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Belgium is just a short coach or ferry ride away

Sports / Rugby Tour to Belgium

Sophie Webber, BA

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Belgium is the western European country which boasts four incredible, diverse and beautifully unique cities perfect for your sports tour.

Deciding which city is best suited for your tour can be very difficult. Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels all triumph in different ways. Whether you want to go for the most popular, quiet or medieval - there is a city suited to every personality. These four are all hot city breaks.

Sports / Rugby Tour to Bruges / Brugge

Bruges is Belgium’s fairy tale medieval town.

The pretty cobbled streets, picturesque canals, impressive towers and classic squares make it the most beautiful city to visit. The icy dusting on the walls in the winter and fresh feel in the summer make it stunning all year around, regardless of the season. Roaming around the streets you will find yourself lost in the fascinating medieval feel of the city. It may not be the cheapest city in Europe to visit, but its beauty of the city is priceless.

To tempt you further, a bonus of choosing Bruges for your city break is that all the city’s main attractions are within walking distance of one another.

The best excursions in Bruges / Brugge

The Canal Tour: From March to mid-November there are daily boat trips which slowly make their way through the city. It is the best way to view the magical architecture. There are five different landing stages, meaning it really is impossible to miss.


Is there really a better way to view Bruges than by canal?


Grote Markt: Found in the heart of the city, the historic square is often lively with tourists. You will find the famous statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who led the Bruges Matins; the violent uprising against the French in the 14th century.

Chocolate: It’s no secret that Belgium produces high quality and delicious chocolate. Choco-Story in Bruges offers the most personal experience with chocolate. They offer informational tours, tastings and history of the chocolate.

Belfort Belfry: The medieval bell tower in Bruges is one of the city’s most famous historic treasures. Turning back history, the tower was used to protect Bruges’ charter. If you’re feeling fit, you can make your way up the 366 steps to see the breath taking view.


Popular times for Belfort Belfry.


Brewery De Halve Maan: The medieval bell tower in Bruges is one of the city’s most famous historic treasures. Turning back history, the tower was used to protect Bruges’ charter. If you’re feeling fit, you can make your way up the 366 steps to see the breath taking view.

Hot Air Balloon ride: If the canal tours are not a good enough view of the city, take a hot air balloon to get the best view possible…

It is worth investing a Bruges Card. This entitles you to free entry to 27 museums, meaning you can experience the city to the max.

A map of Bruges main landmarks

The best places to drink in Bruges / Brugge

There are plenty of great places to drink the finest Belgian beer

Bruges may not be known for the most mental nights out, however, the Old Town boasts traditional bars and a limitless amount of beer. A social night in the historic city is always guaranteed. We’ve selected 5 of the best bars to check out:

Brugs Beertje: This beer-house has a friendly vibe and is located in the centre of the city. Authentically decorated, packed with old articles and 5 beers on draught. It is more of an experience than a pub alone.

Poatersgat: The cool and quirky cellar bar. Enter the small door and descend the winding staircase to discover one of the most famous bars in the city. This bar offers the opportunity to taste over 120 beers.

The Gulliver Tree : This is a bar with a delicious twist. They do not only supply a variety beers and drinks, but are also renowned for their incredible deserts. It offers the most indulgent of nights.

Ma Rica Rokk : A night out in Bruges would be incomplete without taking your tipsy self to Ma Rica Roll. It is known that this is the club where everyone is bound to end up.

A night out in Bruges is a certain beer-fest.

A map of great places to drink in Bruges


Sports / Rugby Tour to Ghent

Experience a different side to Belgium.

Ghent has an intimate yet happening vibe. If crowds of tourists drive you mad then this is the city for you. It can only be described as Belgium’s secret gem. The city has castles, cathedrals and historical buildings that look picture perfect. It has been labelled the city to visit before others also discover Ghent’s charm.

The best excursions in Ghent

The medieval city of Ghent: The perfect place for Belgian beers away from the hoards of tourists


The ideal way to get around Ghent is on two feet. On your journey to various landmarks and activities you will have the perfect excuse to absorb the city’s medieval vibes.

