Belgium Driving Guide 2022

Belgium Driving Guide 2022

Belgium Driving Guide 2022

Belgium is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit.

Updated Apr 9, 2021·9min read
Driving Guide

Bonjour!

Belgium is a country situated in the northwestern part of Europe, bordered by the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and France. This country is a beautiful mixture of medieval traditions and aesthetics and modern establishments that equally enthrall tourists. From its Gothic churches to its olden castles, right down to the remarkable Ardennes hills and forests and its metropolitan Markt, Belgium is a tourist destination straight out of a fairy tale.

The best way to travel and experience the culture in Belgium is by driving. While public transportation is a fun and adventurous way to familiarize yourself with the country, driving gives you more independence over your destination and travel time. An International Driver’s Permit (IDP) would be needed for renting a car that’ll help you get around on your Belgian adventure. For those staying for long periods, an IDP is also a convenient, valuable necessity.

This guide not only tells you what the best itineraries in Belgium are, but it also means you what you need to know about driving in Belgium from the dos and don'ts on Belgian roads; traffic rules and regulations you have to follow, and driving conditions in Belgium as well as requirements for driving in Belgium as a tourist. If you’re looking for tips on how to rent a foreign car and get around in Belgium, this guide has it for you. Here are some pieces of information about Belgium you need to know to make the most of your travels.

General Information

Belgium is a country that is nested in the middle of the European countries of the Netherlands, France, and Germany. Its capital is the city of Brussels. Belgium comprises plains that rise to the Ardennes hills, an elevation of 2,277 feet at Botrange.

Geographic Location

Belgium is located in northwestern Europe and is surrounded by the Netherlands to its north, Germany to its east and Luxembourg to the south, and France to the south and west. Belgium has a surface area of 30 688 square kilometers. In terms of geography, Belgium has three regions: lower Belgium, central Belgium, and upper Belgium

Languages Spoken

Three official languages are being spoken in Belgium, namely Flemish, French, and German. The languages depend from community to community, with Flemish being spoken in a large part of the Flanders region known as Belgian-Dutch. French is widely spoken in Belgium, especially in the capital Brussels. The Liege area speaks German mostly.

History

The origin of the Belgian people can be traced to the Celtic and Germanic tribes. Belgium proved to be a hard state to conquer which only manifested in 53BC. The Middle Ages saw Belgium as a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Belgium would soon be divided into states such as Flanders and Hainaut, remaining under French, Dutch, and Spanish control until the 19th century.

The Vienna Congress lobbied for Belgium to have its own state but instead given it to the Netherlands. Belgium became independent from the Netherlands in 1830 and earned recognition as a separate state in 1831.

Government

Belgium has a complex government structure since it has many kinds. It has a monarchy, a multi-party state headed by a Prime Minister who, along with ministers, state secretaries, and federal parliament, make up the federal authority body. The current king of Belgium is King Philippe, and its prime minister is Alexander de Croo.

The federal government of Belgium comprises Flanders (North), Wallonia (South), and Brussels-Capital Region, with each region having its parliament. These communities are also divided based on the languages they speak, namely Dutch (Flanders/Brussels), French (Wallonia), and German.

Tourism

Belgium is a melting pot of tourist sights from scenic natural wonders to bustling cosmopolitan towns, right down to art and culture centers. The cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, and Bruges are close to each other, making for shorter travel time and more hours spent indulging in this European marvel. Belgium is also known for gastronomical delights ever-present in different menus such as Belgian fries, craft beer, and their world-renowned Belgian chocolates.

Art lovers will be delighted when they visit Belgium. This country is known for its museums that boast collections upon collections from symbolism to contemporary, all from renowned names such as van Eyck, van der Weyden, Panamarenko, to name a few. This small country is truly home to big adventures.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Driving in Belgium is the best way to explore and get the most out of your experience in the country. While public transportation enables you to familiarize yourself with the directions, the ins-and-outs of the country, driving gives you more freedom and spontaneity, more control over your journey. When traveling, renting a car in Belgium, and driving truly has an advantage.

You could be wondering, “do I need an International Driving Permit in Belgium?” or perhaps “do I need an International Driving Permit to rent a car in Belgium?” the answer is yes! An International Driver’s License in Belgium not only serves as a translation of your native driver’s license, but it is also considered essential by most car rental companies. If you’re curious about what you need to know about driving in Belgium, read below to inform yourself.

Is My Native License Valid in Belgium?

If you’re from a European Union nation or a non-EU nation with agreements with Belgium, then your license is valid and can be used for driving in Belgium. Those coming from the European Union or European Economic Area as expatriates aren’t required to swap their licenses and even have an EEA license exchange for a Belgian one. The validity of European Union licenses is ten years. The nations under the European Union acknowledge by Belgium are:

Austria 11. Germany 21. Poland

Belgium 12. Greece 22. Portugal

Bulgaria 13. Hungary 23. Romania

Croatia 14. Ireland 24.Slovakia

Republic of Cyprus 15. Italy 25. Slovenia

Czech Republic 16. Latvia 26. Spain

Denmark 17. Lithuania 27. Sweden

Estonia 18. Luxembourg

Finland 19. Malta

France 20. Netherlands

Also recognized are those who are members of the European Economic Area, such as:

  • Iceland
  • Norway
  • Liechtenstein

For U.S. tourists, using an American driving license in Belgium is permitted. However, some car rental companies might require an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium before renting, so it is best to get one to be sure. For U.S. tourists driving in Belgium, you can get your International Driver’s Permit for Belgium in the local city administration or the corresponding office.

