One-week Road Trip: Easter holidays in Belgium & Netherlands
This Easter holidays I was looking to take my two teenage sons on a one-week trip somewhere in Europe. I was looking for direct flights from Madeira to a destination that was reasonable for a family on a small budget and where they wouldn’t get bored, and then…I found Ryanair’s direct flights from Madeira to Brussels!
What really marked Brussels out for this trip, was the close proximity to several cities like Ghent, Rotterdam and Amsterdam while being able to make one of their dreams come true…visiting the F1 Circuit of Spa-Francorchamps.
See, this is how we planned our road trip from Brussels:
Ps- We had also planned to visit Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or Anne Frank’s house but it was sold out, so book as soon as possible!
In terms of accommodation, we were so blessed staying in a cousin’s home in Brussels, while getting to experience life as a local. This is for sure one of the most sustainable and authentic ways of traveling.
Brussels was a surprise for me, so much to see and do!! It’s got a little bit of the best cities in Europe, with beautiful architecture, parks, cafes, restaurants, and culture, except for the weather…it rains a lot. If you’re lucky like us and get to see the city under a beautiful sun shining light, it’s just perfect!
In Rotterdam we stayed in The Social Hub , a great choice if you’re a family with teens, as the whole concept is based on community life, with ping-pong tables, co-working spaces, nice affordable food, rental bicycles, and stylish bedrooms, in very close walking distance to the city’s action.
Rotterdam is one of my favorite cities in Europe. It feels like she’s always one step ahead in time…interesting architecture, full embrace of diversity and sustainability, art at unexpected places and rotterdammer’s easy going hospitality. Click here to know more about Rotterdam.
Amsterdam looked different this time, sunnier, less crowds, always romantic…Nothing like a Canal Tour to get to know this city. Fun & interesting facts about the old houses by the canal, one in particular had a seagull and that meant a midwife used to live in that house. No elevators, and a hook on the top to carry the furniture to each floor (you have to measure the window first…). We booked this boat tour online and got our tickets in advance (no waiting lines), plus it included some nice snacks and drinks.
Ghent, is so beautiful…you get a romantic city with medieval buildings mixed up with a bunch of students, craft beer bars, cute shops and urban art. We used this map to walk us around the highlights of the city.
The memories made while driving from one country to another provides a memorable adventure in itself. Plus we got to visit not one, but two F1 circuits, Zandvoort (Netherlands) and SPA-Francorchamps (Belgium) which is a must for any F1 fans out there…
About the F1 experience in SPA and Zandvoort, I’ll leave it for another postpost, but both were amazing locations, but if we could only choose one, I must say that the guided tour around the Circuit of SPA- Francorchamps was unforgettable.
Conclusion: There is no doubt that exploring Brussels is on itself sure to keep teenagers engaged (wished we had more days to explore this location…) but within 1-2 hours drive you can easily visit fabulous attractions while getting to know the local lifestyle, my favorite thing about traveling.
If you’re following me on instagram, you’ve probably seen stories & tips about this trip, however here I leave you with extra tips and locations we liked:
Restaurants in Brussels: Wolf Market, Pizza Saco, Le Char D'or, Restaurants in Rotterdam: Bazar, Prachtig, Aloha, Stockholm, Markthall Restaurants in Amsterdam: Cafe@droog, Blue Amsterdam Restaurants in Antwerp: Ristorante Pizzeria Nicoletta Restaurants/Pubs in Ghent: Balls & Glory/ Dulle Griet Museums: Magritte Museum Shops: Le Boutique Tintin , Leonidas, Feyenoord FanShop Stadion, Waterstones Amsterdam, Shop of Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium Tours: Free Walking Tour Rotterdam, Canal Tour Amsterdam, Walking map in Ghent, F1 Circuit SPA-Francorchamps
I hope this post inspires you to plan a road trip from Brussels with your teens.