Belgium Travel Guide

Alternative Travel Index Rank: #20

Belgium also ranks 7th in the Top 10 Cultural Travel Destinations
Excels in health & hygiene and oral & intangible cultural heritage
Population and tourists density at peak season: 389 (very high)

  • Scenic View of Brussels' City Center

Mostly known for its key role in the EU administration, the small nation of Belgium might leave you surprised by its rich heritage. It boasts a number of historic cities full of medieval and Art Nouveau architecture, and famous for their long traditions in arts, fashion, and fine dining. The Belgian countryside also offers a wide variety of habitats, from the soft whitesand beaches on the north coast, to the beautiful forested hills and ridges of the Ardennes.

Travel Costs

Belgium ranks #120/141 for price competitiveness in Justraveling’s Alternative Travel Index. Average travel costs per day: $70 (backpacker) – $273 (mid-range). Cheapest Belgian cities: Liege, Hasselt. Most expensive cities: Ostend, Ghent.

Best Time to Go

Apr-May and Sep-Oct are the best time to go to Belgium. The climate is maritime temperate, with significant precipitation in all seasons.

Places to Visit

Brussels, is the capital of Belgium, but also, unofficially, of the EU, and of the Art Nouveau. Compact and easily walkable, the city hosts over 80 museums and many important cultural sites, and is well known for its performing arts scene.

Ghent is a city of history. Its centre is the largest carfree area in Belgium and contains remarkably well preserved medieval architecture, numerous churches, and a castle. Ghent is also home to a port, a university, and a nature reserve.

The Ardennes, which encompass both densely forested and agricultural areas, are one of the wildest regions in this part of Europe and are a great destination for active travelers who enjoy hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, or climbing.

Positioned in the steep sided Upper Meuse valley, just between the rock face and the river, the city of Dinant offers spectacular views of the surroundings, and is a popular spot for adventure sports, such as canoeing and rock climbing.

Travel Ideas and Things to Do

Folklore plays a major role in Belgium’s cultural life, with many local festivals and events recognized by UNESCO as masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. The list include: the Carnival of Binche, Meiboom in Brussels, Ducasse of Mons, and the Processional Giants and Dragons.

Ever heard of beer tourism? Sounds great, and tastes even better! Belgium is the best place to indulge in the pleasures of beer tasting, with over 450 different varieties, all drinkable in beautiful abbeys and traditional brasseries.

Belgium has a huge network of cycle routes and a strong cycling tradition, well represented by the Tour of Flanders and the Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Cycling across Wallonia allows you to explore this fascinating region, relatively flat to the north, hilly and sparsely populated to the south-east (the Ardennes).

More active travel ideas for your next trip can be found in the Hiking Series. Check out these five routes to enjoy an awesome day hike in Belgium.

This Travel Guide is a work in progress. Improve it with a Belgian touch!

Sources: some text excerpts from Wikitravel & Wikipedia; travel cost data from Numbeo.