About Flanders

Taste the sweetness of bountiful Flanders

Known for its wonderful chocolates and gourmet cuisine, the Flanders region of coastal Belgium is rich in culture and natural beauty — windmills, meadows, marshes, sandy beaches and bustling cities replete with Gothic architectural grandeur. Evidence of the past is everywhere on canal boat vacations in Flanders whilst you encounter one looming castle after another!

 

Die Karte zeigt, wo sich die Hausbootregion Flandern in Belgien befindet.

If you are unable to find your perfect vacation on our website please contact our Boating Experts who may be able to help create a bespoke offering for you.

Flanders map

Flanders Region map

 = Le Boat Base           = Canal           = Navigable river           = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

History & Heritage

Ghent skyline at night

Flanders reflects its history and heritage in its abundant cathedrals and palaces. While you're in Ghent, admire the Cathedral of St. Bavon. Ascend St. Michael's Bridge for fantastic views of the medieval city. Ypres, also spelled as Ieper, is famous for its World War I museums.

Swimming

Two children walking on the beach

The gorgeous beaches of Neiuwpoort and Oostende draw thousands of travelers every summer for fun in the sun on the North Sea. Take a dip in the surf and then relax at a waterside bistro! Linger at a refreshing lake on your riverboat cruises in Flanders!

Gastronomy

Yummy Belgian chocolates

Flanders gastronomy will tantalize you! Try vlaamse stoofkarbonaden stew, a favorite in Belgium. It's a lot like beef bourguignon, but it's made with beer instead of red wine. Or try konijn in gueze (rabbit prepared with gueze beer). And don't forget the world-famous pralines chocolates for dessert!

Family

Child on father's shoulders

Have fun with the kids at Bellewaerde Park in Ypres with its amusement rides and rare animals. Brielmeersen Park in Deinze features mini golf and a bamboo labyrinth! The kids'll also love the beach and munching too much chocolate on Flanders river cruises in Belgium!

Beer Tasting

Beer bottles empty

Belgium is famous for its beers: champagne, lambic, tripel, dubbel and more! Try a Flemish red on your beer tasting vacations in Flanders! The Straffe Hendrik Brewery in Bruges offers tours and tasting, and the Dulle Griet Bar in Gent has a menu of 250 brews!

Useful information

Download our region guide

Check out our region guideWe've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

When you choose a boat rent in Flanders, Belgium, you embark upon a fantastic voyage into a land of the sea. Canals and rivers lace the beautiful coastal lowlands, a haven for seabirds and beachgoers. In fact, there are about 1,570 kilometres (975 miles) of waterways used for business and pleasure. The water is so much a part of Flanders that it seems arched bridges crisscross every city. Indeed, Gent boasts more than 200 of them!

Your boat rent in Flanders takes you along the coast with its dunes and dikes. The North Sea air invigorates as you indulge in delicious seafood and a Belgian brew at oceanfront cafés. Ports like Oostend combine international business with resorts for travellers. You’ll reach Gent via a ship canal built in 1886, just one of the waterways that make Belgium cruising so special.

According to some sources, there are 470 castles in Flanders, and 50 of them are ensconced around the cosmopolitan city of Bruges, a locale with more than 80 bridges and multiple canals. Indeed, it is said that Bruges so reminded travellers of Venice, Italy, that it came to be called the Venice of the North. When you go, you’ll see why! For a time, the waterways of Bruges and its access to the sea made it the busiest trading city in the world and the wealthiest in Europe!

Navigating in Belgium is easy. The waters of Flanders are suitable for beginners.

Take a look at our waterway and lock closures page to find out if there are any scheduled cruising restrictions that will affect your vacation plans.

Lock keepers and bridge tenders operate all locks and lift bridges, the fee has been paid by Le Boat.

Please be advised that you will need to call ahead to arrange access to certain locks & bridges in Belgium. It’s therefore important that you have a mobile phone that works in Europe for the duration of your cruise. We recommend purchasing a European SIM card prior to your arrival at the base for check-in.

 

Opening hours: Locks in Belgium are open 08:00-18:00 (6:00 p.m.) – see details below and 10:00-18:00 on Sundays/bank holidays.

 

Public holidays: Some locks and bridges are closed on Sundays and bank holidays.

 

Notes: If you are cruising in the area of the North of France you will be required to buy a “pass” to go through the locks.

 

Notes if you are departing on Sunday in low season: The lock/bridges between Nieuwpoort and Brugge are closed on Sunday in April & October.

 

Notes about Brugge: Every day, all bridges of Brugge are closed for few minutes between 7:40 & 8:30 / 11:50 & 12:30 / 17:00 & 17:30. Lock Closure dates: Please be aware of the lock closure dates by local authorities. During that day(s) / time(s), you won’t be able to go through the locks. For more details and questions, please contact our sales team. 1. All waterways: All Locks/Bridges closed on: Easter Sunday Sundays in April and October 2.

