Kortrijk, Belgium, is a historic town located in West Flanders. Located on the Leie River, Kortrijk was first established by the Romans under the name Cortoriacum, which is why the city is also known as Courtrai. When you visit Kortrijk, you’ll discover a vibrant city, surrounded by many other famous places, tourist attractions, and popular cities in Belgium.
When you explore Kortrijk, you can also head out to the nearby cities of Halluin, Menen, Neuville-en-Ferrain, Roncq, and Wevelgem. Other famous cities in the vicinity of Kortrijk include Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Lige, Lille, Mechelen, Mons, Namur, and Ostend.
Famous for its textile manufacturing, the arrondissement of Kortrijk started making both lace and linen as early as the fourteenth century. When you visit Kortrijk, Belgium, you will notice that it is home to a variety of spinning and finishing mills. The 1906 Groeningstraat or the Battle of the Golden Spurs actually took place very close to old Kortrijk, and the town built a memorial, just east of the Grote Markt.
Top places to visit in Kortrijk, Belgium
When you visit Kortrijk, Belgium, you should go see Stedelijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten (Municipal Museum of Fine Arts), home to one of Belgium’s finest art galleries. This museum houses the remarkable paintings of the 16th-century painter Roeland Savery, as well as the remarkable works of other famous painters. In addition, inside you’ll find a variety of archeological objects, ceramics, porcelain, and pottery. And, as the museum is located in a 17th-century Patrician house, you can appreciate the breathtaking beauty of Renaissance architecture. The Stedelijk Museum Voor Schone Kunsten is open from Saturday to Thursday.
In the heart of Kortrijk, you can explore the Grote Markt, a popular tourist attraction. There, you can see the Worl War I Memorial, the remains of the clothes hall, and the Grote Markt Belfry (Kortrijk Belfort or Belfry of Courtrai, a UNESCO World Heritage). Also here, you will notice the 1420 Stadhuis (Town Hall) with some of its original Gothic architecture and a large number of statues inside the building.
You should also go to the Broeltorens when you visit Kortrijk. The Broeltorens (Broel Towers) are actually two large fortification towers from the 12th and 13th centuries.
And last, but not least, head out to The Saint Elisabeth Beguinage (Begijnhof), a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
Best things to do when you visit Kortrijk, Belgium
When you visit Kortrijk, Belgium, you should take a walk by the Leie River or admire the many sights of the historic town. Usually, those who have already been to Kortrijk rave about its architecture and loved visiting the 1927 Menin Gate, the memorial for the British soldiers who lost their lives in World War I, the Church of Our Lady, the Broel Towers, and the Grand Place.
The Church of Our Lady is the oldest building you’ll see when you visit Kortrijk. Furthermore, the highlight found inside the Church of Our Lady is the portraits of all the past rulers of Flanders. Outside, you can discover the remains of the original castle that once surrounded the church.
In the meantime, when you visit Kortrijk, you’ll also see buildings such as the Palace of Justice. In striking contrast in terms of architecture, it gives the town of Kortrijk, Belgium, an equally modern appeal.
Eating and drinking in Kortrijk, Belgium
For those tourists looking to get a cultural taste of Belgium’s finest cuisine, the most popular specialties are Endives in Bechamel Sauce, Ardennes sausages and ham, Belgian waffles, mussels with fries, and of course, Belgian chocolates.
While visiting Belgium, you may also want to try some of the world-famous Belgian beer: over 400 different brews are available, including fruit beers, Stella Artois, Leffe, Hoegaarden, and Duvel, among many.
The Cafe Rouge has everything a hungry traveler’s heart wants. Moreover, it has ultra-modern architecture with elegant decor. It is renowned for its tea, served with a side of cake and chocolates. At the Cafe Rouge you should try fondue, flavored potato chips, soups, salads, waffles served with fresh fruit, and the crème brûlée, among other fine dining choices.
Another option is La Dolce Vita, an Italian restaurant near the railway station. There, you will find delicious pizza and tagliatelle, among other fine dishes. And, if you travel to the nearby Wevelgem, you should dine at Biggles, a restaurant renowned for its fine service and pleasant atmosphere.
At the end of the day, you should enjoy fine wine in one of the many Belgian cafés, since most of them are also licensed to sell alcohol.
Having fun in Kortrijk, Belgium
The nightlife in Kortrijk has plenty to offer if you’re looking for adult fun and entertainment. In addition, when you visit Kortrijk, you also have access to a lot of leisure facilities near Brussels, like theaters, cinemas, discos, and event venues. The three venues I adore because they always have interesting upcoming events are Le Fuse, Les Jeux d’Hiver, and The Music Village.
If you are looking for some time outdoors, I recommend visiting Landhuis ‘t Hooghe (Castle ‘t Hooghe), where you can appreciate the beauty of the International Rose Garden. The Landhuis ‘t Hooghe is free to visit and families can spend the day enjoying a panoramic view.
All of the sites of Kortrijk, Belgium, are easily available. You can also visit tourist attractions in other major cities in Belgium by taking the train or renting a car. If you decide for a longer visit in Kortrijk instead, you should cycle along the Leie River to enjoy the fresh air and gorgeous views. Essentially, no matter what kind of transportation you use, you’ll find an incredible abundance of things to do, see and enjoy while you visit Kortrijk, Belgium.
Your Kortrijk travel guide
Olivia Peeters is a sustainable travel enthusiast from Belgium. She is happiest while sailing, hiking, cycling, or doing anything else outdoor.
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