About Flanders

Known for its wonderful chocolates and gourmet cuisine, the Flanders region of coastal Belgium is rich in culture and natural beauty — windmills, meadows, marshes, sandy beaches and bustling cities replete with Gothic architectural grandeur. Evidence of the past is everywhere on canal boat holidays in Flanders whilst you encounter one looming castle after another!

 

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Map showing where the Flanders boating region is in Belgium

Find your bearings...

Flanders Region map

 = Le Boat Base           = Canal           = Navigable river           = No navigation beyond this point

The perfect boating region for...

History & Heritage

Flanders reveals its history and heritage in its abundant cathedrals and palaces. Whilst you’re in Gent, admire the Cathedral of St. Bavon. Ascend St. Michael’s Bridge for fantastic views of the mediaeval city. Ypres, also spelled as “Leper,” is famous for its World War I museums.

Swimming

The gorgeous beaches of Neiuwpoort and Oostende draw thousands of travellers every summer for fun in the sun on the North Sea. Take a dip in the surf and then relax at a waterside bistro! Linger at a refreshing lake on your riverboat cruises in Flanders!

Gastronomy

Flanders gastronomy will tantalise you! Try vlaamse stoofkarbonaden stew, a favourite in Belgium. It’s a lot like beef bourguignon, but it’s made with beer instead of red wine. Or try konijn in gueze (rabbit prepared with gueze beer). And don’t forget the world-famous pralines chocolates for dessert!

Family

Have fun with the kids at Bellewaerde Park in Ypres with its amusement rides and rare animals. Brielmeersen Park in Deinze features mini golf and a bamboo labyrinth! The kids’ll also love the beach and munching too much chocolate on Flanders river cruises in Belgium!

Beer Tasting

Belgium is famous for its beers — champagne, lambic, tripel, dubbel and more! Try a Flemish red on your beer tasting holidays in Flanders! The Straffe Hendrik Brewery in Bruges offers tours and tasting, and the Dulle Griet Bar in Gent has a menu of 250 brews!

Please note that the cruising season in Flanders lasts from 1st April-31st October 2019, and then from 1st April-31st October 2020.

Useful information

A bit of background

When you choose a boat hire in Flanders, Belgium, you embark upon a fantastic voyage into a land of the sea. Canals and rivers lace the beautiful coastal lowlands, a haven for seabirds and beachgoers. In fact, there are about 1,570 kilometres (975 miles) of waterways used for business and pleasure. The water is so much a part of Flanders that it seems arched bridges crisscross every city. Indeed, Gent boasts more than 200 of them!

Your boat hire in Flanders takes you along the coast with its dunes and dikes. The North Sea air invigorates as you indulge in delicious seafood and a Belgian brew at oceanfront cafés. Ports like Oostend combine international business with resorts for travellers. You’ll reach Gent via a ship canal built in 1886, just one of the waterways that make Belgium cruising so special.

According to some sources, there are 470 castles in Flanders, and 50 of them are ensconced around the cosmopolitan city of Bruges, a locale with more than 80 bridges and multiple canals. Indeed, it is said that Bruges so reminded travellers of Venice, Italy, that it came to be called the Venice of the North. When you go, you’ll see why! For a time, the waterways of Bruges and its access to the sea made it the busiest trading city in the world and the wealthiest in Europe!

Navigating in Belgium is easy. The waters of Flanders are suitable for beginners.

Take a look at our waterway and lock closures page to keep up to date with the cruising conditions across all of our regions.

Locks

Lock keepers and bridge tenders operate all locks and lift bridges, the fee has been paid by Le Boat.

 Opening hours:

Locks in Belgium are open 08:00-18:00 (6:00 p.m.) – see details below and 10.00-18.00 on Sundays/bank holidays

 Lock Closure dates :

Please be aware of the lock closure dates by local authorities. During that day(s) / time(s), you won’t be able to go through the locks. For more details and questions, please contact our sales team.

 1. All waterways:

All Locks/Bridges closed on EASTER Sunday.

 2.Notes about Brugge:

Monday to Saturday all bridges of Brugge are closed between 7h30-8h30 and 16h30-17h30.

On Wednesdays: 11h50 to 12h30 as well.

Locks in Bruges are also closed on Sundays in April and October.

 3.Between Bruges & Nieuwpoort,

On the Kanaal Plassendale, locks are opened at fixed hours:

Direction Nieuwpoort > Oudenburg: Locks open at 9am, 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 5pm

Direction Oudenburg > Nieuwpoort: Locks open at 10am, 12am, 2pm, 4pm & 6pm

Pass  through locks/bridges in flotilla.

 Important Notes :

If you are cruising in the area of the North of France (3 weeks or more) you will be required to buy a “pass” to go through the locks.

