A European Honeymoon: Belgium

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Why Belgium? Lots of people asked this when we told them where we were planning as our next stop after Paris. We really wanted to go some where different, some where that we didn’t know much about. Belgium is between Paris and Berlin, so it seemed perfect. It’s a 2.5 hour train ride from Paris with super pretty scenery during the ride – or, it’s a great time to get some reading done as I did! After doing a little research to determine which town we’d stay in, Ghent sounded like the perfect town for us. It was probably one of our favorite parts of our trip! Seriously the cutest town. Much of the town made us feel like we stepped back in time, it was super clean and there were lots of rivers flowing through the town.

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One of our favorite memories of Belgium and Ghent was drinking beer at the outdoor cafes along the river. This was the first place we stopped on our first afternoon and we just loved it. We ended up here every night and met some great people from all over the world. I couldn’t stop taking pictures – it was so magical…

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Foodie Pick: waffles + beer! We aren’t big waffle fans…I find them too sweet for breakfast, but here they aren’t available for breakfast, but as snacks – perfect! We bought ours from street vendors with powdered sugar and they were probably the best waffles I’ve had! If you love Belgium beer (like we do) there are so many great options – and the beer is super cheap here! :) Some of the other great restaurants we tried and enjoyed were the korenhuis restaurant (amazing sashimi + wild boar filet with crushed hazelnuts) and grand cafe godot. Stir-fries are also popular here and we had some great ones at a cute cafe near the river. We were pretty impressed by the food overall here.

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gravensteen castle ghent

Don’t Miss! The Gravensteen castle in the center of town. Yep, there is a crazy cool castle right in the middle of Ghent originating from the Middle Ages. The name means “castle of the count” in Dutch.

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So many bikes in Ghent! Loved that everyone seemed to bike everywhere.

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We also took a day trip to Bruges (a nearby town – about a 30 minute train ride from Ghent), but found it a bit more touristy + crowded than Ghent although it was a really pretty town. The photos above are from Bruges.

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belgium flower store ghent

We loved our room + the decor at the Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof. It is a modern + hip hotel just a few blocks from the center of town and very reasonably priced.

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Honeymoon tip! A boat ride for two along the canals with champagne makes for a fun way to start your evening…

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As you can see we totally fell in love with Belgium. If you are looking for a relaxed town to enjoy some great beers by the river, dinner and walks along the canals, Ghent is the town for you! I also think it is great paired with Paris as it is so different and gives you a bit of big city and small city. If you are wondering, Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French and German.  Lucky for us, most people also speak English. The only tricky part of our visit was navigating the train station – we almost missed our train when they switched tracks and we didn’t get the message since it was in Dutch! Luckily we made our flight to Berlin with less than 5 minutes to spare! I’ve never run so fast in an airport!! And next week I’ll be sharing our trip to Berlin so stay tuned! Anyone thinking of traveling to Belgium for their honeymoon or have any other tips to share with brides planning their trip?

all photos by green wedding shoes with the exception of the hotel photos + nighttime photo courtesy of Sandton Grand Hotel Reylof

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Comments

  1. Belgium wasn’t on my list before, but this post just changed my mind! Adding to my must visit list!!

  2. Wow. We love the plethora of bicycles in the parking lot! Maybe someday we’ll get to travel to Belgium to shoot a bike-themed wedding. Wonderful pictures GWS : D

  3. We are planning on visiting Germany, Austria & Prague for our 2 week honeymoon! I love wine, he loves beer, we both love museums and historical buildings & this region has wonderful amounts of character :) Did you use a rail pass to get around? Stay at any Hostels?

  4. Great photos! We love beer + chocolate, so Belgium is totally on our list for our European Vaca!! Love your Europe posts – super helpful :)

  5. We spent most of our honeymoon in Belgium – Bruges and Brussels, both very different from each other. We’re beer lovers and that’s what sold us – b/c they have some of the most delicious beer in the world, and the history to back it up :). We had an absolute blast in Belgium and I recommend to any honeymooners. Your post makes me want to go to Ghent!!

  6. Too cool!! We have been planning a Paris, Belgium, Amsterdam honeymoon next October! We simply cannot wait. We talk about it more than the wedding!

  7. Oh, storybook-perfect! Can totally see why you fell in love with Belgium. :-)

  8. Wow – just amazing! :-)

  9. Wow, very nice! I’m a belgian girl so this makes me a little proud..

    For those of you planning a honeymoon/other trip in Belgium: Gent is definitely beautiful, but don’t forget Brussels and Leuven (a little studenttown but with ambience) and Antwerp, our fashioncapital. If you like nature, the province Limburg is the best for biking and ‘hiking’ (you can reside in Hasselt, which is also a really pretty little town) or you have to be in the french part.

  10. Wow! I havent been to belguim since a teenager and obviously hadn’t refined my tastes enough to appreciate the style that this country oozes. Id be happy to honeymoon here.

  11. ghent! i’m in love with that city since i did my Erasmus there. absolutely recommended for honeymoons or romantic trips.

    big hug

    meg

    http://asoftlifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/10/gante-ghent.html

  12. What a lovely sight! I like the hotel! :)

  13. we actually went to Brussels this past may. we got to go twice, as we chose to fly in and out of there, with stops in amsterdam and germany in between. i absolutely LOVED brussels. i loved the romatic feeling because it’s french speaking (though language is not a problem and really, how hard is it to learn a few key french phrases?) and the beer. oh, the beer. i would compare brussels to a way less crowded/busy paris. i would absolutely go back, though ghent and bruges would be my next stop.

