We arrived in Antwerp on a Monday, so a lot of sights were closed, unfortunately, but we made the most of it by walking loads and exploring the port city. Upon arriving, we were blown away by the train station – it's one of the most beautiful I've ever seen. We noticed a lot of younger people in the city, which made sense once we learned that Antwerp is home to several colleges. My favorite part of the day was stumbling upon t'Hofke, a charming restaurant that we found only by wandering down a hidden courtyard. It was closed (again, Monday!) but if ever I find myself back in Antwerp, I'll be sure to return and enjoy a nice meal via their outdoor seating or even downstairs in their candlelit cellar (so romantic!).
I didn't know much of Ghent prior to visiting, but it's safe to say that I absolutely loved it. Its friendly people, canals, architecture and bikes reminded me of a mini Amsterdam. Our airbnb host recommended that we check out Hot Club, a jazz cocktail club located down a narrow alley. There, we spoke with locals and enjoyed live music in a candlelit bar – it was amazing.
Must visit/see: Ghent city centre, Patershol neighborhood, Gravensteen castle, Graslei, Korneli, St Michael's Bridge
Bars not to be missed: Dulle Griet (bar where you hand in your shoe as collateral), T’dreupelkot (a gin and liqueur bar), Hot Club (jazz cocktail bar)
When Sar and I met last year, our friendship was instantaneous. So much so that within a few hours, we decided to go to Belgium over Valentine's Day – to enjoy chocolate, beer and waffles to our hearts' content. Fast forward five months, and we were off on our adventure, starting with Bruges, followed by Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels.
If I had to summarize Bruges in one word, it would be charming. Medieval architecture, small cobblestone streets and the smell of waffles wafting in the air as you escape the winter's cold by popping in one chocolate shop after another makes you feel like you're living in a sort of fairytale. With a population of under 120,000 inhabitants, Bruges is small – like really small, but we appreciated this, as we became friends with some locals from Neuhaus chocolate and our favourite bar, The Monk.
Must visit/see: Market Place, Duvelrium, Burg Square, Belfort (Belfry of Bruges).
Bars not to be missed: The Monk, t'Poatersgat, De Halfe Maan Cafe Vlissinghe
Chocolate shops: Dumon, Nehaus, Chocolate Line