14 walks around Lille

Broel Towers

You’re in Lille and want to explore the region for a day? Here are our 14 recommended walks around Lille!

What walks are there around Lille? The beautiful city of the Nord has a style all its own, more akin to Belgian than French cities. Lille has been influenced by Flemish culture for many centuries, as evidenced by its architecture and the name of its main square, the Grand Place.

The places of interest around Lille are also reminders of this Flemish heritage. But whether they’re in France or Belgium, each is unique, and all deserve a day trip outside the capital of Hauts-de-France. Generation Voyage invites you to take a stroll through the Lille region and discover its hidden treasures.

Here are the 14 walks we’ve selected around Lille!

1. St. Croix and Roubaix

Musée La Piscine, Roubaix

Musée La Piscine Photo credit: Shutterstock – Lois GoBe

📍 13 kilometers

🚗 By car: 20 minutes

🚆 By train: 15 minutes

📷 Things to see and do: Villa Cavrois, La Piscine museum, city center

Famous for its Villa Cavrois, Croix is an interesting visit around Lille for those who love modern villa architecture. As for Roubaix, just a few metro stops away, it’s the La Piscine museum that will catch your eye, with its more than original setting for an exhibition: a real swimming pool!

2. Lens

Balades autour de Lille : Lens

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Takashi Images

📍 35 kilometers

🚗 By car: 35 minutes

🚆 By train: 1h05 minutes

📷Sightseeing: Louvre-Lens, Lac de la Glissoire, First World War memorials

Lens is better known for its soccer club than for being one of the most beautiful walks around Lille. However, the city of the Sang et Or is home to the no less famous Louvre-Lens museum, a branch of the famous Parisian museum. The Lac de la Glissoire is also a great place to picnic and relax.

For those with a car, don’t hesitate to visit the First World War memorials at Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, south of Lens. A superb museum and a preserved trench for meditation.

3. Béthune

Balades autour de Lille : Béthune

The Béthune Belfry Photo credit: Flickr – Guillaume Baviere

📍 38 kilometers

🚗 By car: 45 minutes

🚆 By train: 1h15 minutes

📷Sightseeing: Béthune belfry, downtown tour, water station

Béthunes is one of those walks around Lille for those who are particularly fond of Flemish town architecture. With its belfry right in the middle of the Grand Place, the place is both surprising and enchanting. A beautiful square where you can relax for a coffee or lunch.

The city center is just as attractive, and a few minutes’ walk takes you to the water station, the city’s green lung, a great place for strolling and exercising with its self-service street workout.

4. Arras

Balades autour de Lille : Arras

Place des Heros in Arras Photo credit: Shutterstock – Production Perig

📍 52 kilometers

🚗 By car: 45 minutes

🚆 By train: 30 minutes

📷Sightseeing: Arras belfry, Wellington quarry, Saint-Vaast abbey

Arras is a must-see around Lille. Apart from Lille, this is objectively the most beautiful town in the département. With its belfry and Grand Place,Flemish Gothic architecture shines through, and you’ll love strolling around for a few hours.

But the beautiful city is also known for its Saint-Vaast abbey, now home to the Lille Museum of Fine Arts, and its Wellington quarry, a place of remembrance and a network of underground galleries dating back to the First World War. Plenty to keep your day busy!

5. Dunkirk and the beach at Malo-les-Bains

Plage de Malo-les-Bains

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Massimo Santi

📍 81 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h

🚆 By train: 40 minutes

📷 Things to see and do: beach, Operation Dynamo museum

For a trip around Lille, many wouldn’t recommend Dunkirk. The reputation of an ugly town endures. Let’s face it, it’s not without foundation. But Dunkirk has other assets that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Firstly, its beach at Malo-les-Bains, nicknamed « the Queen of the Northern Beaches », is the most beautiful on the coast. Then, its museum of Operation Dynamo, made famous by the film Dunkirk, released in 2017, is fascinating. And the locals are more than friendly!

6. Hiking in the Scarpe-Escaut Regional Nature Park

Balades autour de Lille : Parc naturel régional Scarpe-Escaut

Maulde riverbank Photo credit: Facebook – Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut

📍 43 kilometers

🚗 By car: 35 minutes

📷 Things to see and do: hiking

A walk around Lille for those who love hiking. This natural park is the perfect place for a walk in the forest. With its signposted paths, small stream and buildings or relics here and there, there’s plenty to explore and discover.

There are plenty of places to picnic in the countryside. For those who prefer to dine out, there’s plenty of choice too.

7. Gravelines beach (Petit-Fort-Philippe)

Plage de Gravelines

Photo credit: Shutterstock – mimpki

📍 92 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h05

📷 Things to see and do: the beach, Operation Dynamo museum

Petit-Fort-Philippe beach, located in Gravelines, is a great place to visit around Lille for a beach day. A wide range of activities await you on site, for children and adults alike, including water sports.

