Internationally renowned for its chocolate and beer, this pocket-sized country has much more to entice you with impressive architecture, beautiful landscape, lively nightlife and of course first rate cuisine.
The vibrant capital city of Brussels, the Flanders region in the North, a flatland home to a mass of canals and the famous cities Antwerp, Bruges and Ghent and the Wallonia region in the South, home to the rolling hills of Ardennes, countless castles and the cities of Liege, Tournai and Namur is a taste of what Belgium has to offer. Ideally situated next to France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, Belgium is also a good stepping stone into the rest of Europe. A stay in Belgium is guaranteed to be unforgettable.
Like the most of Europe the weather in Belgium is changeable and often unpredictable. The climate, however, is rarely too hot nor too cold with warm summers and mild winters. In winter the temperature seldom drops below zero but snow is likely. Rain is frequent and is often expected.
Belgium observe public holidays with twelve official dates throughout the year.
The main airport in Belgium is the Brussels Zaventem or Brussels International Airport as it is also referred to. Most international flights arrive and depart from this airport.
Other airports include Brussels South Charleroi and Antwerp airports. Some European and UK flights charter here.
As Belgium is a small country there are no internal flights.
The train network in Belgium is dense and connects most of the country. It is a reliable, efficient and comfortable way to travel. Rail passes and discount tickets are available.
Driving is done on the right hand side. Speed restrictions are enforced: 31mph (50km/h) in the city, 56mph (90km/h) outside the city, and 75mph (120km/h) on 4-lane highways. Seat belts must be worn at all times in both front and rear seats of the vehicle. Children of under 12 years of age are prohibited from sitting in the front seats. The maximum blood alcohol level is 0.5g/l (1 glass of wine).
The highway network in Belgium is one of the densest in the world but towns and cities tend to be congested. Because of this travellers are discouraged from travelling by car.
Major cities in Belgium benefit from both national and international bus and coach services to a range of European destinations.
Tram and underground train systems operate in major cities.
Belgium is a multi-lingual country with three officially recognised languages. French and Dutch are the main languages but German is also spoken by a small sector of the population. French is spoken in the Wallonia region and Dutch is spoken in the Flanders region.
English is widely spoken throughout all of Belgium. However, here are a few phrases that may be useful:
Hello : Bonjour
Goodbye : Au revoir
Do you speak English? : Parlez-vous Anglais?
Please : Si'l vous plait
Thank you : Merci
Hello : Hallo
Goodbye : Tot ziens
Do you speak English? : Spreekt u Engels?
Please : Alstublieft
Thank you : Dank u wel
The currency of Belgium is the Euro, which divides into 100 cents.
The domestic electricity voltage is 220V with a standard European round two pin plugs used. Adaptors are readily available.
The telephone country code for Belgium is 32. When calling from overseas dial 00-1-(area code)-phone number.
When calling a Belgian number within Belgium always dial (0) + city code + number.
For international information call 1304.
Different city codes throughout Belgium apply.
There are different emergency numbers to call:
100- Medical Service (Service médical d'urgence / Medische spoeddienst)
101- Police (Police Fédérale / Federale politie)
100- Fire Service (Pompiers / Medische spoeddienst)
112- Pan-European emergency number.
The shopping hours are Monday to Saturday 10.00 to 18.00/19.00. Some department stores may stay open until 21.00 on Fridays. Shops are closed on Sundays. Shops outside the main areas may close at lunchtime.
A service charge of 16% is usually included in restaurant bills. An additional tip may be given at the discretion of the individual.
Waterproof clothing is advisable at all times of year.
Flemish Belgians will often prefer to answer visitors in English rather than French, even if the visitor's French is good.
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