Where to go
In Brussels, relax at the beautiful medieval square of the Grand Place and the classic cafes around the Bourse. Visit the Musee Royaux des Beaux-Arts and the Magritte Museum for art, and bring the kids to see dinosaurs at the Musee des Sciences Naturelles. Marvel at the gigantic steel balls of the unique Atomium building.
Spend a weekend in the historic canal-lined cities of Bruges and Ghent. Cycle down to pleasant Damme for some beer and mussels, explore the beaches of Ostend and De Haan, and visit the WW1 battlefields of Ypres. Antwerp offers the artwork of Rubens, shopping at the fashion district, and the Plantin-Moretus printing museum.
Experience the Gothic architecture of Leuven's stadhuis, the belfries of Sint-Truiden, and the charming begijnhof convents at Lier and Turnhout. Taste white beer at Hoegaarden, shop at the Sunday antiques market at Tongeren, and visit the sugar museum at Tienen and toy museum at Mechelen. Watch the dragon-slaying spectacle of the DouDou festival and the iconic march of the Gilles at the carnival of Binche. Visit the historic Waterloo Battlefield, the soaring cathedral of Tournai and the atmospheric abbey ruins of Villers-la-Ville and Aulne.
In the Semois Valley, get spectacular views at Rochehaut and Tombeau du Geant. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking in the Hautes Fagnes, kayaking and biking in La Roche-en-Ardenne and Coo, and descending into the caves of Rochefort and Hotton. Explore the ruined castle at Bouillon and the golden Abbaye Notre Dame at Orval, where you can also sample Trappist beer.
Belgium's extensive road network is well-maintained, toll-free, and illuminated at night, making driving a good option especially around the countryside. Do be careful, as drivers can be aggressive. Also, names on road signs are often confusingly different in Dutch and French. Get a GPS.
Belgian Railways offers discounted daytrips to major destinations, as well as rail passes and special weekend fares. Trains are modern, fast and comfortable, and some stations are works of art in themselves. In Belgium, buses complement the train network.
Within cities, buses or trams are efficient and inexpensive. Taxis are metered and no tipping is required, though outside of airports and train stations, you'll have to book them by phone. Only Brussels and Antwerp have a metro system.
Do's and Don'ts
Do be aware that many shops are closed on Sundays.
Do try to finish all the food on your plate, because Belgians don't appreciate waste.
Don’t feel obliged to tip in restaurants or pubs, as service charges are usually included in the price.
Don't be noisy or loud, and try not to yawn, scratch or blow your nose in public.
Did you know…?
Belgian chocolates are a deserved source of national pride. Made with traditional methods and quality ingredients, popular brands include Leonidas, Godiva and Neuhaus, though even a generic box of ‘pralines’ taste pretty good. Chocolate is clearly a favourite travel souvenir - the Brussels airport's retail stores sell more chocolates than any other place in the world.
Belgium has over 1000 types of beers, with the average Belgian drinking about 80 litres per year. Beer brewing started in the Middle Ages when Trappist monks produced beer to fund their monasteries. Belgians take their brews very seriously - many beers can only be served in specialized beer glasses, supposed to enhance their flavour.
Prices shown on this page are estimated lowest prices only. Found in the last 45 days.