Belgium is a country with a magnificent cultural heritage, ancient medieval castles and paintings by outstanding painters. But not only. There is an incredible number of beers, excellent chocolate and Belgian waffles! Therefore, gastronomic tours to Belgium are becoming more and more popular.
Belgium is a holiday country. And what holiday would be complete without national cuisine? She is special here, combining the traditions of the north and south, Flemish and Wallon, Germany and France, mixing sweet with sour and salty.
The main ingredients of Belgian cuisine are, first of all, seafood, then meat and cheeses, and vegetables in summer.
It is impossible to list all the national dishes of Belgium. Here are just a few of them that betray the unique local flavor:
And for lunch, which is usually held outside the home, the Belgians prefer fish soup-soup, seafood soups based on vegetable broths.
And meat, meat and again meat: steaks, boiled pork, ham, chicken. Even trout is stuffed with sausage and bacon! And all this with prunes, grapes, cheese, honey, mustard, beer and French fries.
Any dinner must end with a dessert, most often Belgian local, chocolate. Its quality has been appreciated by gourmets all over the world. No wonder Brussels Airport is the place where the most chocolate is sold from Pierre Marcolini, Wittamer, Godiva, Newhaus, Mary Brussels, Leonidas. Cost from 3 to 5 EUR for a standard tile.
And again about beer. This national drink is loved so much that more than a thousand varieties have already been invented. It is drunk in its pure form, added to dishes, and also diluted with fruit juices.
The Belgians have a lot of respect for the very process of eating, to do it on a foray. Therefore, the usual eatery is not the place here. But this has not reduced the number of cafes or restaurants where you can have a snack, eat dessert or dine, drink beer after work in the morning.
But guests of the country should know in advance in which region this or that dish is best prepared.
Economically developed Belgium is always considered a tourist competitor to the neighboring Netherlands. Despite the absence of tulip fields, red-light districts, the country will delight travelers with Gothic monuments, medieval castles, legendary tapestries, luxury hotels and watching Formula 1 races.
Small Belgium is a multinational country, because here the locals speak French, Dutch and German. At different times, the territory was ruled by various empires and states: the Roman Empire, the Duchy of Burgundy, Spain, France and Holland. Only in 1830, as a result of the revolution, Belgium gained independence from the king of the Netherlands.
During the short period of existence of an independent state, the country was able to find its own path. It should be noted that the state had its own colonies in Africa, and even became a political center for holding meetings of international commissions. Now Belgium with its capital in Brussels will delight guests with excellent conditions for recreation in cultural centers, gastronomy and beautiful nature.
Belgian weather is formed by a temperate maritime climate with mild winters and comfortable summers. The Belgians do not like the weather in the region, as there is heavy rainfall for 200 days. The highest intensity occurs in spring and autumn, so the best solution would be to travel to the region in summer.
From Moscow, Kiev and Minsk to Brussels, there are daily direct flights and flights with connections in Riga and Istanbul. The average duration of a direct flight is about four hours. Residents of St. Petersburg will get to the capital of Belgium with a transfer in Istanbul or Stockholm.
Belgium is connected with the CIS countries by bus. From Moscow you will have to go through Riga, while from St. Petersburg, Minsk and Kiev - through Warsaw. Not far from Brussels there is another city with a large airport - Charleroi. Residents of Russia fly here through Minsk.
You can fly to Antwerp with a transfer in Brussels or Amsterdam. Flights from the CIS countries to Bruges with a connection in Antalya, Chisinau and Barcelona. Charter planes fly to Liège throughout the summer period.
Belgium is a country that has one of the densest transport systems in the Western European region. From the capital, you can easily get to the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, France and even distant Great Britain via the English Channel. Due to its excellent geographical location, almost all types of transport are developed in the country, except for domestic airlines, but the small size of Belgium does not need them.
Trains are the most popular form of public transport in Belgium. They are considered the fastest in all of Europe. Railways run to almost every settlement, their length is 34.2 thousand km. It takes only three hours to travel the whole country by train. And in order to get from any remote point in the country to the capital, you need one and a half to two hours.
All domestic trains can be divided into three types: - intercity IC (Intercity), they stop only in big cities; - interregional IR (InterRegio); - daytime trains (there are no night trains in Belgium).
The cost of the ticket depends mainly on the distance to be traveled. For example, the distance from Brussels to Tournai is 87 km, the ticket price is about 12 EUR, and to Antwerp to go 48 km, respectively, the cost will be half as much, about 6 EUR. All tariffs have a good system of discounts. It depends on the number of trips and the age of the passenger. To save money, you can buy the Euro Domino Belgium ticket. Its cost is 46 EUR for three days of travel throughout the country for a month, up to 26 years - 34 EUR. The largest discounts are provided for pensioners, only 3 EUR will cost any ticket for railway transport throughout Belgium. If you are planning a weekend trip, including Friday night, the round trip ticket price will be 50% cheaper than the regular price. You can find out about all discounts in advance on the official website of the National Company of the Belgian Railway System.