Sint-Niklaaskerk: St. Nicholas medieval church is a precious landmark to Ghent. The construction of the church started in the 13th century. It is built in the local Scheldt Gothic style. The church’s organ was made by the famous Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

Sint-Baafskathedraal: St Bavo’s is the tallest structure in the city, at an impressive 89 metres tall. It is a beautiful landmark to the city, and an absolute must-see. Continually being rebuilt since the 16th century, the church has gone through many phases – including the gothic style.



The Ghent Easter Tournament: An experience all rugby teams should try at least once.


St Michael's Bridge : The most picturesque part of Ghent. It is built in the neo-Gothic style in 1910. To get the best view of the city, including the famous three towers, it is where you need to head.

Gravensteen castle : This castle looks like something out of a fairy tale. Until the14th century, the castle served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders. After it was abandoned by the counts, the castle was then used as a courthouse and a prison. Visits and tours to the castle are possible.

Gentse Feesten Festival : One of the largest cultural festivals in Europe. During ten days in July, you can enjoy music, animations, delicious street food and hundreds of activities which are spread over the city.

St Pieters station runs trains which only take 30 minutes to Brussels and Bruges – providing the perfect excuse to also visit one of Belgium’s other incredible cities.



A map of Ghent's main tourist attractions.


The best places to drink in Ghent

Do not be fooled by the medieval exterior and fairy tale vibe. Ghent is buzzing after the sun goes down; the city comes to life. The city is vibrant and energetic Monday through to Saturday night.

To begin the night, you will start in the heart of the city centre, the Korenmarkt, where the bars are plenty. To continue your bevvy journey, try these 5 best bars and clubs:

RestoBAR Charlie’s: One of the most popular bars in the city. It is the place to eat, drink and be very (very) merry.

De Maecht van Gent: The trendiest music café in the whole of the city. This may be the start of your big night out in Belgium. Alternatively, on Friday and Saturday nights you may end up spending your whole night in this addictive destination.

St Michael's Bridge : Found within Ghent’s maze of small streets. This club is open Wednesday to Saturday, meaning a mid-week night out is definitely on the cards. The club plays all the loved styles of music depending on the night, such as hip hop, house, electro and funk. Whatever your age, you will not feel out of place in this electric destination.

Charlatan : A club which is also open from Wednesday to Saturday, It plays an array of music and doesn’t stop until the early hours of the morning.

Decadance : For the people who love to party hard, and rarely will be found leaving early. Decadance attracts the real party-goers, and a different type of person the other clubs. It's an after party club. Remember, arriving at 2. a. m. is the norm for this intriguing club.

Ghent is Belgium’s secret that you need to get in on.



A map of more pubs and bars in Ghent.


Sports / Rugby tour to Antwerp

Belgium’s biggest port, second biggest city and literal diamond.

During the 16th century, Antwerp was known as one of the most important financial centres in the world after being taken over by Amsterdam after the siege of Antwerp by the Spanish in 1585. The diamond capital of the world has a rich history makes for impressive buildings.

Antwerp is one of the more trendy cities of Belgium. Offering a diverse mix of history and modern influence, making it the most interesting city break.



Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp, the largest Gothic church in Belgium.


The best excursions in Antwerp

Eilandje: A hotspot for hipsters. The small harbour is surrounded by water and is a delight to visit. You can admire both the sea and yachts (and possibly dream that they are your own). The MAS museum stands tall here, and is an absolute must-visit. It is an important landmark of the city. Only recently built, this museum tells the history intriguing history of Antwerp.

A map of places to eat and drink in Eilandje.



Ruben’s House (Rubeshuis): Peter Paul Rubens us the famous 16th/17th century Baroque painter. The painter’s house is available for the public to view, and exhibits all his impressive art.

Antwerp Zoo : One of the oldest zoos in the world, but is still has both impressive facilities and a variety of exciting animals. It is located near the central train station, so is very easy to find.

