When people visit Belgium they often go to the coast or they visit Antwerp, Ghent or Brussels. But have you ever been to Kortrijk? This town near the French border is absolutely worth visiting. You can go there for a weekend as a destination on its own but It’s also a great city to visit for a night when you’re on your way to Paris or the South of France.
I just came back from a weekend to Kortrijk and I was positively surprised! There’s a new (free) Time to Momo guide to Kortrijk that is available in book stores in The Netherlands and Belgium as of today. I’ve also used a Time to Momo guide for my trips to Paris and Valencia and I really enjoy using them.
Just like in all of their guides, they’ve made walking routes for Kortrijk and wrote about all the hotspots along the way. I walked both of the routes and checked out some other great (food) spots in Kortrijk. On this blog I’m showing you my favorite spots in Kortrijk and (as always) I’m showing you where to eat. All the restaurants on this page have good vegetarian options.
Looking for a good hotel in Kortrijk? Read my blog post on Parkhotel in Kortrijk.
What to do and to see in Kortrijk
Kortrijk has a wonderful historic city center with several churches and market squares, a shopping area and a creative area. It also has a river flowing through it (the Leie) and it even has an island in the middle of the river (Buda Island). As of this year, Kortrijk is on the UNESCO list of Creative Cities! An extra reason to visit and stroll around in this wonderful town.
These towers are the icons of Kortrijk. They’re called the Broeltorens and they were once part of the old city walls. They recently cleared out the parking lot that was in front of it and made a great area where you can sit down and have a picnic, enjoy the sun or admire the view.
Theoria is more than just a book shop, they’re actually even called ‘boekenhuis’ (book house). They’re located in a beautiful building that used to be a concert hall and after that was used as a primary school by bishops. As of 2016 independent book store Theoria is housed in the building. Besides selling books they also have a study room, a kitchen for cooking demonstrations and a coffee shop selling coffee, tea and (vegan) cakes.
Right off the big market square you’ll find the ‘Begijnhof’, this beguinage is a complex of cute houses that used to be the homes of beguines. These religious ladies don’t live here anymore but it’s still a wonderful hidden gem in Kortrijk. You can order coffee and cake at het Huis van de Grootjuffrouw in the Begijnhof.
In the North-East corner of Buda-eiland you’ll find Buda Beach. This wonderful spot next to the Leie river is a great place for sunny days. Bar Amorse opens its doors so you can buy a drink and crisps and there are beach chairs (free of charge) that you can collect from a container.
Where to eat in Kortrijk
In the last few years many new restaurants, lunchrooms and coffee places have opened up in Kortrijk. I’ve listed my favorites below, all have good vegetarian options.
Pand A started as a pop-up restaurant and now has its own location next to the music school. They have a quiet outdoor seating area, sell sugar free soda’s, work with local products, have their own record store and often have artists performing.
For lunch you can order one of ‘de potjes’ (the jars). Every week they have 5 different dishes of which 2 are vegetarian (most of the times one is vegan too). They’re made with fresh products and vary from Flemish to Asian and everything in between.
Lily’s Noodle house has just opened up in the old city. Here you can enjoy your Asian meal with a view on the Broeltorens. Lily is Vietnamese herself but after her travels in Japan and South-Korea she decided to open up Lily’s Noodle house. On the menu are several vegetarian and vegan dishes. I went for the Soba Noodles with tofu, shiitake mushrooms and Chinese cabbage. But she also has vegetarian ramen and Korean Japchae that you can order vegetarian or vegan.
La Cantine is the lunchroom of concept store Chapter 4 located in the Byttebier building. It might be a bit confusing with all the different names, but the fact is that this is a lovely spot for a healthy lunch. On sunny days you can sit outside on the square under the trees next to the church. In winter you can sit inside in the area that used to be part of the concept store. On the menu are several sandwiches and salads, including this Bali Bowl with chickpeas, avocado, lettuce, roasted cauliflower, sweet potato and carrot.
Ice Ice Baby! At Frederic’s in Kortrijk you can buy delicious home made ice cream and sorbets. Frederic’s also has soft serve, frozen yogurt and waffles. They’ve been around for more than 20 years but have a very hip interior with pink walls and neon lights. And their outside area is a great place to enjoy your ice cream with white umbrella’s.
Where to drink in Kortrijk
Going for a drink in Kortrijk? Make sure to visit Nude. This gorgeous bar is ran by two young guys, has a beautiful interior and many cocktails on the menu. They’re also open for lunch and dinner but the place really comes to live in the evening.
Do you like gin and tonic? Than Café Privé is the place to be! Here as well the interior is just gorgeous with white, marble and gold elements. You can order a local gin here called Blind Tiger, it’s made by Sophie and Thomas from Kortrijk. Their Mary White wodka is also available at Café Privé by the way!
After a day of strolling around, eating good food and drinking G&T’s, it was time for a good night’s sleep in Parkhotel Kortrijk.
Click here to read about my food favorites in other Belgian cities.