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Visit Belgium in 11 questions: the complete guide!

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Joel Fulleda
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As well turned towards the sea and the world with its international ports, as towards its land and the preservation of traditions ... the country is a real patchwork of languages, gastronomies and local particularities. From its eventful history, the country has been able to shape a complex and rich identity, which guarantees the traveler a warm welcome and a constantly renewed discovery. Here is all the information that will allow you to visit Belgium from a new perspective!         





When is the best time to visit Belgium?

Belgium enjoys a temperate climate which makes it possible to visit it in all seasons. The choice of the date of your trip depends mainly on your personal interests. From Flanders to Wallonia, the month of July is conducive to musical exploration thanks to the many festivals that swarm the country. From Francofolies to Spa to Tommorowland on the Boom side, all musical styles are represented. At Christmas, we recommend Brussels, and especially Liège, which is said to host one of the most beautiful themed markets in the world..

Dinant in winter

As for the skiers, they will be able to visit Belgium by sliding on the slopes of the Ardennes. between january and february, provided there is sufficient snow. Finally, beer lovers can get their fill all year round, but we particularly recommend the beginning of April, to taste the light and hoppy beverages we call… March beers!



Which corner of Belgium to choose for your stay?

Thanks to its different communities and their varied traditions, visit Belgium allows you to confront multiple universes in which everyone can find themselves. Urbanites who like dynamism and going out will mainly go to Brussels. The European capital is a pole of attraction for the whole of Europe and we meet all kinds of profiles in bars open late at night.



The Atomium of Brussels

Those who are more looking for historical charm will prefer Antwerp and its gothic cathedral, or Namur and its citadel. Liège makes it possible to combine culture and modernism thanks to the association of an old town several hundred years old and futuristic architectural monuments, such as its train station designed by Santiago Calatrava. Finally, lovers of sea bathing will go to bask on the beaches of Ostend, while die-hard skiers can have fun on the Ardennes slopes.

Antwerp in Belgium

What budget to plan on site?

Belgium is a country whose prices are more or less the same as in France. Only transport is significantly higher, especially in large cities like Brussels or seaside resorts like Ostend. Beware of the seasonal increases practiced by accommodation providers during the summer season, especially if you are going to a busy area, for a festival for example.



Ostend beach

In terms of food, Belgium offers a wide range of restaurants and stalls of all kinds.. From bicky burger to fricadelle, the possibilities to eat at a lower cost are commonplace but do not expect particularly refined dishes ... In general, it is estimated that a couple of backpackers will spend on average less than 100 euros per day to visit Belgium while a pair of tourists more demanding on comfort will count between 200 and 250 euros per day.



How to get around the interior of the country?

With more than 1 km, the motorway network is quite practical and above all free, which makes it possible to visit Belgium at low cost. Corn we prefer the Belgian rail network which is provided and efficient. Thanks to it, you will be able, for example, to leave from the capital for a short trip to the beaches of the North Sea and perk up in its invigorating waters!


View of the countryside near Bouillon

Also note that SNCB does not invoice children under 11 for travel, provided they are accompanied by an adult with a ticket. To reach more remote areas, the country has a complementary bus network, ideal for getting deep into the countryside. In town, buses, trams, subways and bicycles make it easy to navigate the streets and reach all historical points of interest.



What to eat and drink in Belgium?

Let the culinary faint-hearted go their way, Belgian gastronomy is a matter of quantity and pleasure! Impossible to miss the famous French fries stalls which offer, in addition to the national emblem, multiple snacks. Fricadelle, bicky burger or American sandwich ... if the finesse is not always there, the flavors yes! Belgian cuisine also reveals all the cultural diversity of the country. We think in particular of waffles, which from Brussels or Liège, each have their own characteristics.


Brussels waffles

By the sea, we will be tempted by a dish of mussels and fries accompanied by a good beer, while in the countryside, we prefer the Flemish beef stew, the carbonnade, or the famous stoemp, this mashed potatoes and vegetables, which is available to infinity. Speculoos and chocolates will complete the meal, while beer lovers will think they have fallen in paradise. Cherry Kriek, Trappist, Chouffe or Chimay, let yourself be guided by the bartenders' advice. Quality, diversity and inexpensive will be there!

READ ALSO :
Brussels through its local specialties: what to eat, what to drink?


