Discover Belgium

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.

Follow Our Footprints

If you are wondering where to travel to next, Follow Our Footprints through Belgium and you will see it is well worth a visit.  Be sure to read through our Belgium overview and explore our many blogs on various cities and trip itineraries.

Beauty and History of Belgium
Follow Our Footprints

Discover charming and historic Belgium. Throughout the world, Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer. Belgium is relatively small but is a nation full of sights.

The capital city of Brussels contains UNESCO-designated sites such as the 14th-century guildhalls surrounding the elegant Grand Place (said to be the most beautiful public square in the world) to the early 20th-century Art Nouveau townhouses of Victor Horta.

Bruges is one of the most spectacular, photogenic tourist destinations in the world, with its well-preserved medieval streets and architecture. Other towns in Belgium – particularly Ghent and Mechelen – boast superb architecture from the Middle Ages as well.

Belgian has played a significant role in Europe’s history. It was in Belgium that Napoleon met his match at the battle of Waterloo. During both the First and Second World Wars, Belgium found itself playing a prominent, highly visible role. The World War I battlefields of Ypres are among the most popular places to visit in Belgium.

Belgium is a wonderful, charming and historic destination in Europe. After traveling much of Belgium, we’ve put together this handy, incredibly useful travel guide, highlighting the best of what you can see and do in Belgium.

Flanders and Beyond

Follow Our Footprints

If you have never been to Belgium, we recommend that you stay a minimum of one day each in Bruges, Antwerp and Ghent. You will need at least 2 days in Brussels. Belgium is charming and historic and you will need at least this much time to adequately take in each city. 

Must-See Cities
Follow Our Footprints


Antwerp Square

Antwerp is known as the diamond capital of the world. The diamond industry plays an important role in the economy of the city and has done so throughout its history. During the 16th Century, the city was one of the most important places, and one of the most important ports in all of Europe. Antwerp is a port city on Belgium’s River Scheldt, with history dating to the Middle Ages. In its center, the centuries-old Diamond District houses thousands of diamond traders, cutters and polishers. Antwerp’s Flemish Renaissance architecture is typified by the Grote Market, a central square in the old town. At the 17th-century Rubens House, period rooms display works by the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. The city suffered greatly in the Second World War but still retains much of its medieval charm and landmarks. Antwerp has UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Today, the city has a reputation for art and fashion. Antwerp has everything a traveler should wish for in a European city; world class museums and art, beautiful architecture and great food and drink. Find out more about the Antwerp and its unique history.  

More About Antwerp


Bruges belgium

Charming and Historic Bruges, the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium, is distinguished by its canals, cobbled streets and medieval buildings. It is also known for its bridges (of which there are more than 80). Its port, Zeebrugge, is an important center for fishing and European trade. In the city center’s Burg square, the historic 14th-century Stadhuis (City Hall) has an ornate carved ceiling. Nearby, Markt square features a 13th-century belfry with a 47-bell carillon and 83-meter tower with panoramic views. Bruges is a spectacle of mind-blowing, highly photogenic, historic medieval architecture. The cobblestone streets and meandering canals are highly romantic and charming. The Gothic and Baroque buildings are simply spectacular, even for Europe. Bruges is such a historic and charming fairyland that you will find it difficult to put down your camera. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. Bruges has a significant economic importance, thanks to its port, and was once one of the world’s chief commercial cities. Bruges is well known as the seat of the College of Europe, a university institute for European studies. The entire historic center of Bruges is a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with the Belfry of Bruges and the Flemish Béguinage.  All are easily accessible by walking or bicycling.  

