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Location:Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands
Area:30,528 sq km
Population:11,778,842 (July 2021 est.)
Languages:Dutch (official) 60%, French (official) 40%, German (official) less than 1%
Religion:Roman Catholic 50%, Protestant and other Christian 2.5%, Muslim 5%, Jewish 0.4%, Buddhist 0.3%, atheist 9.2%, none 32.6% (2009 est.)
Things to Do
1. Grand Place
The Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the central square of Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. It is famous for its stunning architecture, including the City Hall and numerous guild houses. The square is a popular tourist attraction and a vibrant hub of activity with cafes, restaurants, and shops.
2. Bruges Canals
Explore the picturesque canals of Bruges, often referred to as the 'Venice of the North.' Take a guided boat tour or simply stroll along the canal banks to admire the charming medieval buildings and bridges. The canals provide a romantic setting and offer a unique perspective of the city's beauty.
The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels and a symbol of the city. It was originally constructed for the 1958 World's Fair and represents an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Visitors can explore the interior exhibitions, enjoy panoramic views from the top sphere, and learn about the history and significance of this architectural marvel.
4. Ghent's Historic Center
Discover the rich history and stunning architecture of Ghent's historic center. Visit the medieval Gravensteen Castle, admire the famous Saint Bavo's Cathedral, and explore the charming canals and cobblestone streets. The vibrant city offers a mix of history, culture, and delightful culinary experiences.
5. Antwerp Zoo
The Antwerp Zoo is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in Europe. It houses a wide variety of animals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, and penguins. Visitors can enjoy educational exhibits, daily animal shows, and beautiful botanical gardens. The zoo is a great place for both children and adults to learn about and appreciate wildlife.
6. Horta Museum
Step into the world of Art Nouveau at the Horta Museum in Brussels. This museum is located in the former home and studio of the renowned Belgian architect Victor Horta. It showcases his unique designs and artistic vision, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and elegance of the Art Nouveau movement.
7. Waterloo Battlefield
Visit the historic site of the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated in 1815. Explore the battlefield, walk through the interactive exhibits, and learn about the key events that shaped European history. The site offers a glimpse into the past and pays tribute to the soldiers who fought in this significant battle.
8. Belgian Chocolate Tasting
Indulge in the world-renowned Belgian chocolates by joining a chocolate tasting tour. Learn about the history of chocolate making in Belgium, visit artisanal chocolate shops, and sample a wide range of delicious creations. This sensory experience is a must-do for all chocolate lovers visiting the country.
9. Meuse River Cruise
Embark on a scenic cruise along the picturesque Meuse River. Admire the stunning landscapes, charming villages, and historical landmarks that dot the riverbanks. Whether you choose a short sightseeing cruise or a multi-day journey, the Meuse River offers a unique perspective of Belgium's natural beauty.
10. Dinant Citadel
Perched high on a cliff overlooking the Meuse River, the Dinant Citadel offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Take a guided tour of the fortress, explore the interactive exhibitions, and learn about the rich history of this strategic stronghold. The citadel is a fascinating attraction that combines history, architecture, and scenic beauty.
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Belgium has a temperate maritime climate with moderate temperature variations throughout the year. Winters are generally cold and cloudy, with temperatures ranging from 2°C to 8°C (36°F to 46°F). Snowfall is rare in coastal regions, but it can be frequent in the higher elevations of the Ardennes. Summers are warm and relatively sunny, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Belgium is from late spring to early autumn, from May to September. During this period, the weather is warm and pleasant, and the days are long, making it ideal for exploring the cities, parks, and gardens. The months of June and July are particularly popular among tourists, as they offer the most pleasant weather, with temperatures ranging from 18°C to 25°C (64°F to 77°F). However, keep in mind that the high season is also the most crowded and expensive time to visit.
Belgium has a variety of hotels to choose from, including budget-friendly options, mid-range hotels, and luxury establishments. Many hotels are located in the city centers, offering easy access to the main tourist attractions.
Bed and Breakfasts
Bed and breakfasts are a popular option for travelers who want a more personal and intimate experience. They are often housed in traditional Belgian homes, offering a unique and authentic taste of local culture.
Hostels are a great option for budget travelers and backpackers. They offer basic but clean and comfortable accommodations at an affordable price.
Vacation rentals, such as apartments and houses, are a great option for families or groups of friends traveling together. They offer more space and privacy, as well as access to a kitchen, making it easier to prepare meals.
Luxury Hotels and Resorts
For those looking for a luxurious experience, Belgium has a range of high-end hotels and resorts, offering top-notch facilities and services. These include spa and wellness centers, fine dining restaurants, and spacious rooms and suites.
The train network in Belgium is extensive and efficient. Trains run frequently between the major cities and there are international connections to neighboring countries. The high-speed trains, such as Thalys and Eurostar, connect cities like Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp, and Ghent.
Buses are a convenient option for getting around smaller cities and towns. The main bus operator in Belgium is De Lijn, which provides services in Flanders. TEC is the main operator in Wallonia. Buses are affordable, frequent, and reliable.
Trams are a popular mode of transportation in cities like Brussels and Antwerp. They offer a convenient way to get around and are a great way to see the sights. Trams are usually frequent, efficient, and cost-effective.
Taxis are widely available in Belgium, especially in cities like Brussels and Antwerp. They’re a convenient option if you need to get around quickly. Taxis can be hailed on the street or booked in advance.
Rental cars are a good option if you’re planning to explore Belgium at your own pace. There are several rental car companies located at the major airports, train stations, and in city centers. Just be aware that driving in Belgium can be congested, especially in cities, and parking can be difficult to find.
- The currency in Belgium is the Euro (€).
- Major credit cards are widely accepted, but it's always good to carry some cash as well.
Cash And Cards
- It is recommended to have some cash on hand for small purchases and in case of emergencies.
- Credit cards are widely accepted and can be used in most places.
- ATMs are widely available throughout Belgium.
- Look for ATMs with the Maestro, Cirrus, or Visa symbols to ensure international compatibility.
- Tipping is not obligatory in Belgium, but it is customary to round up the bill or leave a small tip as a gesture of appreciation for good service.
Cost Of Living
- The cost of living in Belgium is relatively high, especially in major cities like Brussels and Antwerp.
- Accommodation, dining, and entertainment can be quite expensive.
- Be cautious of pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas or public transportation.
- Avoid street vendors selling counterfeit goods or offering suspicious deals.