Most people think they have Flanders – the Dutch-speaking northern half of Belgium – figured out: beer, chocolate and the EU are the standard taglines. However, dig beneath the surface and you will discover a region of quick and style. Dress up an join the merry madness of Aalst Carnival, spend the night in a traditional begijnhof, or simply people-watch over a bowl of mosselen-friet in Bruge's medieval town square.
Entertaining and instructing in equal measure, Bradt's Flanders is the first guidebook to cover the entire region in depth. Join Emma Thomson on a journey along romantic canals, through bewitched villages and to bohemian cafés in this beguiling corner of Europe. Proost!
"Whatever you're looking for in a travel destination (except perhaps skiing or a safari), if you can't find it in Flanders you're probably better off without it. Emma Thomson's excellent new book celebrates this splendid corner of the Continent"
Simon Calder, The Independent
"I've just been to Flanders and took this new book by Emma Thomson with me. To say it proved indispensable would be an understatement. It gives full details of the main cities, towns and villages of the area; the larger places have clear, detailed maps to help you navigate the (often) intriguing streets with their distinctive architecture. All bookshops carry titles on 'Belgium', but this is the first I've seen that's solely dedicated to Flanders, and I think it's a clever move by Bradt to home in before anyone else. Let's face it: any region that includes Gent, Brugge, Mechelen, Leuven and Antwerp deserves special attention. The book also inspired me to try out Kortrijk and Oudenaarde, and the hunches proved spot-on. My only small gripe would be: as it's a Bradt title, it tends to be word-heavy, with just two brief colour sections, and this might put off punters flicking through in a bookshop. But as long as you're after detailed info on (still) one of Europe's most under-rated regions, then this is a real asset that might just kick-start a real interest in somewhere that, on top of its other charms, brews the best beer in the world."
Richard Tippett, journalist
"We recently went to Belgium and initially intended just to stay in Bruges, but prompted by the guide we took a few day trips to Damme and Ghent. We relied heavily on Emma's guide for transport and sightseeing information and it was spot on. Almost like having inside information!! It's unusual for a travel guide to make good reading outside of a holiday setting but the Flanders guide is wonderful."
Louise Van Laere, reader