Often unjustly underestimated as a holiday destination because of its size, little Belgium can be explored in about a week, but is an expert at winning over skeptical visitors with its wit and cultural offerings. If you only think of waffles and EU bureaucracy when you think of Belgium, you will be surprised by the reality – delicious beer, medieval church towers and a dynamic ethnic-cultural mix. Brussels may have a number of anonymous administrative buildings, but if you look closer you’ll find a lively city with a passion for coffee culture and Art Nouveau. Antwerp and especially Bruges are well worth a visit (and lots of photos) for their detailed medieval architecture. Belgium is divided into two regions – Flanders, the predominantly Dutch-speaking north, and the predominantly French-speaking Wallonia in the south. Together they are the insider tip among European travel destinations. Belgium is a member of European Union defined by pharmacylib.
Arriving by plane
Eurowings (EW) flies to Brussels from Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Vienna, Geneva, Basel and Zurich. Brussels Airlines (SN) flies from Frankfurt aM and from Hanover to Brussels. In addition, Brussels is served by all major airlines, including Lufthansa (LH), Swiss (LX) and Austrian Airlines (OS).
Frankfurt – Brussels: 1 hour; Munich – Brussels: 1 hour 25 minutes; Vienna – Brussels: 1 hour 40 minutes; Zurich – Brussels: 1 hour 15 minutes
Arrival by car
There are numerous road connections to all neighboring countries. Long-distance bus: Flixbus and Eurolines drive from Germany, Austria and Switzerland to Belgium, the IC Bus from Düsseldorf. Tolls: There are no tolls on Belgium’s roads for vehicles under 3.5 t, buses and mobile homes. Toll is only payable for the Liefkenshoek Tunnel near Antwerp. Documents: National driver’s license.
Note on arrival by car
Channel Tunnel: Le Shuttle car trains run several times a day between Folkestone (UK) and Calais (France), which is around 60 km from the Belgian border. All types of vehicles, from motorcycles to campers to trucks, can be transported (journey time: 35 minutes).
Arrival by train
The National Company of Belgian Railways (SNCB) offers good connections to many larger European cities. InterCity and high-speed trains connect Belgium to numerous international destinations: – InterCity (IC) trains go to The Hague/Rotterdam and Luxembourg, among others; – EuroCity (EC) trains run from Brussels to Luxembourg, Strasbourg and Basel; – the Eurostar operates between Brussels and London; – ICE trains connect Brussels with Cologne and Frankfurt/M.; – The Thalys runs daily on the routes Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, Düsseldorf Airport, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Aachen, Liège, Brussels; – TGV trains connect Brussels with Paris and Marseille. Reservations are mandatory for Thalys, Eurostar and TGV trains, recommended for IC and ICE trains. The ÖBB Nightjet travels from Vienna to Brussels via Linz, Innsbruck and Munich. The night train portal http://trainite.eu/ provides an overview of night train connections.
The Interrail One Country Pass and the Interrail Global Pass are valid in Belgium.
Arrival by ship
Antwerp is one of the largest commercial ports in Europe.
P&O Ferries offers services between Hull (UK) and Zeebrugge (journey time: 11-13 hours).
Routes across the rivers
Shipping companies such as Crystal Cruises, Phoenix, Plantours, Amadeus, Dertour and Croisi Europe call at Antwerp, Ghent or Brussels on their river cruises.
Traveling by plane
There is no domestic air traffic. Express buses run from Brussels Airport to Antwerp, Ghent and Liège (Luik/Liège). An airport bus runs between Antwerp (city) and Brussels Airport.
Traveling by car/bus
Belgium has one of the most efficient motorway networks in Europe, with large sections illuminated at night. Unleaded petrol (sans plomb/loodvrij) is available at every petrol station. Toll: There is no toll obligation. However, a passage fee has to be paid for the Liefenhoeks Tunnel in Antwerp.
