Backpacking Belgium

Small but powerful! This accurately describes Belgium as a travel destination. For Europeans, a trip through the small country, which is wedged between France and the Netherlands, is usually not so high on the To-Do-List. But who could say no to beer, chocolate, and waffles?



On your trip through Belgium, culture and culinary delights are in the foreground. Due to its location, the country is influenced by different cultures, depending on which part you are in. The north feels more like the Netherlands, as you speak Dutch, and the landscape is flat with many meadows. The North Sea coast also belongs to this part.

The south and the Walloon region are mostly French-influenced. The Ardennes mountains are also located here, which means that this region is characterized by hills. In addition, there is a region in the east of the country in the border area with Germany, where the locals also use German as their first language.

These cultural and regional divisions have caused tumult throughout Belgium's history, especially in the areas directly affected by the division. But it is precisely these different influences that make Belgium what it is and ensure the incredible variety of historical treasures and stories.



The country offers a great mixture of modern big cities, charming small villages, and untouched nature. While Brussels as the economic centre and seat of the European Union has a reputation for being serious and strict, Antwerp and Ghent are the hip cities and can easily compete with the coolness of Berlin and London. The surprising mix of buildings with contemporary architecture is a dream for anyone who likes to take pictures as well.



After the cultural training, the first thing to do in Belgium is usually to go to a waffle stand. You can find these on every street corner and no matter who you ask, everyone has their own personal insider tip on where to get the best waffles in town. The classic Belgian waffle needs nothing more than a little icing sugar, cream and maybe some chocolate sauce. The second way is to go to a traditional pub or beer house to taste the endless choice of local beers. Before you get started, please remember that many Belgian beers are strong beers, some of which are up to 10.5% by volume. With the selection of Pale Lagers, Amber Ales and Stouts, every beer lover is on cloud nine. Last but not least, all those with a sweet tooth will also get their money's worth. After all, who can resist Belgian chocolate and pralines?



See below for the perfect Belgium itinerary for an unforgettable journey:


Important Basics

Official language: French, Dutch, German
EnglishPortuguese
HelloBonjour
GoodbyeAu revoir
Thank youMercí
YesOui
NoNon
Capital city

Brussels

Form of government

Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Best time to travel

April, May, June, and September to October

Currency

Euro (€)

Telephone area code

+32

Climate

ᴓMaximum temperature: 0°C

ᴓMinimum temperature: 22°C

Fun facts

Belgium’s national symbol is the Manneken Pis, which is a peeing boy.

Cities

Brussels

Your trip starts in the capital Brussels. The great thing about a trip to Europe is that you can get around easily and without spending too much money on public transport. In the Belgian cities, you can reach everything by foot and save money (refuelling) and nerves (finding a parking space). A bus ticket from Germany to Brussels costs only €35.

If you are already in the "headquarters" of the European Union, there are a few fixed points you just cannot get past. It is also worth walking through the European Quarter with Leopold Park, even if you are disenchanted with politics because the buildings are simply impressive.

The Atominum as a landmark of the city should not be missed either. Anyone who finds the 15€ entrance fee too much can just pose in front of the sculpture. Thank goodness you can visit the old town of Brussels for free, with its narrow cobbled streets and lavishly decorated half-timbered houses. Because the best discoveries are free.

A fun insider tip for those on a tight budget is the path of the comic strip facades that runs through the whole city. If you walk attentively through the city, you will always find drawings and street art of comic heroes, originally by Belgian illustrators. These include Lucky Luke, Asterix, Obelix and Tintin. The journey of discovery through the city begins.

You can't pass by the numerous store windows with Belgian chocolate without being tempted. On the fifth at the latest, you will simply have to go inside. The selection of classic and unusual chocolate and praline creations is endless, so you can certainly try something new every time without getting bored.

Accommodation, like anywhere in Western Europe, is not necessarily cheap. In the heart of the city, you will sleep in the ten-bed dorm of the 2GO4 Quality Hostel for €29 per night.

Antwerp

About one hour north of Brussels lies Antwerp, a city with 500,000 inhabitants. As a port city, Antwerp is actually not located directly at the sea but at the river Scheldt, which is a far-reaching extension of the North Sea. The ideal location on the river has always been used for lively trade. The city has thus developed into the European centre for the diamond trade.

