Belgium Travel Facts

By | March 16, 2022

Belgium is one of the smallest countries in Europe. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Ardennes to the south-east. Neighboring countries are the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France and Germany. The cosy, small country is, among other things, the place of origin of french fries, some world-famous comics and a popular producer of the finest chocolate.

Capital City Brussels
Size 30,528 km²
Resident 11,270,000
Official Language Ndl., French, German.
Currency Euro
Time Zone CET+1 / CET+2
Telephone Area Code +32

Source: Destination Explorer

Fast facts to know

  • Form of government: Kingdom with parliamentary monarchy.
  • Belgium is known for its comics (Smurfs, Tintin etc).
  • Form the Be-Ne-Lux states together with the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
  • Most residents speak Dutch, many in the south French.
  • Beer very popular, but there is no purity law.
  • Speculaas were invented in Belgium.
  • Has an excellent network of cycle paths.
  • Decided to phase out nuclear energy as early as 1999.
  • Belgians are known to be very friendly and open-hearted.
  • Flea and antique markets are very popular in Belgium.
  • After the terrorist attacks in Paris, traces led to Belgium, where many Islamists live (among other things, due to sometimes failed integration policies)

Exciting cities in Belgium

  • Brussels
  • Bruges
  • Antwerp
  • Gent
  • Liege
  • Leuven
  • Namur

History of Belgium

  • Introduced by Caesar as the province “Belgica”.
  • Part of the Frankish Empire in the early Middle Ages.
  • From the High Middle Ages to the early modern period, the cities of Flanders with their textile industry were one of the two economic centers of Europe.
  • Annexed by France in 1794.
  • Granted to the Netherlands in 1815.
  • 1830 Independence after the Belgian Revolution, Belgium becomes a parliamentary monarchy.
  • Exploitation and reign of terror in the Congo under King Leopold II.
  • Neutral in both WWI and WWII – it was occupied by the Germans.
  • Brussels becomes the seat of international organizations such as NATO and the European Union.

Climate & travel weather in Belgium

  • Typical for Western Europe, temperate climate.
  • Lots of snowfall in the Ardennes and the Eiffel in winter.
  • On the North Sea coast, mild, wet winters and moderately warm, wet summers.
  • Recommended travel time:
    • Winter sports: January & February.
    • City breaks: March, April, September, October.
    • Beach holiday at the sea: July & August.

Ideas for trips in Belgium

  • Atomium & Grand Place in Brussels.
  • Gravensteen Castle in Ghent.
  • Raeren Castle.
  • Reuland Castle.
  • Port tour in Antwerp.
  • Neolithic flint mines at Spiennes.
  • Boat lifts of the Canal du Center (UNESCO World Heritage).
  • Chic seaside resort of Knokke-Heist.
  • Villages of Wallonia.
  • Hiking in the Ardennes.
  • Durbuy & Castle of La Roche.
  • Town & Castle Bouillon.

Eating & drinking in Belgium

  • Characterized by French cuisine.
  • Different regional preferences and focuses:
    • In the Ardennes – Wild.
    • On the coast – fish dishes.
    • Flanders – many asparagus dishes.
  • Potatoes, ham play an important role in the countryside as food.
  • Motherland of the world famous french fries.
  • Known for numerous cheese specialties, such as the Herve from the province of Liège.
  • Chocolate and pralines have a long tradition – especially in Brussels.
  • Belgians like to combine hearty with sweet.
  • Land of beer – more than three hundred well-known types of beer.
  • Typical dishes:
    • Rabbit stewed with beer.
    • Carbonade Flamande (braised beef or pork goulash).
    • Salade Liègeoise (salad with ham, potatoes, beans, garlic).
    • Liège & Brussels Waffles.
    • Dame blanche (vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and whipped cream).
    • Frikadellen met krieken (steamed meatballs with hot cherries).
    • Kip met appelmoes (chicken with apple sauce).
    • Tarte au ris (rice cakes).

Particularly scenic

  • High Fens Nature Park
  • Ardennes
  • Coastal landscape at the North Sea
  • Meuse valley

Belgium Travel Facts