What Belgium lacks in size (its about the size of the state of Maryland), it makes up for it in beautiful architecture, intriguing culture, complex history, legendary beers, and delectable cuisine. To give you a little background and to help you have the most enjoyable trip possible, check out a few factors that are useful to know before you go:
Belgium Travel Tips:
LANGUAGES SPOKEN IN BELGIUM
Due to Belgium’s complex history, it has three official languages. If you are in the northern Flanders region, the top language is Flemish Dutch. In the southern region of Wallonia, most people speak French. In a smaller region in the east, German is the main language. Even though English isn’t an official language of Belgium, it is still spoken by 55% of its people. The city of Brussels is considered bilingual as many languages are spoken there – and it’s home to the European Union headquarters and NATO. Check out our additional tips on how to travel to a country where you don’t know the language.
Belgium’s currency is the Euro, like most of Western Europe.
Belgium TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS
If you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you will need a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your intended stay. We recommend erring on the side of caution and getting your passport renewed six months before it expires. A visa is not required unless you plan on staying longer than 90 days.
WEATHER IN Belgium
Each region in Belgium has it’s own climate but in general the country has a temperate climate with cool summers and mild winters, that can be heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The Ardennes region, the highest and farthest inland, is the coldest with the Flanders region being the warmest but even then it usually doesn’t get much above 70 degrees Fahrenheit even in the summer months. Belgium is fairly rainy as it gets an average of 200 days of rainfall each year – so make sure pack rain coat and umbrella just in case! For weather information specific to a certain area, check out weatherbase.com.
HOW TO ARRIVE
If you’re looking for direct flights from the U.S. to Belgium, you’ll fly out of New York City, Chicago, New Jersey, Washington D.C. or Atlanta and most likely into Brussels. There are many other options but they probably won’t be direct. If you are flying in for our Belgium Beer Tour, you’ll want to fly in and out of Brussels.
FOOD TO EAT
The food in Belgium is incredible and is often called the finest in Europe – the country has more top-rated restaurants per square foot than any country in the world. You’ll enjoy meals of French quality and German quantity (serving sizes are ample) and much of the Belgian cuisine revolves around cooking with beer (which is awesome for beer lovers!)
Belgium is famous for a few culinary delights including chocolate, fries, and waffles. Belgian chocolate is considered one of the finest chocolates in the world. And with around 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country, you’ll have no problem sampling quite a few for yourself! Belgian waffles are mostly served as street food and can be found in both savory and sweet varieties with a wide array of toppings. Belgian fries are popular side dishes and typically served with mayo for dipping but they are also considered “a working man’s lunch” as they are a hearty, filling meal that could be purchased inexpensively. (Check out our 7 Must-Trys in Belgium)
Beers TO DRINK
Belgium is famous for its beer and is considered one of the greatest beer brewing nations in the world. For such a small country, it sure has an impressive number of beer styles to choose from! Belgian beers are primarily ales with a heavy emphasis on malts and fruity yeast flavors. They are known for their lambics, dark strong ales, saisons, dubbles, tripels, and quadrupels. (Looking to explore Belgian beers on your own? Check out the 10 Best Hidden Gem Beer Bars in Flanders)
CULTURE & CUSTOMS OF Belgium
Often called the Essence of Europe, Belgium is both multicultural and multilingual. Belgium’s history has always been linked to both commercial and cultural exchange, and much of its character is due to its role as the great meeting place of Western Europe. It would be difficult to name a European power that didn’t want to stake their claim in Belgium at one time or another. Energetic and carefree, the overall mood in Belgium is infectious, summoning us to live as Belgians do and enjoy life to the fullest. Hard work and an appreciation for culture are important values to Belgians.