This made the city very international and attracted people from many different cultures and religions. Antwerp developed one of the largest Jewish quarters in Western Europe and to this day many Orthodox Jews live here.

The charming architecture of the country can also be found in Antwerp in the Flemish region. Here you will find the Platinum Morteus Museum, which accommodates the two oldest letterpress presses in the world. For this reason, both the historic building and the museum are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the only museum on the list worldwide.

Like almost every European city, Antwerp has its own legend. The story is about a giant who terrorized the city and demanded money from every ferryman who wanted to cross the river. If they couldn't pay, he cut off one of their hands. Finally, a brave skipper was able to defeat the giant and also cut off his hand in retaliation. The statue in the Great Square commemorates this legend and the successful liberation of the city.

The city is best explored on foot. So, your way leads you through the St. Anna tunnel, which runs under the Scheldt, to Linkeroever at sunset and back to the Rubenshaus and the St. Charles Borromeo Church and finally to a beerhouse to end a successful day.

You can get a comfortable bed in a prime location at Kabas Hostel. A bed in the six-person Dorm is available for €21.

Ghent

The third stop on your tour is Ghent. The city is located one hour west of Antwerp and as you can see, you never have to drive far in Belgium. By bus, the trip will cost you about 4€.

The small city embodies pretty much everything that non-Europeans imagine Europe to be. It is also advertised as the "best small town in Europe". Of course, this is a matter of taste, but Ghent already has pretty much everything you could wish for.

Along the canals, the lavishly decorated houses with their many, many windows stand crowded together. You walk through the alleys with shining eyes as each house has its own charm and history. The main means of transport is the bike, so you should definitely explore the city as the locals do on two wheels.

Among the locals and young people, Ghent has established itself as the new hip city, attracting more and more young entrepreneurs and creative people. This is immediately reflected in the cityscape. There are unique shops on every corner, with which young Belgians fulfil their dream of working independently. Above all, the range of unusual culinary creations seems endless. In the Holy Food Market, which is located in a restored 16th-century church, you can easily spend a whole day eating your way through the range on offer, just the right activity on a rainy day. Don't forget the beer!

The Treck Hostel in the city centre is a popular destination for backpackers. A bed in a ten-bed dorm costs you €22 per night.

Bruges

At the end of your backpacking trip, you continue to Bruges. Not without reason, it is said "See Bruges and die". Not literally of course, it just means that Bruges is so beautiful that you don't have to see anything else afterwards, which makes it the perfect ending for your trip.

As you arrive, you realize once again how great public transport can be. It takes about 45 minutes by car for the 50 kilometres, whereas regular public transport only takes 25: and it's environmentally friendly too.

By now you should be used to the charming architecture and the layout of the old towns along the canals. Nevertheless, Bruges and its charm will probably amaze you once again.

Here is your last chance to indulge once again in the culinary temptations of the country. So, make sure you plan your day well – after all, you'll have to eat a waffle, chips with mayo and chocolates, and drink a few beers on top. This is best done in the brewery De Haalve Maan. During a tasting tour, you can try all sorts and then choose the best one. Fans of French fries should also take a trip to the Fries Museum, the official museum of the national dish.

If you can't move after that, the easiest way to explore the city is to take a boat trip. This will take you past the windmills, some of which are still active and are part of the city's cultural heritage.

In the hostel with the cute name "Snuffel Hostel" you will sleep in a six-bed dorm for €23.


Brussels

Brussels

Your trip starts in the capital Brussels. The great thing about a trip to Europe is that you can get around easily and without spending too much money on public transport. In the Belgian cities, you can reach everything by foot and save money (refuelling) and nerves (finding a parking space). A bus ticket from Germany to Brussels costs only €35.

If you are already in the "headquarters" of the European Union, there are a few fixed points you just cannot get past. It is also worth walking through the European Quarter with Leopold Park, even if you are disenchanted with politics because the buildings are simply impressive.

The Atominum as a landmark of the city should not be missed either. Anyone who finds the 15€ entrance fee too much can just pose in front of the sculpture. Thank goodness you can visit the old town of Brussels for free, with its narrow cobbled streets and lavishly decorated half-timbered houses. Because the best discoveries are free.