Pass cost : around 200 Euros

In and around Bruges:  no service on Sundays in April and October.

If you are going to visit Bruges, follow the Ring Canal around the outskirts of the city, and moor safely in La Coupure, a canal inlet protected by a barrier that is lifted by the harbour master. There are mooring fees (approximately 10 euros per night). Moorings are plentiful in Belgium.

To find out how to get to our base in this boating region, as well as what facilities and amenities are available there or nearby, click on the base below:

  • Hire of the boat and its onboard equipment
  • A fully equipped kitchen
  • Towels and linen for all passengers
  • A boat handling demonstration prior to departure
  • Technical support
  • On-board maps and visitor information
  • Passage through locks
  • Optional holiday extras
  • Boat damage waiver
  • Running costs (diesel, gas, engine wear and tear) - charged by the engine hour (by the litre in Scotland).
  • Travel to and from the base(s)
  • Waterside services if you use them (i.e. moorings where a charge is applicable, pump-out if needed, water, etc)
  • Cancellation plan & any travel/personal insurance
  • Food and drink

Download our region guide

We've produced a handy PDF guide for this region to give you an overview of all the stops and things to do along the waterway.

Download our region guide

Interactive map of Flanders

  = Le Boat base       = Point of interest

Great to see...

Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.

Veurne is a welcoming city with the characteristic local architecture. Visit the church of Sainte-Walburge and its garden, the city hall, and the pavilion of spanish officiers.

In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.

Must see
St Martins in Ieper Flanders

Ieper is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The "Hall aux draps" is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.

Ostend is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.

Must see
Colourful houses in Bruges

The architecture in the medieval centre of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.

Must see
View over Ghent and Saint Nicholas Church

Ghent, the pearl of Flanders, was once the largest city in Europe after Paris. No other city in Belgium has as many monuments and important buildings as Gent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - take your camera though!

Deinze is a delightful little town with many shops and attractions.The Brielmeersen Park has beautiful footpaths, along with a large children's playground, mini-golf and a giant bamboo maze.

Oudenaarde is famous for its carpet weaving and tapestry. You can discover this history in details at the museum, in the factory fabric exhibits typical tapestries. The Broodstraat, Nederstraat, Einestraat and Hoogstraat are the main pedestrian streets that have kept all the charm of the old medieval streets.

Bossuit is a charming little village where you will enjoy a walk and a visit to the old castle, built in the 17th century.

Kortrijk is a beautiful and historic city, where you will discover the Broel towers - among many other buildings and monuments that make up this town's magnificent local architecture.

Itinerary suggestions

To help you get an idea of how far you can travel in the time you have, here's a selection of routes to and from our bases in this region. You dont have to stop at all the places listed or follow the route exactly. So long as you return your boat to your end base by the date you've booked - you're free to enjoy your cruise however you like. For a comfortable pace, allowing you time to regularly stop and explore, we'd recommend an average of 2 - 4 hours cruising each day.

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk & Oudenaarde

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Deinze
Kortrijk
Bossuit
Oudenaarde
Ghent
Nieuwpoort

43 hr(s) of cruising

350km 16 lock(s) 14 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges, Ghent, Kortrijk & Oudenaarde

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right

Overview

You browse in the chic boutiques in Gent, explore the castle, and then continue on your way, feeling content in the embrace of the scenic Belgian countryside. It seems every town tempts you to stop and shop! Your Belgium river cruises eventually bring you to Oudenaarde, famous for its tapestry making and good restaurants. After dinner, you seek out Belgian brews!

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Ostend: Oostende is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.
  • Deinze: Deinze is a delightful little town with many shops and attractions.The Brielmeersen Park has beautiful footpaths, along with a large children's playground, mini-golf and a giant bamboo maze.
  • Kortrijk: Kortrijk is a beautiful and historic city, where you will discover the Broel towers - among many other buildings and monuments that make up this town's magnificent local architecture.
  • Bossuit: Bossuit is a charming little village where you will enjoy a walk and a visit to the old castle, built in the 17th century.
  • Oudenaarde: Oudenaarde is famous for its carpet weaving and tapestry. You can discover this history in details at the museum, in the factory fabric exhibits typical tapestries. The Broodstraat, Nederstraat, Einestraat and Hoogstraat are the main pedestrian streets that have kept all the charm of the old mediaeval streets.
  • Ghent: Ghent, the pearl of Flanders, was once the second largest city in Europe after Paris. No other city in Belgium has as many monuments and important buildings as Gent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - take your camera though!

