Do that enjoyable 7 day Belgium highway journey itinerary (+ map!)

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Belgium is commonly ignored on European journey itineraries and, when vacationers do go to, they have an inclination to go straight for the massive cities and widespread vacationer spots after which depart once more. Brussels, Antwerp and Bruges may function on a Belgian itinerary, however just for a number of days earlier than guests skedaddle to elsewhere in Europe.

However there’s a lot extra to this small nation than these main centres – and I’m not simply speaking about Belgian waffles or native beer!

Belgium is a fantastic vacation spot for a vacation, a treasure trove of pleasant locations the place outdated world attraction blends with fashionable tradition, the place metropolis breaks and journey actions go hand in hand, and the place you’ll discover scrumptious meals regardless of the place you look.

This European nation has a lot to supply however in case you’re not totally satisfied then listed below are 4 explanation why it’s best to add Belgium to your future journey planning and use this itinerary to assist plan the most effective highway journey to this fascinating nation.

Belgian road trip
The image-perfect metropolis of Dinant sits within the Wallonia area of Belgium

Four Causes to go to Belgium

1. Belgium is straightforward to get to! In case you’re travelling from the UK then you’ll be able to attain Brussels from London on the Eurostar in lower than two hours. Or, if you wish to have your individual automobile, then the ferry crossing from Dover to Calais can also be lower than two hours.

In search of an excellent speedier automobile journey? The Eurotunnel travels from Folkestone to Calais in simply 35 minutes.

The ferry or the Eurotunnel is one of the best ways to journey to Belgium. We now have travelled by each Eurotunnel and on Irish Ferries from Dover and they’re each very straightforward journeys. Specifically, travelling by Irish Ferries was very snug. If doing a highway journey then I wish to have my very own automobile and travelling by ferry signifies that I’ve a little bit of a break from driving, sit in a cushty lounge and have one thing to eat earlier than carrying on with the journey.

Belgium can also be properly linked with the remainder of Europe, particularly with cities like Paris and Amsterdam. And since it’s a small nation, you’ll be able to drive simply from Belgium into the neighbouring international locations of the Netherlands, Germany, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and France.

2. Belgium just isn’t crowded. Nicely, that’s not totally true. Go to Belgium’s hottest spots in the course of the excessive season (July-August) or throughout one of many nation’s many festivals and locations can get crowded. Depart the primary points of interest, nonetheless, and also you’ll discover that Belgium has loads of Nature Parks, two Nationwide Parks, loads of seashores and myriad cities the place you gained’t should jostle for area.

Plus there are the Ardennes, a lush playground best for out of doors lovers. In case you go to in the course of the shoulder season (April-June and September – October) then the crowds will disappear (and costs will fall!). 

3. Belgium has wonderful meals. Don’t consider anybody who tells you {that a} eating regimen of Belgian waffles, frites (chips or French fries) with mayonnaise and beer just isn’t a balanced eating regimen!

The excellent news, nonetheless, is that Belgian delicacies has far more to supply. Moules-frites (mussels with fries), is a basic Belgian dish and is certainly one of the meals to attempt when in Belgium.

Waterzooi is a standard Belgian seafood stew that features greens and egg. Usually the dish is made with fish but it surely will also be made with hen as of late. One other conventional stew is Carbonnade, made with beef and darkish beer. 

4. Belgium just isn’t boring! Belgium has typically been saddled with a repute for being boring. A lot of this stereotype is linked with paperwork (or, extra particularly, eurocracy) however it’s unjustified. For such a small nation, Belgium boasts a big variety of historic cities, lovely cities, wonderful Medieval structure, verdant countryside, the hypnotic hills and valleys of the Ardennes, and deep-rooted traditions and festivals.

Belgium Road trip itinerary
The Atomium in Brussels

So the query just isn’t ought to you go to Belgium however fairly the place do you have to go in Belgium.

This Belgium highway journey itinerary begins in Brussels, one of the vital well-known and widespread locations, after which takes within the lesser recognized locations of Dinant and Durbuy in Belgium’s Wallonia area. These two small cities are usually not very well-known to outsiders however they need to be; each are lovely and arguably two of the greatest locations to go to in Belgium with heaps to see and do, and engaging histories besides.

I spent a big a part of my childhood residing in Belgium (and was even born right here) so it’s a rustic that’s near my coronary heart – and maybe explains my penchant for chocolate. Nicely, that’s my excuse anyway…

Over the previous few years I’ve returned a few occasions as a visitor of the Belgian Vacationer Workplace Wallonia to be able to produce this information and share the most effective of the area for households (all opinions are my very own).

