1. Ghent
  2. Brussels
  3. Ostend
  4. Knokke
  5. Torhout
  6. Ypres
  7. Kortrijk

1. Ghent

Trains from Bruges to Ghent only take 30 minutes, bringing you to one of Belgium's most interesting destinations for history. In particular, Ghent is known for its beautiful churches. These include the stunning St Nicholas' Church, built in striking local Scheldt Gothic style and dating from the 13th century. The towering St Bavo's Cathedral is another gorgeous landmark in the city centre.

Ghent is also a thriving centre for art. Tour the Museum of Fine Art, which includes prime examples of masterpieces by Flemish masters. The Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art is also well worth a visit, focusing on contemporary pieces. For shopping and a taste of traditional Belgian food, head to Korenmarkt. This city square is an excellent starting point for exploring the rest of the city on foot.

2. Brussels

It takes 1 hour when you hop on a train from Bruges to Brussels. Visit Grand Place, a huge plaza with an impressive array of architecture. Highlights include the Maison du Roi (‘House of the King’), which is now used as the Museum of the City of Brussels. The City Hall is also found here, with guided tours available in English.

Other highlights around Brussels include Mini-Europe, a park with miniature versions of famous European landmarks, and the Brussels Comic Art Museum, which highlights how much Belgium has contributed to the art of comic books.

3. Ostend

It only takes 15 minutes to get from Bruges to Ostend by train, bringing you to the shores of Belgium. Take a bracing walk along Albert I-promenade on the seafront, and stop to relax on the sand in sunny weather. Ostend has long been a strategically important point of Belgium, with sites like the Atlantic Wall Open-Air Museum. Discover Ostend's history of innovation across two world wars at this fascinating destination.

Another innovative attraction is the Mercator, an early 20th-century ship docked in Ostend now serving as a museum. It was previously used as a training vessel for Belgium's merchant navy. Originally placed in Antwerp, it now sits proudly in the docks of Ostend.

4. Knokke

Trains from Bruges to Knokke take only 20 minutes. You'll arrive at another coastal gem of Belgium, with excellent facilities for bike rides. Bring the whole family for an active day out and enjoy the tranquil seaside views. There are also a number of boat rental companies here, should you want to take to the water and soak up the sunshine.

Knokke-Heist is also known for its SEA LIFE Blankenberge. This aquarium is another ideal place to bring the family, featuring a number of awe-inspiring creatures to admire. These include piranhas and poisonous frogs in its Amazon Zone. If you'd prefer to spend more time outdoors, head to the scenic Zoute district. It has a distinct resort feel, with stately villas and a golf course you can play at.

5. Torhout

Trains from Bruges to Torhout, an inspiring, fairytale-like destination, take only 15 minutes. Go for a hike among the Wijnendalebos, a forest with towering trees and gentle paths to explore. This is also a popular spot for cyclists, so you can rent a bike and see even more of Belgium's natural beauty.

Torhout is equally famous for its collection of castles. These include the mighty Wijnendale Castle, which was originally a medieval fortress and built upon in the 19th century. It's surrounded by a moat, bringing to mind tales of knights and princesses. Ravenhof Castle is right in the middle of Torhout, and also has medieval origins. It's surrounded by the city park, making it a marvellous place to explore at any time of year.

6. Ypres

Take a train from Bruges to Ypres in 1h 30m. This is one of the most significant European sites for World War One history. It features centres such as the In Flanders Fields Museum, which is housed in the city's Cloth Hall, heavily damaged during the War but since reconstructed.

Ypres is also home to Tyne Cot Cemetery, a burial site and memorial for fallen soldiers in World War One. It's the largest cemetery for Commonwealth forces in the world, and well worth a visit as part of a historic tour. Close to the city centre, Menin Gate is a large memorial to World War One's victims whose remains were never found.

7. Kortrijk

Trains from Bruges to Kortrijk take just 1 hour, bringing you to a traditional and serene Flemish city. Sitting beside the River Leie, the Broeltowers are one of the enduring symbols of historic Kortrijk. Take a walk around them and enjoy the views out across the River Leie. Also be sure to visit Grand Place and admire the Belfry medieval bell tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The city is home to a number of museums detailing the local culture of the area. Kortrijk 1302 describes the Battle of the Golden Spurs in the 14th century, while the Groeninge Museum is an excellent art institution, displaying prime examples of Flemish art from the 1700s and 1800s.

Day trips from Bruges by train are an excellent way to see more of Belgium. From the beautiful coast to the vibrant cities and charming historical towns, Belgium offers something for every traveller. Hopping over to neighbouring countries is also easy when you use Bruges as your base. Check out our website for tickets to these fabulous destinations and start planning your day trips today!