Belgium Travel Guide

Your ultimate Belgium travel guide, with tips, and things to see and things to do in Belgium. Great for first-time and returning travelers.

Belgium is probably not on many people’s radars, apart from a quick trip to the capital of Europe, traveler’s often skip this amazing country.

Many may say Brussels is boring but that could not be farther from the truth. Brussels is the capital of Europe so it has all the food that the world has to offer. It is also one of the gourmet capitals of Europe, boasting many different restaurants that have garnered coveted Michelin Stars in gastronomy.

Outside of Brussels, lies marvels like Les Ardennes, a region of extensive forests and rolling hills, vibrant, eccentric and beautiful cities like Antwerp and Ghent.

It has a coast that beckons beach loungers and extreme sports aficionados, like surfers and kite surfers. 

This Belgium travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.

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Our Highlight

Most-Beautiful-Cities-in-Europe-Brussels
Most Beautiful Cities in Europe: Brussels, Belgium.

Fast Facts about Belgium

  • Belgium power voltage is 230 V 50Hz;  Plug E
  • The Belgian currency is the EURO and is around 1 Euro to 1.35 USD
  • Be careful when ordering food in tourist hotspots! A common trick is to offer you items which you might presume are free (bread rolls for example), which then end up on your bill!
  • Most restaurants will not serve you tap water so if you order water, presume that the waiter will come with a bottle of water and charge you for it!
  • Get ready to drink beer!
  • Skip the cheap Juplier brand and try one of Belgium’s famous beers. Beer in the country varies from a pale lager to lambic beers and Flemish red. In fact, there are approximately 180 breweries in the country. Our recommendation?
  • Why not try a Trappist beer, brewed by monks!

Things to See and Do in Belgium

  1. Ride a cuistax: Head to the sea to ride a cuistax, which is a mix of a bike and a car. You can ride this along the boardwalk to explore the city and enjoy the weather.
  2. Mini-Europe: See this unique miniature park in Brussels. Travel through Europe and see landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben or watch Vesuvius explode, recreated on a scale of 1 to 25 and with sound effects added in. Admission includes a guidebook where you can learn more about Europe.
  3. The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula: Come to Belgium’s national church. Opened in 1519, it has held numerous events, including royal weddings. Attend a mass service or take a guided tour to learn more about the cathedral’s history while exploring the ground floor and towers.
  4. Atomium: Shaped as an iron crystal magnified 150 billion times, come see this unique building in Brussels. Constructed in 1957 for the World Expo and reconstructed in the 2000s, the building is a symbol for peace between nations and using atomic energy for science.
  5. Grand Place: Travel back in time and stroll through this large market square. Sometimes called the “capital” of Brussels, Grand Place has beautiful buildings that date back to the 14th-century, as well as the Museum of the City of Brussels.
  6. Gravensteen: Explore this 10th-century castle that includes a moat and an armory museum. Once used to house the Counts of Flanders, the castle is full of history and also includes beautiful panoramic city views of Ghent.

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Budgeting

Accommodation

Budget: You can find cheaper options for hostels at around 15-28 euros per night. Enjoy dorm-styled or private rooms, free Wi-Fi and breakfast, storage lockers, laundry facilities, and great central locations. Many hostels also have a bar.  

Mid-Range: For mid-range hotels, expect to pay around 60-100 euros per night. These hotels include private rooms with flat-screen TVs and minifridges, a sauna, a gym, and great city locations. 

High-End: Upscale hotels will cost around 100-220 euros per night. Enjoy refined rooms and suites with whirlpool tubs and sitting areas, a hotel restaurant serving fine dining, an indoor pool, sauna, babysitting services, and a hotel bar.

Food

Mussels and fries are popular foods to try when in Belgium and are often served together (moulesfrites). Of course, no trip to Belgium would be complete without trying a Brussels waffle, which most closely resembles a Belgian Waffle in the US.

