5 Best Places to Visit in Belgium in Autumn

Brussels Park

Summer has ended, but Belgium still has so much to offer in terms of tourism. Autumn in Belgium can be unpredictable, but if you play your cards right and come prepared, there is a lot to see and do in almost any kind of weather. Here is my list of best places to visit in Belgium during this (and any) autumn.

1. Brussels

Brussels is always a good idea, but I find it at its best during the autumn season. During the fall the crowds of tourists are slightly smaller and you can actually come close to the Manneken Pis or take a nice picture at the Grand Place. Cooler weather also means that the chocolate melts slower and hot Belgian waffles taste even better with a cup of hot cocoa.

During the sunny days, you can still enjoy a walk in the parks or explore the Comic Strip. And if the rain comes, you can also hide in one of the many museums.

2. Belgian Coast

Belgian coast, although just 65 km long, offers several great places to visit. Check out Ostend for the cultural experience, Blankenberge for a great day out with kids or Knokke for a rather posh experience.

Belgium is known for its unpredictable weather, and it is especially valid for the Belgian coast. However, the term “unpredictable” goes both ways, and can actually mean surprisingly good. During our first year in Belgium, when I was still reluctant about our move here, we went to Ostend in the middle of October. It was so nice and sunny that we actually could spend all day at the beach building sandcastles and finally went swimming.

  • Visit outside: Well, the beach!
  • Hide from the rain: Sea Life in Blankenberge
  • Eat and drink: De Grote Post in Ostend
  • Hotel to stay: Right by the sea in C-Hotels Andromeda
  • How to get there from Brussels: Ditch the car and take a direct train to Ostend, Blankenberge or Knokke from Brussels. It takes only 1.5 hours where you can relax and read a book, while also avoiding a likely traffic jam and not harming the planet.

3. Leuven

Just a stone throw away – or rather a 30 minutes train ride – from Brussels, Leuven is a vibrant student city with many hipster bars and restaurants as well as a beautiful historic city centre. While Brugge might be crowded to the point that it is no more enjoyable to walk around, Leuven is still a rather well-kept secret from the foreign tourists and a lesser-known of the places to visit in Belgium.

Be careful when planning a trip. The Leuven I speak about here is the Dutch one. Wallonia region of Belgium also has one, called Louvain-la-Neuve or New Leuven, which is a different city altogether. Oh Belgium, you never cease to surprise me.

  • Visit outside: Visit the city centre and the Arenberg Park
  • Hide from the rain: Explore Museum Leuven
  • Eat and drink: Have a beer in Oude Markt
  • Hotel to stay: Former Convent called Martin’s Klooster
  • How to get there from Brussels: Train ride from Brussels is just 30 minutes.

4. Antwerp

Antwerp in Belgium is not only a beautiful city to have a stroll on a nice autumn day. It is also a shopping capital of Belgium, which might be a good way to spend some time on a rainy or cold day.

When in Antwerp, make sure you see the amazing building of the train station and pay a visit to one of many diamond shops. And if you like zoos, the Antwerp Zoo is one of the best in the region.

  • Visit outside: Walk around ‘t Eilandje neighbourhood
  • Hide from the rain: Fashion Museum MoMu
  • Eat and drink: Don’t miss the amazing coffee in Caffènation
  • Hotel to stay: Hotel Indigo Antwerp City Centre
  • How to get there from Brussels: Train ride from Brussels is just 30 minutes.

5. Bruges or Brugge

Right, as much as I like off-beat destinations, I cannot avoid mentioning Brugge – one of the best cities in Belgium – although I tried! Bruges is one of the best places to visit in Belgium. Known to many from the American movie “In Bruges” with Collin Farrell, it is a picturesque medieval town just an hour train ride from Brussels.

Bruges is a perfect idea for a day trip from Brussels, but you can easily follow the footsteps of the movie characters and spend some more days here. While the city centre is walkable and can be seen in less than a day, there are also several parks and canals, which are especially beautiful in autumn.

  • Visit outside: Historical Old Town and Minnewaterpark
  • Hide from the rain: Basilica of the Holy Blood
  • Eat and drink: Taste some local beers in the Half Moon Brewery
  • Hotel to stay: Little charming B&B Le Foulage
  • How to get there from Brussels: Train ride from one of the Brussels train stations (Midi, Central or Nord) will take just over 1 hour.

Save this post on Pinterest, so you can use it when planning your trip!

4 thoughts on “5 Best Places to Visit in Belgium in Autumn

  1. crisisineuropa says:

    Blankenberge is pretty dead in the autumn though. It’s a bit chavvy as well. The Blackpool of Belgium. I would recommend Ostend for your autumn outing as the city is always lively, they have many spectacles on for halloween and there’s more in terms of accomodation, food, drinks and things to do with kids.

    • merrygoroundslowly says:

      I like both Ostend and Blakenberge, they are different, but both nice. I loved the trashy beach bars in particular: my son was thrilled to chose among so many trampolines and slides and we could have a drink in peace. 😉

Don't be shy, write what you think!