Right-hand traffic/left-hand traffic
The road network includes: – Motorways, marked with an A and a number, in black letters on a white background; as European roads with an E and a number, in white letters on a green background; – National roads, labeled with N and a number, white letters on a blue background; – Ring roads around major cities in Belgium, marked with an R and a number, black lettering on a white background; and – Motorway feeder roads, numbered with a B and a three-digit number.
The driver must be at least 21 years old (may vary depending on the vehicle category) and have held a driver’s license for at least one year. A young driver fee is sometimes charged for drivers under the age of 25.
The tip is already included in the fare for taxi rides.
There are a variety of bike rental companies. Information can be obtained from the Wallonia and Flanders Tourist Offices. Bicycles or tandems can be hired at many train stations. Detailed information can be found on the Belgian Railways website.
Bus: The transport company Transport en Commun (TEC) is responsible for local transport in Brussels and Wallonia, De Lijn for Flanders. The regional bus network is excellent, timetables are available from the TEC sales outlets. Intercity buses run between numerous cities.
Traffic regulations: – Seat belts are compulsory for drivers and all other car occupants. – Children under the age of 12 must be carried in a child seat in the back seat. – A warning triangle must be carried. – It is compulsory for drivers to wear fluorescent warning vests if they leave their vehicle outside built-up areas and are on the road, for example in the event of a breakdown or an accident. – Alcohol limit: 0.5 ‰. – Public transport rail vehicles and buses always have the right of way. – Hitchhikers are not allowed on motorways and driveways. Speed limits: – in built-up areas: 30 km/h or 50 km/h, – on country roads: 90 km/h, – on motorways: 120 km/h.
The ADAC foreign emergency call offers ADAC members and holders of ADAC foreign health and accident insurance comprehensive assistance in the event of vehicle breakdowns, traffic accidents, loss of documents and money, and medical emergencies. The emergency number is available around the clock; for vehicle damage: tel. +49 (89) 22 22 22, for illnesses: +49 (89) 76 76 76. ADAC partner clubs in Belgium are: – Touring, tel. +32 (2) 233 22 11, within Belgium ( 070) 34 47 77; – Royal Automobile Club de Belgique RACB, Tel. +32 (2) 287 09 11.
The national driving license is sufficient. For citizens of EU and EFTA countries, the license plate number is valid as proof of insurance. Nevertheless, EU and EFTA citizens are recommended to take their international motor insurance card with them in order to be able to enjoy full insurance cover in the event of damage. Otherwise, the statutory minimum liability insurance coverage applies. In addition, the international motor insurance card can make it easier to record accidents.
Traveling in the city
All major cities have a dense local transport network. The regulations of the environmental zone apply throughout Brussels. In Brussels and Antwerp there are trams, metros, buses and taxis; Bus lines and/or tram lines in all other cities. Uniform tariff, the collective tickets (5 or 10 trips) are inexpensive. There are also day and tourist cards. In Brussels, the entrance to each metro station is marked with a white M on a blue background. The ticket must be validated when entering the paid area, which is marked by a red line on the floor. A Jump Ticket allows you to use all public transport in Brussels.
Locally on the way by train
Belgium has one of the densest rail networks in the world. Belgian Railways (NMBS/SNCB) trains usually run every hour, more frequently on the main lines. Up to 4 children under the age of 12 travel free with a paying passenger, seniors over 65 years of age get a discount. InterRegio trains connect smaller regional stations with cities like Brussels and Antwerp. InterCity (IC) trains run between larger cities such as Brussels, Antwerp and Liège. CityRail trains operate around Brussels. The Brussels Airport Express trains connect Brussels Airport with major Belgian cities.
The Interrail One Country Pass and the Interrail Global Pass are also valid in Belgium.
Note on the train journey
Detailed information on the numerous discounts for seniors, groups, young people or children, for example, can be found on the Belgian Railways (NMBS/SNCB) website. Telephone information for timetables, routes and special offers is available daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tel. +32 (2) 528 28 28.