About this book
This new second edition of Bradt’s award-winning Northern Belgium: Flanders with Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp remains the only standalone guide to this enticing region, home to more Michelin-starred restaurants per head than France and the largest number of comic-strip cartoonists in the world.
Bradt’s Northern Belgium provides in-depth coverage of Brussels, including the outer communes that are often overlooked but are home to excellent off-the-beaten track eateries and kooky museums. The guide covers every inch of the region, from the sandy stretch of North Sea coast, through medieval cloth-spinning cities like Bruges and Ghent, to quaint villages.
Features include eyewitness accounts of what it was like living under the control of the Germans during World War II, a rare interview with one of the 29 Cistercian monks at Sint-Sixtus abbey in Westvleteren who brew the revered Westvleteren Trappist beer, and a guest contribution from Tim Webb, author of the best-selling Good Beer Guide: Belgium, who has written the section on beer, covering the best local tipples and which brewery to visit to try them.
Also new for this edition is information on the new Brussels Airlines ‘ Hi Belgium Pass’, a nationwide Belgian rail pass and city pass, a focus on the best Christmas markets of northern Belgium, and details of new WWI information offices and permanent artworks. Restaurant listings have been completely revised to keep pace with Flanders’ dynamic dining scene and there is a new feature on quirky accommodation options and museums, including Brussels’ Underpants Museum! Carefully designed walking tours of Brussels city centre are featured, and the guide includes more maps of the area than any other. With festivals forming a major part of Flemish social life, an in-depth list of events is included, from the hip Pukkelpop festival to the best village fêtes. Flanders has one official national park and several nature reserves, and this guide offers more coverage of them than any other.
Emma Thomson has lived in the country for nearly a decade and her first edition of this guide won Best Guidebook at the British Guild of Travel Writer Members’ Awards.
About the author
Emma Thomson is an award-winning travel writer and photographer, who has lived in Belgium for nearly a decade and writes about the country for international newspapers, magazines and publishers (print and online). The first edition of Flanders: The Bradt Travel Guide, won Best Guidebook at the 2012 British Guild of Travel Writer Members’ Awards. As a country specialist, she is consulted on everything ranging from where to find the best chips to booking the hippest hotels. She has also presented for Belgian TV show Fans of Flanders and been interviewed by Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio aboard the Eurostar.
PART 1 GENERAL INFORMATION
Chapter 1 Background Information
Geography, Climate, Natural history, History, Government and politics, Economy, People, Language, Religion, Culture
Chapter 2 Practical Information
When to visit, Highlights, Suggested itineraries, Tourist information, Tour operators, Red tape, Embassies and consulates, Getting there and away, Health, Safety, Focus on specific groups, What to take, Money, Budgeting, Getting around, Accommodation, Eating and drinking, Public holidays, Festivals, Shopping, Sport, Media and communications, Business, Buying property, Cultural etiquette, Travelling positively
PART 2 THE GUIDE
Chapter 3 Brussels
History, Getting there and away, Orientation, Getting around, Tourist information, Where to stay, Where to eat, Entertainment and nightlife, Shopping, Other practicalities, What to see and do, Brussels’ communes, Around Brussels
Chapter 4 Flemish Brabant
Leuven, Grimbergen, Halle, Aarschot, Diest, Tienen
Chapter 5 East Flanders
Gent (Ghent), Laarne, Sint-Niklaas, Dendermonde, Aalst, Geraarsdsbergen,?Ronse, Oudenaarde, Deinze
Chapter 6 West Flanders
Brugge (Bruges), Around Brugge, The Flemish coast, Veurne, Around Veurne, Diksmuide, Ieper (Ypres), The Ypres Salient, Poperinge, Kortrijk, Roeselare
Antwerp Antwerp, Mechelen, Lier, Herentals, Geel, Turnhout
Limburg Hasselt, Sint-Truiden, Tongeren, Maaseik
"Whatever you're looking for in a travel destination (except perhaps skiing or a safari), if you can't find it in Flanders you're probably better off without it. Emma Thomson's excellent new book celebrates this splendid corner of the Continent."
Simon Calder – Senior Travel Editor The Independent
‘Belgium holds much culture that's not quickly apparent to those taking the routine trip through Europe. "Flanders: Northern Belgium" is a travel guide for those who want to get the most out of their trip to this northern region of Belgium and experience its brews, its culture, and its history. Filled with detailed information and maps, "Flanders" is a strong addition to any European traveler reference collection.’
'Like all good travel guides, Flanders offers a rather extensive history of the region, which proves interesting even for those of us who live here…'