Brussels, beautiful and surprising, with its beautiful buildings and beautiful squares. Bruges, fascinating, sophisticated and evocative. Antwerp, the city of diamonds. The thousand faces of Liege. Leuven, Gent, Ypres: little gems to discover. The magic show of the Christmas markets. This, and much more, await you in Belgium. A country really wonderful.
HOW TO GET
To cover medium / long haul distances, the aircraft is the best solution to get to Belgium. Brussels-National e Charleroi they are the two main airports that serve the country, points of reference to reach other destinations. Minor airports are located in Liege and Ostend; in this case, the connections are quite limited.
Brussels and Charleroi are well connected, with direct flights, with the main European and extra-European destinations.
By train, Brussels is the reference point for those who want to arrive in Belgium. Excellent connections with France; the fast TGV line connects the capital with Bordeaux, Lyon and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. Numerous Thalys, ICE and Euricity trains connect the capital with Amsterdam, Basel, Cologne, Frankfurt, London and many other destinations. When you reach Brussels, you can easily travel by train to the rest of the country.
The Belgian road and motorway network is highly efficient and covers every part of the country in a capillary way. Moreover, the motorway is almost free everywhere. The car is an excellent solution coming from neighboring Holland, Luxembourg, Northern France and Germany. Switzerland can also be a good starting point. Those arriving from London and the South of England should bear in mind the exorbitant costs of crossing the English Channel. From Paris to the Belgian Mons, not far from the border, you travel about 250 kilometers, almost all on the highway; from Tours, in the Loire, you travel about 480 kilometers. From Amsterdam to Antwerp, to the north of the country, you have to travel about 250 kilometers. From Berlin, however, the distance rises to over 750 kilometers.
HOW TO MOVE AND MOVE
Cars, buses and trains are the solutions to move around the country, with relative merits and defects. You can decide to arrive in Belgium by plane, and rent a car directly at the airport. More info, from this link.
For one, and only, stage, we recommend moving with the means, avoiding the car. You will not be in the problem of traffic and parking. Anyone wishing to use public transport will find in the train and bus an excellent solution to move around. Many people use trains to travel between cities. Many important lines pass from Brussels and Antwerp. Links are guaranteed with all major cities, and secondary destinations. The train is quite cheap, especially if compared to neighboring Germany or the United Kingdom. Almost in all the stations, even secondary ones, you will find the machines to easily purchase your tickets. Often, you can also buy the title directly on board (not recommended), with a surcharge of well 7.00 €. You can buy your tickets from this link.
DOCUMENTS AND CUSTOMS
There is no obligation to produce documents at the border, but you are always required to bring an ID card or passport with you. It is recommended, above all, to bring the CI of their children under age, even if traveling by car or train. See our special section, about that.
Dogs and cats enter freely, provided they have a health certificate and a recent certificate from the veterinarian of the ASL of residence, attesting to good health. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies for at least 21 days.
Please note that the appropriate microchip must be applied to the animals. On public transport, animals must travel with a muzzle.
To fly with animals, please refer to the individual section Airline companies.
CURRENCY AND CHANGE
From the 1 January 2002, the Euro has become the official currency of the country. Almost everywhere, you can pay directly by credit card and withdraw cash at ATMs. Keep in mind, however, that in some small cities, and less touristy places, you may find it difficult to make credit card payments. A cash reserve is always recommended.
Who needs to enter Bank, please note that it is generally open from Monday to Friday from 09: 00 to 17: 00. Schedules may be subject to change. Almost everywhere, they are closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
In Belgium, the clock hands are placed one hour ahead of the Greenwich meridian (UTC / GMT + 1). Daylight saving time starts on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October, with the hands forward an additional hour compared to Greenwich (UTC / GMT + 2).
Throughout the country, the voltage is 220-230 volts, with 50Hz frequency. The electrical sockets, in general, are of type E, to 2 poles with female ground contact (photo below). They are the same as in France, Poland, the Czech Republic. Keep in mind that on these sockets you will not be able to use the Shuko municipalities. We recommend always using a special adapter. To the most provident, we recommend taking a look at this link.
Photo ©, Looxix
Belgian Post Group, also known by the acronym BPOST, is the company that manages the Belgian national mail. Generally, it is identified outside by the term BPOST on a white background, and a red logo. The latter, in general, characterizes the post offices of the country.
The company offers all common shipping and telecommunication services.
Typically, post offices open from Monday to Saturday from 09: 00 to 17: 00. In some large cities, such as Brussels, you can find the central offices open all week, including Sunday, up to 23: 00.
Shops are generally open from Monday to Saturday, from 10: 00 to 18: 30. Times vary widely depending on the area. On Sundays, in general, almost everything is closed. Exceptions are small souvenir shops in some tourist cities. From the 2015, thanks to a special legislative derogation, Brussels has decided to open its own shops also on Sunday.
PHARMACIES AND HOSPITALS
The sign APOTHEEK outside the building, indicates the presence of a pharmacy. Often, they are identified by the green writing next to the Pharmacy symbol. As a rule, they are open from Monday to Friday, from 08: 00 to 18: 00. In a specific service area, or region, you will find at least one pharmacy on duty, outside normal hours. The list is available outside pharmacies and also in local newspapers. Keep in mind that medicines purchased outside normal hours often involve additional costs.
A white letter H, on a blue background, identifies a hospital. If you have medical insurance, first check that the hospital accepts the insurance plan; not all, in fact, foresee it.
In Belgium, the frequencies Gsm 800 / 1800 Mhz and W-CDMA 2100 are used, the same as the main European countries. So you can easily use your Italian, French ... smartphone.
To call phones in Belgium, you need to enter the international code 0032, followed by the telephone number.
With the lowering of roaming costs, you can easily call from the country, taking advantage of your national tariff. Alternatively, you can use the classic VoIP calls, or make video calls, using a free WI-FI line.