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 unique 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 and 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
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
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 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)
Apart from marveling at its majestic exterior, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to venture inside the oldest church in Kortrijk. 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 the Battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302.
Check out the Broel Towers
These twin towers made of sandstone and limestone from the 14th and 15th centuries are left of the medieval walls of the defensive compound the Counts of Flanders put up.
They can be found on either side of the Oude Leie river, and you can reach both by simply crossing the Broelbrug bridge! You can also learn about its history in the small museum nearby.
Tour through Kortrijk 1302
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
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 require feeling the fresh breeze at this pretty garden in the middle of the town.
The garden boasts a vast 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)
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
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.
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 an excellent opportunity to appreciate one of the city’s most iconic symbols.
Take a BeerWalk Tour
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 area’s size is quite expansive. The K in Kortrijk shopping mall is a relatively new addition, incorporating many well-known, international brands.
Check out the Baggaertshof
Known as “Kortrijk’s second beguinage,” the Baggaertshof was founded in the early 17th century. Here, you’ll find some attractive and well-preserved medieval houses, an old chapel as well, and an imposing medicinal herb garden. It also offers another rare glimpse into life from hundreds of years ago.
See Kortrijk’s windmills
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 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
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 cheap Kortrijk hotels and resorts via Agoda, Booking, or you may also see available Airbnb properties in the city.
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