Best known as the site of the 1944 Siege of Bastogne, this quiet Belgian town in the Ardennes is where encircled United States soldiers managed to turn the tide for the Battle of the Bulge, despite difficult conditions and heavy casualties. Today, Bastogne memorializes these events through monuments and museums.
Full- and multi-day tours of the region often pass through the Ardennes on their way from Brussels to Luxembourg or France. Bastogne’s standout attraction is its War Museum, for which you can purchase tickets in advance. Historic tours of the town typically feature landmarks such as McAuliffe Square (named after the American general who led the defense), the Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial, the Mardasson Memorial, and the Bastogne Barracks.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bastogne is a must for Americans, or anyone interested in the US Army’s role in World War II.
- Most of Bastogne’s major attractions are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
- Some tours include museum entrance fees and round-trip transport.
How to Get There
Bastogne is about a 2-hour drive from Brussels, and free parking is available throughout the town. To get there by public transit (just over three hours from Brussels), take the train to Marloie, then transfer to bus 1.
When to Get There
You can pay your respects at Bastogne’s many memorials year-round. For a particularly poignant experience, plan your visit for the Memorial Day ceremony on June 1 or the Remembrance Day ceremony on November 11.
Peace Woods (Bois de la Paix)
In 1994, veterans planted 4,000 trees just outside Bastogne to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Each tree features a plaque with the name of the veteran who returned to plant it. Nowadays, the space serves as a spot for quiet contemplation and occasional Memorial Day ceremonies.