Day trips and coach tours to Belgium
Language: The official languages in Belgium are French, German and Dutch.
Time Zone: Central European Standard Time = GMT+1, Central European Summer Time = GMT+2
Tipping: Service charges are generally included in restaurant and taxi bills. Apart from this tipping is uncommon, but if you wish to leave a tip, 10% would be an appropriate maximum.
There are a few people out there who avoid holidaying in Belgium because they consider the country to be boring with very little to do. However, aside from the beer, mussels and chocolate, you will find a country that captivates even the negative-thinking traveller into joining coach tours here. How can you ignore Belgium's amazing art history, the multitude of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and carnivals that put Rio de Janeiro in the shade? It'll take just one coach holiday or day trip to Belgium before you realise what you've been missing out and end up planning future breaks here.
For those who do not already know, Belgium is a country of two halves. You will find Flanders to the north of Belgium where everyone speaks Dutch but to the south, you will find Wallonia where French is the language of choice. Flanders and Wallonia lie alongside each other, interspersed with fabulous historic cities where travelling between the two is easy.
Belgium is constantly reinventing itself and this is represented through the recent state of the art galleries in Mons and Leuven. Culture vultures will love visiting the new Hergé Museum in Louvain-laNeuve as well as the Magritte and subterranean Coudenberg in Brussels Belgium. Travel to Liége where you can marvel at the Grand Curtius and the architectural masterpiece that is the Liége-Guillemins Station which opened in 2009.
Bruges is one of Europe's most visited medieval cities filled with picturesque Squares to explore and tranquil canals to cruise along. Chocoholics will love the chocolate shops where everything is handmade. Do visit the local Breweries too if you happen to enjoy an ice cool Belgian beer. Combine the old with the new on a day trip to Antwerp, the home of a girl's best friend – diamonds! Pay homage to the fallen on a World War One battlefield tour to Ypres where you can experience The Last Post. See the ruined Cistercian Abbey in Villers-la-Ville. Enjoy carnival season in Binche then replenish and rejuvenate in the original health resort of Spa.
Belgium tours typically include; return coach travel, return ferry or channel tunnel crossings, accommodation, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can really see the best of the resort you're visiting. You will be able to sample Belgium food during your break as the majority of tours tend to be Bed and Breakfast or Half Board.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in Belgium, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
When visiting Belgium you should always obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) prior to departing from the UK. The EHIC isn't a substitute for medical and travel insurance, however it entitles you to state provided medical treatment should it become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is given on the same terms as Belgian nationals. The EHIC does not cover medical repatriation, on-going treatment or non-urgent medical treatment, so in addition to having an EHIC you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance and accessible funds which will cover the cost of any medical treatment and repatriation should it be necessary.
Crime in Belgium is on par with that of the UK, however it is increasing. When you go out, only take necessities, in terms of little cash, credit cards and personal ID. Leave other valuables in a hotel safe if accessible. Try not to carry all items in the same bag or pocket, and keep a copy of your passport details and itinerary in the UK.
Contact the nearest police station if you are a victim of theft and contact the British Embassy in Brussels if your passport is lost. If you are unable to report theft of your cards to your card issuer, then the Belgian Group 'Card Stop' (telephone: +32 (0) 70 344 344) can fax you UK card issuer to inform them to block your card. 'Card Stop' can block your card if it is a Belgium issued card. Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation (Eurostar terminal), Gare du Nord and Schuman (the EU quarter) are prone to thieves and muggers, with pickpockets also being known to act on international trains such as Paris-Brussels and Amsterdam-Brussels.
Avoid leaving baggage unattended, this has been known to be stolen from the racks at the end of the carriage in high-speed trains.
Valuable items should also never be left on view in vehicles, even if you are in it. Car doors and windows should be locked at all times, as thieves often break windows and steal valuables when the car is stationary.
Train stations and public transport are areas to beware of, particularly at night.
Local Laws and Customs
You are required to carry a form of identification with you at all times.
Possession of drugs and drug trafficking are serious offences. In public places, it is against the law to wear clothing that would hide an individual's face, and if you do, you could receive a fine of up to €137.50 and/or detention for up to seven days. Such clothing would include the burka and nikab. Tourists are not exempt from this regulation.
If staying in Belgium for up to 3 months, your passport should be valid for the whole of your stay.
Those who have a British passport stating they are a British Citizen do not require a visa to travel to Belgium. However, if you are travelling to work or remain in Belgium for more than 3 months then a residence permit must be applied for from the local communal authorities.
You should check entry requirements with the Belgian Embassy in London if you are another type of British nationality.
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) can be used to enter Belgium, airside transit and exit Belgium.
Any other nationality looking to visit Belgium must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For more information about Belgium you can visit the official tourist board website at visitbelgium.com
Whether you're going for the chocolate or culture, Belgium has something to offer everyone.
Wander down this medieval city's delightful cobbled streets to its bustling Market Square. Here you will find traditional lace shops and vast arrays of market stalls. If you have a sweet tooth then a visit to the Chocolate Museum is a must. Plus the wonders of the Christmas Market make for a fantastic seasonal trip!
Ypres is riddled with history and charm, and is ideal for those who want to learn a little bit more about Belgium's war-related past. Be sure not to miss the Menin Gate and the battlefields of the 'Ypres Salient', home to many battles during the Great War. The Hills of Flanders are fascinating, and Messines and Broodseinde Ridge are a must if you'd like to walk in the steps of war heroes.
This traditional seaside resort is a popular destination for anyone looking for a bit for sun, sea and sand. You can either relax on the beach or take a stroll to the beautiful promenades and charming shops. Either way, this quaint fishing port will have a spot of something for everyone.
Brussels is the stunning capital of Belgium. The Grand Place is a fascinating location to sit and take in the atmosphere, or you can wander around the maze of streets to find the little Mannekin Pis. With bundles of restaurants and shops, you'll be sure to be kept entertained.