 

Notes about Brugge: Monday to Saturday all bridges of Brugge are closed between 7h30-8h30 and 16h30-17h30. On Wednesdays 11:50 to 12:30 as well. 3. Between Brugge & Nieuwpoort on the Kanaal Plassendale, locks are opened at fixed hours: Direction Nieuwpoort > Oudenburg: Locks open at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm Direction Oudenburg > Nieuwpoort: Locks open at 10am, 12am, 2pm, 4pm & 6pm Pass through locks/bridges in flotilla.

 

Important Notes: If you are cruising in the area of the North of France (3 weeks or more) you will be required to buy a “pass” to go through the locks. Pass cost: around 200 Euros

If you are going to visit Bruges, follow the Ring Canal around the outskirts of the city, and moor safely in La Coupure, a canal inlet protected by a barrier that is lifted by the harbour master. There are mooring fees (approximately 10 euros per night). Moorings are plentiful in Belgium.

To find out how to get to our base in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available there or nearby, click on the base below:

  • Rental of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demonstration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks
  • Optional vacation extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour (by the litre in Scotland).
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Interactive map of Flanders

Le Boat base  = Le Boat base  Point of interest = Point of interest

 

Great to see...

Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
Veurne is a welcoming city with the characteristic local architecture. Visit the church of Sainte-Walburge and its garden, the city hall, and the pavilion of spanish officiers.
In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.
Must see
Cattedrale di San Martino, Ypres

Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall aux draps" is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.

Oostende is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
Must see
Colourful houses in Bruges
The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.
Must see
Veduta di Gand e la chiesa San Nicola

Ghent, the pearl of Flanders, was once the second largest city in Europe after Paris. No other city in Belgium has as many monuments and important buildings as Ghent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - take your camera though!

Deinze is a delightful little town with many shops and attractions.The Brielmeersen Park has beautiful footpaths, along with a large children's playground, mini-golf and a giant bamboo maze.
Oudenaarde is famous for its carpet weaving and tapestry. You can discover this history in details at the museum, in the factory fabric exhibits typical tapestries. The Broodstraat, Nederstraat, Einestraat and Hoogstraat are the main pedestrian streets that have kept all the charm of the old mediaeval streets.
Bossuit is a charming little village where you will enjoy a walk and a visit to the old castle, built in the 17th century.
Kortrijk is a beautiful and historic city, where you will discover the Broel towers - among many other buildings and monuments that make up this town's magnificent local architecture.

Route suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

Please note: Any route suggestions and itineraries on the Le Boat website are examples only and any of the suggested potential routes, attractions, restaurants, towns, villages or sections of the waterway included in them may not always be open or accessible at time of cruising.

 = Click the arrow icon on each route suggestion, to flip the 'card' and reveal more details.

Cruising through the waterways of Bruges

The Beautiful Bruges Short Break

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Nieuwpoort

14 hr(s) of cruising

76km 4 locks 4 nights

The Beautiful Bruges Short Break

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges

Scroll down using the bar to the right 

Overview

You marvel at the network of waterways that lace inland away from the sea. The cruise options seem limitless as you leave the golden beaches of Nieuwpoort behind and head out bound for Bruges, the Venice of the North, on wonderful river cruises in Belgium. Almost immediately you’re struck with the country’s cosmopolitan charm — elegant castles, pretty bridges, and waterside cafés galore!

Top highlights:

  • Strolling along the beach of Nieuwpoort
  • Exploring the military fortress in the sand dunes of Ostend 
  • The restored Gruuthusemuseum in Bruges

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Ostend: Ostend is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like a old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.

14 hr(s) of cruising

76km 4 locks 4 nights
Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres

The Little Flanders Short Break

Nieuwpoort
Veurne
Ypres
Diksmuide
Nieuwpoort

14 hr(s) of cruising

88km 8 locks 4 nights

The Little Flanders Short Break

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Veurne

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Veurne

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

The buglers gather before you under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, and you listen as they play the Last Post to honour the soldiers who died in World War I. The bugling has been a tradition since 1928, and you find it moving. Flanders river cruising is like that. The past emerges at every turn in historic cities, looming castles and waterfront bistros where you sip a Flemish red!

Top highlights:

  • Strolling along the beach of Nieuwpoort
  • Visiting the reconstructed buildings of powerful Ypres
  • Butter biscuits and whipped cream-filled pastries in Diksmuide

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your holiday:

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Veurne: Veurne is a welcoming city with the characteristic local architecture. Visit the church of Sainte-Walburge and its garden, the city hall, and the pavilion of spanish officers.
  • Ypres: Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall Aux Draps is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.
  • Diksmuide: In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the Beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.

14 hr(s) of cruising

88km 8 locks 4 nights
Relaxing in the sunshine on the Belgian waterways

The Peace Cruise

Nieuwpoort
Veurne
Ypres
Diksmuide
Ostend
Bruges
Nieuwpoort

27 hr(s) of cruising

166km 12 locks 7 nights

The Peace Cruise

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Bruges

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Bruges

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

Belgium river cruises transport you deep into the past. Fascinating museums reveal archaeological, artistic and even culinary history, such as the Museum of the Bakery in Veurne. Ypres and Diksmuide feature Belgium’s bloody World War I history. As you cruise, the peace of the present serenity on the water captivates you, regardless of the tumult of the past.

