At the beginning of August my friend and I took a weekend break to Belgium. I've been to Bruges before but I really wanted to visit Antwerp after seeing it on Lonely Planet's top destination for 2018. I mentioned this to my friend and, as a food blogger, she was game and said she would like to visit Brussels so I said why don't we do both!
We took the Eurostar to Brussels and stayed 2 nights at the NH Collection in Brussels and then did a day trip to Antwerp as it was only 45 minutes on the train.
Where to Stay
Belgium isn't a huge country so it's easy to get about. We decided to do 2 nights in Brussels and just travel to other cities if we wanted. We stayed at a lovely 4 star hotel in the centre of Brussels and it was so easy to get about from here. The hotel which was part of the NH Collection group and the staff were so accommodating. I actually stayed with them last year in Berlin so I knew I was in safe hands.
We left London early and arrived in Brussels around midday. We didn't think we would be able to check into our room until 2pm but when we arrived at the hotel they said the room was all ready for us and we were able to go straight there and put our stuff down which was perfect seeing as we were tired from being up so early.
The room was a perfect size, we each had our own bed and when we wanted extra teabags (so British) they gave us a whole variety of them. They couldn't be more helpful and even had a cute little sweetie trolley in the foyer to help yourself to.
Where to Eat and Drink
Now if there's 3 things that Belgium is known for it's beer, fries and waffles so obviously we had to make sure we tried as much as we could. We were eating waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner and every flavour of beer. Literally heaven.
We went to an amazing place for brunch that did savory waffles. We even went back twice. It was called Peck 47. I had the mushroom flavoured waffle with eggs, spinach and pyscho sauce.
In terms of the sweet waffles there are literally places everywhere. You have the fancy places where you can sit inside and get tea with them or there are the little stalls that sell them from 2 euros. Honestly, I would just go to the stalls because they are just as good and the service is way better. We went to one of the famous places called Maison Dandoy and we literally had to wait almost an hour for one waffle. Needless to say we ended up walking out.
For dinner I really enjoyed Manhattan Burgers. It was an American joint which isn't exactly the most cultural thing to do in Belgium but sometimes you just want a good burger and this place did not disappoint. I had the veggie option. The famous fries place is called Fritland but unfortunately we didn't make it there because the queue was always so big but they basically do fries with a tonne of sauce options.
As with the waffles you can pretty much get a good beer everywhere and lots of places have offers on. My favourite fruit beers were the strawberry fruli one and the cherry kriek.
What to do in Antwerp
On the second day we got up early and took the train to Antwerp. It only took about 45 minutes and so we were there in time for brunch. Perfect. We visited a place called the Goodie Foodie where we had white chocolate malteaser milkshakes and omelettes. Not as good as the food in Brussels but still pretty satisfying.
We then explored the city and the weather was beautiful. Antwerp is a lot more trendy and cute than Brussels with lots of pretty alleyways, flowers everywhere and impressive buildings. We decided to visit the Chocolate Line whilst we were there which smelt like heaven. It was free to walk around unlike some of the museums in Brussels.
What I also loved about Antwerp was the fact that it had loooooads of shops. You could definitely spend a good day just browsing the clothes stores and picking up the latest trends. We then went and had a drink in a bar and chilled for a bit before getting the train one stop outside the city and walking to one of the parks to relax.
How to Get There
For some reason it didn't instantly cross my mind to take the Eurostar to Brussels. I was just going to take a plane. However, we got a much better deal by booking on lastminute.com any of the stops between London and Kent. My friend lives in London so she wanted to get on there but as I live a little bit outside London in Kent it was easier for me to drive there and leave my car.
I took the train from Ebbsfleet and literally walked straight through check-in and passport control in under 5 minutes. It was so easy and stress free, I couldn't recommend this station enough. When I boarded the train my friend was already on it and we then headed off to Brussels. On the way home I just jumped off at Ebbsfleet and she stayed on to London. I left my car at the station for 5 pounds per day and was home in 30 minutes. It couldn't have been easier.
Have you been to Belgium yet?
I think if I went back I would just do a day trip or 1 night as there isn't loads to see and do but it's definitely somewhere worth visiting, especially if you're a foodie!
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