Right here’s all you could find out about planning your Belgium highway journey – simply keep in mind, as with all journey, it’s properly value buying travel insurance earlier than you journey.

You may additionally take pleasure in the next posts:

Belgium Highway Journey Itinerary

Word: This publish accommodates affiliate hyperlinks. In case you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I’ll obtain a small fee. All opinions are my very own. See my disclosure policy for extra particulars.

To provide you an outline, I’ve created a map utilizing Google My Maps to indicate you the foremost stops alongside this Belgium highway journey route.

Day 1: Brussels

When you arrive in Calais it’s a 2 to 2.5 hour drive to the capital metropolis of Brussels. Alongside the way in which you’ll go alongside the port metropolis of Ghent, well-known for its giant public squares, marketplaces, and medieval buildings within the metropolis middle. Probably the most well-known is the Friday Market (‘Vrijdag Markt’), one of many largest normal markets with over 400 stalls. A market has been held on this sq. since 1199.

You probably have time, cease for lunch. De Superette, a bakery and restaurant that serves wood-fired pizzas, comes really helpful.

Belgium Road trip itinerary
The Grand Place in Brussels

There’s so much to see in Brussels and it’s an incredible place to star your highway journey however with solely two days you’ll should plan your days properly.

Begin with a tour of the Grand Place, an unlimited public sq. within the metropolis centre that dates again to the early 15th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Website. It’s thought of to be one of the vital lovely city squares on this planet. Relying on while you go to, you’ll discover totally different occasions, markets and even artwork installations on the sq.. Your an additionally go to the City Corridor and Brussels Metropolis Museum that stand alongside the sq.. 

Simply across the nook from the Grand Place is one other certainly one of Brussels’ star points of interest, the Mannekin Pis. The small bronze sculpture of a boy weeing (yep, you learn that proper, weeing!) is although so far again to the 15th century, though the present statue is a duplicate relationship again to the 1960s – the statues preserve getting stolen! 

At varied occasions of the yr, the Manneken Pis will get dressed up in every kind of costumes – apparently he has greater than 1,000 outfits, that are all key within the Brussels Metropolis Museum.

One other well-known Brussels resident is Tintin, and also you’ll spot murals devoted to the boy detective throughout the town. Among the finest methods to benefit from the many places that impressed Hergé is to affix a comic strip walk.

You must also cease by the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, a celebration of all issues comedian strips and books the place you’ll discover the Smurfs and plenty of extra characters alongside Tintin and Snowy.

Belgium Road trip itinerary
The perennially widespread statue of the Mannekin Pis

Don’t miss the many glorious eating places in Brussels and do order moules-frites. For desert you’ll be able to’t go mistaken with a Dame Blanche, a Belgian dessert ready with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and sizzling melted chocolate sauce. And, after all, you could attempt a Belgian waffle or two whereas right here!

The place to remain in Brussels: Strive the Brussels Welcome Hotel, which enjoys a enjoyable theatrical decor and has a household room that may sleep 4 to 6 folks. It’s additionally good worth for cash. Different resorts that come really helpful are The Dominican, Hotel Made in Louise and the Train Hostel, railway carriages that sit on a rooftop. 

Belgium Road trip itinerary
Belgian waffles are a should!

Day 2: Brussels and drive to Durbuy

Spend your second morning in Brussels exploring the neighbourhood of Petit Sablon, situated within the historic higher a part of Brussels. This neighbourhood is full of antiques, artwork and loads of Belgian chocolate. Each weekend the Grand Sablon transforms right into a market with vintage sellers promoting every kind of issues. 

You may as well catch an incredible view of Brussels from the Mon des Arts gardens, that are close by. 

The Royal Palace of Brussels sits simply past the Previous City and European Quarter and is the place the Belgian Royal Household reside. Through the summertime the palace is open to guests. 

You probably have time then it’s value stopping on the Atomium, a preferred attraction that was in-built 1958 for the Brussels World Honest. The shiny sculpture product of 9 chrome steel balls has change into one thing of a metropolis icon

Belgium Road trip itinerary
The positioning of the Battle of Waterloo close to Brussels

Historical past buffs may wish to make a detour south of the town to the location of the Battle of Waterloo on this journey by Belgium. Positioned simply 18km south of Brussels, it’s a brief drive to get to the historic battle site the place, in 1815, the British and Dutch forces commanded by the Duke of Wellington, defeated Napoleon bringing and finish to the Napoleonic wars.

