Sports & Rugby Tour to Belgium
Written by | SOPHIE WEBBER, BA
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Why go on a Rugby tour to Belgium?
Head on a rugby tour to Belgium and visit these four beautiful, diverse, and unique cities perfect for your sports tour.
It can certainly be difficult to decide which city is best suited for your rugby tour to Belgium. Our guide will walk you through 4 stunning Belgian locations – Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Brussels. Whether you want to go for a lively, quiet, or medieval city – one of these four is sure to hit the perfect city break spot.
Rugby Tour to Belgium | Bruges
A rugby tour to Bruges will immerse you into Belgium’s fairy tale medieval scenery. Its pretty cobbled streets, picturesque canals, impressive towers, and classic squares make Bruges must visit. Not only does the city turn into a souvenir slow globe in winter, but also has a fresh green vibe in the warmer months. Moreover, as you roam the streets, you will find yourself wondering if you’ve accidentally time travelled medieval times. Although it’s not the cheapest city in Europe to visit, Bruges’ beauty is priceless.
In addition, one of the best things about Bruges is that all its main attractions are within walking distance of each other. If you think your rugby tour to Belguim is headed to Bruges, read out list of the top places to visit below.
What to visit on a rugby tour to Bruges
The Canal Tour
From March to mid-November there are daily boat trips that slowly make their way through the city. It is the best way to view the magical architecture. There are five different landing stages, making the tours easy to access from anywhere.
Situated in the heart of the city, the historic square is often lively with tourists. You will find the famous statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter de Coninck, who led the Bruges Matins – a violent uprising against the French in the 14th century.
It’s no secret that a rugby tour to Belgium means lots of delicious chocolate. Choco-Story in Bruges offers the most personal experience with chocolate. They offer informational tours, tastings, and tell visitors the history of the Belgian chocolate tradition.
The medieval bell tower in Bruges is one of the city’s most famous historic treasures. Turning back the clock, the tower was used to protect Bruges’ identity. If you’re feeling fit, you can make your way up the 366 steps for a breath-taking view of the city.
If the canal tours are not a good enough view of the city, take a hot air balloon to get the best view possible.
It is worth investing in a Bruges Card. This entitles you to free entry to 27 museums, meaning you can experience the city to the max.
Best places to go out on a rugby tour to Bruges
Although Bruges may not be known for the craziest nights out, its Old Town boasts impressive traditional bars. Here is our selection of the top 4 bars to check out on your rugby tour to Bruges:
Brugs Beertje: This beerhouse has a friendly vibe and is located in the centre of the city. Authentically decorated, packed with old articles and 5 beers on draught. It is more of an experience than a pub alone.
Poatersgat: This quirky cellar bar is a landmark of Bruges and a must-visit for tourists. As you enter the small door and descend the winding staircase, you will discover one of the most famous bars in the city. There are more than 120 beers on offer so all tastes will be accommodated.
The Gulliver Tree: This bar has a delicious twist that makes it unique. Not only does it supply a variety of beers and drinks, it’s also renowned for its incredible deserts.
Ma Rica Rokk: A night out in Bruges would be incomplete without taking your tipsy self to Ma Rica Roll. It’s one of those clubs that everyone is bound to end up in at some stage of the night.
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Rugby Tour to Belgium | Ghent
To experience something different on your rugby tour to Belgium, head over to Ghent for an intimate yet lively vibe. If crowds of tourists drive you insane, then this is the city for you. Without a doubt, Ghent is the hidden gem of Belgium. Its stunning castles, cathedrals, and historical buildings are picturesque and breath-taking. Moreover, Ghent is still relatively unknown to most, so it’s a great place to visit before crowds of tourists head there.
Evidently, Ghent’s cosy vibe not only makes for a great tour but also means you can get around the city mostly on foot. Similar to Bruges, Ghent has a medieval charm, but it’s much quieter and more relaxed. With this in mind, here is our list of places to explore on your journey through the city:
What to visit on a rugby tour to Ghent
Sint-Niklaaskerk: St. Nicholas medieval church is a precious landmark to Ghent. The construction of the church started in the 13th century and it’s built in the local Scheldt Gothic style. The church’s organ was made by the famous Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.
Sint-Baafskathedraal: St Bavo’s is the tallest structure in the city, at an impressive 89 metres tall. It is a beautiful landmark of the city and an absolute must-see. Continually being rebuilt since the 16th century, the church has gone through many phases – including the gothic style.
St Michael’s Bridge : The most picturesque part of Ghent. It is built in the neo-Gothic style in 1910. To get the best view of the city, including the famous three towers, it is where you need to head.
Gravensteen castle : This castle looks like something out of a fairy tale. Until the 14th century, the castle served as the seat of the Counts of Flanders. After it was abandoned by the counts, the castle was used as a courthouse and later a prison. You can visit and tour the castle or just have a walk around and soak in the views.
Gentse Feesten Festival : One of the largest cultural festivals in Europe, The Ghent Festivities spans 10 days in July. You can enjoy music, animations, delicious street food and hundreds of activities which are spread all over the city.
Additionally, St Pieters station runs trains which only take 30 minutes to Brussels and Bruges, providing the perfect excuse to travel between cities on your rugby tour to Belgium.
