You don’t have to travel far to discover new, surprising places. That was confirmed once again during my trip to the Belgian city of Veurne. Veurne is located in the Westhoek: for me an unknown part of Flanders between the North Sea and the French border. Although I’ve been to the Belgian coast so many times, I never went to this region. Until now! Veurne breathes history. And as you know, I really love locations with a rich history. The highlight of my trip in Veurne was an overnight stay in a charming castle.
The city of Veurne
When you want to discover the city in a relatively short time (just like me), then the signposted city walk might be something for you. The walk is 4.6 km long and takes you along the main attractions, including the Belfry and the Spanish Pavilion. The walking route starts on the market place.
I went for dinner in ‘t Hof van de Hemel, a beer restaurant in a historical building. With more than 100 beers on the menu, this restaurant is the heaven on earth for beer lovers. But even those who don’t drink beer will certainly enjoy their time here. The restaurant serves typical Belgian dishes in an authentic environment. Which makes the restaurant even more unique, is the fact that the oldest street of Veurne runs through it. The alley was discovered during renovation works and was integrated into the interior of the restaurant. ’T Hof van de Hemel is also an information point. When I told the owner that I was in Veurne for the first time, she immediately responded to this by giving nice tips and brochures about the region. West-Flemish hospitality at its best!
Later in the evening I went to Djoels Bar, a trendy cocktail bar within walking distance of the market place. The bar, which is located in the living room of a castle, is open on Friday and Saturday evening. From a classic Cosmopolitan to a challenging “Kiss me quick”, the cocktails that bartender Julie Dedrie shakes out of her sleeve (or rather, out of her shaker 😉) are fine pieces of art. Djoels Bar is one of the best cocktail bars in Belgium.
After a busy day trip, it feels so nice to plop down in a soft bed, right? Well, then I have a nice tip! Besided the cocktail bar, the castle also houses a charming B&B: ’t Kasteel en Koetshuys. Julie runs this B&B together with her mother. The castle dates back to 1906 and has been renovated, preserving authentic features such as marble fireplaces and creaky parquet floors. From our bedroom, we had a nice overlook over the inner city of Veurne. In the morning, a delicious breakfast waits for you in the stately breakfast room.
In the neighbourhood of Veurne
Less then 10 km away from the city of Veurne, you can find Beauvoorde castle, a hidden gem in the Westhoek. The castle probably dates back to the 12th century. In 1875, the castle was bought by the nobleman Arthur Merghelynck. He carried out a restoration of the castle and the construction of a park around the castle. The castle still looks the same today as it did back then. Merghelynck donated the castle to the Belgian State after his death, which made it a protected monument later on. Time has stood still in Beauvoorde castle. Impressive! The castle can be visited with an audio guide (the basic price is 8 euros).