Belgium is a beautiful country with diverse landscapes, charming cities, and well-maintained roads, making it an ideal destination for a road trip. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with essential information on car travels in Belgium, including the best places to visit by car, tips for driving in the country, and how to rent a car in Belgium. Whether you’re a tourist or a traveler planning a self-drive holiday in Belgium, this post will help you plan your trip and make the most of your driving experience.
Belgium has a dense network of highways, bringing you almost anywhere in the country in less then a 4 hours. Road signs are written in Dutch in the Flemish part and in French in the Walloon part of Belgium.
Road trips in Belgium
Belgium is a wonderful country to embark on a road trip due to its rich history and culture, and compact size. Exploring the country is a treat as visitors can experience its varied landscapes, from the Ardennes’ rolling hills to the sandy beaches on the coast, and discover charming cities such as Antwerp, Bruges, and Brussels. Renting a car in Belgium is also straightforward and cost-effective, providing travelers with the freedom to explore the country at their leisure.
Tips for driving a car in Belgium
It’s important to note that cars drive on the right-hand side of the road in Belgium. Additionally, many of the roads in Belgium are narrow, so it’s best to be prepared for driving on winding roads and through small villages.
Cyclists are commonly found on Belgian roads, so it’s crucial to keep an eye out for them. It’s also important for visitors to pay attention to speed limits, traffic signs, and parking restrictions in cities.
In Belgium, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Therefore, it’s advisable not to drink and drive.
Drivers Licence and Insurance
For driving a motorized vehicle in Belgium you’ll need one of the following drivers licences: Belgian Drivers Licence, European Drivers Licence, International Drivers Licence. If you don’t have a european drivers licence, it’s advised to check with your embassy if your drivers licence is valid.
Car insurance is Compulsory. Most western-european car insurances include Belgium, but it’s always best to inform with your insurance company before you depart. Apart from a valid drivers licence and an insurance certificate, you’ll need to carry the vehicle registration documents as well with you. And of course a valid passport.
Road conditions in Belgium
The road conditions in Belgium are generally good, but can be congested in the larger cities during rush hour. Be sure to plan your travel times accordingly to avoid getting stuck in traffic.
Toll roads in Belgium
There are no toll roads in Belgium for passenger vehicles.
Speed Limits on the Belgian roads
Be aware that there are many speed cameras and traffic cameras throughout the country, so be sure to obey the speed limit and traffic laws.
The general speed limits are as follows:
- 50 km/h (31 mph) within built-up areas;
- 90 km/h (56 mph) outside built-up areas;
- 120 km/h (75 mph) on roads with at least two two-lane roadways separated by a median, and on freeways.
The limits shown above apply only if there are no other signs present, as the signs may prescribe a lower or a higher speed limit. The speed limit outside built-up areas is in many places, especially in the Flemish Region, restricted to 70 km/h (43 mph). Around almost all schools, 30 km/h (19 mph) zones are found.
Parking your car in Belgian cities
Parking in Belgium can be difficult, especially in the larger cities. There are many paid parking garages and lots throughout the country, but these can be expensive. Some hotels offer parking for guests, so be sure to ask about this when booking your accommodation.
Low Emission Zones in Belgium
Belgium is committed to reducing air pollution and has implemented Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in several cities across the country. LEZ are areas where the most polluting vehicles are restricted from entering to improve air quality. These zones are enforced through cameras that scan the license plates of vehicles entering the zone. If a vehicle does not meet the required emission standards, the owner will be fined. It’s mandatory for every foreign vehicle to register, before entering a low emission zone. Always check in advance if your vehicle is allowed in advance in order to avoid a fine!
The regulations and requirements for the accepted vehicles varies in each city with a LEZ. Brussels, Antwerp en Ghent have a permanent Low Emission Zone.
Low Emission Zone Brussels
In Brussels, the LEZ encompasses the entire Brussels-Capital Region and only vehicles that meet Euro emission standards are permitted to enter. More information and vehicle registration can be found at https://lez.brussels/en.
Low Emission Zone Antwerp
Antwerp’s LEZ covers the city center and surrounding districts and has been in effect since 2017. Similarly, only vehicles meeting Euro emission standards are allowed to enter the zone to improve air quality by reducing the number of polluting vehicles on the road.
Low Emission Zone Ghent
Ghent also has an LEZ that was introduced in 2020 and covers the city center and surrounding neighborhoods. The zone restricts the most polluting vehicles from entering the area, and only those that meet Euro emission standards are allowed. More information and vehicle registration for Ghent’s LEZ can be found at https://stad.gent/ghent-international/mobility-ghent/low-emission-zone-ghent-2020.
Car rental in Belgium
Belgium is a wonderful destination for a road trip. With stunning architecture, charming cities, and picturesque countryside, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Follow our tips for driving in Belgium, explore our suggested itineraries, and discover some hidden gems along the way. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, you’re sure to have an unforgettable adventure in this beautiful country.