With romantic rivers and canals, 'chocolate-box' villages and impressive monuments from the Renaissance, Belgium exudes old-world charm like no other. Whether you're keen to dabble in the art world, discover historic battlefields, indulge in gastronomic delights or simply wander the cobbled city alleyways, Belgium will feed your senses, capture your imagination and steal your heart.
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Belgian beer, waffles and more
Posted on Fri, 30 Apr 2010 by Sue Elliot
Aside from Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dr Evil, the most famous things to come out of Belgium are definitely food and drink related. Everyone immediately envisages beer, waffles and chocolate [...]Read more
At a glance
|Capital city:||Brussels (population 950,000)|
|Language:||Dutch, French, German|
|Time zone:||(GMT+01:00) Brussels, Copenhagen, Madrid, Paris|
|Electricity:||Type C (European 2-pin) Type E (French 2-pin, female earth)|
Best time to visit Belgium
As a small country, Belgium's weather doesn't vary much around the country. Warmer weather prevails from May to September, with July and August being the most popular times to visit, so expect to share Belgium with more people when travelling during this period. It can get quite cold during December and January, with snow frequently falling around the country. Rainfall is quite high year-round in Belgium, although the rain is usually in the form of showers rather than torrential downpours.
Geography and environment
Top 5 Sweet Treats of Belgium
Belgian chocolate is arguably the world's best and with thousands of chocolate shops all over the country, visitors won't be able to resist trying a truffle or two! Visit chocolate museums, hand-pick favourites at luxury chocolateries or stock up at chain stores.
Belgian Waffles (known locally as Gaufres) aren't exactly a diet food. Topped with cream, sugar, chocolate sauce, strawberries or all of the above, they are a delectably decadent treat easily picked up from markets, specialty stores and street carts all over Belgium.
These classic Belgian sweets are a raging favourite with locals. Hard on the outside and syrupy in the middle, cone-shaped cuberdons are made with sugar and gelatine, and are available in flavours like raspberry, blackcurrant and apple.
These thin, spicy cookies are usually served at Christmas, but are baked all year round. With a unique flavour, they are very 'moreish' so it's hard to stop at one.
5. Pom Koek
This traditional, Belgian coffee cake made with honey and coffee and spiced with cinnamon and cloves is a delicious afternoon pick-me-up easily found in coffee houses and cafes throughout Belgium.
FAQs on Belgium
Coffee in a cafe = 3-4 Euro
A bottle of beer = 3-5 Euro
Lunch in a cafe = 10-15 Euro
Nice dinner with drinks = 30-50 Euro
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Apr 9 Easter Monday
May 1 Labour Day
May 17 Ascension Day
May 28 Whit Monday
Jul 11 Flemish Community Holiday
Jul 21 Independence Day
Aug 15 Assumption
Sep 27 French Community Holiday
Nov 1 All Saints Day
Nov 11 Armistice Day
Nov 15 German Community Holiday
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day
Please note these dates are for 2012. For a current list of public holidays go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/belgium/public-holidays
Health and Safety
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From New Zealand?
Go to: http://www.voyage.gc.ca/
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information:
Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Belgium Travel Tips
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for Belgium
1. Be considerate of Belgium’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
3. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
4. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
5. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it – simple greetings will help break the ice.
6. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
7. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
8. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
|As Above, So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel||Rudy Rucker|
|A Tall Man in a Low Land: Some Time Among the Belgians||Harry Pearson|
|A Dog in Flanders||Ouida|
|Dreadful Lies||Michele Bailey|
|They Called it Passchendaele||Lyn Macdonald|