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Pondering of leaving the UK for a brief highway journey throughout the English Channel? I’ll share with you our itinerary for 3 days in Northern France and Belgium by automotive. We had been capable of discover the closest little bit of continental Europe on a finances and get to know lovely Lille in France and the perfect locations to go to in Belgium. With out additional ado, let’s get began!
Right here’s the overview of all of the hyperlinks talked about on this put up, so you might have them multi function place.
Eurotunnel tickets: ebook right here
Resorts: B&B Lodge Lille Centre Grand Palais, YUST Liege, Tulip Inn in Antwerpen
Excursions: Lille strolling tour – test availability; Ghent 50-min boat tour – ebook right here; strolling & boat tour of Bruges – ebook right here
Journey insurance coverage: Guests Protection
UK to France & Belgium by automotive: the FAQs
What’s the perfect time to journey to France & Belgium by automotive from England?
If you happen to’re questioning what’s the perfect time to journey to Belgium by automotive from London, it actually depends upon if you wish to journey. The climate in Belgium and that little bit of France is just about similar to the climate in London or South-East England. We went to Belgium and France in September and weren’t very fortunate with the climate, because it rained quite a bit and was fairly chilly, however we nonetheless loved it quite a bit!
The place to hire a automotive in England for those who don’t have one
If you happen to don’t have a automotive in England, you may undoubtedly hire one. You simply must double-check if the automotive is authorised to exit the UK. We all the time use Rentalcars.com for automotive leases within the UK except we use our personal automotive.
The overview of the itinerary for 3 days in Belgium and France by automotive – Lille to Bruges
Day 0: depart out of your metropolis after work, evening in Lille at
Day 1: Lille within the morning, Dinant, Durbuy and evening in Liege at YUST
Day 2: Leuven and Antwerp, evening at Tulip Inn
Day 3: Ghent, Bruges and the drive again house
3-day France & Belgium itinerary by automotive: Lille, Durbuy, Antwerp, Bruges & extra
Day 0: Driving to Lille from England
For this journey, we solely purchased our Eurotunnel tickets a number of days upfront, as this journey was fairly spontaneous. Nonetheless, because the Eurotunnel has some low cost for shorter journeys/weekend breaks, it wasn’t too costly – £210 for the return tickets and we had been 4 individuals within the automotive.
We left London round 5:45pm on Friday and it took us just below 2 hours to get to Folkestone, the place the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal was positioned. Our departure was scheduled at 21:30, so we arrived simply on time. With Eurotunnel, you all the time must arrive not less than 1 hour earlier than your departure time, in any other case, you gained’t be capable of board. There may be, nonetheless, a small shopping center with a WHS Smith, Starbucks and a few different retailers, the place you may spend a while for those who arrive early. Nonetheless, a lot of the retailers had been already closed at 8pm.
Our Eurotunnel expertise
We waited for our departure and as soon as our quantity was displayed on the display, we began heading in the direction of the passport management and boarding lanes. We made it on time and departed proper on time. The entire journey solely takes about 30-35 minutes when you board the practice in your automotive. Whereas within the practice, you may exit your automotive, go to the bogs or sleep.
Driving to Lille
As soon as we arrived in France, we simply left the practice and for the reason that passport management was on the British aspect solely, we instantly entered a motorway and began driving in the direction of Lille. In Lille, we booked a really reasonably priced resort barely outdoors the town referred to as B&B Lodge Lille Centre Grand Palais. It had lined parking (for added 7 Euros per evening) and a 24-hour reception, so we might test in after midnight. We arrived round 0:45 am, checked in and went to sleep immediately.
Day 1: Exploring Lille, heading over to Belgium: Dinant & Durbuy
Exploring the Outdated City of Lille
We picked Lille as our first vacation spot for 2 causes. First, it was very conveniently positioned – simply on the best way to South-East Belgium, which we actually needed to go to. Secondly, I’ve heard nice issues about Lille and actually needed to see it. Lille was additionally fairly near Dunkirk, and that meant that we didn’t must drive for hours earlier than arriving to our resort to sleep because it was already fairly late.
If you happen to like sightseeing, I like to recommend taking one of many quick strolling excursions of the town like this tour, for instance. It is possible for you to to be taught quite a bit in regards to the historical past of the town! In case you simply wish to see the town with out taking a tour, that’s additionally a good suggestion. The Outdated City of Lille isn’t large, so that you’ll be capable of see quite a bit in only a few hours. There are many good bakeries the place you may have breakfast as effectively! Nonetheless, there are much more patisseries, and numerous them are spectacular! We went to L’Ogre de Carouselberg and tried 4 various things – all of them had been beautiful!