Traveling by train around the country is one of the most enjoyable and economical ways. During the trip, you can enjoy the amazing beauty of Belgium. At any stop you can get off the train and go for a walk around the city - you don't have to buy a new ticket. At each train station, you can take advantage of the very convenient conditions of the luggage room. No need to waste time weighing luggage and various disputes, just pay 4 EUR and you will be given a ticket.
In order to go to another country, it is better to book tickets in advance, it will be much cheaper. Thalys trains run to neighboring countries. On the official website of the company you can buy a ticket for the promotion. It only takes you an hour and a half to get to Paris. Eurostar trains leave for foggy Albion. To travel to the UK, you need to go through passport control during boarding.
All train stations in the state are very clean and comfortable. The peculiarity of all Belgian train stations is the absence of a large crowd of people. The reason is that the traffic is very heavy - you don't have to wait long for your train. Also, the friendliness of the controllers should be noted. They are polite and always have all the necessary information on railway traffic in the country.
Brussels is the country's main railway junction. There are three stations in the capital: Gare du Nord, Gare du Centrale and Gare du Midi. The railway station is considered the main and largest railway station in the entire state. More than 1000 trains pass through the station every day. Ticket offices are divided into two categories: for those who buy a ticket on the day of travel, and those who book in advance. Here you can see not only passengers waiting for their transport. Many cafes, restaurants and shops attract different visitors here.
The station in the city of Namur (Namur) is considered the second largest passenger traffic in Belgium. It serves around 2000 passengers every day. The building from 1883 looks old only from the outside, inside you will find a grandiose reincarnation in the high-tech style. Glass elevators and staircases, escalators seem to be transported to the future. Another train station that deserves attention is located in the city of Liège. The Guillemins station was built quite recently, in 2009, but has already managed to become one of the main attractions of the city.
Buses form the backbone of urban transport in Belgium. De Lijn and TEC are the main bus carriers. Each city has its own tariffs. Also, you can purchase bus passes, which are divided into one-time (1.4 EUR), day (3.8 EUR), night (3 EUR), three-day (9 EUR), five-day (12 EUR) and ten-day (15 EUR) ).
Cities such as Brussels and Antwerp have subways. One type of ticket can be used for all types of public transport. Tickets can be purchased on buses, at metro stations and at newsagents. You can also buy a tourist travel card BrusselsCard. It is issued for three days, costs 30 EUR and includes not only unlimited travel on any public transport, but also free admission to some city attractions (museums, theaters, exhibitions).
Antwerp is the second largest and one of the most famous cities in Belgium. It is the administrative center of the province of the same name, Antwerp, a major economic and cultural center, a world-class diamond processing center, and one of the most popular cities in Belgium with tourists.
Antwerp is a large port city with a rich history. After the discovery of America, wealth flowed into this trading city. The city flourished, it is not at all surprising that so many architectural masterpieces were built in it, which are still admired by millions of people from all over the world.
It is convenient for tourists to get to Antwerp from the capital of Belgium - Brussels. From there, a high-speed train will take you to the city in just 30 minutes. Rail transport in Belgium is extremely comfortable.
One day is definitely not enough for a tourist to visit all the remarkable places of this amazing city. Everything here testifies to the well-being of the administrative center of the province, both in the Middle Ages and to this day.
The city has a huge number of museums for every taste - the Royal Museum of Art, the Peter Rubens House Museum, the Burgomaster Rocks House Museum, the Plantin Moretus Museum - this is a museum of the history of the printing house, here connoisseurs can see with their own eyes rare specimens books. In Antwerp, you can visit the world's largest Diamond Museum, which houses the Koh-i-Nor, recognized as the most beautiful diamond in the world, and a large number of jewelry made in antiquity, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Photography. Curiously, the last two are located on the site of the old grain warehouse.
In ancient times, a large number of wealthy people lived on the territory of the thriving city of Antwerp, who built themselves luxurious mansions. But in the 21st century, we can only admire some of them. One of the survivors is the royal Gaasbeck castle dating back to the 16th century.
The oldest building on the territory of modern Antwerp is the Wall Fortress. This fortress has an interesting history. For several centuries, this place was a city prison, then it was converted into the Museum of Archeology, and even later - into the National Maritime Museum, which functions today.
Churches and Cathedrals