Whether you are flying to Belgium, or more wisely, taking the Eurostar from London, Belgium is often a refreshing surprise for many people, with its superb food, beer and hotels.

Belgium is not dull. It has probably the world’s best restaurants, Europe’s most beautiful square, world heritage architecture, and is easily accessible in 2 hours and 30 minutes from London by Eurostar. On the weekends, the normally bustling hotels of Brussels are empty, as it’s mostly a business city, so there are bargains galore – you can stay in a 5 star for about a 100 euros per night. Bruges, on the other hand, is now very busy, since it’s developed a reputation as the place to go for the weekends, especially since it was European Capital of Culture not so long ago. City breaks in Bruges should always be an opportunity to taste the fine beers of Belgium.

Antwerp offers some of the best shopping you can find, particularly if you’re looking for diamonds. It also can now be accessed via a new high speed line between Brussels and Amsterdam, which enables you to arrive within just 15 minutes of leaving Brussels. Take a trip on a river cruise, or just chill out in the city’s main square.

Ostend must be one of the most underrated towns to visit in Europe. It has everything that le Touquet has, fine dining, an enormous beach, a casino, spa and thalasso treatment and an 18-hole golf course right next to the city. Yet so many people overlook it because Bruges, its nearest neighbour, is such a draw. In our book, if hotels are looking busy in Bruges, you should definitely consider staying in Ostend and going to Bruges for the day. You can have the best of both worlds and still enjoy a walk on the beach before or afterwards.

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