Belgium is situated in the west of Europe. The land here mostly
comprises of flat coastal plains in the northeast, and southeast is occupied by the Ardennes
Forest. Dutch, Flemish, French and German are the official languages of Belgium, with Dutch being
the widely spoken followed by French. The weather here is pretty predictable. Months from April to
September are the warmest. Otherwise the weather is pretty humid and skies are gray, that explains
why umbrellas and raincoats are a part of the dressing. So, if the visit is planned for holidays
during the rainy season, one must not forget to carry sufficient cover for maximum protection, as
this is a coastal region. In case of emergency call 100 or 112.
Belgians are English-friendly and will make every attempt to speak in English with
a foreigner. Always remember to carry a small gift or at least flowers especially when invited over dinner. The
dress to wear will be mentioned in the invitation, when invited for a party. Smoking in public is
The Binche, Gilles wearing
their hat with ostrich feathers on Shrove Tuesday, photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT. Binche is a municipality located in
the predominantly French-speaking southern region of Belgium, in the province of Hainaut. The Gilles are the oldest and principal participants in the Carnival of Binche in Belgium.
The Binche Gilles go out on Shrove
Tuesday until the late hours and dance traditional dances. Other cities in Belgium have a tradition of Gilles at
carnival, but the Binche Gilles are by far the most famous.
Binche, Gilles wearing their masks, photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT.
Gilles by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT.
Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ostend, Namur, Mons, Liège, Ghent and Mechelen are the
main shopping centers. Belgium is famous for ceramics and hand-beaten copperware from Dinant, laces from Bruges,
crystals from Val Saint Lambert, woodcarvings from Spa and Belgium’s finest chocolates. In jewelry, diamonds from
Antwerp are on high demand.
Ville-Haute square in Charleroi, Belgium, photo by
The specialty of most of the restaurants is horse and rabbit meat dishes. Although
visitors can find a wide range of ethnic foods, but the most famous are frites and mayonnaise and mitraillette;
mitraillette is a large bun filled with fries, donair meat and garlic sauce, the vegetarians can ask for a veg.
substitute for the donair meat. While eating at a restaurant, tipping is considered customary along with the
value-added tax. At the cinemas, leave a €0.50 tip for the attendant and €0.25 after using the public
The Grand Place, Brussels,
photo by Vase Petrovski.
The Grand Place, the Town Hall is at the left., photo by Mats
The Brussels Town Hall
by night, Belgium, photo by Luc Viatour.
SN Brussels Airlines flies to more than 58 destinations in Europe
and as well as worldwide. The Brussels Zayentem airport is twelve km from the city and it takes 35 minutes to reach
the city from the airport. The airport has facilities like duty free shops, car parking, taxi booking, car hiring,
banks, post office, restaurants, and medical help. Internet and fax services are provided for the passengers. The
Airport City Express train transports passengers to three main railway stations - Brussels North, Central and
South. One can avail a bus which runs regularly from the airport, taxis can also be hired which wait outside the
arrival hall. Tipping the taxi drivers is considered customary. Train runs every 15 minutes.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport, photo by
Brussels South Charleroi, is 5 km away from Charleroi and 46 km from
Brussels. Ryan air serves as the local airline here and has cheap deals for several European destinations to and
from Charleroi. The facilities provided here are bus and train services, café, car hire, and duty free
Ostend airport is 5 km away from the city and car parking, car
hire, duty free shops, and restaurants are provided here.
Antwerp airport is just 2 km away from the city. Buses run to the
Brussels Central Station every few minutes.
Liege is situated at a distance of 5 km away from the city. Buses
run at regular interval here.
Refurbished Thalys PBKA, photo by Maurits90.
There is a network of high-speed trains, which are operated by Thalys, from
Belgium to France, connecting Brussels with other destinations like Bordeaux, Chambéry, Cannes, Marseille, Lyon,
Nice, Valence Perpignan, and Rennes. Booking should be made in advance for these trains.
ICE et Thalys, photo by JH Mora.
The national railway operates through out the day providing service every few
minutes to destinations such as Andorra, Austria, France, Czech, Germany, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland,
the UK and the Netherlands. Insiders can avail the Inter-Rail pass which allows visitors to travel almost 29
European Countries. This service is valid for residents who have been settled there for more than 6
Mons, Belgium, the city hall, photo by Jean-Pol GRANDMONT.
Mons is a municipality located in the predominantly French-speaking southern
region of Belgium, in the Belgian province of Hainaut, Mons the
capital. Mons was selected to be the European capital of culture in 2015.
Duty Free Items
Visitors can carry alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, coffee and tea without getting
customs duty levied on them, but only the goods should be limited. Check out for the limits before carrying such
goods. Food items that are not preserved are better avoided.
Voltage is 230 V and frequency is 50 Hz.