What are the main activities to do in Belgium?

For art and history lovers, visit Belgium offers many opportunities for culture. International Carnival and Mask Museum in Binche, Cité Miroir in Liège or even life-size comics on the walls of Brussels and street-art on those of Charleroi, the country gives pride of place to artists. You can also immerse yourself in its historical culture by visiting the Castle of Reinhardstein or that of Seneffe.

Reinhardstein castle

You will immerse yourself in the life of the 18th century nobles, while marveling at temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists. Nature side, embark on a bucolic cruise between Dinant and Freyr or, for the more athletic, go kayaking in the Semois valley. You will dive into the heart of the unspoiled nature of the country and will thus have access to what founds the Belgian soul: its hospitality and its simplicity!

The Semois valley

TO COMPLETE YOUR CHOICES OF VISITS:
What to do in Belgium? 11 must-see places to visit

When and how was Belgium created?

The history of Belgium is closely linked to that of monarchical Europe and its battles for territorial power. Member of the Netherlands, which was under Spanish rule from 1482 to 1701, Belgium came under Austrian control from 1701, before being occupied by French troops during the Revolution. Following the fall of Napoleon I after the battle of Waterloo, Belgium returns to the kingdom of the Netherlands. It becomes independent in 1830, after the Belgians had kicked out of the territory, which had become national, the armies of King William of Orange. The contours of the country finally stabilized in 1839 with the separation of the Duchy of Luxembourg.

Butte du Lion in Waterloo

What is the most spoken language in Belgium?

Visiting Belgium offers the possibility of discovering a kaleidoscope of cultures and peoples, who all claim the right to maintain their traditions. Thus, the different languages ​​used in the country sometimes crystallize the latent tensions and the divergences of points of view between the communities. There are three official languages :

  • French is a linguistic relic of the hegemony of a small elite, which has gradually imposed itself on the whole of Wallonia, in the south of the country, as well as on the city of Brussels.
  • In resistance, the Flemish movement promoted the use of Dutch in the northern part of the country.
  • While the use of German was maintained in the German-speaking minorities in the east of the country.

To this, we must add a multitude of local dialects, less and less used today.

Who has the power in Belgium?

This linguistic diversity has notably favored the emergence of Belgian federalism and the establishment of representative institutions of these three communities. Belgium is a constitutional and representative monarchy which relies on a federal Parliament elected by multi-member proportional representation. It is divided into two entities, the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, which have legislative power.

The seat of the Belgian parliament

The executive power is in the hands of the Federal Government which includes the King, the Prime Minister as well as the other ministers. But Belgium, by virtue of its history and its identity, leaves a great deal of autonomy to these three communities (Flemish, French and German) in terms of languages ​​and culture, while the three Regions, which are superimposed on the linguistic distribution area, enjoy a certain freedom in economic matters. The Belgian federal system is therefore very complex and unique in the world.

What are the symbols of Belgian culture?

This complexity is found in the different symbols that mark the culture of a country formed from neighboring but culturally different communities. Like an incantation, Belgium's motto is “unity is strength”, a reminder of its multipolar origins. Of the 9 provinces of 1830 which united against the oppressor Guillaume d'Orange, Belgium has inherited a hymn, the Brabançonne, which resonates with every game of the Red Devils football team. But also the colors black, yellow and red of the Duke of Brabant which now cover the national standard.

The Grand-Place in Brussels

Visiting Belgium allows you to become aware of the attachment of the Belgians to the monarchy. Every July 21, they celebrate the King's 1st Oath, proclaimed in 1831 and show their love for their leader every November 15, on the occasion of his dedicated feast.

Useful information

To better prepare your stay, here is all the information you need to know before visiting Belgium!

  • Cash : The currency is the Euro.
  • Health : You can apply for a European health insurance card before your departure.
  • Visitor Center : There are several tourist office sites to prepare your stay. If you are going to Wallonia, the official site will provide you with information specific to this French-speaking region. But if you decide to explore the Dutch side, it is the official Flanders website that you should consult. Finally, there is also a tourism site for the city of Brussels alone!

Discover all the facets of Belgium!

You are now ready to go and visit Belgium, a country full of contrasts. To prepare your schedule of visits, discover the essential activities to do in the country!

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