More About Bruges


The Grand Place, Brussels

Brussels is Belgium’s capital city, full of Art Deco taverns, unique Flemish art, towering Gothic cathedrals, and quaint guild houses. Brussels is also one of the best European cities to go shopping in thanks in part to its historic 19th-century shopping arcade. You will find cutting edge art, comic books, beautiful parks and very good beer in Brussels. As the seat of the European Union, Brussels is known as the “capital of Europe,” and its significance as a center of international governance and business makes Brussels a true global city—a status shared with such metropolises as New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo. Brussels is the administrative, commercial, and financial heart of Belgium, and the majority of services and institutions of national importance are based in the city. Brussels is, in addition, a major European tourist and cultural attraction, functioning simultaneously as a regional metropolis and an international center.  There are 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Brussels and 2 additional sites within bicycling distance from the city Center. 

More About Brussels


Ghent Belgium

Ghent has a wide diversity of treats that will appeal to every traveler seeking European pleasures. Nightlife and food are also good, with some truly great food being served at a range of restaurants that will suit all budgets. Beer is king in Belgium and Ghent is home to the famous Gruut beer – not to mention offering countless numbers of other wonderful beers. The Castle of the Counts in Ghent is overwhelming, and the canals that thread through the city create a great deal of charm and beauty. Much of the city’s medieval architecture remains intact and is remarkably well preserved and restored. The Old Town Center is a car-free area. The medieval Gothic and Baroque architecture is utterly delightful and highly photogenic. Ghent is home to one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage designated Belfires.

More About Ghent

Essential Infomation

Follow Our Footprints

We’ve compiled a list of essential information you will need while planning your trip and traveling through Belgium. If we’ve left anything out that you are uncertain about, just ask us!

When to Travel to Belgium
Follow Our Footprints

We like to travel to European nations such as Belgium during the “shoulder seasons” (the off-peak months such as late fall or spring, when travel and lodging prices are lower and crowds are smaller). Our favorite time of year is late November and early December when holidays are most festive, or April and May when spring flowers are peaking. Tourism is lower during these times of year, and prices for lodging and travel are also lower. Be sure to check our Belgium festival list to experience the fun of being in Belgium during their many enjoyable annual festivals.

Belgium has a temperate maritime climate influenced by the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean, with cool summers and moderate winters. Rainfall occurs throughout the year with dryer conditions from April to September. Particularly in fall and winter, strong Atlantic low-pressure systems can bring gales and unpleasant weather. Easterly winds occasionally provide more of the weather seen throughout the continent, such as a warm and dry summer, but cold and clear weather is common in the winter, with temperatures sometimes far below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Belgium is often breezy, although more in the winter than in the summer, and more among the coastal areas than inland. In the eastern regions, hills create a cooler and wetter climate, with more rainfall and sometimes heavy snowfall in the winter.

Best Lightweight Carry On Luggage


Euro (EUR). Check current exchange rates using google currency converter.

Time Zone

Central European Standard Time (CET)

Belgium is in the Central European Standard Time (CET) which means Belgium is 6 hours ahead of the state of New York (Eastern Standard Time – EST). When it is 12:00 noon in New York, it is 6:00 pm in Belgium.

Electrical Sockets

For Belgium there are two associated plug types, types C and E. Plug type C is the plug which has two round pins and plug type E is the plug which has two round pins and a hole for the socket’s male earthing pin. Belgium operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. We have found multiple electrical outlet types in Europe.

We recommend you pack a universal electrical outlet adaptor so you can use your electronic gadgets wherever you are in Europe.


A standard passport is all you will need for travel to and within Belgium. Belgium is one of the 26 European countries in the European Schengen Area which allows visitors from many countries to visit for 90 days without a visa for tourist visits. Just make sure your passport is valid for 6 months past your time of entry!  The countries that are included in this visa exemption are the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and many countries in Central and South America. You can check the requirements here. Lodging proprietors occasionally ask to photocopy your passport when you arrive at their place, so try to always have your passport in an easy-to-find, secure location.


