Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to do in Kortrijk, Belgium


Kortrijk Bucket List: 15 Best Places to Visit in Kortrijk, Belgium

Kortrijk is a small Belgian city that compensates for its size with a vibrant culture and amazing displays of architectural feats, all of which have been heavily influenced and shaped by its history. You can see the town’s pride embedded in its centuries-old flax and linen industry, as well as the historic Battle of the Golden Spurs during the Franco-Flemish War. Many of the town’s major structures date from the 13th to 14th century and feature majestic gothic and medieval architecture.

Explore the Begijnhof St Elisabeth

Begijnhof Sint-Elisabeth in Kortrijk Door Lamadude – Eigen werk, Publiek domein, CC

This was a complex for lay religious women who lived there as a community (also called a beguinage), is one of Kortrijk’s prime tourist attractions, and as such, is a truly fascinating place that you can’t miss.

The 41 houses in this compound are all from the 17th century. Guided tours feature a glimpse into the life of a beguine and the history of the surrounding area.

Visit the Texture Museum

Texture Museum in Kortrijk photo via Fb page
Texture Museum in Kortrijk photo via Fb page

This new museum opened its doors to the public in 2014. It offers visitors an engaging story of Kortrijk’s history with the flax and linen industry, especially with its role in the local economy in the past and even today.

You’ll learn how they take the crop from seedling to the final product and even see some displays of actual equipment they used in the past.

See Eglise Notre-Dame (Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk)

The Church of Our Lady Kortrijk by PMRMaeyaert via Wikipedia CC
The Church of Our Lady Kortrijk By PMRMaeyaert – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

Apart from marveling at its majestic exterior, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to venture inside the oldest church in Kortrijk. Inside, the Chapel of the Counts of Flanders has large wall paintings of previous region rulers.

It also features a painting by Van Dyck from 1631 and replicas of the golden spurs taken from the French knights in Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302.

Check out the Broel Towers

View at the Broel Towers and bridge over the river Lys in Kortrijk photo via Depositphotos
View at the Broel Towers and bridge over the river Lys in Kortrijk photo via Depositphotos

These twin towers made of sandstone and limestone from the 14th and 15th century are left of the medieval walls of the defensive compound put up by the Counts of Flanders.

They can be found on either side of the Oude Leie river, and you can reach both of them by simply crossing the Broelbrug bridge! You can also learn about its history in the small museum nearby.

Tour through Kortrijk 1302

Kortrijk 1302 - Groeninge Museum Kortrijk by Zeisterre via Wikipedia CC
Kortrijk 1302 – Groeninge Museum Kortrijk by Zeisterre via Wikipedia CC

1302 is a significant year for the city as it was the Battle of the Golden Spurs during the Franco-Flemish war. It resulted in an unexpected victory for the Flemish and has since become a source of pride for the country’s Flemish community.

A quick tour will tell you all you need to know about this historic confrontation.

Go to the City Hall

Kortrijk City Hall by Trougnouf via Wikipedia CC
Kortrijk City Hall Door Trougnouf (Benoit Brummer) – Eigen werk, CC BY-SA 4.0, CC

Also called the Historisch Stadhuis, this city hall has the most impressive and stunning facade. Inside, you’ll find the Aldermen’s Hall and the Council Chamber, which has now turned into a wedding venue.

There’s a whole collection of carvings, murals, and paintings in the halls, as well as stained glass windows. It’s a definite must-see.

Stroll through Jardin des Roses

After looking at the city’s stone structures, you may very well be in need of feeling the fresh breeze at this pretty garden in the middle of the town.

The garden boasts of a huge collection of over 150 species from all over the world. It’s not a very large park, but it makes for a very serene stroll.

See Saint Martin’s Church (Sint-Maartenskerk)

Saint-Martin's church Kortrijk by Paul Hermans via Wikipedia CC
Saint-Martin’s church Kortrijk By Paul Hermans, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

Another famous church in the city is Saint Martin’s Church. Built during the 14th century at the same site as a Roman church dating back to 650, this is an incredible monument.

The interior is architecturally complex and ornate; you can’t pass up the opportunity to take photos. The 19th-century bell tower is the tallest structure in Kortrijk.

Spend some time at Grote Markt

Grote Markt and the Saint Martin's Church by Donar Reiskoffer via Wikipedia CC
Grote Markt and the Saint Martin’s Church By Donar Reiskoffer – Own work, CC BY 3.0, CC

Facing the town hall is the Grote Markt, the busiest main square in the heart of the city. The square is surrounded by very picturesque buildings.

You may even be lucky enough to visit when there’s an ongoing cultural event taking place. But every week, a small market opens up in the middle, and it’s worth checking out.

Take a picture with the Belfry.

Belfry of Kortrijk by Lordelicht via Wikipedia CC
Belfry of Kortrijk By Lordelicht – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, CC

Proudly stood in the middle of the Grote Markt, this medieval bell tower built in the 14th century used to be part of the Old Cloth Hall (Oude Lakenhalle) complex.

It’ll be hard to miss it, and it’s a great opportunity to appreciate one of the city’s most iconic symbols.

Take a BeerWalk Tour

Beerwalk tour Kortrijk
Beerwalk tour Kortrijk

This three-hour beer walk will take you through to the city’s major sights as you sample the best beers in the region. You’ll learn all the facts about the city’s history and culture (and beer brewing) as you visit some authentic pubs in some key locations.

It’s a very unique experience.

Shop at Korte Steenstraat

This is the main pedestrianized shopping street in the city, and it is also the first of its kind in the country.

You won’t find any cars and the size of the area is quite expansive. The K in Kortrijk shopping mall is a fairly new addition, incorporating many well known, international brands.

Check out the Baggaertshof

Courtyard of the Baggaertshof by Luna04 via Wikipedia CC
Courtyard of the Baggaertshof by Luna04 via Wikipedia CC

Known as “Kortrijk’s second beguinage,” the Baggaertshof was founded in the early 17th century. Here, you’ll find some interesting and well preserved medieval houses, an old chapel as well, as an imposing medicinal herb garden. It also offers another rare glimpse into life from hundreds of years ago.

See Kortrijk’s windmills

Kortrijk’s windmills by visitflanders via Flickr CC
Kortrijk’s windmills by visitflanders via Flickr CC

There are several historic and notable windmills in this city, this includes the Preetjes and Aalbeke windmills. Built in 1866, the Preetjes windmill was used for flax and is the last of its kind in all of Europe.

The Aalbeke is a standard wooden windmill built in 1717 and is set in the pretty Belgian countryside.

Take the “Metamorfose van de stad” walking tour

Kortrijk Downtown at Night
Kortrijk Downtown at Night

Metamorfose van de stad, or “Metamorphosis of the City” in English, is a relatively new installment in the city set up by the tourism office.

You can grab a map or listen to an audio guide and follow the marked route, which will take you to see all the major attractions in Kortrijk. It’s a great option if you’d really like to slowly appreciate the city!

In Kortrijk, there’s a piece of history everywhere you look! These were just 15 of the best things you can do on a visit to this remarkable place.

Kortrijk Travel and Tour Packages

Searching for the best hotels, resorts, and affordable flights in the nearby Cities? Check out our list of affordable Kortrijk hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.

Want more updates about new package tours and tourist attractions in Kortrijk, Belgium? Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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