Belgium is a lovely country, with beautiful architecture and the best hot chocolate. It makes a great add-on trip from Amsterdam, since the proximity is so doable! We really enjoyed visiting Belgium with toddlers.
We have done day and weekend trips to Belgium from Amsterdam, whether through train or car rental. It is always nice to have the flexibility of having your own car, but the train can be quite efficient. Depending on how close to the time you book it, the prices and route times vary, so it is good to check online and compare both options, to determine what works best for your family. Visit sites like trainline.com to explore options.
1. Brussels, Belgium
Where to stay in Brussels, Belgium:
I would recommend staying in the Grand Place Area. The Grand Place is the beautiful, central square surrounded by beautiful architecture and is a great location to stay with kids. It provides easy access to attractions, restaurants, and shops. Check sites like Booking.com to search for hotels in the area.
What to do in Brussels, Belgium:
- Walk around Grand Place Area: Considered one of the prettiest squares in Europe, the Grand Place Square is stunning no matter which side you face. Take your time browsing the shops, restaurants, and architecture. You could also do a carriage ride to see the city as well.
- Chocolate Making Class: Kids have to be at least six years old to take these chocolate making classes. Our relatives and their children (10, 9, and 7-years-old) took this chocolate making class and loved it!
- Brussels Christmas Market (Nov/Dec): The Grand Place squares is even prettier in December with all the holiday decor. Walking around with a hot chocolate and warm waffle and taking in the views makes for a perfect day. BUT if you are going in December, make sure to layer up. We LOVE our thermals from Uniqlo. Wearing the right gear in cold weather is a big determining factor if you will enjoy the trip or not.
Where to eat in Brussels, Belgium:
When we visit Brussels, we like to stay close to the main square so we can easily browse around. Here are our favorite spots in the area!
- Express (Lebanese food): We particularly enjoy the beef shwarma with garlic sauce and Halloumi cheese.
- Maison Dandoy: For fresh waffles. My favorite had the caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.
- For Hot Chocolate, we liked Pierre Marcolini or Laurent Gerbaud.
2. Bruges, Belgium
Bruges is an easy three-hour drive from Amsterdam (for the full blog post on visiting Amsterdam, see here). We did an overnight trip there, and it was enough to enjoy the city – although we will likely go again in warmer weather and stay longer.
Where to stay in Bruges, Belgium:
The town is small, and we wanted to stay walking distance to the main town, so we chose the Crowne Plaza Brugge Hotel. It is central to the highly rated destinations, and we enjoyed our stay there!
What to do in Bruges, Belgium:
We walked around town and let the kids run around, as we looked at the pretty views. We loved grabbing waffles and fries, as we walked around. There is also an option to take a horse-drawn carriage ride or take a boat ride down the water. We also took the kids to the Chocolate Museum. It was a good break from the cold, although it was a bit too old for our kids ages. In the future, I’m excited for our kids to be old enough to take a chocolate-making class!
Where to eat in Bruges, Belgium:
Our favorite food spots in Bruges included:
- House of Waffles for waffles
- Old Chocolate House for Hot Chocolate (my personal favorite was the Praline Hot Chocolate)
- Olive Tree Brugge for a Greek meal
- Pizzeria Sforno for pizza