Ypres is a city of magnificent beauty in Belgium, filled with charming atmosphere but with a haunting past from the World War I. The city is one of a kind in Belgium where you will find countless memorials of the World War I. The city of Ypres has played an important role in the First World War and around 300,000 soldiers lost their lives on the front lines.
The city of Ypres also known as Ieper, is oozing with history. Many parts of the city will take you back in the time of devastation and sadness of the First World War but there are also many places which are going to cheer you up with amazing activities. The city did saw a lost of a generation of soldiers and has plenty of war museums, memorials, cemeteries, and battlefields as tourist attractions where you can go and learn about the old history. The once destroyed city has been restored and along with the city many medieval architectural remains have been restored as well. You will find a variety of architecture in the center of the Ypres city.
Tourists love the place, atmosphere, food and shopping experience and rate Ypres as one of the best tourist destinations in Belgium especially those who have interest in the history. The Flemish cuisine and the local Belgian beer in the city are always going to make you happy.
12 Tourist Attractions in Ypres Belgium
Flanders Fields Museum
Flanders Fields Museum is one of the top attractions of the Ypres city because of the detailed information about what happened in the First World War. You can learn about all aspects of World War I in this museum through various media and sensory experiences. The interactive displays use videos, sounds and smells to engage the visitors in a great way. You can also have special experiences by selecting a war time where you can follow the trials and difficulties of the ones who faced the war.
The museum building was actually a Cloth Hall since the 14th century but was destroyed by the German artillery in 1915. This cloth hall was completely restored which later became the Flanders Fields Museum for the world to come and learn about the WWI devastation. The visitors can climb up and enjoy the panoramic views of the city, battlefields, and the surroundings.
Menin Gate Memorial
Menin Gate Memorial is another important memorial in Ypres city and a famous landmark. It is memorial to those 55,000 soldiers who went missing in the battles during the First World War. The colossal stone archway has the names of all those British and Commonwealth soldiers inscribed on it who went missing during the war. There is also a souvenir shop next to the Menin Gate Memorial from where you can collect some memories.
Lakenhalle in Ypres Belgium
Lakenhalle is often described as one of the most impressive building of Ypres and is located in the Gorte Market of the city. This building dates back to the 14th century and like others, it has also been restored back to its original condition. At one hand, the 70-meters high belfry tower is very impressive that attracts everyone’s attention and at the other hand the large central windows are truly amazing too. You can climb up the tower by paying around 2 Euros extra and enjoy the wonderful panoramic views of the city.
Henk Bakery in Ypres Belgium
Now, if you want to take some break after visiting some historical buildings then, Henk Bakery can be mentioned as it is already a popular choice among many visitors and locals. It is located on the Sint-Jakobstraat where you can easily reach by asking anyone. It is a bakery, so the famous items are great bread, cakes, and puddings. The price is nominal despite the fact it is a famous and crowdy place.
Last Post Ceremony
The Last Post ceremony takes place at 8 o’clock every evening, when the atmosphere of the city is filled with the sounds of clarions from the Menin Gate. The traffic passing through the Menin Gate temporarily halts during the Last Post Ceremony. These sounds are made in remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. This event started in 1928 after the British built the Menin Gate in 1927. The instruments and the soldiers keep changing every day, so the ceremony is worth a watch every time it starts. Everyone can attend the ceremony for free so it gets crowded by the time it starts, so if it is your first time and visit, try to get to the place in good time to get a decent view.
Art Museums of Ypres Belgium
Ypres city also presents some very interesting and impressive art museums which are equally loved by the visitors and the locals. Stedelijk Museum at Leperleestraat is a very impressive museum which features amazing art from the 19th century. The exhibitions in the Stedelijk museum keep changing and at every visit you will enjoy different art collection.
The almshouse building has another wonderful museum which is housed on its three floors. The artwork museum is a great place for visitors who want to admire some great art collection. The building itself dates back to the 16th century and is highly admirable.
Flanders Battlefield is one of the must-visits in Ypres because the place is a haunting memory of the destruction of World War I. It is said that British lost almost 35 soldiers for the gain of each one meter of land which means the loss of life was huge. This site is the first battlefield of the World War I in this region and the loss was also on an epic scale. It is recommended to take a guided tour of the place because there is so much to learn about the facts and figures that you might get confused while exploring alone.
The Man Made “Hill-60”
Yes, as the heading suggests, the hill is man made and is known as Hill 60. The hill was created to get a better defensive position in the war. The control of the hill was transferred between French, Germans, and British troops during the active war. You have to pay a small entrée fee if you want to explore the Hill 60. You can learn and imagine the life of those soldiers who had been fighting here, you can experience their tough times by walking in the trenches.
Vauban Ramparts in Ypres Belgium
Vauban Ramparts have stood the test of the time for over ten centuries and are one of the best-preserved ones in Belgium. These Ramparts have been restored by the military engineer de Vauban and are located at the Menin Gate Memorial along the canal with beautiful surroundings and plenty of benches along the tree-lined path. These ramparts are perfect for a gentle one-and-a-half-hour stroll where you can escape the busy streets of the city and enjoy your walk with stunning natural views. The ramparts date back to the 17th century when they were built for the defensive purpose of Ypres when the city was a village.
The Cat Parade in Ypres Belgium
One of the very interesting and happening event of the Ypres city is the Cat Parade. You will be amazed by the artistic images, sculptures and displays of cats in the form of parade. People also dress as cats, mice and different sort of characters and join the parade. This unique parade also takes us back to the old dark times when cats were believed to be evil spirits and were killed and thrown down off the belfry tower in the 12th century which kept happening till almost in the beginning of the 19th century. Now, Ypres is the icon of love for the cats where everything is decorated and dedicated for the love of cats during the parade.
Kazematten Brewery in Ypres Belgium
Kazematten Brewery is a unique brewery that is housed in a 18th century building that used to be an ammunition storage in the World War I. Now, the type of ammunition it sells is called beer, which is very famous in Ypres. The brewery opens every Saturday from 3pm to 5pm for the public when tours begin with a gap of every half hour. The brewery tour costs around 10 Euros for an adult who can also enjoy three beer tastings. You can also have private tours of this brewery by making an appointment.
Bellewaerde Theme Park
Bellewaerde is one of the best family places in Ypres where you can take kids for a great day of entertainment. This theme park was founded in 1954 and is still an amazing place as it has been renovated many times with many new rides and activities. The park also has fun rides and shows for adults to keep them entertained while the kids and toddlers have their own fun.