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Summer Guide: Events & Tours
There is always something to visit or to commemorate over the summer in Belgium, whether the occasion is historical or just a pretext to get together. One thing is certain: Belgium does know how to celebrate.
BELGIAN NATIONAL DAY JULY 21
The country celebrates its origins with a military parade in the afternoon, followed by festivities all over the capital (particularly around the Parc de Bruxelles and the Marolles district) and fireworks. Even the Manneken-Pis will pay tribute to Belgium’s founding fathers by wearing a severely shrunk version of Belgian minuteman (and world-famous giant) Jean Bihin’s 1830 uniform.
BRUSSELS BEACH UNTIL AUGUST 12
The docks around Place Sainctelette are transformed for several weeks into a sandy beach with lots of food, drink, recreation and entertainment.
APERO CRUISES UNTIL AUGUST 12
Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday evening, this 2-hour river cruise launches from Bruxelles-les-Bains.
Passengers take in the scenery between Brussels and Grimbergen while drinking cocktails and enjoying live music. Admission, €10, includes a free drink.
NATIONAL BALL JULY 20, 19:00
Massive pre-National Day party on the Place du Jeu de Balle in the heart of the Marolles district.
MEYBOOM AUGUST 9, 13:00
Seven-hundred-and-fourth edition of ancient Brusseleer folk parade and tree-planting ceremony in the centre of Brussels.
FLOWER CARPET AUGUST 14-19
Giant floral arrangement in the Grand Place with nightly light shows. This year’s theme is Africa.
APEROS URBAINS UNTIL SEPTEMBER 7, FROM 15:00
Open-air cocktail party every Friday evening from happy hour to the witching hour (and beyond, as it is often followed by an Aperos Club after-party). The event travels to a new location every week so check the online agenda for announcements.
APERO SAINT-GILLES UNTIL AUGUST 31, FROM 17:00
Another regular Friday evening cocktail gathering, this one in Place M. Van Meenen, just in front of Saint-Gilles city hall.
APERO SAINT-JOB UNTIL AUGUST 31, FROM 17:00
Suburban aperos, again every Friday.
BRUSSELS URBAN BBQ AUGUST 5, FROM 12:00
The Parc du Cinquantenaire hosts the 6th edition of this popular, all-day picnic. Tapas plates provided by five well-known chefs, including rising culinary star Gaetan Colin and the well-established Yves Mattagne.
BRUSSELS BIKE TOURS
Departures every morning (and afternoon, on summer weekends) from the Grand Place to all major Brussels landmarks. Tours last 3.5 hours, including beer and chips stop mid-way.
Guided bicycle tours through the capital. Half- and whole-day itineraries available, as well as theme tours for private groups.
LA FONDERIE TOURS
Unique theme tours on foot, by car or by boat. Most itineraries are 2.5 hours although some shorter, 45-minute walks are offered.
Guided walks through several Brussels neighbourhoods. Regular tours are French-speaking only but special group tours can be arranged in English, Dutch and German.
BELGIUM SEGWAY TOUR
Ninety-minute guided tours of Brussels or Antwerp on the modern, two-wheel transport. Beginners need not fear as each jaunt is preceded by a 15-minute primer on segway use and safety.
DIY tours of the Grand Place, St. Catherine and the Marolles district with a tour guide accompanying via mp3 soundtrack.
Guided tours highlighting local history, art and music.
Customizable neighbourhood, theme and culinary tours in several Belgian cities, including Brussels.
Urban activist organization organizes neighbourhood and theme tours throughout the summer. English guides available.
CHASSEPIERRE AUGUST 18 & 19
Thirty-ninth edition of street theatre festival in the charming Walloon village of Chassepierre.
DINANT BATHTUB REGATTA AUGUST 15
30th anniversary of Meuse river regatta
WATOU FESTIVAL UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2
Poetry and visual arts festival on the border between Flanders and France.
SAND SCULPTURE FESTIVAL UNTIL SEPTEMBER 2
An impressive showcase of sand sculpture on Blankenberge beach. Thirty-eight international artists are invited to participate. This year’s theme is The Magical World of Disney, in celebration of Disneyland Paris’ 20th anniversary.
KOSMOPOLITE ART TOUR JULY 30-AUGUST 5
The itinerant festival of street art and graffiti, having presented itself in Brussels two years ago, now comes to Louvain-La-Neuve. Belgian and international artists display their work at the train station and several public squares.
SPA GRAND PRIX AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 2
Formula 1 race at Spa’s legendary Francorchamps, one of the world’s most difficult circuits.
Mid-August sees the grand opening of a new concept in swimming pools. This 120-metre long barge, stationed on the Scheldt River in Antwerp, accommodates a near-Olympic-size swimming pool as well as a restaurant and lounge. The Badboot will remain on the Scheldt even after the summer season, transforming into an ice skating complex when the weather cools.