Broel Towers along the river Lys

Kortrijk (French: Courtrai, sometimes referred to in English as Courtray) is a city in Flanders, the northern part of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the arrondissement of Kortrijk, which comprises some 278,160 inhabitants (1 January 2007). The wider municipality comprises the city of Kortrijk proper and the towns of Aalbeke, Bellegem, Bissegem, Heule, Kooigem, Marke, and Rollegem.

The city is situated on the Leie River, 42 km (26 miles) southwest of Ghent and 25 km (15 miles) northeast of Lille in France. Both Kortrijk and Lille are part of the same transnational Eurodistrict urban area with around 1,900,000 inhabitants.

As the biggest city of southern West Flanders, Kortrijk has many schools, a university, hospitals and shopping streets.


HCentral Market Square

Kortrijk is a medium city, it has a good balance of tradition and innovation/modernism. It has always been famous for shopping, and in 2010 a big shopping centre was opened in the heart of the city. There are numerous traffic-free shopping zones, and lots historical sites in the city centre. Outside the centre there are some less developed hoods, but never really bad neighbourhoods.

Kortrijk is a rather safe city. Suburbs/satellite cities like Menen have to endure mainly burglary criminality from youth and gangsters, but Kortrijk is rather safe.

The city is known as the Guldensporenstad (City of the Golden Spurs), after the battle of the Golden Spurs in 1302. It used to be the centre of the linen industry and is still known as an important textile industry region.

Get in

Kortrijk can be easily accessed by various types of transport:

By train

Kortrijk's main railway station is an intercity train station. Situated in the heart of Kortrijk, you have easy connections to Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Brussels, Bruges, Ostend, Ypres and Lille.

By bus

Next to the train station there is a large bus station, giving access to regional bus lines and a well constructed city bus network. Eurolines buses stop at the train station or at the Kinepolis cinema, outside the city. The Kinepolis site has good connections to the train station.

Thalys/Eurostar/TGV lines do not stop at Courtray. There is a direct connection to the Lille Flandres and Lille Europe train station (30 minutes by train) however. Accessing Courtray from England/Paris through stopping in Lille is easier to do than going to Brussels and taking the regional train in Brussels.

By car

Courtray has an inner circle, the R8. This highway is connected to the A19 (Ypres/Ieper), E403 (Bruges/Brugge, Ostend/Oostende, Tournai/Doornik) and the E17 (Lille/Rijsel, Ghent/Gent, Antwerp/Antwerpen, Brussels/Brussel).

By plane

Get around

Kortrijk has a well-formed bus system, offering easy transport to main spots like Kortrijk Xpo and most surrounding cities.


As Kortrijk is a part of Flanders, the main language is Dutch. Many of the inhabitants will be happy to answer you in English or if you ask beforehand, in French, although automatically starting a discussion in French could offend some of the locals. German is also quite prevalent.

Internet reception over the whole city is very good, major network all cover the area. Also almost all hotels and a lot of bars and pubs offer you free internet.



Historical buildings

The scenic Begijnhof, a Beguinage
The Béguinage, surrounding park and the Sint-Maartenstower



Kortrijk offers one of the biggest car free areas in Belgium where one can shop or have drink on a nice terrace. One of these streets, the Korte Steenstraat, was the very first pedestrian street in Belgium. In the heart of this pedestrian area, a large covered shopping centre, named K in Kortrijk, opened in 2010. This shopping mall makes the pedestrian link between the Lange Steenstraat and the Veemarkt-square and offers some 90 large stores.




Stay safe

Go next

Kortrijk is situated on the "Vlaanderen Fietsroute", a cycling network through Flanders, a network of 800 kilometers guiding you through Flanders nicest spots by bike.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, April 07, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.