With a number of lovely cities that are the perfect weekender distance from the UK, Belgium is a beaut. We whiled away a perfect week or so in Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent and some other stops in between and I would highly recommend the trip. As always, I was on the hunt for some gluten free Belgium finds and you will find those details below. Scroll down to the bottom for Brussels tips too.
Gluten Free Belgium
Belgium was a mixed bag on the gluten free front. On the plus side, supermarkets are widely stocked with gluten free products and we found a whole array of treats including gluten free chocolate waffles and delicious crisp cheese biscuits. On the downside, eating out wasn’t as easy as I had hoped it would be. We always found somewhere to eat, but it did take a bit of research in advance and some conversations with staff to establish what I could eat safely as a coeliac. My recommendation – make sure you take a coeliac restaurant card with you in case you come up against any language barriers. Also, double check that your chosen restaurant is actually open before you head there…they have all sorts of weird days they are closed on in Belgium!
A general note about supermarkets is that we found gluten free products everywhere we went across Belgium. Intermarche and Carrefour are a couple of my favourites for finding interesting, good quality gluten free products. Gluten free products tend to be more expensive in Belgium than in the UK, so it is also a good idea to take some supplies with you from home if you want to save money and have space in your suitcase.
A cool town that has a few tourist sites but that I would mainly visit in future for shopping and some bar hopping. There are tonnes of amazing boutiques and independent shops to explore and some fabulous bars nestled in between. There also happens to be an AMAZING gluten free bakery in Antwerp, which is a must on any coeliac visitors itinerary. I had some of the best gluten free bread of my life!
I expected Bruges to be overhyped, but it really is a beautiful little city. We parked by the windmills on the North side of the city walls and then walked into the centre. I highly recommend this route as we were able to wander down some gorgeous, quiet streets before hitting the main tourist throng in the central squares.
We stopped in Dinant for lunch on our drive back through Belgium. It is a charming little town with a fort up on the hill that you can take a cable car up to. Hop on a boat for a little river trip or grab a bite to eat by the water.
A quaint, popular restaurant on the river front that specialises in moules frites. My husband had a huuuuge amazing bowl of mussels, which were gluten free. I am not a mussel fan but had delicious steak with ratatouille. Staff were really clued up here about cross contamination and advised me not to have the chips. They are cooked in the same deep fat fryer as the gluten-containing croquettes. They helpfully offered me a baked potato instead. A great spot for a quick coeliac-friendly bite at lunchtime or dinner.
I wasn’t expecting much from Ghent, but we were so pleasantly surprised! It is a wonderful city and a fantastic place to base yourself for a few days of exploring in Belgium. Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp are all in easy distance from Ghent. Historic cobbled streets and a huge castle mean you can have a lot of fun exploring Ghent. Plus I found you some gluten free spots to visit while you are there!
On a final note, this chocolate is AMAZING and is gluten free. You will find the Cote D’Or range in many supermarkets here. A few varieties have a “may contain” warning so I avoided those. However this one and the white chocolate praline were totally safe and were oh so moreish. When in Belgium you simply MUST eat chocolate, right :).
I lived in Brussels many years ago but have not visited recently so cannot provide any first hand tips. However, here are some recommendations kindly provided by my blog readers:
- Italia in Tavola (gluten free) – a restaurant on the outskirts, which is highly recommended for coeliacs.
- Chambelland – a fully gluten free bakery in Brussels.
- The Sister Cafe – gluten free options.
- Veganwaf – gluten free vegan waffle option.
- Il Veliero – gluten free pizza menu available, plus pasta and lasagne.
- Le Pain Quotidien – gluten free bread available.
- Chyl Cafe – gluten free options include burger buns.
If you enjoyed my gluten free Belgium guide be sure to check out some others in my travel series:
Happy travels! x