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Before You Go

Welcome to Belgium!

Belgium is Europe in a nutshell, with 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Don't be fooled by its size, though, as Belgium offers something for everyone: over 200 museums, 300 art nouveau buildings in Brussels, 650 different styles of beer and 2,000 chocolate shops! Let yourself be captivated by the place surrealist painter Rene Magritte and art nouveau master Victor Horta call home: Belgium.

 

Important security information for US passengers.


Airport and Transfers Information

Brussels International Airport

Located 8 miles (13 Km) northeast of the city center. IATA and ACI (Airport Councils International) voted Brussels Airport as Best European Airport 2005 in March of 2006.

Airport Train

The train station is located on the lower level of Brussels International Airport (1st floor). There is a train shuttle service from the airport to the North, South and Central stations of Brussels. The shuttle runs at least every 20 minutes and takes approximately 20 minutes. It operates between 5:30am - 12:20am from the airport and 4:45am - 11:10pm from the city. The cost is Euro 8,50. Buy your ticket before getting on the train to avoid a surcharge fee.

Airport Taxis

Taxi service from the airport to the city center is approximately 45 Euro. Taxis are available 24 hours. Discount round-trip rates are available.

Group Transfers

Group transfers between Brussels Airport and Brussels city are offered by:

Modern Car

Belgian Travel House

Coach Companies


Bus Transfers

In Brussels


Airport Services

Located in the Arrival Hall: Information/help desks, Money Exchange, Post Office, Duty Free Shops, Car Rental, Cafes/Restaurants, Beauty Shop, Business Center, Religious Services, Train Information & Reservation, Travel Agency, ATM and luggage lockers.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport

Located 1 hour from Brussels, mainly for charter flights going from Brussels to Greece, Tunisia, etc.

For transportation from Charleroi airport to Brussels or other cities : Charleroi Express

 

Area Codes & Calling

Calling Belgium from the US

Dial 011 + Country Code 32 + City Code:

Arlon 63 Brussels 2 Ciney 83 Huy 85 Namur 81
Bastogne 62 Charleroi 71 Dinant 82 Liege 4 Stavelot 8
Bouillon 61 Chimay 60 Durbuy 86 Mons 65 Tournai 69

The Golden Pages

To find a business number in Belgium.

The White Pages

To find a residence in Belgium.

Calling from Belgium

The United States: Dial 00-1-(area code)-phone number.

When calling a Belgian number within Belgium always dial (0) + city code + number.

For international information call 1304.

International Calls

Check the Proximus international offers to find the one that suits you best.

Public Phones

Take both coins and phone cards.

Public phone that display stickers showing flags of different countries can be used to make international calls with operator assistance.

Call in Europe

European mobile service offering cell phones, SIM cards, and itemized statements.

 

Banking Hours
Banks are usually open Monday through Friday, 9:00am - 4:00pm and are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Some banks close for an hour during lunch.

 

Clothing

In summer bring lightweight, comfortable clothing, and a sweater or a jacket for the evening. During the winter bring warm clothes, and it is always a good idea to pack an umbrella and a rain coat.

 

Credit Cards & ATM
All major cards are usually accepted (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club and Eurocard) as well as Traveler's Checks. ATM machines are available in all major cities.

ATM Machines - VISA

Click on the ATM Locator on Visa's Expo site to pinpoint the exact location of ATM machines in Belgian cities.

 

Currency
Today's Exchange Rate

EURO (Euro)

Euro notes are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros. Coins come in denominations of 1 & 2 Euro, and 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cent pieces.

Foreign Exchange Offices

Many foreign exchange offices open on Sundays. There are numerous foreign exchange offices around the Grand Place in Brussels.

Direct FX

Foreign Exchange Services - foreign currency and Traveler's Checks delivered right to your door.

 

Driving Information
A US driver's license is accepted if staying less then 90 days in the country.
Driving is done on the right-hand side of the road.
Speed limits: 50 km/h (31mph) in the city, 90 km/h (56mph) outside the city, and 120 km/h (75mph) on 4-lane highways.
There are no tolls on Belgian highways.
Front and rear seat belts must be worn at all times. Children under 12 years of age are prohibited from sitting in the front seat.
Maximum blood alcohol level = 0.5g/l (1 glass of wine)

Mappy.be

Maps and detailed driving information in Belgium.

 

Duty Free Allowance (Flying into Belgium)

Check Allowances

Apply for US and Canadian citizens.

In the airport shops, passengers travelling to a final destination outside the European Union can enjoy Tax Free prices for all products, including alcohol and tobacco products.

Rules to Leave and Re-Enter US

 

Electricity
A.C. 220 volts - 50 cycles. Plugs are of the round 2-pin type.

 

Entry Requirements

US and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. A visa is not required for stays of less than 90 days. Other nationalities should check with the Belgian Embassy or nearest Consulate Office for visa requirements.

Schengen visa requirements and application forms are available on http://www.diplobel.us/.

Application can be mail to the Consulate Office of your jurisidiction, provided that the signature on the application form is notarized and that a prepaid self-addressed envelope is enclosed. Processing generally takes 3 to 5 days

Belgium Embassy - US
3330 Garfield Street
N.W. Washington, DC 20008
Tel: (202) 333-6900
Fax: (202) 333-3079
Belgium Embassy - Canada
360 Albert Street, Suite 820
Ottawa, ONT, K1R 7X7
Tel: (613) 236-7267
Fax: (613) 236-7882
Consulate Offices in US
Los Angeles
6100 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel: (323) 857-1244
Fax: (323) 936-2564
New York

1065 Avenue of the Americas

22nd Floor (entrance at 40th Street)

New York, NY 10018
Tel: (212) 586-5110
Fax: (212) 582-9657

http://www.diplomatie.be/newyork/

newyork@diplobel.be

Consulate Offices in Canada
Montreal
999 Blvd. de Maisonneuve Ouest
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 3C8
Tel: (514) 849-7394
Fax: (514) 844-3170
Toronto
2 Bloor Street, West
Box 88, Toronto, ONT, M4W 3E2
Tel: (416) 944-1424
Fax: (416) 944-1421

The US Embassy

Located in Brussels.