From Brussels it’s about 1hr 30minutes to drive to Durbuy.

The place to remain in Durbuy: We liked staying in Chez Tante Alice, a captivating B&B situated 14km from the centre of city. If you wish to be nearer – and are up for a little bit of an journey – then the Adventure Valley Camping gives glamping tents that include beds and loos. Check out extra family-friendly hotel options on Booking.com.

Belgian road trip
The charming metropolis of Durbuy

Day 3: Durbuy

The small city of Durbuy is formally “la plus petit ville du mode” (the smallest metropolis on this planet). Granted, the Vatican Metropolis is formally the world’s smallest metropolis on paper however in 1331, John I, Depend of Luxembourg and King of Bohemia, bestowed the title of smallest metropolis on Durbuy they usually locals have been working with it ever since. 

That is a very enjoyable metropolis (or fairly, small village) to go to and regardless of its petit nature there’s a stunning quantity to do right here. 

Begin your go to with a strolling tour alongside the cobblestone streets of the outdated metropolis centre. The Durbuy Vacationer Workplace has an excellent strolling tour map that particulars the wealthy historical past of the city and a number of the historic buildings and outdated stone homes of Durbuy outdated city. 

Then soar on board the Petit Prepare Touristique that takes guests as much as the highest level of the town; it’s an effective way to see simply how tiny Durbuy actually is. Again on the town, it’s properly value visiting the Topiary Park – the most important topiary backyard in Europe.

Belgian road trip
The streets of Durbuy haven’t modified for the reason that 14th century

For lunch we purchased bread, ham and cheese from Boucherie Bodson, situated simply behind the Durbuy Vacationer Workplace, and had a picnic by the Roche de la Falize, a dome-shaped rock on the sting of the outdated city that’s some 360 million years outdated. 

Within the afternoon, head to Adventure Valley Durbuy, an outside journey and nature park on the outskirts of city. Residence to a bike park, zip wires, tubing slides, a by way of ferrata course, escape rooms and far more, that is the right place to go with children. You can simply spend a full day right here there are such a lot of actions on supply so take that into consideration when planning your journey.

There are some great restaurants in Durbuy. Strive 7 by Juliette for enjoyable, progressive tapas-style dishes or La Bru’sserie for one thing somewhat extra excessive finish. 

Belgium Road trip itinerary
The sound and lightweight present within the Grottes de Han is incredible

Day 4: Grottes de Han

It’s a brief journey of lower than one hour to get to the Grottes de Han (Han Caves) from Durbuy so you can go to the caves as a day journey. Nonetheless, we advocate spending a day right here after which overnighting in Cocoon Village, the glamping web site that sits subsequent door to the caves.

The Caves of Han-sur-Lesse sit on the outskirts of the village Han-sur-Lesse and are a pure complicated of caves that had been fashioned by the river Lesse. 

Visits to the caves, which sit almost 110m underground, are guided and are normally in French or Flemish. Don’t fear in case you don’t converse both, nonetheless, as you aren’t bombarded with information and figures. As a substitute your information will take you to a number of the most spectacular caves

Belgian Road trip
Cocoon Village is a enjoyable place to remain subsequent to the caves

Among the finest issues is the ‘Origin’, the sound and lightweight present. I’m not typically a fan of sound and lightweight exhibits however this one is actually spectacular. There’s additionally an excellent museum on web site that showcases all the numerous issues discovered within the caves through the years relationship again centuries.

There’s additionally a wildlife park on web site dwelling to the European Large 5; the European bison, the wolf, the brown bear, the wolverine, and the lynx. Tour the park on foot or on a safari bus. 

The place to remain in Han-sur-Lesse: Cocoon Village gives glamping in bell tents on a fairly campground (open 1 April to 10 October). It’s a brief stroll from the Cocoon Village to the caves entrance. Tree Tents are an alternative choice, inviting guests too spend an evening up among the many tres in the midst of the wildlife park (open 2 April to five November).

things to do in Dinant
Don’t miss this photograph op outdoors the Vacationer Workplace!

Day 5: Dinant

Sitting on the banks of the Meuse river, under a cliff face, is the picturesque city of Dinant. This lovely metropolis is situated within the Wallonia area of Belgium, not removed from the French border. It’s an incredible place to go to for a weekend journey or for longer. We spent three days right here and had the most effective time exploring the town.

