We are planning on spending a day or two in Poperinge, Belgium next May. Can anyone recommend any accommodations? Looks like there are quite a few B&Bs and hotels in the area, so if anyone has some experience to share, it would be very helpful. Also, any general tips about this town would be welcome - we are planning to explore the nearby trappist breweries and the surrounding country side, but if there is anything else to see/do in Poperinge, we'd love to find out. Thanks!
I don't know too much about Poperinge, but I've visited other parts of the Westhoek region. It's a fairly sparsely populated area. Almost desolate, although I wouldn't quite use that word. Ieper is worth a visit. It's a nice smallish city, and of course, there's a lot of WWI history in the area. Kortrijk isn't that interesting, although you may want to check out the rather large Begijnhof. I find Tournai, a little further to southeast to be one of the more underrated cities of Belgium. Give it a look. I assume you're looking to visit nearby St. Sixtus. The monks operate a brasserie just outside of the monastery, but the abbey grounds and brewery are strictly off limits to visitors. And if you want to purchase more than a few bottles of the beer, you must pre-order.
Thanks, Tom! We are indeed looking to drink some Westvleteren XII at In De Vrede. I have read up on the restrictions as far as buying it for take-away, but I assume it is usually available to drink on-site? The hours on their website were a tad confusing, but it seems that they are open all days but Thursday and Friday? And thanks for the tip on Ieper! I've always been interested in WWI history, so I hope we find a way to fit it in (as much as it sounds like that interest is being superseded by beer!)
Poperinge? Just the hundreds of thousands of innocent tommys and soldiers of other nations, on both sides who had their world literally blown up around them, and the tens of thousands who paid the ultimate price - all within a couple of miles.
As for purchasing the beer, I heard that you can buy a six pack at the brasserie, but it wasn't open the day I drove there on a whim. If you haven't pre-ordered, you can purchase a three pack sampler from the drive-through window. This includes one bottle of each of their brews. As mentioned previously, to purchase a larger supply, you must pre-order. The abbey is a little hard to find. You have to drive several miles down a back road and it's not very conscipuous even when you reach it.