43 hr(s) of cruising

350km 16 lock(s) 14 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Bruges

Nieuwpoort
Veurne
Ypres
Diksmuide
Ostend
Bruges
Nieuwpoort

27 hr(s) of cruising

166km 12 lock(s) 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Bruges

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

Belgium river cruises transport you deep into the past. Fascinating museums reveal archaeological, artistic and even culinary history, such as the Museum of the Bakery in Veurne. Ypres and Diksmuide feature Belgium’s bloody World War I history. As you cruise, the peace of the present serenity on the water captivates you, regardless of the tumult of the past.

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Veurne: Veurne is a welcoming city with the characteristic local architecture. Visit the church of Sainte-Walburge and its garden, the city hall, and the pavilion of spanish officiers.
  • Ypres: Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall aux draps" is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.
  • Diksmuide: In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.
  • Ostend: Oostende is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.

27 hr(s) of cruising

166km 12 lock(s) 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges & Ghent

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Deinze
Ghent
Nieuwpoort

25 hr(s) of cruising

164km 4 lock(s) 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges & Ghent

Scroll down using the grey bar to the left

Overview

Your mouth waters as you and your friends haunt a candy store in Bruges, the capital of West Flanders. The fragrance of chocolate fills the air, and you surrender to the urge to indulge! Belgium captivates you as you travel through beautiful country settings into mediaeval cities like Ghent with its impressive Gothic architecture. 

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Ostend: Oostende is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.
  • Deinze: Deinze is a delightful little town with many shops and attractions.The Brielmeersen Park has beautiful footpaths, along with a large children's playground, mini-golf and a giant bamboo maze.
  • Ghent: Ghent, the pearl of Flanders, was once the second largest city in Europe after Paris. No other city in Belgium has as many monuments and important buildings as Gent. The historic center is ideal to explore on foot - take your camera though!

25 hr(s) of cruising

164km 4 lock(s) 7 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges

Nieuwpoort
Ostend
Bruges
Nieuwpoort

14 hr(s) of cruising

76km 4 lock(s) 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Bruges

Scroll down using the bar to the right 

Overview

You marvel at the network of waterways that lace inland away from the sea. The cruise options seem limitless as you leave the golden beaches of Nieuwpoort behind and head out bound for Bruges, the Venice of the North, on wonderful river cruises in Belgium. Almost immediately you’re struck with the country’s cosmopolitan charm — elegant castles, pretty bridges, and waterside cafés galore!

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Ostend: Oostende is a big city on the seaside whose history is built around intensive fishing. You can visit several monuments here, like an old stronghold built by Napoleon. Take time to visit the museums, and have a bite at one of the nearby restaurants.
  • Bruges: The architecture in the medieval center of Bruges, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes this city one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. Small enough to explore on foot, by carriage or canal boat, there are many museums to see, along with good restaurants and shops.

14 hr(s) of cruising

76km 4 lock(s) 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Veurne

Nieuwpoort
Veurne
Ypres
Diksmuide
Nieuwpoort

14 hr(s) of cruising

88km 8 lock(s) 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres & Veurne

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

The buglers gather before you under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, and you listen as they play the Last Post to honour the soldiers who died in World War I. The bugling has been a tradition since 1928, and you find it moving. Flanders river cruising is like that. The past emerges at every turn in historic cities, looming castles and waterfront bistros where you sip a Flemish red!

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Veurne: Veurne is a welcoming city with the characteristic local architecture. Visit the church of Sainte-Walburge and its garden, the city hall, and the pavilion of spanish officiers.
  • Ypres: Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall aux draps" is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.
  • Diksmuide: In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.

14 hr(s) of cruising

88km 8 lock(s) 4 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres

Nieuwpoort
Ypres
Diksmuide
Nieuwpoort

12 hr(s) of cruising

84km 6 lock(s) 3 nights

Nieuwpoort RETURN via Ypres

Scroll down using the grey bar to the right 

Overview

Nieuwpoort is a lovely seaside town where you can have a walk and taste seafood speciliaties in front of the sea. Then cruising to the South, you'll discover the history and patrimoine of Belgium in the charming towns of Diskmuide and Ypres, famous for its museums and its World War II monuments. Don't miss to try some chocolates and local beers along the way !

Example itinerary:

The following is only an example, you can explore this area in whichever order you want, so long as your boat is back at the end base at the end of your vacation

  • Nieuwpoort: Nieuwpoort is a lively and cosmopolitan city on the seaside, popular with families and has a 2 km long promenade. Take a walk along the beach, and feel relaxed by the wind and the sound of waves. A pretty town to have a break.
  • Diksmuide: In Diksmuide, you will enjoy visiting the gothic church of Saint-Nicolas, especially La Pièta, behind the City Hall. Other great sites include the beguine and the Yser Tower in Diksmuide.
  • Ypres: Ypres is a beautiful and welcoming city full of history. The Hall aux draps" is a beautiful building worth visiting and don't miss the zoo in Bellewaerde Park.

