OVERVIEW OF BELGIUM
Besides being one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, Belgium is also the tastiest. That is, if you’re into beer, chocolate, chocolate covered waffles, and french fries. And if you’re not, you may wanna get yourself checked out–just a thought. I think you have a fever…
Belgium’s main cities include:
- Brussels – the capital of the European Union (and Belgium for that matter)
- Bruges – Unbelievably picturesque medieval village and the most beautiful place to have a canal-side beer.
- Ghent – home of the Ghent Altarpiece, considered a masterpiece of European art and one of the world’s greatest treasures. Also, the best frites on the planet–a masterpiece of potato frying.
- Antwerp – the capital of the Flanders province and Belgium’s most populous city proper
BELGIUM TRAVEL BASICS
CURRENCY | Euros (Check out xe.com for the most up-to-date currency conversion–they have a mobile app too!)
TIME ZONE | GMT+1, The entire country of Belgium is six hours ahead of the Eastern time zone.
VISA / PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS | If you’re planning to spend less than 90 days in Belgium/the Schengen area, you can get by using just your U.S. passport–no Visa required. (Except for all those waffles you’re planning on buying, ba-dum-tshh!) However, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date you leave the Schengen area.
LANGUAGE(S) SPOKEN | Unlike many other European countries that speak languages of their own, Belgium residents speak many. Depending on where you are in Belgium, you’ll hear French, German, and a variation of Dutch known as Flemish that you won’t be able to understand a word of.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR? | As with almost all of Europe, pick-pockets are probably your biggest safety concern though I’ve personally never experienced anything in Belgium that would warrant mentioning.
Regardless of what I’ve experienced, always be on guard, travel smart, and think about picking up travel insurance before you go.
WHERE TO STAY IN BELGIUM
Why not start by reading some hotel reviews on Tripadvisor?
Then when you’re ready, book your hotel room on Booking.com (my go-to booking site, I mean, it’s right there in the name…).
- Book a hotel room in Brussels
- Book a hotel room in Bruges
- Book a hotel room in Ghent
- Book a hotel room in Antwerp
- Or just use this handy widget ⇣⇣⇣
Additionally, there’s always Airbnb and I can help you save $40 on your first Airbnb stay. Just click here to activate the no-strings discount and shop away!
BELGIUM TRAVEL ESSENTIALS
European plug adapter | If you plan on plugging anything in while you’re in Belgium, you’ll need one (or, let’s be real, several) of these.
Belgium guidebook | My choices would be:
- The Rough Guide to Belgium & Luxembourg
- Rick Steves Belgium: Bruges, Brussels, Antwerp & Ghent
- Lonely Planet Belgium & Luxembourg
Language books: French, German, Dutch | I love these pocket-sized language guides and I have quite the collection going. They’re great for learning the basics but my favorite part is the menu guide–decode what it is you’re eating! (I didn’t have one in Belgium and I’m pretty sure I ate horse meat.)
In Bruges | Dark comedy starring Colin Farrell, Mad Eye Moody, and Voldemort. This movie takes places in Bruges and gives you a good little preview into the city. But, unlike what Colin Farrell’s character repeats, Bruges is not a shit hole.
MY POSTS ON BELGIUM
In 2017 I spent a jam-packed four days in Belgium during which I visited Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, and the charming little town of Dinant. I did so much and ate so many waffles and drank so many beers.
In this post, I offer my impressions of each city, where I stayed (or suggestions on where to stay if I didn’t stay overnight), where to eat and drink based on my own experiences, what to see and do in each city, how to get there, and various other tips.
In Bruges I stayed at St. Christopher’s Inn at the Bauhaus, an adorable hostel I can’t recommend enough. It’s in the perfect location–within walking distance to everything (but the train station), and nestled snuggly amongst the windmills on hills.
They offer nightly Belgian beer tastings, delicious $5 pizzas and free breakfast, and a great place to chill after an amazing day exploring this medieval city. Check out my review here!
While in Belgium, I took a day trip to nearby Luxembourg–and if you noticed the Belgium travel guides above, you’ll see that’s a popular thing to do. This post shares everything I did and saw in Luxembourg, how I got there for a day trip and back, and so much more. Read this post before you decide if a Luxembourg day trip is for you!
But first, Pin me ⇣