Belgium is generally a very safe country. Serious or violent crime is very low. Pickpockets are most common, of course, in the more popular tourist locations in Belgium, so keep an eye on your belongings at places such as The Grand Place, major airports and train stations. The official emergency number is 112, where you can reach all emergency services and then you will be re-directed to the department you require such as police or an ambulance. Belgium is, generally speaking, very safe for women travelers. For general travel, we recommend researching and purchasing through as they will show insurance options for multiple travel insurance carriers. For adventure travel, check out World Nomads as they have the best adventure travel coverage, covering activities like hiking, etc. For personal safety, carry a cross-body neck wallet  or waist pack (in front) to keep your valuables in. You should also avoid keeping things like your wallet and phone in your back pocket. Always travel with digital images or photocopies of your passport and bank cards.


Dutch (and French in southern Belgium) is the official language in Belgium, but English is spoken by nearly all Belgians, particularly in recent decades and in larger cities. Pretty much all travel service workers speak English rather well. We have never had significant difficulties communicating with Belgians, even though our Dutch is very limited. Know that even if you are not fluent in Dutch, Belgians appreciate and enjoy when you at least make an effort to speak a little bit of Dutch. In this website, you will find a handy guide showing Dutch translations for the most common phrases and questions you will need in Belgium. If you DO encounter people who do not speak any English, it is usually just a matter of engaging in a friendly form of charades or sign language to communicate.

You can also download the Google Translate app to your phone. It is available for iPhone and Android.


Traveling in a foreign country can be stressful, especially when road signs are in a foreign language.

We strongly recommend that your travels in Belgium are as car-free as possible. Doing so is much less stressful, can be much more affordable, puts you in a happier mood, provides you with a more comfortable and civilized experience, allows you to “live like a local,” allows you to more easily take in the sights on a street, and puts you in closer contact with residents. Fortunately, Belgium does very well in providing convenient, pleasant, easy-to-use non-car travel options. We find that train travel to towns and cities is almost always available and very low in cost. The trains tend to be relatively clean, and are a pleasant place to eat, drink and relax. In the rare instances where train travel is not available, a bus is always an option. Buses tend to be clean, low-cost, frequent, and easy to use (just find one of the many tobacco shops in the town you are in!). Belgium is a compact country so you can always check out opportunities to bicycle for part of your journey. 

When you are in a Belgian town or city and would like to see the sights, the historic center of the community is always compact enough to walk, and low-speed enough to safely and happily ride a rented bicycle.

We recommend the RomeToRio app to view bus and train schedules ahead of time. Be sure to load that app to your cell phone before your trip to Belgium. Links to the app are on their homepage and they are available of iPhone and Android. Visit our Booking Resource Travel Page to compare rail and bus tickets. 


While you can travel far more expensively or far less expensively than we do, we generally find that we spend approximately $1000 for a week of travel in European nations such as Belgium. That includes everything: round-trip airfare from the US, lodging, food and drink, entrance fees, etc. 

We offer tips on how to save on your biggest expense: roundtrip airfare. We also offer tips on how to save money for expenses other than flights. See which airlines currently fly to Belgium

Travel Expenses

Follow Our Footprints

Budgeting can be difficult but we are disciplined when planning. We do not spend more than $50 per person (pp) on lodging, $550 pp for R/T air, and $50 pp for long-distance trains.


We stay in studio or 1 bedroom apartments when we travel. Depending on your length of stay, seek lodging that has laundry facilities. There are plenty of apartment options available that have in-unit washing machines, which come in handy for longer trips. Apartment prices vary per season and by proximity to the historic city center. For any type of accommodation, expect to pay about 30% – 50% more in peak season.

  • Studio/1BR Apartment: $50 – $150 per night
  • Hotel: $65 – $200 per night
  • B&B: $80 – $200 per night

Most dining options are open during lunch and dinner.  There are plenty of brew pubs in Belgium and they are a great option for good, hearty food at a reasonable cost. For pub food, you will pay around $12.  Restaurants with table service generally will cost a bit more at around $25 per person. House wines by the glass run about $3-6 per glass.