Where to go out on a rugby tour to Ghent
In contrast with its medieval exterior and fairy tale vibe, Ghent is buzzing with life after the sun goes down. The city’s vibrant and energetic nightlife carries on from Monday through to Saturday night. To begin with, start your night in the heart of city centre at the Korenmarkt, where the bars are plenty. Following this, head to one of these top 3 bars and clubs for the ultimate night out on your rugby tour to Belgium:
De Maecht van Gent
This is the trendiest music café in the whole of the city. This may be the start of your big night out in Belgium. Alternatively, on Friday and Saturday nights you may end up spending your whole night in this addictive destination.
Found within Ghent’s maze of small streets, this club is open Wednesday to Saturday, meaning a mid-week night out is definitely on the cards. The club plays all the loved styles of music depending on the night, such as hip hop, house, electro and funk. Whatever your age, you will not feel out of place in this electric destination.
This one is for the people who love to party hard, and rarely will be found leaving early. Decadance attracts the real party-goers and a different type of people to the other clubs. It’s an after-party club. Remember, arriving at 2 AM is the norm for this intriguing club.
Rugby Tour to Belgium | Antwerp
If your rugby tour to Belgium sets its heart on Antwerp, you will be visiting the biggest port, second biggest city and crown diamond on Belgium. During the 16th century, Antwerp was known as one of the most important financial centres in the world. The diamond capital of the world has a rich history, which makes for an impressive visit.
Moreover, Antwerp is one of the trendiest cities in Belgium. It offers a diverse mix of history and modern influence, making it the most interesting city break.
What to visit on a rugby tour to Antwerp
Rubens’ House (Rubeshuis)
The famous 16th/17th-century Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens’ house is one of Antwerp’s biggest attractions. The painter’s house is available for the public to view alongside exhibits of his impressive art.
One of the oldest zoos in the world, Antwerp Zoo not only has impressive facilities but also houses a variety of exciting animals. It is located near the central train station and is very easy to find.
Summer of Antwerp
Antwerp’s cultural festival is held in July and August. It boasts free music, films, circus acts, and pop-up hangouts. The summer bar has hammocks, an outdoor cinema, and a Factory that hosts free dance workshops in the day and transforms into a dance floor at night.
Where to go out on a rugby tour to Antwerp
Antwerp has a small yet lively nightlife. The city has thousands of students, who keep the vibe exciting. You can head over to the docklands for the popular clubs or find hidden bars all across the city. Here are the 5 best bars and clubs to visit on your rugby tour to Antwerp:
Ampere nightclub: Ampere is the place for underground nights out and cosy gigs. It is an environmentally friendly nightclub, and one of a kind. Head over there to have a great night out while saving the environment at the same time.
Oud Arsenaal: A bar which remains unchanged from the day it was built and transports visitors right back to the late 20s. This art deco pub is a must visit, and will definitely make a change from the usual surroundings of your local pub.
Kulminator: The bar where you can taste 800 different brews. Enough said.
Ikon Antwerp: Ikon is one of the most well-known clubs in the area. Found north of the city, the club is located in a rejuvenated dockyard. There are four different rooms, dazzling lights and epic DJ’s which carry on until the early hours of the morning.
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Rugby Tour to Belgium | Brussels
It wouldn’t be a full guide to your rugby tour to Belgium without the capital city, Brussels. Significantly, Belgium’s capital is a city of contrasting architectural styles. For example, you may turn a corner and discover a hip bar, then turn another to see a medieval statue. Coupled with glass-lined contemporary buildings, the striking contrasts make Brussels a visually intriguing city. Moreover, it’s renowned for its Art Nouveau architecture and is home to the headquarters of the European Union.
What to visit on a rugby tour to Brussels
The Grand Place
A rugby tour to Brussels would be incomplete without going to see the impressive and beautiful cobbled square. It is a popular place to relax and absorb the stone mansions that stand tall and replace the once wooden medieval houses.
The city museum translates to ‘The Kings House’ in English. Controversially, no royalty has lived there, but the décor would suggest otherwise. The museum is dedicated to the history of Brussels, which is told through a range of exhibitions covering three floors.
Travel around the whole of Europe in one day! The city has 350 ‘mini’ models of the most famous landmarks including Big Ben, The Eiffel Tower, and the canals of Venice. The park’s opening hours are 9.30 am-6 pm, until 8 pm in summer, and is closed between January and mid-March.
The large public park displays buildings built for the 1880 National Exhibition, which celebrated 50 years of independence for Belgium. The main gem of the park is an impressive arch. To the north of the arch is the Royal Military Museum and to the south are the Royal Museums. It is also the perfect oasis in the city to relax and enjoy the sunshine.
Where to go out on a rugby tour to Brussels
Contrary to popular opinion, Brussels has many vibrant places where the nightlife is buzzing. The best nightclubs are located all over the city, so it’s best to choose one or two places to spend your night. Here are the best bars and clubs in the capital:
O’Reilly’s: Every tour needs a good Irish bar to serve as their headquarters. This fairly recent Brussels institution is located just a few minutes away from La Grand Place.
You Night Club: A trendy nightclub for young people located in the centre near the Grand Place at 18 rue Duquesnoy.
Mirano Continental: Located at Madou metro, on a normal Friday or Saturday night this modern club plays a good selection of pop, house and dance music. Moreover, it occasionally hosts spectacular themed nights so make sure you check the schedule ahead of time.
Bazaar: If you love deep house, then you will also love this club. It has an underground vibe and is popular with the locals themselves.
In the North of the city, you will find Brussels’ red light district for any who are curious.