Top highlights:

  • Strolling along the beach of Niuewpoort 
  • Visiting the reconstructed buildings of powerful Ypres
  • Butter biscuits and whipped cream-filled pastries in Diksmuide
  • The restored Gruuthusemuseum in Bruges

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Veurne: Veurne is a welcoming city with characteristic local architecture. Visit the church of Sainte-Walburge and its garden, the city hall, and the pavilion of spanish officers.
  • Ypres: Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall Aux Draps is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.
  • Diksmuide: In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.
  • Ostend: Ostende is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.

27 hr(s) of cruising

166km 12 locks 7 nights
Medieval bridge in the beautiful city of Ghent

The Chocolates and Lace Cruise

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Deinze
Ghent
Nieuwpoort

25 hr(s) of cruising

164km 4 locks 7 nights

The Chocolates and Lace Cruise

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges & Ghent

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges & Ghent

Scroll down using the grey bar to the left

Overview

Your mouth waters as you and your friends hunt a candy store in Bruges, the capital of West Flanders. The fragrance of chocolate fills the air, and you surrender to the urge to indulge! Belgium captivates you as you travel through beautiful country settings into medieval cities like Ghent with its impressive Gothic architecture. 

Top highlights:

  • Strolling along the beach of Nieuwpoort
  • The restored Gruuthusemuseum in Bruges
  • The medieval architecture of Ghent

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your holiday:

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Ostend: Ostend is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.
  • Deinze: Deinze is a delightful little town with many shops and attractions. The Brielmeersen Park has beautiful footpaths, along with a large children's playground, mini-golf and a giant bamboo maze.
  • Ghent: Ghent, the pearl of Flanders, was once the second largest city in Europe after Paris. No other city in Belgium has as many monuments and important buildings as Ghent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - don't forget to take your camera!

25 hr(s) of cruising

164km 4 locks 7 nights
Winding medieval streets of Ghent city

The Turrets and Tapestry Long Break

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Deinze
Kortrijk
Bossuit
Oudenaarde
Ghent
Nieuwpoort

43 hr(s) of cruising

350km 16 locks 14 nights

The Turrets and Tapestry Long Break

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk & Oudenaarde

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk & Oudenaarde

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

You browse in the chic boutiques in Ghent, explore the castle, and then continue on your way, feeling content in the embrace of the scenic Belgian countryside. It seems every town tempts you to stop and shop! Your Belgium river cruises eventually bring you to Oudenaarde, famous for its tapestry making and good restaurants. After dinner, you seek out Belgian brews!

Top highlights:

  • Strolling along the beach of Nieuwpoort
  • The restored Gruuthusemuseum in Bruges
  • The medieval architecture of Ghent 
  • The Broel towers of Kortrijk

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Ostend: Ostend is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.
  • Deinze: Deinze is a delightful little town with many shops and attractions. The Brielmeersen Park has beautiful footpaths, along with a large children's playground, mini-golf and a giant bamboo maze.
  • Kortrijk: Kortrijk is a beautiful and historic city, where you will discover the Broel towers - among many other buildings and monuments that make up this town's magnificent local architecture.
  • Bossuit: Bossuit is a charming little village where you will enjoy a walk and a visit to the old castle, built in the 17th century.
  • Oudenaarde: Oudenaarde is famous for its carpet weaving and tapestry. You can discover this history in details at the museum, and the fabric factory exhibits in typical tapestries. The Broodstraat, Nederstraat, Einestraat and Hoogstraat are the main pedestrian streets that have kept all the charm of the old medieval streets.
  • Ghent: Ghent, the pearl of Flanders, was once the second largest city in Europe after Paris. No other city in Belgium has as many monuments and important buildings as Ghent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - don't forget to take your camera!

43 hr(s) of cruising

350km 16 locks 14 nights
Top deck dining in Belgium

The Peace Short Break

Nieuwpoort
Ypres
Diksmuide
Nieuwpoort

12 hr(s) of cruising

84km 6 locks 3 nights

The Peace Short Break

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

Nieuwpoort is a lovely seaside town where you can have a walk and taste seafood speciliaties in front of the sea. Then cruising to the South, you'll discover the history and patrimoine of Belgium in the charming towns of Diskmuide and Ypres, famous for its museums and its World War II monuments. Don't miss out on trying some chocolates and local beer along the way!

Top highlights:

  • Strolling along the beach of Nieuwpoort
  • Butter biscuits and whipped cream-filled pastries in Diksmuide
  • Visiting the reconstructed buildings of powerful Ypres

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation:

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Diksmuide: In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the Beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.
  • Ypres: Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall Aux Draps is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.

 

12 hr(s) of cruising

84km 6 locks 3 nights