5 Days In Belgium – The Perfect Itinerary

Belgium Header

What to see in Belgium in 5 Days

Looking for a one week European Getaway?

I highly recommend spending 5 days in Belgium to find history, culture, beauty, and wonderfully warm and welcoming people.

This small but robust place has all the charm of Europe with medieval towns, renaissance architecture, and a cosmopolitan hub.

Belgium is like visiting three countries in one with its three distinct regions, and their distinct foods and languages.

The Dutch speaking Flanders region is north, the French speaking Wallonia is west, and the German region is east.

Belgium is not only known for its chocolate, waffles, beer, french fries, and cartoons, but hosts the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.

Enjoy your 5 days in Belgium, or add it to the rest of your European adventure. It’s really a treasure not to be missed!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Purchasing through these links earns me a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Many thanks for using these links!

Brussels Grand Place

Is 5 days enough for Belgium?

Yes! Here’s your perfect Belgium Itnierary

Keep reading for more details!

Day 1. Brussels

Day 2. Ghent

Day 3. Bruge

Day 4. Dinant

Day 5. The North Sea

Know before you go

When is the best time to visit Belgium?

I’ve been to Belgium in several seasons and it’s all good!

The Fall is mild and lovely, and the Summer is awesome and hot, which makes both great choices if you can get away.  

I recommend you consider 5 days in Belgium during the Winter.

Prepare for wet and cold, but also be ready for Christmas markets, ice sculptures, hot chocolate, and amazing soup. 


How to get around in Belgium

While you can rent a car very easily and comfortably, (we use Hertz when traveling abroad) you can also simply take affordable trains.

I’ve done both, and suggest a car, if you are with your family. Then you don’t have to rely on train schedules, or worry about getting from the train stations to the sites you want to see.

Buying a family’s worth of train tickets may be more expensive than renting a car for a week. The car rides also allow you to see more of the countryside, stop along the way, and be open to spontaneous adventures!

If you are train hopping, check out deals on Rail Europe passes before you go. Prices may vary for children and students.

Where to stay for your 5 days in Belgium

Getting around during your 5 days in Belgium is really easy!

Because the country is so small, (one of the smallest countries in Europe), you can stay in one location and easily tour the country.

My rec is to stay in Brussels and take trains or drive from there. Here are some affordable hotels:

The NH Collection Brussels Grand Sablon – A great location in walking distance to all the sites. Prices start at $167.

Novotel Brussels off Grand Place – A great central location, walking distance to sites and near the metro. Prices start at $163.

Hilton Brussels Grand Place – Excellent reviews, in a great location, walking distance to all the sites. Prices start at $211.

Tips for visiting Belgium

~ The currency in Belgium is the Euro.

~ The voltage is a 230V supply and 50Hz. Find the adaptor E, (the kind with two round pins). Some of the universal adaptors work well all over Europe, so shop wisely before you go!

~ Look into the Brussels Card which offers access into many museums and historical sites. When travelling with a family of four in Europe, I often find that the city museum passes are well worth it. They can save time and money. 

~ If you have food restrictions, plan ahead! Belgium has amazing chocolate, waffles, sausage, candy, beer, and fries, but not a lot of gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan options. 

Follow this itinerary to make the most of  your 5 days in Belgium!

Royal Palace of Brussels

Day #1 Brussels

~ The Grand Place

As you know, Brussels holds a lot of significance for the world because it is home to the EU, NATO, and the World Heritage Unesco site, The Grand Place.

This central square in Brussels dates back to the 11th century as a marketplace. It is by far one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. 

~ The Manequin Pis

Not far from the square is the famous replica of the Manequin Pis.

The little boy peeing is said to save the city from fire and is a symbol of the Belgian sense of humor.

The original resides in the Brussels City Museum, but the replica is the hot tourist spot.

Don’t be surprised if you are sorely disappointed when you see him.

Tiny, does not quite describe the underwhelm of the little statue.

If you’re lucky, you will see him in one of his 900 outfits! 

~ The Royal Palace

This beautiful palace and grounds was the official home of the Belgian royal family.

While they no longer live there, it’s the site of many important events and is open for tours July through September.

~ Les Galleries Royals Saint Huberts

This is a popular gallery of shops and restaurants in a gorgeous 19th century building. 

~ The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral

Construction was started in the 11th century and not finished until the 16th century! It is one of the most exquisite gothic cathedrals in Europe and is the site of all the major royal celebrations.

~ The Mont Des Arts

This garden offers the best views of Brussels and is situated between the Palace Royal and the Grand Place.

Enjoy all the monuments you can see from this spot including the famous Dynasty Palace golden wall clock that chimes every hour with song, allowing one of 12 figures to pop out.

