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flag Belgium Belgium: Travelling

In this page: Entry Requirements | Organizing Your Trip | Visiting | Living Conditions | Eating | Paying | Speaking | Useful Resources

 

Entry Requirements

Passport and Visa Service
All information on the website of the Belgium Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Diplomatic Representations
All Belgium embassies abroad
 
IATA Travel Center
 

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Organizing Your Trip

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Brussels has three Metro lines. You can buy travel cards for 1 or 5 days which are cheaper than paying for individual journeys. The main bus network is STIB/MIVB. You can buy a ticket for bus, metro and train journeys in the city with the same ticket. For details see the STIB website. In Antwerp, in addition to buses, there are trams.

Taxis are to be found near railway stations, or you can phone them or hail them in the street. They are quite expensive. There is a standard charge before you even start driving, then a specific rate per kilometer.

For further information about transport in Brussels, see the Easy Expat website; for Antwerp, see the Transport and Travel section on the University of Antwerp website.

Maps of Urban Networks
Brussels Metro map
Brussels Transport network maps
Maps of Belgian cities

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Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Brussels -Zaventem (BRU) 11 km / 7 miles EUR 30-40 / 20-30 min Available EUR 2.80 Available

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
The Belgian rail network was the first to be built on mainland Europe and is the densest in the world. Of course, density is far from uniform across the country because the recent trend has been to drop unprofitable lines. Efforts are generally being poured into large international routes, either completely electrified or in the process of being electrified.

The high-speed train network will comprise a total of 300 km of line, half of which will be newly converted to take speeds of up to 300 km/h.

There are no scheduled domestic flights in Belgium.

Rail Companies
SNCB

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Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Brussels Airlines Major/low cost No Yes

You Can Consult the List of Airlines Banned Within the EU. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

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Traveling By Yourself

Recommendation
Belgium has a highly developed motorway network -the densest in the world. High-capacity motorways are centered around Brussels or cut across the country, such as the Wallonia motorway. The motorways are supported by a network of expressways.

Most of the motorways are part of European routes. They facilitate access to neighboring countries and generally make it possible to travel easily from one town to another or to cross a region.

The toll-free highways are generally lit at night. Car insurance is compulsory. Road signs are written in Dutch in the Flemish part of the country and in French in the Walloon region. Be careful of the right of way. Trucks: be careful of the concentration of trucks in the border zone on Sunday evenings and especially in bad weather conditions, as well as in the hours preceding the time when trucks are not allowed to drive over the weekend in the countries surrounding Belgium (10.00 pm). It is advisable to have some Euros in case you need to pay a fine. If unable to pay immediately, vehicles that are registered abroad may be immobilized.

Road Maps
Information sur les autoroutes
Find an Itinerary
Mappy
ViaMichelin

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Visiting

Different Forms of Tourism

Historical
- In Brussels: the Grand-Place, the Atomium (vestige of the 1958 World Fair)
- In Bruges: the Grand-Place and its Belfry, the canals
- In Ghent: the City hall, the Saint Michel Bridge, Saint Nicolas Church and the Belfry
- In Antwerp: the cathedral, the port.
Cultural
Belgium is not a homogeneous country with one national identity. As such, it is therefore difficult to give a general overview that applies to all Belgians. Each area will have its own particularities. The three predominant cultures are: 1) in the north, Flanders - primarily Dutch, 2) in the south, Wallonia - primarily French and 3) the northeast - primarily German influenced.
Nature
Coastal beaches
Ardennes forest
Religious
The religious heritage is huge. Further information can be found on the website Tourisme.be.
Thermal
Spa city and Ostend city. Find more information on Belgium Tourist Office.
Beach
A few km of beach only, which does not attract many foreign tourists.
Winter Sports
Skiing in the Ardennes area.
Outdoor Activities
In a protected natural setting, you can do numerous outdoor activities, from mountain biking to kayak and many more.
Shopping
Special purchases include ceramics and hand-beaten copperware from Dinant; Belgian chocolates; crystal from Val Saint Lambert; diamonds; jewelry from Antwerp; lace from Bruges, Brussels and Mechelen (Malines), woodcarvings from Spa and comic-strip books by a number of talented Belgian cartoon artists from Brussels.
Main shopping centers are located in Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Liège, Mechelen, Mons, Namur and Ostend.
Tourism Organizations
Belgian Tourism Board
Tourism Promotion Board Wallonie-Bruxelles
Flanders Tourism Board (in Flemish)
Belgian Tourist Office

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Living Conditions

Health and Safety

Health Precautions
Rabies may be present in animals, although risk to travellers is very rare. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered. Vaccinations against Hepatitis B and Tetanus are recommended.
For Further Information on Sanitary Conditions
Belgium pages on the website of the World Health Organization
For Further Information on Safety Conditions
Travel advice of the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Travel advice of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
 

Emergency Numbers

Fire/Ambulance Service 100
Police Service 101
 

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Time Difference and Climate

Time and Time Difference
It is %T:%M %A In Brussels (GMT+1 in winter, GMT+2 in summer)
Summer Time Period
March to October
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

Type of Climate
The climate is temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy.
For Further Information
Weather forecast Belgium
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

Climate

 

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Eating

Food Specialties
Belgian food is varied. There are numerous regional specialties. You will be able to enjoy some Waterzooi, tomatoes with gray shrimp, mussels in white wine, the famous Flemish carbonnades and you can finish your meal with one of those well-known waffels.

Belgian cuisine, which is related to the French one, but with some very distinctive touches, offers many dishes worth trying. A well-known specialty are the Belgian chocolates which are sold all over the world.
And then there is the national dish, "French" Fries ("frites"), which, according to legend, were invented in Belgium, not France, and which are supposed to be better here than in any other place in world.

Drinks
Belgium offers an incredible diversity of beers. The most well known mass-produced ones are Stella Artois, Duvel (literally: the Devil, beware, 8.5%!), Leffe, Jupiler (plain standard beer), Hoegaarden (white beer).
The names given to some beers are pretty imaginative: e.g. Verboden Vrucht (Forbidden Fruit), Judas, Delirium Tremens. Warmly recommended are also Kriek (sweet or sour cherry beer) and, for the Christmas season, Stille Nacht (Silent night).
Dietary Restrictions
There are no particular food restrictions in Belgium.

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Euro
ISO Code
EUR
To Obtain Domestic Currency
ATM, bank counter. Everywhere in town.
Possible Means of Payment
Cash, Cheque, Proton, Maestro, VISA, Amex, etc.

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Speaking

Official Language
Dutch, French and German. In Belgium, 5.6 million people speak Dutch, 3.5 million speak French and about 50,000 people speak German.
Other Languages Spoken
Indigenous languages, recognized since 1990, such as Walloon, and immigrant languages, such as Arabic, Spanish and Turkish.
Business Language
French, German or English (common business language with Flemish people).
Getting Some Knowledge
In Flemish; in French.
Free Translation Tools
Google translation : Translation of words and web pages
Babel Fish : Free translator of texts and web pages from and to French and German
Leo : German-English-German dictionary
Systran : Free English-Dutch-English translator of texts and web pages
Freedict.com : Dutch-English-Dutch dictionary

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Useful Resources

To Find an Accommodation
Guesthouses.be;
Brussels Business Flats;
Hotels-Belgium; Horest, Hotels Belgium;
Brussels-hotels; Hotels-Belgium;

To Find an Apartment
Sublet
City Flats
Property World
Holiday accommodation

Real estate and property for sale or rent
To Find a Job
Stepstone
Monster
Xpatjobs

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Last Updates: October 2014