  • Pubs and Breweries: $6 – $15 pp
  • Restaurants: $20 -$50 pp

Travel through Belgium is inexpensive and there are multiple options for getting from city to city. For regional travel, trains and buses are convenient and affordable. For longer distances, or traveling to neighboring countries, the fast trains can get you there in a couple of hours at a reasonable price, especially if you book early. Most larger cities offer trains, trams, and buses. Many cities also have bike rentals if you want to have the freedom to explore locally without relying on public transport.

  • Local City Transit: $2
  • Buses: $6 – $12
  • Trains: $35 – $75 (Intercountry) or $6 – $35 (standard)
  • Bike Rental: $14 per day

What To Pack When Traveling To Europe

Best Things To Do

Follow Our Footprints

Belgium is full of charming and historic places, and it is a delight for those that enjoy food and drink, as well as outdoor pursuits like bicycling, and beautiful, interesting architecture. Here are a few of the best places to see and things to do in Belgium.

Go on a bicycle tour of Belgian breweries for hours or days

You can bicycle on the vast network of pleasant, safe bicycle routes throughout Belgium to visit the many wonderful Belgian beer breweries – many of which have been brewing spectacular beer for several centuries. Cycling is especially huge in Flanders, the flat, northern part of Belgium. You can book tours through or  Alternatively, at Belgian Bike Tours, you can find a number of self-guided routes, including a delightful round-trip bicycle ride from Ghent to Bruges and back, visit Trappist and other Belgian breweries making the best beer on earth, and ride through the history of World War in Flanders Fields – the scene of the bloodiest battles of WWI.

Spend a day in the living museum of Bruges

Bruges is a spectacle of mind-blowing, highly photogenic, charming, and historic medieval architecture. The cobblestone streets and meandering canals are particularly enchanting. The Gothic and Baroque buildings are simply spectacular, even for Europe. Bruges is such a quaint fairyland that you will find it difficult to put down your camera. Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, it is sometimes referred to as the Venice of the North. Bruges has a significant economic importance, thanks to its port, and was once one of the world’s chief commercial cities. Bruges is well known as the seat of the College of Europe, a university institute for European studies. The entire city center boast a UNESCO World Heritage designation. 

Bruges Belgium
Belgium Carnival

Immerse yourself in the Dionysian pleasures of Carnival

The Belgians show the world how to have fun during Carnival season, the festival that brings many towns grinding to a halt for several days. Elaborate outfits are donned, and centuries-old rituals are engaged in. Carnival is an important part of local cultural identity. The event is particularly lively and bizarre in town of Binche, where the townsfolk wear wax face masks and ostrich-feather hats to create the appearance of clown-like figures known as “Gilles.” This Mardi Gras celebration includes the storming of the town hall while drinking champagne and throwing oranges into the crowds, and has been in existence for decades. Stavelot is another noteworthy place to fully enjoy Carnival, although the festivities can be found in many Belgian cities.

Food and Flower Markets

Food markets are, in our opinion, one of the best ways to have fun in a trip to Europe, and an excellent way to sample truly local, fresh foods in an exceptionally local, authentic way – particularly when they are OUTDOOR markets. This is a wonderful way to get a taste of the non-touristy community you are in. Food markets are found throughout Belgium. There are several in Brussels alone: Parvis de Saint-Gilles, Place Flagey, Place du Châtelain, Place Sainte-Catherine, Place Van Meenen. Mabru, and Marché du Midi.

Belgium Flower Market

Visit a selection of one of the 33 UNESCO-designated Belgian belfries

Belfries are large towers in central public areas. They are often decorated ornately with images of the regions culture and history. The ornateness was a way a community demonstrated its pride. The belfry was also symbolic of a town or city freeing itself from the tyranny of a lord or the church, and was now instead governed by a council. Belfries often incorporate the town bells or the town clock. Discover the designated  historic UNESCO belfries of Belgium and France

Go Wild Sampling the Best Chocolates in the world

Belgians are, of course, the world’s greatest connoisseurs of chocolate, which makes a sampling of what this nation has to offer a must-do for anyone who loves chocolate. When you visit Brussels or Bruges, here are some of the best shops to experience “Death by Chocolate”: Brussels: Godiva, Mary, Neuhaus, Galler, and Leonidas. In Bruges: Dumon, The Chocolate Line, BbyB, and Confiserie De Clerck.