 

12 hr(s) of cruising

84km 6 lock(s) 3 nights

Our Feefo reviews

Feefo is an independent and impartial review service that requests reviews directly from those who have been on a Le Boat vacation. Below you can read what our past customers think about their Le Boat experience, and trust that what you read is unfiltered, unedited and uncensored.

Added on 10 May 2019

Csaba Dioszeghy said

Excellent and efficient service. The staff was very relaxed, polite, supportive and friendly. We felt absolute welcomed and well looked after. The boat was stunning clean, well supplied, easy to navigate and super comfy. The whole short holiday experience was far much better than I originally expected and decided to repeat it again! Super friendly staff, good facilities in the port.
READ MORE
Dear Csaba, Thank you for the feedback. We are so glad to hear that your holiday was so amazing and that our you were incredibly looked after by the team. It's great that you enjoyed the Caprice too! We hope to welcome you on board again soon. All the best The Le Boat Team
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Caprice
Added on 26 April 2019

Jackie Laws said

professional and nformative This is our second trip and one of the main reasons for our starting point is the brilliant staff particularly Rick and Steve they are very helpful and certainly know their stuff. All the staff but particularly these two are professional and go above and beyond Le Boat is very lucky to have them as representatives. The Horizon 55 we had was brilliant, very comfortable and easy to navigate. We're both looking forward to our next Le Boat experience
READ MORE
Thank you for your feedback and we're really glad that you were happy with our team's service and your boat. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon in the future!
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Horizon 1
Added on 20 April 2019

Carole Brighton said

Excellent service at the boat yard Fantastic time. Boat was a budget boat but totally fit for purpose
READ MORE
Dear Carole, We are happy to hear that the base team made your experience such a positive one. Our teams are all really lovely which is evident in the service they deliver. We hope to welcome you aboard soon! All the best, The Le Boat Team
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Cirrus B
Added on 08 April 2019

Mark Savage said

A most enjoyable experience. Delightful and extremely helpful staff. We had an awesome time - visiting WWI sites
READ MORE
Dear Mark, We are glad that your first canal boat holiday was so enjoyable and something that you can look back on in years to come. Our staff want to make sure that everything runs smoothly for you and we are glad this has shone through! We hope to see you for your second holiday soon! All the best, The Le Boat Team
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Magnifique
Added on 10 October 2017

John Hardy said

4TH TIME BOOKING. HAVE BEEN TO HOLLAND, SCOTLAND AND VENICE AND NOW BRUSSELS. EXCELLENT SERVICE, BOAT EXPERIENCE, AND TRIP. IF ANYONE LIKES A LITTLE ADVENTURE AND EXCITMENT, THIS IS THE WAY TO HOLIDAY!! DR. JOHN A. HARDY GREAT ALL AROUND, WILL GO AGAIN!
READ MORE
Thank you for your review and for your loyalty. We are so pleased you've enjoyed so many amazing destinations! 
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Magnifique
Added on 15 September 2017

Ross Travers said

very informative, friendly staff and always helpful staff were very helpful, friendly and informative, our boat trip was very relaxing and beautiful scenery. Our Le Boat was very comfortable.
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Caprice
Added on 08 September 2017

Alta Collyer said

The service was good, there are a few points we would like them to tell new people in future. The cruising maps are also poor. Very good info given to start off, also some good tips
READ MORE
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Sheba
Added on 20 May 2017

Angela Pettitt said

Excellent! Very helpful and friendly. Excellent. Lovely boat, great holiday.
READ MORE
Dear Miss Pettitt,
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your feedback. We are delighted to learn you enjoyed your cruise with us in Belgium.
We hope to welcome you on board with us again soon.
Best wishes, The Le Boat team
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Magnifique
Added on 03 May 2019

Randy Moore said

Service was great with all staff responding to our needs for the trip. Nice town to visit before the boat trip.
READ MORE
Thanks for your feedback and we're really glad that you had a great experience and cruise with us. If there is anything further we can help with, please feel free to contact [email protected]
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Corvette A
Added on 01 May 2019

Kiichiro Takeda said

They were very kind during check in process. They explained everything we need. On the other hand, when we check out, they just charged for the broken umbrella which was not even broken. I claimed and finally they removed. But they should check more carefully before they charge. The price was ok because of a kind of off peak season.
READ MORE
Hello Kiichiro, We are delighted that your cruise has gone well and that you have discovered this beautiful region with us. On the other hand, we are sorry for this incident, which will not happen again hopefully! See you soon on board! Your Le Boat team.
Nieuwpoort - Nieuwpoort
Elegance