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!

 

Is this your ideal destination?                   BOOK NOW           

Want to see our route suggestions?   EXPLORE

 

Map showing where the Flanders boating region is in Belgium

The perfect boating region for...

Flanders Region map

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

The perfect boating region for...

History & Heritage

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

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

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

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

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

A bit of background

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.

 

Check our navigation page to see if there are any current cruising restrictions

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

 

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

Download our region guide

We'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

Interactive map of Flanders

Base pin  = Le Boat base     Point of interest pin  = Point of interest

Great to see...

Must see
St Martins in Ieper Flanders

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.

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
View over Ghent and Saint Nicholas Church
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 Gent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - take your camera though!
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.
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.
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.

Itinerary 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.

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Nieuwpoort

14 hr(s) of cruising

78km 4 locks 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges

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!

14 hr(s) of cruising

78km 4 locks 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ieper & Veurne

Nieuwpoort
Veurne
Ypres
Diksmuide
Nieuwpoort

14 hr(s) of cruising

88km 8 locks 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ieper & Veurne

The buglers gather before you under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres (Ielper), 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!

14 hr(s) of cruising

88km 8 locks 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ieper & Bruges

Nieuwpoort
Veurne
Ypres
Diksmuide
Ostend
Bruges
Nieuwpoort

27 hr(s) of cruising

166km 12 locks 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ieper & Bruges

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.

27 hr(s) of cruising

166km 12 locks 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges & Deinze & Ghent

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Deinze
Ghent
Nieuwpoort

42 hr(s) of cruising

200km 5 locks 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges & Deinze & Ghent

Your mouth waters as you and your friends haunt 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 mediaeval cities like Gent with its impressive Gothic architecture

42 hr(s) of cruising

200km 5 locks 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk & Oudenaarde

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Deinze
Kortrijk
Bossuit
Oudenaarde
Ghent
Nieuwpoort

43 hr(s) of cruising

350km 16 locks 14 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk & Oudenaarde

You browse in the chic boutiques in Gent, 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!

43 hr(s) of cruising

350km 16 locks 14 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ieper

Nieuwpoort
Ypres
Diksmuide
Nieuwpoort

12 hr(s) of cruising

84km 6 locks 3 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ieper

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 Ieper, famous for its museums and its World War II monuments. Don't miss to try some chocolates and local beers along the way !

12 hr(s) of cruising

84km 6 locks 3 nights
Added on 10 October 2017

John Hardy said

4TH TIME BOOKING. HAVE BEEN TO HOLLAND, SCOTLAND AND VENICE AND NOW BRUSSELS. EXCELLENT SERVICE, BOAT EXPERIENCE, AND TRIP. IF ANYONE LIKES A LITTLE ADVENTURE AND EXCITMENT, THIS IS THE WAY TO HOLIDAY!! DR. JOHN A. HARDY GREAT ALL AROUND, WILL GO AGAIN!
READ MORE
Thank you for your review and for your loyalty. We are so pleased you've enjoyed so many amazing destinations! 
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Magnifique
Added on 15 September 2017

Ross Travers said

very informative, friendly staff and always helpful staff were very helpful, friendly and informative, our boat trip was very relaxing and beautiful scenery. Our Le Boat was very comfortable.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Caprice
Added on 08 September 2017

Alta Collyer said

The service was good, there are a few points we would like them to tell new people in future. The cruising maps are also poor. Very good info given to start off, also some good tips
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Sheba
Added on 20 May 2017

Angela Pettitt said

Excellent! Very helpful and friendly. Excellent. Lovely boat, great holiday.
READ MORE
Dear Miss Pettitt,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback. We are delighted to learn you enjoyed your cruise with us in Belgium.
We hope to welcome you on board with us again soon.
Best wishes, The Le Boat team
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Magnifique
Added on 29 September 2018

Kenneth Coldwell said

Sent us out with the diesel heat not working, but tried to repair while we were on route. Only had a small electric heater that seemed to blow the breaker when plugged into shore power. Steven the mechanic tried his best, and kept us entertained with his sense of humor. If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have stayed so happy. As far as a canal boating destination, out of 3 canal boating trips we have taken, this was our least favorite cruising location. Too regimented waiting for opening bridges. Brugge and Ghent were fabulous.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Royal Mystique A
Added on 17 August 2018

Adrian Green said

Friendly staff, keen to help us make the most of our trip and showed complete novices the ropes in as practical a manner as possible without being over burdensome. As complete novices we were somewhat nervous to begin with but the kind helpful staff at the Le Boat, Niuewpoort soon put those nerves to rest. We had a thoroughly enjoyable 4 day trip (3 nights on the boat) and would highly recommend it to any (older) families who are after a different means of seeing Belgium.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Caprice
Added on 28 July 2018

Vanessa Cowley said

The introduction was very comprehensive. Route details were clear. Everything worked. Remote location a bit tricky to get to without a car, but a very nice marina with all the amenities.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Caprice
Added on 29 June 2018

Reinier Brönn said

People at the base was very helpful and friendly! The boat was in a good condition and we really enjoyed the trip to Brugge and back. It was a little too short though as we thought that we could leave right after the introduction and could only leave the following morning - I think you should inform people about that on the internet. It was a good experience to enjoy with the family. I would recommend a longer stay as it was a bit expensive for such a short stay.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Elegance
Added on 20 September 2017

Clarence Erickson said

The funtioning of the boat was good except the thermocouple was bronken in the oven, and therefore it and the broiler would not stay on. The heat in the boat didn't work even with shore power. It would have been terrible if it had gotten colder. Although most all boats leaving Nieuwpoort, travel towards Brugges, there was incorrect information in the book about when an important bridge would open on the way to Brugge. It only opened at 11:00 and 3:00 and because we did not know this it cost us spending the afternoon visiting Brugges. Other information about openings of bridges was incorrect in LeBoat's book. Additionally, they were closing bridges for repair around Brugges and if someone in Brugges had not told us, we would have been trapped on the wrong side of the bridge when we needed to return toward Nieuwpoort. When we asked the woman at the LeBoat counter a recomendation for eating somewhere along the route to Brugges,she said she did not live in the area. There really should be better information for the travelers who are new to the area and most importantly LeBoat should keep current information on all bridge openings and closings which is vital to the travel. Other than these difficulties, we had a very good time. The boat was clean and the personel were very nice. What we got to see of Brugges was wonderful. We didn't have much time there because of incorrect information about bridge openings and closings in LeBoat book.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Caprice
Added on 16 September 2017

Dwayne Dyer said

Their service was good, very straightforward. The cruise was excellent. We were fortunate that the bridges were not closed for repair or we would have been very delayed, which happened the following day to other boaters. Bridge repairs are the only variable that cannot be controlled or planned on this itinerary.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Royal Mystique A