Share  Print Version  Email

Belgium - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Brussels has three Metro lines. You can buy travel cards for 1 or 5 days which are cheaper than paying for individual journeys. The main bus network is STIB/MIVB. You can buy a ticket for bus, metro and train journeys in the city with the same ticket. For details see the STIB website. In Antwerp, in addition to buses, there are trams.

Taxis are to be found near railway stations, or you can phone them or hail them in the street. They are quite expensive. There is a standard charge before you even start driving, then a specific rate per kilometer.

For further information about transport in Brussels, see the Easy Expat website; for Antwerp, see the Transport and Travel section on the University of Antwerp website.

Maps of urban networks: Brussels Metro map

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

The Belgian rail network was the first to be built on mainland Europe and is the densest in the world. Of course, density is far from uniform across the country because the recent trend has been to drop unprofitable lines. Efforts are generally being poured into large international routes, either completely electrified or in the process of being electrified.

The high-speed train network will comprise a total of 300 km of line, half of which will be newly converted to take speeds of up to 300 km/h.

There are no scheduled domestic flights in Belgium.

Rail companies: SNCB
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Brussels Airlines Major/low cost No Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: Belgium has a highly developed motorway network -the densest in the world. High-capacity motorways are centered around Brussels or cut across the country, such as the Wallonia motorway. The motorways are supported by a network of expressways.

Most of the motorways are part of European routes. They facilitate access to neighboring countries and generally make it possible to travel easily from one town to another or to cross a region.

The toll-free highways are generally lit at night. Car insurance is compulsory. Road signs are written in Dutch in the Flemish part of the country and in French in the Walloon region. Be careful of the right of way. Trucks: be careful of the concentration of trucks in the border zone on Sunday evenings and especially in bad weather conditions, as well as in the hours preceding the time when trucks are not allowed to drive over the weekend in the countries surrounding Belgium (10.00 pm). It is advisable to have some Euros in case you need to pay a fine. If unable to pay immediately, vehicles that are registered abroad may be immobilized.

Find an itinerary: Mappy

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: - In Brussels: the Grand-Place, the Atomium (vestige of the 1958 World Fair)
- In Bruges: the Grand-Place and its Belfry, the canals
- In Ghent: the City hall, the Saint Michel Bridge, Saint Nicolas Church and the Belfry
- In Antwerp: the cathedral, the port.
Cultural: Belgium is not a homogeneous country with one national identity. As such, it is therefore difficult to give a general overview that applies to all Belgians. Each area will have its own particularities. The three predominant cultures are: 1) in the north, Flanders - primarily Dutch, 2) in the south, Wallonia - primarily French and 3) the northeast - primarily German influenced.
Nature: Coastal beaches
Ardennes forest
Religious: The religious heritage is huge. Further information can be found on the website Tourisme.be.
Thermal: Spa city and Ostend city. Find more information on Belgium Tourist Office.
Beach: A few km of beach only, which does not attract many foreign tourists.
Winter sports: Skiing in the Ardennes area.
Outdoor activities: In a protected natural setting, you can do numerous outdoor activities, from mountain biking to kayak and many more.
Shopping: Special purchases include ceramics and hand-beaten copperware from Dinant; Belgian chocolates; crystal from Val Saint Lambert; diamonds; jewelry from Antwerp; lace from Bruges, Brussels and Mechelen (Malines), woodcarvings from Spa and comic-strip books by a number of talented Belgian cartoon artists from Brussels.
Main shopping centers are located in Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Liège, Mechelen, Mons, Namur and Ostend.
Tourism organizations: Belgian Tourism Board

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: Rabies may be present in animals, although risk to travellers is very rare. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. Vaccinations against Hepatitis B and Tetanus are recommended.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Belgium pages on the website of the World Health Organization

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Brussels (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer)
Summer time period: March to October
Climate: The climate is temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy.
Useful links:

Eating

Food specialties: Belgian food is varied. There are numerous regional specialties. You will be able to enjoy some Waterzooi, tomatoes with gray shrimp, mussels in white wine, the famous Flemish carbonnades and you can finish your meal with one of those well-known waffels.

Belgian cuisine, which is related to the French one, but with some very distinctive touches, offers many dishes worth trying. A well-known specialty are the Belgian chocolates which are sold all over the world.
And then there is the national dish, "French" Fries ("frites"), which, according to legend, were invented in Belgium, not France, and which are supposed to be better here than in any other place in world.

Drinks: Belgium offers an incredible diversity of beers. The most well known mass-produced ones are Stella Artois, Duvel (literally: the Devil, beware, 8.5%!), Leffe, Jupiler (plain standard beer), Hoegaarden (white beer).
The names given to some beers are pretty imaginative: e.g. Verboden Vrucht (Forbidden Fruit), Judas, Delirium Tremens. Warmly recommended are also Kriek (sweet or sour cherry beer) and, for the Christmas season, Stille Nacht (Silent night).
Dietary taboos: There are no particular food restrictions in Belgium.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: In Flemish; in French.
Copyright © 2016 Export Entreprises SA, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 Share  Print Version  Email
Ratings (0)
If you are a human, do not fill in this field.
Click stars to rate.
  

Discussion