• Travel Guide

    Travel Guide | Belgium

    guide to belgium

    Belgium, a country in Western Europe, is known for medieval towns, Renaissance architecture and as headquarters of the European Union and NATO. The country has distinctive regions including Dutch-speaking Flanders to the north, French-speaking Wallonia to the south and a German-speaking community to the east. The bilingual capital, Brussels, has ornate guildhalls at Grand-Place and elegant art-nouveau buildings.

    Basic Info & Culture

    CURRENCY

    In Belgium, the main currency is Euros. I didn’t get any Euros out before I went and instead I used my Monzo card when purchasing things. I use Monzo which is an app based bank account and contactless card (there are lots of similar ones to choose from though). It also alerts you once you’ve used the card and gives you the current exchange rate on purchases too.

    One thing that did annoy me with most places we ate out at is they don’t split the bills. So me and Amy took it in turns to buy lunch/dinner and paid each other back. We kept the receipts to make sure we paid each other back equally and kept track of our payments.

    Top Tip:
    Download the app “Currency Plus” to get currency conversions on the go. It updates daily and when connected to WiFi or Network to give you the latest conversion and you can have multiple currencies shown in one go.

    Download here: Apple App Store // Google Play Store

    LANGUAGE

    In Belgium, they speak English, Dutch and Flemish but they mainly speak French. If you know a little French, it really does go a long way. Even knowing Hello, Thank you and Please – it really does help. Below are some phrases to help you get by and to remember. In Belgium they mainly speak French so it will easy if you know a little bit of French.

    • Hello/Good Morning – Bonjour
    • Goodbye – Au revoir
    • Good Afternoon – Bon soir
    • Good Night – Bon nuit
    • Thank you – Merci
    • Thank you so much – Merci beaucoup
    • Have a good day – Bon journee
    • Yes – Oui
    • No – Non
    TIMEZONE

    Belgium are in the Central European Summer Time (GMT+02:00).

    CUISINE

    Food and eating out in Belgium is amazing. There are so many different restaurants across Belgium which cater for different cuisines and tastes everything from Indian, Italian and American etc. The delicacies from Belgium that you need to try are waffles, fries, chocolate and beer!


    Budget Tips

    Suggested Daily Budget – 68-71 EUR / 59-62 GBP (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!) During the 4 days I had in Belgium, I spent around £236. This includes food, train tickets and a few souvenirs

    01. Buy breakfast snacks at a supermarket instead or a full breakfast – One way I saved money in Belgium was buying breakfast snacks in a supermarket rather than going to a restaurant for breakfast. I found it much cheaper buying danishes and snacks to eat quickly for breakfast better when catching trains to different cities.

    02. Do not buy train tickets through Trainline – When I first arrived in Belgium, I bought my train ticket through Trainline to get to Brugge and then I realised it was so much more expensive than buying it through a desk or a ticket machine. If you check out my Transport In Belgium post you will see the difference between buying a ticket through Trainline and the ticket desk.

    03. Search around for cheaper places to try Belgian delicacies – When Amy and I wanted to get waffles, we searched around the different shops and stalls to find the cheapest and best place to get them. Each stall and shop will vary in price and quality so make sure you are getting the best for your money.

    04. Share an apartment with a friend – I shared an apartment in Brussels with my friend Amy whilst in Belgium and it saved us so much money. We could have stayed in a hostel but we wanted a comfier and cleaner place to stay whilst travelling around the different cities. Our AirBnB hosted apartment was such a good price and we split the price between the two of us.


    Travel tips

    VISAS

    You do not need a visa to visit Belgium no matter where you are travelling from but you may need to fill in an immigration card.

    INJECTIONS

    You do not need any injections to visit Belgium.

    CAPITAL/CITY

    The capital of Belgium is Brussels. It has lots of smaller cities being the most popular ones are Brugge, Antwerp and Ghent. I highly recommend checking out the smaller cities over Brussels. I really didn’t like the vibe of Brussels at all. It didn’t feel very touristy and everything seems to be miles away from each other.

    ACCOMMODATION

    There are so many hotels and accomodation across Belgium depending on where you are planning to stay. These can vary from major hotel chains, AirBnB’s, homestays or hostels. Make sure you check out AirBnB and also TripAdvisor for booking your hotel or hostel. Me and Amy booked our apartment via AirBnB and made our base Brussels to travel to and from the other cities around and so we were close to the airport.

    ACCOMMODATION I’VE STAYED IN:

    Apartment Stephanie, Brussels

    READ MORE: Our Cute Apartment In Brussels

    guide to belgium

    EXPLORE BELGIUM 
    Brussels | Brugge | Antwerp | Ghent 

    DRIVING

    It will be quite easy to drive in Belgium and Europe in general. The roads are all similar across Europe so it will be really easy to adjust to driving. We didn’t drive but there are plenty of car hire offices around, especially at the airport. We mainly used the trains, metro and walked to places we wanted to get to. I will have a seperate post on how to get around Belgium coming soon.

    READ MORE: Transport In Belgium | How To Get Around

    FLIGHTS

    Flights to Belgium can be from any major city across the world or from having a stopover in a major city if you are coming from somewhere smaller. Be sure to search Skyscanner to find your best time to fly to Belgium or any other airport you are flying to. I flew with Brussels Airlines to and from London Heathrow via Brussels Zaventem Airport.


    Packing Tips

    WHAT TO WEAR

    You can wear pretty much anything in Belgium, of course depending on the weather. We were so lucky with the weather we had in Belgium as I was so worried it would be raining and cold. Instead we had gorgeous sunny weather all weekend with high 20s.

    WEATHER

    The weather in Belgium can be a mixed bag but they can also get some stunning weather during the Spring and Summer.

    BELGIUM WEATHER


    Activities & things to see

    ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO

    There is so much to do in Belgium from exploring the cities to trying all of the yummy food. I definitely recommend visiting the various museums across Belgium, try traditional delicacies, explore the sights and many more.

    HIGHLIGHTS OF BELGIUM:
    • Minnewater Lake, Brugge
    • Eating waffles, Brugge
    • Boat trip up the canal, Brugge
    • Port of Antwerp, Antwerp
    • MAS Viewpoint, Antwerp
    • Gravesteen Castle, Ghent

    READ MORE: Want to spend 4 days exploring 4 different cities in Belgium? A Guide To Exploring 4 Cities In 4 Days In Belgium.

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    Travel Guide | Belgium