! Whether you are a beer lover or only curious to learn how the well-known beer of Leuven is brewed, this will be an unforgettable experience.

Keep note of their working hours so you can plan ahead. The brewery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 am to 9 pm and is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Other great things to do in Leuven, Belgium

  • See old Gothic Townhall.
  • Visit M-Museum Leuven to see gothic paintings and sculptures.
  • See the bell tower of the Library of the University
  • Walk randomly through the city, it is not big.
  • Abdij van Park (Park Abbey), the 12th-century green site, for a quiet picnic.
  • Groot Begijnhof (Grand Beguinage), the UNESCO world heritage site.
  • For food, go to Ellis burger.

How to Get to Leuven From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Louvain
  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 27 minutes
  • Tickets: from $64-$120

By Car

  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 26 minutes
  • Approximate fuel cost: $44-$63

9. Spa, Spa Eaudyssee

The Belgian town of Spa produces mineral water and is known for exporting it worldwide. It is situated in a quaint little valley surrounded by rolling hills and several natural river springs. Just the breathtaking view itself is enough to make it a great destination.

There are many other attractions to explore in the city besides the Spa. Still, you should never pass up the opportunity to experience the headquarters of the Spa mineral water brand.

Here you will learn how water is filtered and purified. In addition to the tour, some galleries and displays describe the importance of the cycle that water goes through, as well as how their brand started.

The best part is that Spa Eaudyssee is open to visitors from Monday to Friday.

Other great things to do in Spa, Belgium

  • Visit the Caves of Han for a nice hike.
  • Visit great World War 2 museum (in Bastogne).
  • The city is great for walking.
  • Go to the Spa water bottling factory.
  • Take the panoramic funicular  to the spa on the hill “Colline d’Annette et Lubin.”

How to Get to Spa From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Spa-Geronstere
  • Fastest travel time: 5 hours 2 minutes
  • Tickets: from $76

By Car

  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours
  • Approximate fuel cost: $56-$81

10. Namur, Namur Citadel

The Citadel of Namur was a military architecture during the Roman era that has become a tourist attraction. It is Namur’s symbol and one of the largest citadels in Europe.

You will find exhibitions that depict the castle’s history in Namur. Guided tours also take you into the underground passages for a bit of exploring and sightseeing. Then, at the top of the citadel, there is an excellent panoramic view of the entire city.

One of the best things about this citadel is its numerous events throughout the year. Some of these even include theatrical performances and concerts. 

Namur Citadel is open from 10 am to 6 pm, seven days a week.

Other great things to do in Namur, Belgium

  • The city pretty, walking through Namur is enjoyable itself.
  • Visit the Félicien Rops Museum, which houses a large collection of his paintings, drawings, and lithographs. Many of the works are sexually explicit.
  • Visit Archeological Museum of Namur.
  • Have a beer in Le Chapitre bar.

How to Get to Namur From Amsterdam

By Train

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Namur
  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours 33 minutes
  • Tickets: $70-$134

By Car

  • Fastest travel time: 2 hours 48 minutes
  • Approximate fuel cost: $54-$78

11. Liege, Museum of Walloon Life

When visitors of the Museum of Walloon Life say it has it all, they are not exaggerating!

This spacious museum has quite a vast collection of popular arts and traditions. It exhibits Wallonia’s history, beliefs, economy, religions, crafts, and even daily life from the 19th century up to the present.

Furthermore, the museum offers many fun and educational activities for audiences of all ages. This is one adventurous day trip you will never regret taking.

Other great things to do in Liege, Belgium

  • The city is very walkable, as many other cities in Belgium.
  • For pubs and drinks, head to Le Carre area.
  • Have a walk in a the Parc de la Boverie.
  • Get to a beautiful view of Liège at the top of Marches de la Montagne de Buren stairs.
  • Head to Rive Gauche Pedestrian Quays for the great view of La Meuse river.
  • Have a burger at Huggy’s Bar.

How to Get to Liege From Amsterdam

By Train (operated by Dutch Railways)

  • Departs: Amsterdam Centraal
  • Arrives: Liege-Guillemins
  • Fastest travel time: 3 hours 11 minutes
  • Tickets: from $27

By Bus

  • Departs: Amsterdam Sloterdijk
  • Arrives: Liège Guillemins
  • Fastest travel time: 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Tickets: from $29

Frequent questions

Antwerp or Antwerpen?

It is the same. Antwerp is the English name, while Antwerpen is the Dutch/Flemish. Actually, there is another way to call the city – Anvers, which is the French name.

What Is the Main Train Station in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam Central Station is not just Amsterdam’s main train station but is also the heart of the city and the most extensive railway train station in the Netherlands. The station is operated by GVB, which stands for the Gemeente Vervoerbedrijf Amsterdam. Conveniently, it offers train connections to various domestic and international cities. This Central Station also serves as the primary stop for city streetcars, buses, metro, and ferries from here.

What Is the Main Bus Station in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam Central Station Bus Terminal (Amsterdam, Sloterdijk), operated by GVB. As mentioned, Amsterdam Central Station is the main hub for public transportation in Amsterdam. However, in 2014, a new bus station called the CS IJzijde was opened. It lies near the Amsterdam Central Station at about a 3–5 minute walking distance.

Final Thoughts

Belgium has numerous attractions waiting for you to visit. Some of the places I recommend you see first are Brussels, Antwerp, Ypres, Leuven, and Liege.

Whether you are alone or with friends, you’re sure to enjoy each of these charming spots. Happy travels!

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