Belgium has not made it on the must-see record for a lot of a traveler. But with an abundance of tradition, castles and beer a-plenty Belgium has the products to entice. Add to that well-maintained roads which might be freed from tolls and you’ve got the recipe for an ideal 7-day Belgian Roadtrip.
The place is Belgium?
The Kingdom of Belgium is a bit triangular-shaped nation in Western Europe, flanked by the North Sea to the East, the Netherlands to the North, Germany to the West, and France to the South.
The nation is break up into three areas: Flanders (North), Brussels Capital Area (Middle), and Wallonia (South). Every area has a distinct official language, which means roadsigns will probably be tailored to replicate the official language of the area. Count on Flemish in Flanders, Flemish and French in Brussels, and French in Wallonia. On the whole, Belgians are usually proficient in a number of languages and will probably be more than pleased that can assist you out in English.
Why is it price taking a street journey by means of Belgium?
Untouched by over-tourism but brimming with issues to see, Belgium has a lot to supply the eager customer. The nation is residence to at least 15 UNESCO Heritage Websites, over 3000 castles, 1000’s of beers, and the most effective chocolate you’ll ever have the pleasure of tasting.
Although a comparatively younger nation for European requirements (Belgium was based in 1830), the territory of Belgium has an extended and wealthy historical past because of the strategic location by the North Sea. This turns into crystal clear when strolling across the Historic Facilities of the primary cities: Bruges, Brussels, and Antwerp.
Whereas the nation has an excellent system of public transportation, not all of the places are as simple to entry typically requiring a number of types of transport (for instance the castles within the province of Namur). Having a automobile will let you dive deeper into the inside folds of the nation, exploring each nook and cranny at your personal tempo.
Belgian Roadtrip itinerary overview
- Day One –Head out to the modern metropolis of Antwerpen
- Day Two – Go to the small city of Mechelen
- Day Three & 4 – Discover Brussels and its environment
- Day 5 and Six – Journey to town and province of Namur
- Day Seven – Try Bruges
- Bonus – Climate & time allowing head out to the Belgian coastal metropolis of De Haan
Locations to see throughout your 7-day Belgian street journey
Belgium is a small nation and most places described within the 7-day street journey information are a straightforward 2-hour drive from the capital Brussels. In case you are not a fan of lugging round your baggage you would decide to make use of Brussels as a hub and go to the assorted cities on day journeys.
Begin by trying out the greatest space to remain in Brussels earlier than delving into reserving your resort. You’ll want to keep on the outskirts of city to keep away from the majority of town visitors. Saint-Gilles is a good neighborhood with loads of bars & eating places and ample parking.
Spend a day in Antwerpen
The place to park: Park within the centrally situated Arenberg Parking
Relationship again so far as the sixteenth century, town of Antwerp performed an vital historic and financial function. The presence of the harbor meant it was a hub for retailers buying and selling their items. Wealthy retailers and guilds poured their hard-earned pennies into the now Historic Centre of Antwerp, remnants of that are clear when strolling across the Grote Markt (Primary Sq.) and the encircling spiderweb of streets.
Go to the opulent Cathedral of our Girl Antwerp, the lesser-known Saint Andrews Church, and the attractive Saint Charles Borromeo’s Church. Get transported again into Medieval Antwerp when visiting the Vlaaikensgang, the Rubens Home, and the Plantin-Moretus Museum. And eventually don’t miss out on a few of Belgium’s greatest buying within the probability to peruse the Nationalestraat, Kammenstraat, and the Lombardenvest.
The place to be for hip eateries and artsy cocktail bars is Antwerpen Zuid. A 30-minute stroll from the Grote Markt will take you thru to Marnixplaats, the right place to seize a drink and mingle with the locals.
Go to the small city of Mechelen
The place to park: Park below the primary sq. on the Parking Grote Markt or the Parking Hoogstraat
Wedged between the 2 largest cities in Belgium, Brussels and Antwerp, the little metropolis of Mechelen typically instances finds itself ever so barely forgotten. This nevertheless is its best allure, it means town has remained fantastically genuine and is among the highest locations to catch a glimpse of true Flemish tradition.
Due to a beneficiant native coverage to fund native startups applied by town council, new bars, eateries, and little shops pop up within the metropolis on an nearly every day foundation. A favourite among the many locals is the lined meals market known as De Vleeshalle. Inside a large number of various meals stalls providing a wide range of completely different cuisines starting from fish and chips to scrumptious Phô.
Stroll up the 500-something steps of the Saint Rumboldscathedral to catch the easiest views. On a transparent day, you’ll be able to spot the Atomium in Brussels and the Cathedral of our Girl of Antwerp. Take within the pastel-colored guild homes on the Grote Markt (most important sq.) and the Fabric Halls, head over to the bustling fish market and be a part of locals for an ideal evening in town.
Discover Brussels and its environment
The place to park: Go away the automobile parked by your resort while you discover Brussels Metropolis Middle and decide to take the metro.
Spending in the future in Brussels is a good way to get a really feel for the thriving capital of Belgium. Begin by exploring the Historic Middle in and across the majestic Grand Place (Primary Sq.). Go to town corridor and the Belgian Brewers Museum on the sq. earlier than heading in the direction of Café Dandoy for a scrumptious Belgian Waffle. Spot Manneken Pis (the little peeing boy) and go on the hunt for his associates Jeanneken Pis and Zinneke Pis.