A fun insider tip for those on a tight budget is the path of the comic strip facades that runs through the whole city. If you walk attentively through the city, you will always find drawings and street art of comic heroes, originally by Belgian illustrators. These include Lucky Luke, Asterix, Obelix and Tintin. The journey of discovery through the city begins.

You can't pass by the numerous store windows with Belgian chocolate without being tempted. On the fifth at the latest, you will simply have to go inside. The selection of classic and unusual chocolate and praline creations is endless, so you can certainly try something new every time without getting bored.

Accommodation, like anywhere in Western Europe, is not necessarily cheap. In the heart of the city, you will sleep in the ten-bed dorm of the 2GO4 Quality Hostel for €29 per night.

Antwerp

Antwerp

About one hour north of Brussels lies Antwerp, a city with 500,000 inhabitants. As a port city, Antwerp is actually not located directly at the sea but at the river Scheldt, which is a far-reaching extension of the North Sea. The ideal location on the river has always been used for lively trade. The city has thus developed into the European centre for the diamond trade.

This made the city very international and attracted people from many different cultures and religions. Antwerp developed one of the largest Jewish quarters in Western Europe and to this day many Orthodox Jews live here.

The charming architecture of the country can also be found in Antwerp in the Flemish region. Here you will find the Platinum Morteus Museum, which accommodates the two oldest letterpress presses in the world. For this reason, both the historic building and the museum are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the only museum on the list worldwide.

Like almost every European city, Antwerp has its own legend. The story is about a giant who terrorized the city and demanded money from every ferryman who wanted to cross the river. If they couldn't pay, he cut off one of their hands. Finally, a brave skipper was able to defeat the giant and also cut off his hand in retaliation. The statue in the Great Square commemorates this legend and the successful liberation of the city.

The city is best explored on foot. So, your way leads you through the St. Anna tunnel, which runs under the Scheldt, to Linkeroever at sunset and back to the Rubenshaus and the St. Charles Borromeo Church and finally to a beerhouse to end a successful day.

You can get a comfortable bed in a prime location at Kabas Hostel. A bed in the six-person Dorm is available for €21.

Ghent

Ghent

The third stop on your tour is Ghent. The city is located one hour west of Antwerp and as you can see, you never have to drive far in Belgium. By bus, the trip will cost you about 4€.

The small city embodies pretty much everything that non-Europeans imagine Europe to be. It is also advertised as the "best small town in Europe". Of course, this is a matter of taste, but Ghent already has pretty much everything you could wish for.

Along the canals, the lavishly decorated houses with their many, many windows stand crowded together. You walk through the alleys with shining eyes as each house has its own charm and history. The main means of transport is the bike, so you should definitely explore the city as the locals do on two wheels.

Among the locals and young people, Ghent has established itself as the new hip city, attracting more and more young entrepreneurs and creative people. This is immediately reflected in the cityscape. There are unique shops on every corner, with which young Belgians fulfil their dream of working independently. Above all, the range of unusual culinary creations seems endless. In the Holy Food Market, which is located in a restored 16th-century church, you can easily spend a whole day eating your way through the range on offer, just the right activity on a rainy day. Don't forget the beer!

The Treck Hostel in the city centre is a popular destination for backpackers. A bed in a ten-bed dorm costs you €22 per night.

Bruges

Bruges

At the end of your backpacking trip, you continue to Bruges. Not without reason, it is said "See Bruges and die". Not literally of course, it just means that Bruges is so beautiful that you don't have to see anything else afterwards, which makes it the perfect ending for your trip.

As you arrive, you realize once again how great public transport can be. It takes about 45 minutes by car for the 50 kilometres, whereas regular public transport only takes 25: and it's environmentally friendly too.

By now you should be used to the charming architecture and the layout of the old towns along the canals. Nevertheless, Bruges and its charm will probably amaze you once again.

Here is your last chance to indulge once again in the culinary temptations of the country. So, make sure you plan your day well – after all, you'll have to eat a waffle, chips with mayo and chocolates, and drink a few beers on top. This is best done in the brewery De Haalve Maan. During a tasting tour, you can try all sorts and then choose the best one. Fans of French fries should also take a trip to the Fries Museum, the official museum of the national dish.