The Maison Dandoy tea house in Brussels is one of the most popular places for waffles. For main dishes, try some chicken waterzooi (chicken stew dish from the town of Ghent) or carbonade flamande (beef stew made with beer). In total, expect to pay around 35 euros per day for food.


The Best Ways to Get Around Belgium

Getting to Belgium:

Flights: The main airport to fly into is the Brussels Airport, located 7.5 miles from Brussels, Belgium’s capital. Antwerp and Ostend also have their own international airports. You can check for the best flights to Belgium on Skyscanner.

You can check for the best flights to Belgium on Skyscanner.

Transportation:

Transportation: Be adventurous! Belgium has an excellent transportation system that is also pretty cheap so why not hop on a train and check out what Belgium has to offer.

Some recommended spots are: Ghent, Antwerp, Flanders Fields, Les Ardennes, and Oostende.

Metro: Day passes for the metro will save you money over the cost of a single ticket. A single metro ticket is €2.10 while a day pass is around €8 euros.

Visitors can also opt to buy a MOBIB Basic card and refill it with 5 or 10 rides.

STIB also has an app for Android and iPhone users that informs travelers of next departures in real-time as well as the timetables.

Buses: Buses are a cheap way to get around and frequently travel to places not reachable by train or metro. You can find both regular buses and express buses. For the cheapest prices, book a ticket online and in advance. Prices start at 3 euros for regular buses, and 5.5 euros for express buses.

Taxis: Taxis are a good way to get around and are metered. Most taxis will have a starting fee of about 3 euros (except Gent, which starts at 8.25 euros) and adds 2 euros per kilometer traveled. Take a taxi from Brussels airport to the city center for about 45 euros.

Car Rental: To rent a car in Belgium, you need to be at least 21 years old and have a driver’s license that is a year old. If you’re under 25, you’ll typically have to pay more per day. For drivers 25 and older, prices start at 55 euros per day.

Uber: Uber is available throughout Belgium.


When to go To Belgium

  • The best time to visit Belgium is between March and May and September to October. During these two seasons, you can find better deals on hotels and fewer crowds as peak tourism season is between June and August.
  • Temperatures during these two seasons are in the 50s and 60s. If you come in May, you can attend the Iris Day Festival in Brussels.

Where to Stay in Belgium

Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com, Tripadvisor and Air B&B for the best deals on accommodation in Belgium.

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What to Pack for Belgium

Packing for Belgium can be tricky due to the unpredictability of the weather. 

Brussels has a temperate climate with four seasons spanning the whole year. 

Temperatures are relatively mild during the whole year with the average low at 1°C in winter and only 23°C in summer.

On average Belgium receives more rainfall than the United Kingdom and slightly less than the Netherlands with the rainiest months being in July and in December.

  • Rain gear weather can be incredibly unpredictable. It can be pouring rain and then half an hour the sun is out and there are no clouds in the sky.
  • Make sure to always carry either a raincoat or an umbrella so that you do not get caught in the rain.
  • Warm clothes – the weather, even in the summer, can range from 15°C to 25°C degrees with temperatures dipping once the sun goes down. Make sure to bring warm clothes, like a sweater or even a light jacket.
  • Walking shoes – Opt for closed toes shoes that are also waterproof, just in case.
  • Many cities in Belgium are covered in cobblestone streets that are incredibly uneven, so leave those high heels at home!
  • These streets can also be dirty, that paired with the possibility of a downpour, means that travelers should pack dark colored walking shoes – leave those nice white sneakers or suede shoes at home!
  • Rethink the summer clothes – the chances that you will be able to rock that beautiful summer dress or romper is slim. Limit the summer clothes to a few key pieces, instead pack spring/fall type clothes.

See our packing tips: packing tip for Europe list for smart travel.


Belgium Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources

Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.

We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.

  • Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
  • Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
  • VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
  • Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
  • Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
  • Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
  • Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
  • World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.

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