Summer of Antwerp : Antwerp’s cultural festival in July and August. Free music, films, circus acts and pop up hangouts. The summer bar has hammocks and summer vibes, an outdoor cinema and a Factory which hosts free dance workshops in the day and transforms in to an impelling dace place in at night. The DJ’s serving up their best beats on Global Bass Thursdays, Future Bass Fridays and Urban Saturdays. This week of manic nights out is not for the light-hearted.

The best places to drink in Antwerp

Antwerp has a small but lively nightlife. The city has thousands of students, who keep the vibe exciting. Head to the docklands for the clubs, or find cool bars all across the city. Here are the 5 best bars and clubs to hit in the diamond capital:

Ampere nightclub: Ampere is the place for underground nights out and sweaty concerts. It is an environmentally friendly nightclub, and one of a kind. Have a great night out AND save the environment at the same time.

Oud ArsenaalA bar which remains unchanged from the day it was built, meaning you are transported back to the late 20’s. This art deco pub is a must experience, making a change from the usual surroundings of your local pub.

Kulminator: The bar where you can taste 800 different brews. Enough said.

Café d’Anvers: Once a church, a night out in this club has a unique setting in and certainly does not hold services anymore. Instead, you will find the best DJ’s and electrifying lights. It is the place to hit if you want a mad night out.

Ikon Antwerp: Ikon is one of the most well-known clubs in the area. Found north of the city, the club is located in a rejuvenated dockyard. There are four different rooms, dazzling lights and epic DJ’s which carry on until the early hours of the morning.

Sports / Rugby tour to Brussels

It wouldn’t be a list of must-visit cities without including the county’s popular capital.

Belgium’s intriguing capital is a city of contrasts. There is an undeniable quirkiness to the city. You may turn one corner and discover a hip bar, turn another and discover a medieval style stature, yet look another and find glass-lined contemporary buildings. It is renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture and headquarters for the EU.



La Grand Place at nightfall.


The best excursions in Brussels

The Grand Place: A trip to the capital would be incomplete without going to see the impressive and beautiful cobbled square. It is a popular place to relax and absorb the stone mansions which stand tall and replace the once wooden medieval houses which surrounded the market.

Maison du RoiThe city museum, translated to ‘The Kings House’. No royalty have lived there, but the décor would suggest otherwise with its rich and lavish design. Dedicated to the history of Brussels, the city’s story is told through a range of exhibitions covering three floors.

Mini Europe: Travel around the whole of Europe in one day! The city has 350 ‘mini’ models of the most famous landmarks including Big Ben, The Eiffel Tower and the canals of Venice. The park’s opening hours are 9.30am-6pm, until 8pm in summer, and is closed between January and mid-March.

Cinquantenaire Park: The large public park displays by buildings built for the 1880 National Exhibition which celebrated 50 years of independence for Belgium. The main gem of the park is an impressive arch. To the north of the arch is the Royal Military Museum and the south are the Royal Museums. It is also the perfect oasis in the city to lie and enjoy the sunshine.

The best places to drink in Brussels

Brussels may not be famous for its nightlife, but, with some direction you will still find vibrant places to ensure a good night out in the city. The best nightclubs are placed all over the city, so it’s best to choose one or two places to spend your night! Here are the best bars and clubs in the capital:

O'Reilly's: Every tour needs a good Irish bar to serve as their headquarters. This fairly recent Brussels institution is loated just a few minutes away from La Grand Place.

You Night ClubA trendy nightclub for young people located in the centre near the Grand Place at 18 rue Duquesnoy.

Mirano Continental: Located at Madou metro. On a normal Friday or Saturday night, this modern club plays a good selection of pop, house and dance music but and occasionally hosts themed nights.

Bazaar: If you love deep house, then you will also love this club. It has an underground vibe and is popular with the locals themselves.

In the North of the city you will find Brussels’ red light district for any who are curious.

Travel to the heart of Europe, Brussels.

A map of the main places to eat and drink in Brussels.


Key information for Belgium

Average price for taxis, beer and food in Belgium.
Average temperatures for Belgium (source:http://holiday-weather.com).

You may also be interested in the following sports / rugby tour ideas:

The best Spanish city breaks / Tour Guide to Holland / Tour Guide to Portugal

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