It’s a beautiful sandy beach with fairly clear water. However, swimming is only for the brave, as the water temperature generally doesn’t exceed 18°C!

8. Visit to the Avesnois regional nature park

Forum antique de Bavay

Photo credit: Flickr – Damien Tournay

📍 84 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h15

📷 Things to see and do: hiking, Val-Joly lake, Bavay antique forum

This diverse natural park is a great place to wander around Lille. As well as hikes and walks around the lake, you can visit the village of Maroilles, made famous by its cheese with its singular aroma. One restaurant even serves only Maroilles dishes!

You’ll also be amazed to find a genuine ancient Roman forum in Bavay, a visit not to be missed.

Opal Coast

📍 140 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h30

📷 What to see / What to do: hiking, Nausicaá, Caps Blanc-Nez and Gris-Nez, Boulogne-sur-Mer

9. Hiking in the Parc naturel régional des Caps et Marais d’Opale

Le Cap Blanc-Nez

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Pixavril

This large park is best known for its Côte d’Opale and its (cautious!) cliff-hugging, breathtaking scenery. The famous Capes Blanc-Nez and Gris-Nez, located close to each other, are the reward for all your efforts. This is undoubtedly the most beautiful sight in the region for a stroll around Lille.

10. Nausicaá and Boulogne-sur-Mer

Balades autour de Lille : Nausicaa

Photo credit: Facebook – Nausicaá – Centre National de la Mer

The town of Boulogne-sur-Mer is home to Nausicaá, Europe’s largest aquarium and a must-see for those who love marine life. With over 1,600 species, the aquarium is home to an incredible diversity of animals.

As for Boulogne town center, while there’s nothing extraordinary about it, it’s a nice place for a stroll.

11. Amiens

Amiens

Photo credit: Shutterstock – llgonisf

📍 140 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h40

🚆 By train: 1h20

📷Sightseeing: cathedral, Maison de Jules Verne, downtown tour, Parc Saint-Pierre, Amiens zoo

Here’s a visit around Lille that’s pretty far away. However, Amiens is well worth a day’s visit. With its beautiful cathedral and the Dewailly clock in the city center, it’s a very pleasant walk. You can also relax in the Parc Saint-Pierre.

For lovers of the author Jules Verne, his last home is in Amiens and has been converted into a museum. Last but not least, the Amiens zoo is a must-see if you’re traveling with the family.

Belgium

Lille is located very close to the Belgian border. This makes it easy to spend a day with our neighbors and discover some of their beautiful towns.

12. Ypres

Ypres

Cloth Hall and Town Hall Photo credit: Shutterstock – milosk50

📍 33 kilometers

🚗 By car: 45 minutes

📷Sightseeing / activities: Bellewaerde, In Flanders Fields Museum, downtown tour

Ypres is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful walks around Lille. Its Grand Place and small town center are typical of Flemish cities, with its belfry, brick buildings and pronounced Gothic style. There’s always a place, café or store to enjoy in every little alley.

The In Flanders Fields Museum, a tribute to Canadian author John Mc Crae, retraces part of the history of the First World War and is located on the Grand Place. Lighter on the mind, the Bellewaerde amusement park lies to the east of the city, a cross between Parc Astérix and a zoo. Perfect for a family visit!

13. Kortrijk (Kortrijk)

Broel Towers

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Kiev.Victor

📍 140 kilometers

🚗 By car: 35 minutes

🚆 By train: 35 minutes

📷Sightseeing: Broel Towers, the Beguinage, downtown tour

A real favorite! This walk around Lille takes you to an almost unknown town, Kortrijk, also known by its Dutch name, Kortrijk, the language most widely spoken in the city. Its city center, with its Grand Place and Belfry, is classically beautiful, as are all Flemish towns, and its Beguinage(Begijnhof) is reminiscent of beautiful Bruges.

Kortrijk’s main attractions, however, are its twin towers, the Broel Towers(Broeltorens). Remnants of medieval fortifications, they were built in 1385 and 1415. A fine testimony to the city’s medieval past and a highly photogenic site, we strongly recommend a visit.

14. Ostend

Balades autour de Lille : Plages d'Ostende

White beaches Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sergey Dzyuba

📍 140 kilometers

🚗 By car: 1h05

📷 Things to see/do: beach and sand sculptures, Fort Napoléon

To round off our selection, let’s take a little trip to the North Sea. Ostend is famous for its large sandy beach, the likes of which are hard to find in the Lille region. In summer, the Sand Sculptures festival offers a chance to admire magnificent sand creations, some of which are truly impressive in their realism.

Then head for the top of the Ostend dunes, where you’ll find Fort Napoléon, built between 1811 and 1814 and now a military museum since its restoration in the late 1990s.