Known as the battlefield of Europe, Belgium has been at the crossroads of 3 of the most influential cultures in Europe for centuries. The Dutch to the North leave their mark in the language and pragmatic mentality of the Flemish-speaking Flanderites. The French-speaking Walloons mostly occupy the south of the country and bring a strong culinary influence. There’s also a German minority in the east, whose traditions of beer drinking have saturated the country.
This mixture of cultures blends together nicely like a fine Trappist beer, poured from the tap of a convivial Belgian pub. This blend of cultures is exactly why the capital city of Brussels houses the offices of the European Union; not to mention the average Belgian can speak 3 or 4 languages fluently!
Travelers to Belgium are often delighted by the beautiful cities, the deliciousness of the food and drink, and the complex history being at the heart of Europe. All of this intermingling has turned Belgium into easily one of the most fascinating and underrated travel destinations in Europe.
When is the best time to travel to Belgium?
From May through October, travelers will find plenty to see and do while visiting.
After cool winter temperatures start to become pleasant again in March, with the cherry trees blossoming and people heading outside to soak up the sun. But don’t expect perfect beach weather. Temperatures range from the mid-40°s (in March) to the low-60°s (May), so it’s best to pack warm clothing. And since Belgium is on the sea, expect humidity and rain which often falls in the form of short, but heavy, showers.
Summer (June – August)
Summer in Belgium is all about enjoying the great outdoors and enjoying the many festivals on offer. The average temperature in July is 70°F and this is when most residents take a vacation, so expect to see a lot of locals out and about. There’s always something to do and see in the summer, including visiting the surprisingly beautiful Belgian coastline along the North sea.
Autumn (September – November)
Temperatures remain mild in the early fall as the country’s foliage turns brightly into beautiful fall colors. The average high temperature starts out at 68°F in September and is down to 50°F by November. We recommend visiting Belgium in early September if you want the summer-like weather without the summer traffic and visiting in October if seeing spectacular fall foliage is important to you!
Winter (Month to Month)
If you’re looking to pay less for accommodations and have the museums to yourself, winter is a great time to visit Belgium. But hats and mittens because the average temperature in January is 40°F, and snow is also a possibility. The people of Belgium are biking throughout the year, as they have a good cycling infrastructure and a generally mild winter climate. February is an especially fun time to visit because Carnival is celebrated across the country.
What to Think about Before Visiting Belgium
Festivals: Belgium is the land of festivals and seemingly has dozens going on around the country simultaneously. From Tomorrowland to Rock Werchter, the Belgian love a great festival. If summer music festivals aren’t your thing, you might want to check the local events calendar before planning your visit.
Rain Gear: Rain is possible year-round in Belgium, so we always recommend packing a rain jacket or quick-dry clothing. And bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
Cycling Gear: It’s hard not to ride a bike when you’re in Belgium, and since there is a great chance that you’ll spend a lot of time on your bike, you’ll want to be comfortable. It’s important to pack padded shorts or pants, and if a sore bum is a big concern for you, you may even want to pack a gel seat cover. Moisture-wicking cycling jerseys and padded cycling gloves are also options you might consider in your bag.
Remember these tips on your Belgium adventure
1. Enjoy the Pub Culture
Belgium has some of the quaintest and coziest pubs on the planet. Each offers dozens of unique regional beers each served in their own distinctive glass. Be careful how many beers you consume, as Belgian beers traditionally reach levels of 6-12% alcohol content!
2. A Collectors Dream Come True
If you collect anything from coins to comics, Belgium is an absolute gold mine of unique shops and passionate collectors no matter what kind of collection you have. A comic friend could spend a lifetime reading old tin-tin and smurfs comic books (both originate from Belgium). It’s also the world’s foremost location for stamps, coins, toys, and so much more.
3. Travel beyond Brussels and Bruges
Belgium has dozens of stunning cities, all with a unique charm and feel. Whether you’re in the Flemish-speaking north in towns like Antwerp and Ghent. Or the French-speaking southern towns of Liege or Mons, there are so many charming cities to discover, you’ll be glad you visited.