Just 72 kilometres west of Brussels, Kortrijk cradles some of the country’s most interesting history, now preserved in a collection of museums and religious buildings. The Leie River flows through the city, guarded by its most iconic structures, the two centuries-old Broel Towers that once graced the medieval city wall.
Things to do in Kortrijk
Also known by its French name of Courtrai, Kortrijk was once a wealthy flax and linen centre of Belgium. You can explore the Texture Museum, home to a collection of laces, damasks and various period-specific costumes and textiles. The museum sits within a 1902 flax factory.
Kortrijk 1302 Museum gives a glimpse into the classic Battle of the Golden Spurs, a defining part of the city’s heritage, while the Museum of Fine Arts features ceramics and regional artworks. For performing arts, check out the Kortrijk Xpo, and then enjoy a late dinner or nightcap in the nearby cafes and pubs.
Grote Markt is the heart of Kortrijk, a curving central square harbouring the refurbished Historisch Stadhuis town hall from 1421, defined by its late Renaissance Gothic style. This is also where to find the brick Belfry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site left over from the medieval cloth hall.
One of the most significant heritage sites is the Saint Elisabeth Beguinage, a square dating back to the 13th century and still comprising about 40 Baroque houses. It lies between two other important religious structures that you can visit, the Church of Our Lady and the St. Martin's Church.
Getting around Kortrijk
Many visitors arrive by train into Kortrijk Railway Station, which sits next to Kortrijk’s primary bus station. Buses traverse Kortrijk, providing transportation to main attractions, and taxis are available on request. You can pick up a rental car from Brussels Airport, about an hour away.