Belgium travel advice
Planning your trip
Belgium is a fairly compact country so there are options to explore the country using one city as your base for the trip or moving between two or three destinations during your time in country depending on your preferences.
There are three official languages, whose predominance depends on where you are. You’ll hear Dutch in the north, French in the south and German in small pockets near the eastern border. However, English is spoken widely across the country, making conversation simple.
Food & drink
Fitting for a country that speaks French, Dutch and German, Belgian cuisine draws from all three countries’ culinary history. Potatoes, leeks and white asparagus are common ingredients, along with shrimp, endives and local beer.
Perhaps the country’s best-known dish, moules-frites, features mussels gathered off the Flemish coast to go with the fried potatoes. Other popular dishes include large, sweet waffles, frites served with mayonnaise and carbonnade flamande, a sweet-and-sour beef stew with onions and beer. There’s also a lively chocolate industry.
Beer drinkers will find an impressive variety here — in fact, Belgium produces more types of beer per capita than any other country in the world. It’s worth noting that traditional Trappist ales can be strong with 7-10% alcohol by volume.
Festivals & holidays
Belgium celebrates ten public holidays, mostly drawing from both the Christian calendar but also paying tribute to the country’s own history with Armistice Day and the Belgian National Day on 21 July.
In addition to holidays, the country enjoys a large number of festivals. You’ll find large-scale celebrations of everything from chocolate and electronic music to international films and beer to folk dancing and floral displays. December also brings a plethora of traditional Christmas markets.
Tipping is not a big part of the culture in Belgium. There’s a service fee added in restaurants but if you feel you had good service, an additional 5-10% is welcomed. For taxis, we suggest 10%.
For guides, we recommend tipping €20 for a half-day tour or €40 for full-day one, as well as €10 for a driver per day.
The country calling code is +32 and phone numbers within the country are typically 9 or 10 digits and begin with a 0. We recommend checking with your mobile phone provider to see whether they offer international phone and data service in Belgium as part of your plan or at an additional cost. Wi-Fi is provided free of charge in most hotels as well as a large number of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Our country specialists can advise on any safety concerns you may have. For current information, please refer to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website.
When to go to Belgium
You'll find temperature and rainfall information, together with a month-by-month guide on visiting, on our guide for when to go to Belgium.
1 hour 15 upwards dependent on airline (London to Brussels)