Ghent River View

Day #2 Ghent

The Flemish medieval port of Ghent has a series of canals dating back to the 13th century.

Enjoy a boat ride, a walking tour, or just roam around. I think this is one of my favorite magical European cities.

Wander along the canals, stop for waterzooi soup, and get lost. I love it here!

~ St. Bavo’s Cathedral

This is home to the 6th century Flemish painting, Adoration of the Mystic Lamb Altarpiece. 

~ Gravensteen Castle

This castle was built in 1180 and has housed the Count of Flanders, prisoners, a mint, and a cotton factory. 

~ The Belfry of Ghent

The famous belfry tower is a World Heritage site, built in 1377, and stands 300 feet tall with a dragon on top which breathes fire for special occasions.

I don’t necessarily recommend that you climb the 377 steps to the top. While the views may be worth it, it will take up a lot of time and the fee is approximately 12 Euro for climbing or taking the lift.

~ Vrijdagmarkt

This is the Friday market in the main square of Ghent dating back to 1199. Enjoy the square any day of the week, but if you are there on a Friday, get up early to shop!

Ghent Canal

Day #3 Bruges

Bruges, (Bruges in French and English, Brugge in Flemish or Dutch) is the Venice of the North and is famous for its lace making traditions. I

t’s also a favorite place for roaming for hours. There are picturesque bridges at every turn, white washed houses, narrow, medieval streets, and lots of food and drink!

Take a boat tour or horse drawn carriage ride to see a lot of the city when your legs get tired.

~ Belfry Tower, the Belfort van Brugge

This is another World Heritage site not to be missed.

This one has 366 steps to the top, and a long line waiting to pay the ticket price for entry.

The climb is narrow and steep and the view is obstructed by the safety wire enclosure at the top.

Consider the amount of time this may take in your day, not to mention if everyone prefers to climb for an hour, or eat fries and chocolate instead.

~ Markt Square

This is the classic Belgian market square surrounded by the iconic Bruges architecture.

Look for the Cloth Hall, Belfry Tower, and the Provincal Palace.

If you’re there on a Wednesday, you should be able to catch the weekly market between 8AM and 1PM. 

~ The Church of Our Lady

This famous church holds the beautiful Michaelangelo marble sculpture of Madonna and Child.

There’s a fee to see the art, but the church is free to enter.

~ Lake Minnewaterpark, the Lake of Love

This is a little bit off the beaten path, but well worth the trip. It’s a lovely lake with swans, and views of Kasteel Minnewateer.

~ The Burg Square

Yet another beautiful square to visit and see the City Hall of Bruges and the 12th century Basilica of the Holy Blood.

If you’re there on a Friday and want to spend the time and fee, go to the treasure room inside the small Basilica.

There, you’ll find the famous vial containing the relic cloth which is said to hold the blood of Jesus Christ that was wiped from his body after the crucifixion.

Bruges Mrkt Square
Couberdon Cart
Bruges Winter

Day #4 Dinant

Dinant is the village on the River Meuse in Namur where the homes are tucked into the steep rock that walls the river.

Visually, this town is remarkable and screams for lots of wandering and photos.

The rock formations and the town’s architecture, along the river, are unlike anything I have ever seen!

It’s also the birthplace of Adolf Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, which is a big deal for us, because my husband is a renowned sax player!

~ The House of Adolfe Sax

This is easy to find, on the main street and free of charge. A simple exhibit of the inventor and the instrument is worth the brief visit.

There are saxophone sculptures literally everywhere in this town. On the streets, on the bridges, on the lampposts, in the stores, everywhere. We had the best day ever in this town!

~ Citadelle de Dinant

This is a castle which was first built in the 11th century, destroyed and rebuilt multiple times.

It was later occupied during World War I and damaged in World War II. It’s now open to the public for a fee by climbing the 408 steps, or taking a cable car up and down.

Lots of history and views for days! The guided tour is recommended. You can also buy a ticket that includes a 45 minute boat tour on the river, which is a great option.

Dinant View

Day #5 The North Sea

Get to the coast of Belgium during your 5 day visit. Belgium has approximately 60 miles along the North Sea.

The region is known for its 13 beach resorts, which are busy during the summer months, but offer a charm and beauty that we loved on a chilly November day. Do your research and pick a spot.

If you travel in the summer, go to the beautiful town of Koksijde, where the famous horseback fisherman go shrimping.

Oostduinkerke is the resort where you can still see this traditional practice and enjoy the fresh shrimp at cooking demonstrations on the beach.

North Sea Beach

We have “adopted family” in Belgium and have a deep affection for this wonderful country. I know you will love it too!

Belgian Chocolate



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

A flat lay of MILK photo album travel books
Packing List