If you can't move after that, the easiest way to explore the city is to take a boat trip. This will take you past the windmills, some of which are still active and are part of the city's cultural heritage.

In the hostel with the cute name "Snuffel Hostel" you will sleep in a six-bed dorm for €23.

Belgium Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Brussels
Home - Brussels
Bus
35
2GO4 Quality Hostel ​ten-person dorm
29
2. Brussels
Brussels
-
2GO4 Quality Hostel ​ten-person dorm
29
3. Brussels
Brussels
-
2GO4 Quality Hostel ​ten-person dorm
29
4. Brussels – Antwerp
Brussels – Antwerp
Bus
3
Kabas Hostel six-person dorm
21
5. Antwerp
Antwerp
-
Kabas Hostel six-person dorm
21
6. Antwerp – Ghent
Antwerp – Ghent
Bus
4
Treck Hostel ​ten-person dorm
22
7. Ghent
Ghent
-
Treck Hostel ​ten-person dorm
22
8. Ghent – Bruges
Ghent – Bruges
Bus
3
Snuffel Hostel six-person dorm
23
9. Bruges
Bruges
-
Snuffel Hostel six-person dorm
23
10. Bruges – Home
Bruges – Home
Bus
35

Total price.

Flights 0,00
Transportation 80,00
Tours 0,00
Accommodation 219,00
Total299,00

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deine eigene

Reise erstellen?

Du möchtest deine

eigene Reise erstellen?

Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Waffles: Belgian waffles are a trademark of the country. Backpackers love to start the day with them, but of course they can also be used as a snack between meals!

Soups

Beef soup: the Belgians love beef soup, especially in winter. Beef is traditionally cooked in beer, from which the soup itself is also made. Dumplings or potatoes are added to the soup.

Main courses

French fries: Did you know that French fries were invented in Belgium? Especially in Brussels, you can get delicious French fries on the street, and they taste really good here!

Moules Frites:  it’s a mixture of French fries and mussels that was invented in Brussels. The mussels are seasoned and served in a delicious sauce and as a side dish you get fries.

Carbonnade Flamande: here beef is braised in beer and prepared with vegetables and spices. Of course, there are also traditional French fries.

Eel in green sauce: also known as Anguilles au vert is from Antwerp and is prepared with spices and a delicious sauce. A more exotic meal during your trip through Belgium.

Koninginnehapje: this is chicken meat, which is puff pastry wrapped and fried. It is served with some creamy sauce and usually some potatoes or chips.

Meatballs:  also a speciality of Belgium. Meatballs are served with tomato sauce and butter and are a good snack or main meal.

Drinks & Snacks

Chocolate / pralines: Belgian chocolate is an absolute must. Visit a real chocolate shop and you will be thrilled!

Spekulatius: the national biscuit of Belgium.

Beer: Belgian beer is a must on your trip..

Belgium

In Belgium, payments are made in euros. You can see the prices for certain products as well as the cost of living below.

Cost of living

Food

Free time

Personal hygiene

Dos

Stay away from crowds: in Belgium, there are various demonstrations almost every day and therefore it is better to stay away from large crowds. Especially when there are no police around.

Watch out for scams: it is indeed a problem in Belgium, the scams. It is not uncommon for families to be the main victims and so tourists are always careful here. This also applies to backpackers.

Respect for beer: you should respect Belgian beer and not compare it with other countries’ brands. The Belgians are very proud of their beer and this pride should not be hurt.

Don'ts

Carelessly crossing the roads: in Belgium, even zebra crossings have no meaning, and the drivers are sometimes very risky. So be especially careful here again!

Valuables: especially in the big cities pickpockets are not uncommon. It is, therefore, better to leave all jewellery and other valuable things at home.

Rely on an answer: Always try to get some opinions or answers from Belgians and don't rely on the first one.

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

(Not necessary)

Vaccine

Robert Koch Instituts

Additional Remarks.

For European Visitors: France is a party to the European Convention on the Regulation of the Movement of Persons between the Member States of the Council of Europe of 13.12.1957. Travel documents other than the temporary identity card may not have expired for more than one year. For Non-European Visitors: Check visa and passport requirements for your country.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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