Absorb some modern artwork on the Bozar and reward your self with a drink on their rooftop terrace (open from June to September). Ought to the rooftop terrace on the Bozar be closed, attempt your luck on the highest flooring of the Museum of Devices (MIM) which is open yearlong and serves a scrumptious brunch. Finish your day in one of many many bars & eating places within the Ixelles or Saint-Gilles space. Place Saint Boniface is a well-liked hangout for locals.
In your second day, enterprise out of Brussels and discover a number of the lesser-known landmarks across the metropolis. Begin your day with a stroll by means of the attractive La Hulpe park with its ivy-covered little fortress, subsequent drive to the Gaasbeek Fortress (closed for renovations till 2023 after which it will likely be open to the general public as soon as once more). Finish the day on the Atomium, watching the sundown from the restaurant on the very prime.
Journey to town and province of Namur
The place to park: Park alongside the river within the BePark – Paring Namur Centre
Town of Namur is the capital of the Wallonia area. In recent times it has obtained a major improve in funding from the regional authorities to advertise tourism which has translated right into a state-of-the-art, interactive museum within the Citadel of Namur, a revival of the historic funicular connecting downtown Namur with the Citadel and hip bars & eating places mushrooming up throughout city.
Visiting Namurs is a good way to find the southern a part of Belgium and get a style of Walloon tradition. Keep in mind the primary language spoken on this a part of the nation is French. Other than the Citadel and the funicular, go to the UNESCO categorised Belfry of Namur, end the day by heading right down to the oldest watering gap of town courting again 400 years and take a look at a neighborhood beer.
On day two discover the environment of Namur, there are a selection of various actions to select from. Fortress lovers will wish to go to the Vêves Fortress, journey lovers may select to move to Dinant to expertise kayaking whereas hikers will wish to obtain the Komoot or AllTrails app to get GPX coordinates to the plethora of various hikes round Namur. Final however not least, beer lovers can decide to move over to the Maredsous Abbey to attempt their well-known beer and cheese whereas visiting the Abbey.
The place to park: Park within the Interparking Brugge – Parking ‘t Zand
Kick your butt away from bed a bit earlier and head over the Bruges. In case you are visiting in excessive season (June, July, and August) you’ll want to go to early within the morning to beat the hoards of vacationers. The Historic Middle could be very quaint, though small making it really feel cramped shortly.
Go to the Grote Markt (most important sq.), stroll up the 83-meter Belford for the most effective views over Brugge, and discover the Medieval Fabric Corridor. Pay €10 for a guided tour on the canals of Bruges, though cliché it’s an absolute should. As your information factors out the assorted historic buildings alongside the waterfront you’ll get a totally completely different perspective of town. Rental of a non-public boat is unfortunately not attainable (for locals and vacationers alike).
Plan in sufficient time to amble across the cobblestoned little alleyways main you to a number of the most important highlights of Bruges together with the Beguinage, The Church of Our Girl Bruges, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and the Rozenhoedkaai.
Bonus – Climate & time allowing head out to the Belgian coastal metropolis of De Haan
Regardless of outward appearances, Belgium has a thriving coastal scene. One ray of sunshine in spring and summer season is normally sufficient to ship many a Belgian in a mad frenzy to hurry to the coast. The preferred cities are Oostende, Knokke-Heist and De Panne. These little cities are inclined to replenish shortly making each the search for parking and a spot on the seaside grotesque at greatest.
As an alternative decide to drive to the much-lesser identified De Haan, replete with belle-epoque villas and neverending stretches of white sandy seaside. Seize an ice cream from one of many many ice cream parlors in entrance of the Ocean or pull in your strolling footwear and stroll the 9km loop stroll from De Haan to Wenduinen alongside the seaside.
Driving in Belgium
Driving in Belgium is quite a bit simpler in comparison with different nations in Europe. Belgians are comparatively calm drivers, who’re respectful of the visitors guidelines. Blinkers are used, cease indicators will not be ignored and handicapped parking is revered, for probably the most half.
Driving occurs on the right-hand aspect of the street as is frequent in continental Europe. When driving in cities, be aware that visitors coming out of your right-hand aspect has the best of manner. Belgians will probably be relentless in exercising this proper of manner.
Flanders and Brussels are lined by an in depth community of velocity cameras. As a normal rule of thumb 30 km/h is the velocity restrict when within the neighborhood of a college, 50 km/h is the velocity restrict throughout the confines of town/city whereas motorways enable for a velocity of 120 km/h. Fines for dashing apply for transgressions beginning at 6km/h above the velocity restrict and critical offenses can lead to the elimination of your driver’s license for as much as a few months.
To be allowed to drive in Belgium you have to be 18+ and in possession of a legitimate Driver’s Licence. Please be aware that the authorized age for renting a automobile is 21 years or older. Drivers between 21 and 24 years outdated might want to pay a younger driver’s payment of €12.10/day.
get to Belgium
Belgium is serviced by two most important airports, Brussels Airport and Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Brussels airport is on the outskirts of Brussels and has an ideal connection to the most important cities in Belgium. When taking the prepare from and to Brussels Airport a complement of €5.7 is charged on every journey).
Brussels South Charleroi Airport shouldn’t be, because the title may recommend, situated in Brussels however reasonably on the outskirts of town of Charleroi. A direct bus connects Brussels South Charleroi Airport with Brussels (45-minutes journey) or downtown Charleroi (10-minute journey).
Each airports have automobile rental providers on the arrivals corridor, guaranteeing you can begin your street journey by means of Belgium the minute you step off the aircraft.
Caroline Muller is a self-proclaimed foodie with a love for writing & images. She runs Veggie Wayfarer.