The north and south of Belgium are visually very different. The north, made up of the provinces of West and East Flanders, Antwerp, Limburg and much of Brabant, is for the most part flat, with a landscape and architecture not unlike Holland.
Antwerp, Belgiums’ second city straddling the banks of the River Scheldt, is a bustling old port with a magnitude of high art, reminiscent of its sixteenth-century golden age. The south dominated by the picturesque Ardennes and the 65km North Sea coastline has a landscape of forested hills and river valleys. Further south and west are the great historic cities, Bruges and Ghent, with a remarkable concentration of Flemish art and architecture. The country is also renowned for such diverse activities as chocolate and lace-making and beer.
Situated between the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and France, Belgium is one of Europe’s smallest countries. Easy to travel around, Belgium is divided by the Flemish north (Flemish-speaking) and the Walloon south (French-speaking). A federal country, with three official languages and an intense regional rivalry, Belgium has a cultural diversity that belies its rather dull reputation among travelers.
City Breaks Belgium
Belgium is extremely popular with the British as a city break destination. City breaks in Belgium can be taken by plane, train or automobile. With the eurostar departing from London direct to the city break destination of Bruge or Brussels. Driving from the UK with the Eurotunnel or ferry crossings or flights from all UK airport into Brussels airport. Bruge and Brussels offer a wide range of accommodation from 2 star pensions to luxury five star hotels. for a personalised city break to Bruge or city break to Brussels call goeasy travel in Berkshire on 0844 811 2550
Belgium Visitor Information
The country’s capital city, Brussels, is also the capital of the European Union. It claims to have one of Europe’s most beautiful central squares, the Grand Place. The country’s best restaurants can be found on the Rue des Bouchers, a stone’s throw from the Grand Place. Here you can sample lobster, crab and mussels washed down with excellent Belgian beer.
Belgium Restaurants & Food
Belgian cuisine is highly regarded throughout Europe and is very similar to French. Combining French and German styles, meat and seafood are the main raw ingredients. The country also offers a wide range of ethnic food. Many bars offer meals, at least at lunchtimes, and a multitude of cafes serve basic dishes such as omelettes, steak or mussels with chips.
The distinction between the two is, however, becoming increasingly blurred with cafe/bars often the most fashionable place to be, especially in the city. Though they serve very similar food, restaurants are more expensive, and sometimes only open in the evening. A service charge of 16 % is usually included in hotel or restaurant bills.
Belgium Hotels And Accomodation
Belgium offers a wide variety of Hotels, from simple H* to extremely luxurious H*****.
There are over 1000 licensed hotels, which are easily recognised by the blue sign at the main entrance. Prices are clearly displayed in the hotel lobby and the rooms.
Bed & Breakfast (gastenkamers) are also widely available.
The Flemish coast specialises in Holiday Homes, houses or flats that you can rent by the week, fortnight or month. Shorter periods are also possible. Here too, there is abundant choice, with rental prices reflecting the quality of the accommodation
Weather in Belgium
Belgium has a seasonal climate, similar to neighbouring countries, with warm weather from May to September and snow likely during winter months.
Belgium Banks and Currency
You can change currency in banks, the airport, railway stations and bureaux de change. In many places, you can also pay by credit card. American Express, Visa, Diners Club and Eurocard/Mastercard are among the most widely-accepted cards. Eurocheques in combination with a Eurocheque card are accepted. With your Eurocheque card, you can withdraw cash from cash dispensers, which are to be found everywhere.
The Banks in Belgium are usually open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., but some close for about an hour at lunchtime. Many bureaux de change are also open on Sunday. There are no restrictions on the import and export of foreign currency.
Visa Requirements Belgium
EU citizens can enter on an official identity card. Travelers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, the USA and many other countries just need a valid passport (no visa) for stays of up to three months.
Driving in Belgium
Belgium has an extensive road network, which means that you can reach every town and village effortlessly by car. When driving in Belgium, you need a valid national or international driving license, vehicle registration certificate and the insurance green card. The speed limit on motorways and roads with four or more lanes is 120 km per hour, and 90 km per hour on other roads. Within built-up areas, the speed limit is 50 km per hour. The Belgium road network is excellent and toll-free, and connects to the major European Routes.
Goeasy Travel has arranged the best value Car Rentals in Belgium for you. To get your free quotation please call 0844 811 2550
Calling Home from Belgium
Most public phones work with telephone cards. You can buy these cards in post offices, stations, bookshops and newspaper shops. From phone booths with stickers showing flags, you can make international calls.
To call abroad from Belgium, first dial 00 followed by the country code. It is cheaper to phone from Monday to Saturday between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., as well as at any time on Sundays and public holidays.
In case of an Emergency in Belgium
EU citizens on holiday in Flanders should bring a form E 111 with them. If you need medical care, this form and the doctor’s bill will enable you to reclaim the cost of treatment (according to the refund scales applicable in Belgium). During the weekend, special arrangements apply for pharmacies. The name and address of the nearest pharmacist on weekend standby duty is on display at any pharmacy
Emergency numbers in Belgium
The fire brigade & medical emergencies -100.
For the police and gendarmerie – 101.
Events in Belgium
Belgium’s colourful National Day is July 21, which also marks the start of the month-long Brussels Fair. Brussels’ most festive months are July and August. On the first Thursday in July there’s the Ommegang pageant, a huge parade of nobles dressed in historic costumes.
The prestigious Flanders Festival schedules some 300 events well beyond the capital, whereas the Wallonia Festival reveals its innovative character more and more every year. After the Autumn Festival, a few mellow evenings in May are swept away by the maddening notes of swing and the blues during the Jazz Marathon. From the exits of the Underground to the terraces of cafés, through improvised stages outdoors.
For more information visit the Belgium Tourist Board
|Languages spoken||Belgian English|
|Visa requirements||None for UK passport holders|