Ypres is a historic town in Belgium that was the scene of some of the most brutal battles of the First World War. Today, it is a peaceful and charming place that offers plenty of attractions for visitors who want to learn about its history and visit a pretty Belgium town. In this blog post, we will share our experience of visiting Ypres by motorhome, and give you some tips on what to see and do, and where to stay.
Where to stay with a motorhome
There are several options for camping with a motorhome in and around Ypres. One of them, where we stayed, is Camping Jeugdstadion Ypres, which is located close to a sports stadium and within 15 minutes walking distance from the town centre. It is open all year round, but the shower block is closed from November to March. The nightly fee is €12.00, which includes a parking place, electricity and wifi (although the signal is not very strong). You can check in using an automated machine, which is simple to use. You will also need to pay a €4.00 security deposit for a keycard that opens the barrier and the shower block. You can book online in advance or just turn up on the day.
Another option is Camping Ypra, which is situated in a green and quiet area about 5 km from Ypres. It has spacious pitches, modern facilities, a playground, a bar and a restaurant. The nightly fee is €18.00, which includes electricity and wifi. You can also rent bikes or go-karts on site. The campsite is open from April to October.
What to see and do in Ypres
Ypres has a lot to offer for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. Here are some of the highlights:
The Menin Gate: This is a majestic memorial arch that bears the names of over 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the Ypres Salient and have no known grave. Every night at 8:00 pm, there is a moving ceremony called the Last Post, where buglers play a tribute to the fallen. Please note though that when we visited in June 2023 the Menin Gate was completely covered in scaffolding and the renovations will take 3 years to complete! For more information about the Menin Gate click here
The In Flanders Fields Museum: This is a modern and interactive museum that tells the story of the First World War in the West Flanders front region. You can see exhibits, photos, videos and personal testimonies that show the impact of the war on the soldiers and civilians. You can also climb up the belfry tower for a panoramic view of the town and the battlefields. For more information about the museum click here
The Ypres Cloth Hall: This is a magnificent medieval building that was once the center of the prosperous cloth trade in Ypres. It was almost completely destroyed during the war, but was faithfully rebuilt afterwards. Today, it houses the In Flanders Fields Museum and a tourist information centre. For more information about Ypres Cloth Hall and other visitor attractions click here
The Ypres Ramparts: These are the remains of the 17th century fortifications that surrounded Ypres. You can walk along them and enjoy the scenic views of the moat, the gardens and the windmills. You can also visit the Ramparts Cemetery, where 198 British soldiers are buried.
The Tyne Cot Cemetery: This is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world, where 11,956 soldiers are buried or commemorated. It is located about 10 km from Ypres, on the former battlefield of Passchendaele. You can see the imposing Cross of Sacrifice, the Tyne Cot Memorial Wall and a visitor center that explains the history of the site.
Belgium is famous for its beer and there are many bars in the town of Ypres that will keep even the most enthusiastic beer drinker happy.
Final advice about a visit to Ypres
Ypres is a fascinating destination for anyone who wants to explore the history and culture of Belgium. It is also a great place to visit with a motorhome, as there are several campsites that offer comfortable and convenient facilities. We don’t feel though that we made the most of our visit to Ypres. Poor planning meant that we visited when the Menin Gate was covered in scaffolding and also when the Ypres car rally was finishing and the main square was full of rally cars.
Because of the rally we weren’t able to fully explore the beautiful town of Ypres or visit one of it’s several museums. We only had time for a one night visit to Ypres and next time we will spend longer in Ypres. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog article about our motorhome visit to Ypres and found it useful for planning your own motorhome visit.