A couple of hours later, we determined to go to the primary market of Lille, nonetheless, it could undoubtedly be skipped, because it’s a superb place to purchase groceries, however not a must-visit place for those who’re only a vacationer in search of some snacks and souvenirs!
Our subsequent vacation spot was already in Belgium. We drove to Dinant for nearly 2 hours with a brief cease at a petroleum station to purchase some snacks to eat for lunch. I noticed Dinant in loads of lists of essentially the most lovely cities to go to in Belgium and wanted so as to add it to our itinerary for our very quick weekend highway journey round Belgium. Dinant is a really small metropolis/city well-known for its music-related tourism, as Dinant is the birthplace of the saxophone. Dinant can also be extremely picturesque. We spent about 45 minutes there simply strolling round and having fun with the gorgeous landscapes. There are additionally a few cafes the place you may sit down for a espresso and a dessert, nonetheless, we haven’t seen many restraints – a lot of the locations had been takeaways, kebabs and chippies. If you happen to’re hungry and wish to eat one thing good for dinner, I like to recommend ready till the subsequent city, Durbuy, the place there are extra choices!
Sadly, we had been very unfortunate with the climate – it was raining quite a bit in Dinant; therefore we needed to minimize out time there quick!
We drove one other 45 minutes and reached Durbuy – the smallest metropolis on this planet. Durbuy is a shocking medieval village (despite the fact that it calls itself a metropolis, it’s realistically a village) with a inhabitants of 400 individuals. Nonetheless, Durbuy will get fairly crowded with vacationers – they usually come from all instructions, as Durbuy is simply across the nook from Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France! Durbuy has loads of eating places, though the perfect and most spectacular ones you’ll want to ebook upfront, bars and cafes (these you may go to with no reserving). There are additionally some pretty memento retailers and even a few motels. There may be additionally a shocking fortress proper within the coronary heart of Durbuy, but it surely’s personal – therefore, it’s not attainable to go to it.
Night time in Liege
It was already getting late, so our subsequent vacation spot was our resort with the aim of sleeping. We booked YUST Liege due to the very handy location of Liege – it was nearly within the center between Durbuy and Leuven, and we didn’t wish to have any drives longer than 1 hour. Liege minimize the 1.6-hour drive into two 50-minute drives and gave us a chance to go to one other place in Belgium. YUST is a brand-new resort near the practice station of Liege and it was superb – model new, fashionable and really satisfying! It was additionally very reasonably priced! You possibly can test the value and availability of YUST Liege right here >>
Day 2: Liege, Leuven and Antwerp
We spent the morning strolling round Liege. We haven’t discovered Liege in any lists of the must-visit cities in Belgium and that’s as a result of Liege shouldn’t be a touristy metropolis. There isn’t a lot to see, and general, it’s not fairly, particularly on a chilly and wet day in autumn. Nonetheless, Liege has superb waffles, and it’s referred to as the town with the perfect waffles in Belgium. We discovered a bakery that had essentially the most superb, tremendous recent waffles – and I have to admit that these waffles had been the perfect I’ve tried in my life. The bakery known as Une Gaufrette Saperlipopette – and it’s a must-visit place in Liege!
Our subsequent vacation spot in Belgium by automotive itinerary was Leuven. Leuven is a small metropolis simply outdoors Brussels that’s well-known for its beer and its college, which was essentially the most well-known and necessary college in Europe up till the 14th century. Leuven’s fundamental sq. is spectacular and the Outdated City is beautiful! We had lunch in Leuven in a really lovely historic conventional Belgian restaurant referred to as Troubadour.
After one other 50 minutes, we arrived at our closing vacation spot of our second day in Belgium – Antwerp. We booked a resort outdoors the town centre as a result of it was very tough to discover a good reasonably priced resort with parking within the metropolis centre. Therefore we selected Tulip Inn positioned circa 40 minutes stroll from the town centre or quarter-hour by public transport.
