Ypres (aka Ieper) is an absolute must for history buffs! Once a quiet medieval town, Ypres was a major battleground site of World War I and is now a historical hub full of amazing landmarks to visit. Walk the footsteps of WWI soldiers in real trenches and visit the Menin Gate at night to hear live music in the honour of fallen soldiers. Ypres offers historical sights you won’t see anywhere else in Belgium.
Come to Ypres to retrace the steps of three major battles of WWI. Even the town’s commonly used name by English speakers, Ypres, was popularised after WWI. Ypres was a super important city for the Allied Forces (UK, France, etc) to keep Germany having control over the supply lines. That’s why all over Ypres you’ll see traces of the world wars. There’s tanks on the streets on display. There’s the famous In Flanders Field Museum. There’s cemeteries for fallen soldiers just outside of the city. History buffs will find Belgium’s past come to life in Ypres like nowhere else. You can even go into the original trenches and bunkers yourself!
Bringing the family out to Ypres? You’ll have lots to do. You might not expect it from this historic area, but there’s plenty of fun to be had. Just a short drive from the city centre is a water park and a theme park, Bellewaerde. Just a 10 minute drive from the city centre! The kids will learn plenty too at all the interactive museums in Ypres. History class can be boring, right? Give ‘em an interesting education with lots of interactive activities.
Plan to stay in the city centre? You have plenty to explore. Ypres has many beautiful medieval buildings. Perhaps the most well-known is the Cloth Hall that is home to a museum. Wander the city centre and shops to see the classic Flanders town. Wherever you are in the city, you can’t miss the sight of the cathedral. It’s one of the tallest buildings in the country!
Ieper Station is an 8 minute walk from the city centre. The station is served by trains IC and P. Ypres is easily reached from Antwerp on the train, it’s about a 2 hour journey or 1 hour from Ghent. From Brussels, it’s around 2 hours 15 minutes on 2 trains. Ypres doesn’t have as many trains to it as major cities, so it can be a little harder to reach.
Ypres is on the A19. Follow the signs for “Ieper”. If you’re driving in from France, you’ll be going along the A16 and A25. Ypres is a 1 hour 20 minute drive from Calais and 1 hour from Dunkirk.
Ypres is easily reached on the bus from neighbouring towns. Ypres is a 1 hour bus ride from Roeselare, Diksmuide, and 40 minutes from Heuvelland. Ypres is also a destination offered by various coach companies.
Using a car is a convenient way to get to the city centre. There’s plenty of parking space around the city centre of Ypres. Having a car is also handy to reach the historical sights outside the heart of the city.
Getting around the city centre of Ypres is easy on a bike. Some sights are further away and you might end up biking around more than you’d like, so you may want to catch the bus sometimes. You can rent a bike from Biking Box Cycling tours, starting at 12€ half a day for a regular bike or 26€ for an e-bike.
Ypres has many bus stops around the city centre and the outskirts. It’s easy to use the buses to get around the city and to attractions further out unless you want a long walk or bike ride.