Ypres Vacation Packages
The attractive Belgian city of Ypres (Ieper) is made of stern stuff. During World War I it was the scene of horrendous battles and nearly wiped off the map. Many of its buildings were leveled to the ground, but extensive reconstructions brought them back to their original majesty. Learn about the war’s effect on the area through its museums and memorials and enjoy the city’s medieval character.
Following the war, Belgium rebuilt its historic sites using reparation money from Germany. Study the Renaissance-style buildings that surround Ypres Market Square, including the Three Taverns, three adjacent taverns and cafés that have been serving customers since before the war.
Among the fascinating reconstructions you will see at the square is the Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle). This was an important center for Flemish weaving in the Middle Ages and was completely destroyed during the war.
From the fountain in the center of the plaza, gaze up at the hall’s famous belfry. It soars to a height of 230 feet (70 meters). Go inside to visit the In Flanders Fields Museum, which depicts the devastation of war. Browse photos of the city before and after World War I.
One of the most poignant reminders of the tragedy of war is the Menin Gate Memorial. This huge monument is engraved with the names of many of the Commonwealth soldiers who fought at Ypres and whose graves are unknown. The list runs to more than 50,000.
Like many places in Belgium, Ypres has a love of good food and gastronomy. Try some of the local favorites, such as mussels and fries with mayonnaise. Sample a range of Belgian beers in the bars.
Situated in northwest Belgium, Ypres is near the border with France and easy to reach by road, rail and air from many European destinations. Fly to Lille Airport in France or Ostend-Bruges International Airport and connect by car or bus to the Flanders region. While you are here, join a daily battlefield tour. Visit the trenches, key World War I battlegrounds and memorials.