Antwerp is without doubt one of the most necessary cities in Belgium, and it’s additionally extremely touristic. Antwerp all the time performed an important position within the historical past of Europe as a big buying and selling port and was all the time a really wealthy metropolis due to that. It has loads of unbelievable museums and landmarks and if in case you have a chance, I like to recommend taking a sightseeing tour of Antwerp like this one (among the excursions depart within the afternoon, excellent for this itinerary).
Nonetheless, when it comes to structure, I didn’t discover Antwerp as spectacular as Bruges or Ghent, for instance. But, it’s an necessary and really thrilling metropolis to go to in Belgium!
When you’re completed with all of the sightseeing, you may go to Elfde Gebod – most likely essentially the most distinctive bar in Belgium. It’s positioned proper subsequent to a cathedral and, truthfully, seems like a church inside – with all of the icons, work and decorations. If that doesn’t scare you or put you off – there are many conventional Belgian beers and dishes you may attempt! If you wish to eat, I like to recommend reserving upfront, nonetheless, for those who arrive round 5pm, it shouldn’t be too busy and also you would possibly be capable of get a desk with no reservation.
If you happen to like Belgian beer, one other must-visit place is Bar Central – it has over 500 various kinds of beers! We tried numerous beers we have now by no means seen earlier than.
Day 3: Ghent and Bruges, driving again to England
On the morning of our final day in Belgium, we drove to Ghent (it took round 50 minutes) and determined to have breakfast there. We discovered a stunning breakfast/brunch place referred to as STEK and it was scrumptious. All 4 of us cherished it!
In Ghent, we lastly had luck with the climate – it was sunny and comparatively heat and it was a pleasure to stroll across the metropolis. Ghent is far smaller in comparison with Antwerp, and it’s additionally extra compact, so you may see a lot of the Outdated City in about 1-2 hours. You’ll most likely want a bit longer for those who determine to go to the fortress within the coronary heart of Ghent as effectively. The fortress was constructed within the twelfth century and it’s spectacular from the skin! General, Ghent is a really lovely metropolis and as I discussed earlier than, I discovered it much more spectacular than Antwerp.
You can even take a really quick strolling tour round Ghent (test availability right here) or perhaps a quick 50-min boat journey like this one (test costs and availability).
Bruges is simply 45 minutes away from Ghent and it’s a must-visit metropolis in Belgium. If you happen to might solely go to two cities in Belgium, I’d advocate visiting Bruges and Ghent! Bruges could be the spotlight, although, as Bruges is gorgeous. It was my second time in Bruges, and I preferred it much more the second time. Probably, as a result of we didn’t must run across the metropolis to see as a lot as attainable with the necessity to go to each single avenue within the metropolis centre. As a substitute, we took a while, walked round essentially the most lovely areas and visited numerous chocolate retailers. There are such a lot of shops promoting chocolate in Bruges, a few of them promoting very distinctive handmade chocolate that you may’t discover outdoors Belgium. We purchased chocolate from three shops – one in Antwerp and two in Bruges and the entire sweets had been so completely different, but equally scrumptious!
In Bruges, you too can take a strolling tour like this one, for instance. Or, within the climate permits, you may take a ship tour, the place you too can be taught extra in regards to the historical past of Bruges! Or, alternatively, this tour is the perfect of each – it features a boat journey and a strolling tour.
In whole, we spent about 5 hours in Bruges, together with lunch. Nonetheless, there may be simply a lot to see and do, I completely would come again to Bruges for the third time and keep there for a weekend.
Driving again to England from Bruges
Bruges’s location is ideal for driving again to the UK – it’s simply 1 hour and quarter-hour away from the Eurotunnel terminal. We did have a number of delays on the best way again to England, nonetheless, we had been capable of get house earlier than 11 pm. The journey again is strictly the identical because the outward journey, so there is no such thing as a want to enter additional element (it’s similar, even the retailers within the terminal are the identical).
Abstract: 3-day itinerary for a highway journey round Belgium and France
I hope you discovered this itinerary for France and Belgium by automotive by way of Eurotunnel helpful and added a number of new areas to your itinerary. If you happen to have a look at the map of this itinerary, you’ll discover that Durbuy and Dinant (in addition to Liege) are fairly removed from the remainder of the areas in Belgium.
If you’re solely planning to go to Belgium for a weekend, I like to recommend dropping Lille and beginning the journey in Bruges as a substitute after which heading to Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven – that might be greater than sufficient for simply 2 days in Belgium by automotive!
When you’ve got any questions, you may ship me a message on Instagram! You’ll find me as @lizatripsget!
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