Beer and Chocolate

Recommended Beer/Chocolate Tours

No nation on earth makes better beer or chocolate than the Belgians. Find out more about the high-quality beer and chocolate found throughout Belgium by signing up for a tour. Hungry Mary’s Beer and Chocolate Tour is Brussels is probably the best and the highest-rated tour. You will no doubt experience a day of indulgence.  Some tours even include Belgium waffle tastings. You can book beer and chocolate tours through or

What To Eat in Belgium

Follow Our Footprints

We prefer fresh, hearty, flavorful foods and when in Belgium, we partake in all of their most known and traditional foods. Here are a few dishes that you need to try in Belgium.

Belgian Fries

Many call this the national food of Belgium. No one calls it ‘French Fries’ in Belgium. Making Belgian fries is a two-step frying process to perfect the crunchiness as well as the softness. Fries are claimed by Belgians to be a Belgian invention and not French.


Mussels of Mosselen-friet are harvested in the North Sea and are more fleshy than those in France. In Belgium, the mussels are cooked either in white wine and classic vegetable broth or in Belgian Beer. It is commonly served with fries and Belgians commonly dip their fries in the leftover sauce after eating the mussels.


A creamy dish that is superior to American mashed potatoes, and is a common side dish for Belgium food. This Belgian dish is a creamy blend of mashed potatoes and other vegetables like carrots, kale, brussels sprouts, etc. and served as a side dish — often with sausages.

Grey shrimp Croquettes

A popular Belgian seafood. It is a crispy delicacy, and usually made from scratch in most seafood restaurants. It’s crispy on the outside, and molten and oozing on the inside. It makes for an excellent snack.


The unofficial national cookies of the Belgium food culture. They are a thin, very crunchy and caramel filled biscuit baked with figures on them. Usually eaten with coffee, it is spiced and gives a unique experience for the taste buds.


Waterzooi is a stew or soup made with chicken or fish, vegetables, cream, and egg. Excellent on a cold day to warm you up.

Belgian Waffles

It goes without saying that no one makes more delicious waffles than the people of Belgium. There are two varieties of waffles: the rectangular ones, which aren’t as sweet but are topped with chocolate, cream, and various grated fruits. The other style is small and has embedded sugar, which makes it sweeter. This second version is varies in taste from region to region. Some recommend avoiding the many extra toppings you often see on display to get the pure sweet taste of the waffles.

Belgian Chocolates

Besides waffles, Belgium is also world-famous for its Belgian chocolates. Produced since the 19th century, chocolate plays a large role in the economy and in Belgian cuisine. The Belgiancuisine has evolved to include chocolate in many of its desserts, such as the pralines, which are soft treats with a chocolate casing. Truffles are another treat that takes great advantage of chocolate.

Sirop de Liege

Sirop de Liege is a jam or jelly-like sweet made from evaporated fruit juices of fruits like date, pears, or apples. It is sweet and sticky and mostly served on bread or baguettes. It can also be paired with cheese for lunch.

Tomates aux Crevettes Grises

Also called Tomaat met Grijze Garnalen, this is another common food for the Belgians. The dish is made with brown or grey shrimp, with a generous mix of mayo and stuffed in cold tomatoes. It is a popular appetizer.

Book Your Travel

Search for the best air and hotel prices

Follow Our Footprints
Belgium Travel Guides
Follow Our Footprints
Follow Our Footprints
Apart from our complete travel guide on this website, here are other reading materials we recommend checking out before your trip.
Latest Belgian Blogs
Follow Our Footprints