Begin your time in Dinant with “The Ghost of Dinant” strolling tour. This app has been developed by the native vacationer workplace and could be accessed in your smartphone. It’s a enjoyable technique to discover the town streets and see a number of the primary sights embrace the Notre-Dame church and La Maison de Monsieur Sax – Dinant is the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.

In case you don’t wish to attempt the strolling tour app then pop into the vacationer workplace and decide up the Sax within the Metropolis strolling tour map, which takes you previous the quite a few saxophones dotted across the metropolis. Have lunch alongside the waterfront after which take the cable automobile as much as the Dinant Citadel for a birds eye view of the town and surrounding space.

things to do in Dinant
There are a selection of saxophones on the Charles de Gaulle bridge

Your subsequent cease ought to be Dinant Nautique, the place you’ll be able to rent an electrical boat to cruise alongside the Meuse river. The cease is true in entrance of the Notre-Dame church and subsequent to the Charles de Gaulle bridge. You don’t want a licence to drive the boat, which signifies that even children can take turns captaining the ship. It’s a enjoyable technique to see the town and gives nice views of the Roche Bayard, the Bayard Rock.

The place to remain in Dinant: We stayed in Castel de Pont-à-Lesse, a lodge housed inside a former chateaux. Positioned on the outskirts of city in 25 hectares of gardens, it’s a great place to stick with households, not least as a result of it has a swimming pool. For extra concepts on the place to remain in Dinant, check out these hotel options on Booking.com.

things to do in Dinant
See the town from up excessive on the Citadel

Day 6: Dinant

Your first cease after breakfast the following morning ought to be Dinant Evasion, on the outskirts of city. This journey firm gives an array of actions from a treetop journey course and paintballing to caving, kayaking, a by way of ferrata path, and mountain biking – and extra.

It’s a widespread place and you may simply spend a whole day right here or, you are able to do like we did, and spend the morning climbing by the bushes alongside varied wobbly bridges. It’s a very good place and really properly run.

Head into the centre of the town afterwards for lunch; we actually loved Le Cosma after we visited. After lunch head to Boulangerie Pâtisserie Jacob and purchase a Couque de Dinant, one of many hardest biscuits on this planet (in keeping with us anyway!). Comprised of simply flour and honey, these biscuits are so laborious you can’t chew them. As a substitute you’re supposed to interrupt off a chunk and let it slowly dissolve in your mouth.

In case your go to coincides with the college holidays then be sure that to e-book tickets to go to the Museum Pataphonie, a musical journey fairly not like something you may need skilled earlier than. Excursions should be booked prematurely and are solely obtainable throughout faculty holidays Mon to Fri and on Sundays at 2pm and 4pm.

For dinner, head to the restaurant Les 7 Meuses situated midway between Dinant and Namur. Not solely does it serve glorious meals (and nice Belgian beer!) it gives spectacular views of the realm.

things to do in Dinant
The Couque de Dinant, the hardest biscuit on this planet (in our opinion!)

Day 7: Journey again to Calais and residential

You probably have time earlier than your crossing again to the UK (or your subsequent vacation spot) then cease by the Jardins D’Eau D’Annevoie, the Annevoie Gardens. Created 250 years in the past, the gardens are distinctive in the truth that the quite a few water options (some 50 in complete) operate totally with out pumps or equipment. They’re very fairly and you may stroll round them in roughly an hour. There’s a cafe on web site too.

And that’s it. One week will go in a short time and have you ever pondering that you simply didn’t have sufficient time to see every little thing! However that’s all of the extra cause to come back again one other time.

Belgium Road trip itinerary
The Annevoie Gardens close to Dinant

What’s it like driving in Belgium?

They drive on the right-hand facet of the highway in Belgium, which is one thing to pay attention to in case you’re coming from the UK! Visitors cab be very dangerous within the main cities, one thing to bear in mind in case you’re driving into Brussels. Equally, parking could be a problem within the massive cities. Within the countryside, driving is way simpler! 

What language(s) do they converse in Belgium?

Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (Flemish), French and German, with the first language being Dutch (it’s spoken by roughly 60% of the inhabitants). Don’t fear in case you don’t converse any of those, nonetheless, an excellent proportion of the nation additionally converse English. 

What’s the greatest time of yr to go to Belgium?

The months between April and October are the most effective occasions of yr to go to Belgium. the shoulder seasons of April – June and September – October see fewer crowds and customarily delicate climate. The summer time months of July and August can get very busy and cities similar to Brussels can get very popular.


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