  14. Thanks for sharing this. My fiance and i recently did a 2 week journey in Europe. Starting in Amsterdam, then Paris, Brussels, Brugge, Edinburgh and St. Andrews. We had an amazing time in Belgium. We stayed with friends which made it even better because they knew of all the hidden gems. All in all Belgium is a must! I never thought i would be so in love with a country. Your post truly captures it. Arent the waffles ah-mazing?

  15. We’re planning our Honeymoon and are both hesistant to do Europe (well any sight-seeing) as we like the thought of just sitting on the beach in some resort! But this looks like so much fun and a lot more memorable! I may have to look into this…

  16. My fiance’ and I went to Belgium last summer and we too fell in love! We didn’t get to Ghent (although I want to go next time), but we made overnight stops in Brussels and Bruges, and a brief stop in Antwerp.

    We found Bruges to be beautiful, but touristy and Brussels to be bustling and fascinating! We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Brussels and it was gorgeous and affordable!

  17. This is so inspiring. I’m truly dying to go somewhere like this. Thank you for this post.

  18. Think I might have to go to Belgium just for the beer and waffles! Though the gorgeous scenery might also be a motivator. :)

  19. we honeymooned in Brussels! as well Munich but Belgium truley has some of the nicest people and most beautiful scenery, such a relaxing easy going atmosphere!

  20. Oh, I´ve been there a month ago, and I just can emphasize how beautiful Ghent is! Perfect for a honeymoon as it is so romantic, especially at night.

  21. I love Belgium! I grew up in Bruxelles and I loved class trips to Ghent. My favorite part of Ghent is the chocolate shop Van Oest. It was amazing. That owner was so passionate about his chocolates. He took my Mother and I down into his workshoppe and it made Willy Wonka’s factory feel like a gumball machine. Belgium is magical. Waterloo is a fabulous town to visit as well.

  22. Spent a year in Belgium as an exchange student when I was 17, and to this day (over a decade later) Gent is one of my absolute favorite places in the world. On a sunny day, I could sit on the graslei all day long :)

  23. We got engaged in Brugges, on the Minnewater Lake, so Belgium is VERY close to my heart. Anyone who hasn’t seen the movie “In Brugges” with Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes, please check it out!

    Belgium is now my favorite place in the world, and I cannot wait to go back. Thanks SO MUCH for posting this!

  24. I am so glad that you loved Belgium! I used to live there and plan weddings there – it is such a great place. Bruges is actually one of my favorites because it feels like it is frozen in time in a storybook.

  25. Last March my boyfriend and I elected to take our side trip from London in Belgium – and those 4 days were the best of our trip! We visited Ypres near the French border for the history one day, then spent two exploring Bruges. The highlight in Bruges was the B&B we stayed at, Cote Canal (http://www.bruges-bedandbreakfast.be/eng/), beautifully decorated, over looking a canal, with the most gracious hostess, Caroline, who pointed us away from the tourist traps, toward an educational and tasty brewery tour, and even recommended a bike route for us to do further exploring.

    We would recommend Belgium to everyone looking for history, culture, wonderful people and a break from major sightseeing!

  26. Definitely!! We’re going in July next year! My husband Is Belgian and is taking me there! He’ll show me to all the great, amazing spots that locals are accustomed to! I’m super excited! It’s a gorgeous country!!

  27. I can see why you fell in love with belgium! I love it! Sooo romantic <3

    xoxo,
    CupcakesCouture

  28. It wasn’t for our honeymoon but my now-fiancee and I spent 2 VERY romantic weeks in Belgium last September. Ghent is amazing, as are so many of the smaller towns. We stayed in fabulous bed & breakfast, strolled picturesque streets, drank amazing belgian beers, and met some amazing people! I would highly recommend it for a honeymoon. It’s completely underrated and now one of my favorite spots.

  29. Ghent is a hidden gem! I spent a month in this lovely city in fall of 2010, and I don’t understand why more people don’t visit this destination. The city is clean, walkable, and full of the most AMAZING restaurants I’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at (new potatoes fried in duck fat? Yes please!). I may be a bit biased because my future MIL calls Ghent her home, and my fiancé is a Belgian citizen, but out of all the cities I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in Europe, Ghent is the most relaxing and decadent!

  30. Its amazing actually…You can’t really go wrong with any of the historic cities in Europe.

  31. Just got back from a 2-week honeymoon in France and Belgium, and based on this post, we spent a few days in Ghent. It was INCREDIBLE! Easily our favorite stop on the trip. Just wanted to say thanks for the great tip! Sipping beers by the canal, biking through and around the town, and listening to great live music every night in different bars/clubs were highlights for us.

  32. I live near Ghent, this makes me sooo proud!!!

  33. Thanks so much for this article!!! I am so psyched to be heading here in a few short days for a romantic vacay! Now I know exactly where to go! Loved your photos as ewll! stunning!

  34. I’m a big fan of waffle!! Drinking beer at the outdoor cafes along the river, sounds so comfortable!!! After seeing your beautiful photos, I can’t wait to have a trip in Belgium

  35. Thank you so much for this post! We have been contemplating on where to go for our honeymoon and Belgium has been at the top of our list and this has helped confirm it :)

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