Belgium is a small country in the centre of Western Europe. Due to its central location, its capital Brussels is the seat of the European Union as well as NATO. Belgium shares a border with the Netherlands in the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, and France to the Southwest.
Guide to Belgium Hotels
Here's a list of hotels in Belgium that you can book online, listed by city, with full description, star rating, address, location map, evaluation, and prices as offered by different booking sites. This helps you to make your room booking with the site that offers the best price.
More on Belgium
Belgium comprises two main regions, Flanders in the north and Wallonia in the south. These two regions are split along linguistic lines. The Flemish north is where the people predominantly speak Flemish while in the Wallonia south, the people predominantly speak French. Although the city of Brussels is officially bilingual, most of its population are in fact predominantly French speaking, despite it being an enclave within Flanders.
The weather is unpredictable, but for the best bet, go between May and September. The drawback is that everybody else will think the same, and as a result, expect everywhere to be more crowded during these months.
What to wear in Belgium
Assuming you are going to Belgium in the months of May to September, bring lightweight clothing for the warm days, medium weight clothing for the cooler days, and keep your umbrella and raincoat handy at all times.
Preparing Money for Belgium
The currency used in Belgium is the Euro (EUR). The following are the latest rates for Euro in the last 24-hours.
The Brussels International Airport, www.brusselsairport.be, (BRU) is located in the town of Zaventem outside of Brussels. It is the base of Brussels Airlines, www.brusselsairlines.com, the national airline for Belgium. Flight from London to Brussels takes approximately 50 minutes. Airport City Express train, www.b-rail.be between the airport and Brussels takes approximately 25 minutes. It costs 2.80 E and runs once every 15 minutes. In addition, buses #12 and 13 goes from the airport to Place Luxembourg, the European Parliament, every 20-30 minutes for 3Euro. Taxis from airport to Brussels cost 30euro; if booked in advance, they cost 20euro. Call Taxis Bleus 02 268 0000, Taxi Brussels 02 411 4142 and Taxis Verts: 02 349 4343.
In addition to the Brussels Airport, Brussels is also served by two other airport, Charleroi Airport, www.charleroi-airport.com, (CRL), 46km from Brussels, served by low cost carriers Ryanair, www.ryanair.com and Wizzair, www.wizzair.com, and Antwerp Deurne Airport (ANR), for business flights and VLM www.flyvlm.com to London City airport.
For wider options, you may also consider flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) which has rail links to Brussels and Antwerp.
There is a selection of rail connections available with Brussels.
From London, you can take the Eurostar, www.eurostar.com, that goes to the Brussels South railway station; from there, you get free connection to other stations in Belgium. On the London end, the Eurostar presently (Sept 2007) stops at Waterloo station, but will move to St Pancras station on 14 November 2007, at which time, it will be called the High Speed 1.
You can also reach Brussels using the high-speed Thalys, www.thalys.com, train, which connects with Cologne (in 2 hours 23 minutes), Paris (1 hour 20 minutes) and Amsterdam (2 hours).
You can reach Brussels from Frankfurt-am-Main on the German high-speed ICE train. It runs once a day and costs 93 euros each way.
You can also take the Eurocity train that links Brussels with Amsterdam, via Rotterdam, The Hague and Schiphol airport.
Nationals of the EU do not require a visa. Nationals of Australia, Canada and US do not require a visa if visiting Belgium for up to three months in a 6-month period.
Planning your travel within in Belgium
There are no domestic flights within Belgium, it being such a small country. Belgium National Railway, www.b-rail.be (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges, SNCB) offers a comprehensive with other major cities in Europe. For other details on trains in Europe, visit the Eurostar website.
Belgium uses the Euro (EUR, symbol €). Banknotes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 while coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents. Banking hours differ between cities but are generally Mon-Fri, 9:00am to 4:00pm.
My favorite travel guidebook for further reading in preparation of your trip is the Belgium & Luxembourg Eyewitness Guide, because it follows a format that I find useful to users, not to mention I have also contributed to some of the titles in the Eyewitness series of guidebooks.