The Passport Services Office

The US Department of State provides information and services to American citizens about how to obtain, replace or change a passport.

 

Guide Books
Lonely Planet Guide
Rough Guide Travel
Europe & Beyond - Rick Steves
TimeOut Magazine (Brussels)
IdleWild Books Manhattan book store sepcializing in travel and world literature.

News Paper and Magazines

Major american weekly and newspaper are available in Belgium.

The Bulletin

One of the most useful weekly magazines, it is published every Thursday and is filled with Belgian news, articles, information on special events, restaurants reviews and useful addresses.

Voir et Dire Bruxelles Guided city tours in Brussels

 

Health Services

Health Care Belgium

The objectives of this new non-profit organization are to promote Belgian telemedicine, to promote Belgium as an international center of medical excellence and to encourage the delivery of medical services to foreign patients and foreign health care providers in an ethical and coordinated way.

 

Language
There are three officially recognized languages: French and Dutch are the main languages; German is spoken by a small segment of the population and English is widely spoken.

 

Maps & Distances
Distances from  Brussels
Arlon = 116 miles
Bastogne = 93 miles
Bouillon = 97 miles
Dinant = 58 miles
Tournai = 52 miles
Liege = 61 miles
Mons
= 35 miles
Namur
= 39 miles
Spa = 86 miles

Amsterdam = 123 miles
Koln = 126 miles
London = 219 miles
Luxembourg = 134 miles
Paris = 184 miles
Selection of Belgian City-Center Maps

Mappy.be

Maps & directions in Belgium.

Belgian Maps for Purchase

Maps.com

Camping

Campsites in Wallonia.

 

Post Offices
Post Office Hours are M-F from 9:00am - 12:00pm and 2:00pm - 4:00pm.
Brussels Post Office (Avenue Fonsny Office at Brussels Midi Station) is open from 8:00am to 7:30pm Monday to Friday and from 10:30am to 16:30pm Saturdays all year long.
Stamp for standard postcard or letter from Belgium to the USA = Euro 0.71 (max 50gr).
Stamps may be purchased at news stands and souvenir shops.
Post boxes are red and marked "Poste".

 

Senior Citizens
Many museums, concert halls, theaters and other public and entertainment facilities (not movie theaters) offer reduced ticket rates. Some sightseeing tour companies offer senior discounts as well. Reduced rail rates are available on our transportation page.

 

Shopping
Store hours: Monday - Saturday, 10:00am - 6:00pm. Stores are closed on Sundays except in Brussels at the Gallerie St Hubert and gift shops near the Grand Place.
Antique and flea markets are generally open on Saturdays and Sundays.
Tax is always included in price.

 

Special Needs Travel
Brussels for All - a website listing Brussels' various hotels and attractions with an accessibility rating

Belgian Rail System

If traveling in a wheelchair, it is vital to get in touch with the station of your departure at least 24 hours in advance. The Belgian Rail System offers: Special space for wheelchairs in 1st class; platforms and compartments accessible to wheelchair passengers. Some toilets are also accessible to wheelchair passengers; seats have been specially provided.

 

Time Zone
Belgium is six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and nine hours ahead of Pacific Standard time.
If it's 3:00 p.m. here, what time is it in Brussels/Belgium?

 

Tipping & VAT
Service charges and VAT are always included in prices. If exceptional service is given tip at your discretion. Suggested tip for portage is 1 Euro per piece; for coatroom attendants 1.25 to 2.50 Euro per coat; for bathroom attendants 0.25 to 0.50 Euro.

Tax Back International

For Meeting Planners: Get your VAT back for meetings in Belgium.

Tax Free Shopping

Global Blue is a world leader company specialized in VAT refunds. Tax refund available for a minimum purchase of 125.01 Euro per invoice for non European residents. You can also purchase goods from shops participating in the Europe Tax-free Shopping program - look out for the Tax-free Shopping logo displayed in the window. Simply show your passport when you make a purchase and you will be given a Tax-free Shopping check showing the refund you are owed. As you leave the country, customs officials will stamp your checks. You can claim your refund from the Europe Tax-free Shopping desk or have it sent on to you.

 

Traveling with Pets
A veterinarian certificate is required indicating rabies vaccination and health status. Certificates must be issued no less than 30 days or more than one year prior to entry. We also highly recommend that you check with your airline carrier for additional requirements.

Traveling with Pets Official Regulations

Information from the Belgian Embassy website.

Flying with Pets

Additional information.

 

Current Weather & Average Temperatures
Belgium is seldom too hot or too cold. Summer temperatures average 54 F (13 C) - 72 F (21 C) and winter averages from 32 F (0 C) - 43 F (6 C).
In Brussels Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Ave
Max in F 39 45 50 57 64 72 73 72 70 59 48 43 57
Max in C° 4 7 10 14 18 22 23 22 21 15 9 6 14
Min in F° 30 32 36 41 46 52 54 54 52 45 37 32 43
Min in C° -1 0 2 5 8 11 12 12 11 7 3 0 6