Do I Need an IDP to Drive in Belgium?

Citizens from countries who aren’t a part of the EU/EEA/Switzerland must obtain an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium. Other countries such as the U.S.A. do not necessarily require an IDP, so you can technically drive in Belgium with a U.S. License. If you’re on a business trip, it is also recommended that you obtain an IDP, especially when renting a car since car rental companies in Belgium require an IDP to rent.

Certain countries, especially those in the EU, aren’t required to have an IDP. There is no IDP requirement for American citizens as they can use their American driving license when driving in Belgium. The minimum age for applying for an IDP is 18, and applying needs no particular test or exam. You can apply directly online and get your IDP in around twenty minutes.

How Do I Apply for an IDP for Belgium?

If you are a U.S. tourist seeking to drive in Belgium, an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium is required. An IDP serves as a translation of your native driver’s license to help you rent a car and drive in Belgium legally and safely.

So if you’re not from an EU country and your license isn’t in English, then the answer to the question “do I need an International Driver’s Permit in Belgium?” is yes. Getting an International Driver’s Permit is simple as the requirements are:

  • Passport Size Photo
  • Copy of Passport
  • Valid Native Driver’s License

Getting an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium is easy and can be done online or in person. You can just visit the country’s local administrative office to get yours.

Can I Apply for an IDP for Belgium Online?

You can definitely apply for an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium online! Apply on the website by filling in the information for the application and upload your pictures with accurate parameters. Expect your application to get approved instantly! You can get your digital copy in less than two hours. Physical copies take thirty days to deliver outside the U.S.

How Long Is an IDP Valid?

Originally it was mandated in the 1968 Vienna Convention that an International Driver’s Permit is only valid for three years. Since policies have changed along with the times, you can now select your desired validity for varying prices when getting your International Drivers’ Permit for Belgium.

An IDP is priced differently depending on the validity. If you’re a tourist who’s only staying for around a month, the one-year validity package is your go-to plan. However, if you’re staying for business purposes, then a two or three-year validity package is for you to make it more convenient when driving in Belgium.

Renting a Car in Belgium

If you’ve ever dreamt about going on a spontaneous road trip around Belgium visiting its Gothic designed churches, you have to seriously consider renting a car. With a rental car, you can go museum hopping to appreciate the artwork, or maybe just to see the Ardennes and bask in nature or De Haan beach to get some sea and sun. This seems daunting at first, but this guide should help you with all your concerns about renting and driving a rental car in Belgium.

Car Rental Companies in Belgium

Renting a car in Belgium is a lot easier nowadays as many car rental companies offer their services wherein you can book online or over the phone. Online booking is very convenient as you can put in specifics such as time, location of pick up, and the purpose of renting, among others. Among the known car rental companies in Belgium to choose from are:

  • Avis
  • Hertz
  • Europcar
  • Enterprise
  • Budget
  • Sixt

Documents Required

Before renting a car in Belgium, make sure that you have all the necessary documents that might be asked of you, such as a valid driver’s license that has been valid for 12 months-2 years before renting the car. Though car insurance is included in the price, additional insurance is still required. Car rental companies require their customers to deposit money depending on the model of the vehicle. Deposits range from 300-800 euros.

Some rental companies are particular about having an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium before permitting you to rent, so it is best to have these along with your other requirements. Identification documents like passports may not be necessary, but it is best to bring them along for security purposes.

Vehicle Types to Rent

Companies offer different kinds of vehicles in Belgium depending on the itinerary. According to AutoEurope, mini cars are often rented for solo adventures in urban places due to their compact size, making them perfect for squeezing into the tight city spaces. Compact cars are usually rented for their fuel efficiency and room for luggage. A family vehicle option is present for families or multiple passengers.

An adventure is more enjoyable when convenient. If you are a fan of the great outdoors and enjoy driving on rough terrain or braving the snow, an SUV is a vehicle for you with luggage space, emergency tires, and ample room. This gives you more ease when driving in nature and accommodates your belongings and safety gear properly.

Car Rental Costs

The fee for the cars depends on the model and the duration of when it’ll be used. The following are the typical prices:

  • Economy-$18/day
  • Compact- $20/day
  • Passenger Van- $40/day
  • Luxury- $44/day

The fees above vary from company to company and do not cover insurance fees. Insurance coverage is usually purchased separately from the car rental service.

Age Requirements

The minimum age for driving in Belgium is around 18-23, depending on the type of vehicle, and the license must be valid for at least a year. A surcharge for young drivers will be given to those found to be below the age of 25. To rent a car, the age varies. In Belgium, ages 21-24 can rent Economy, Standard, Compact, Intermediate vehicles with a young driver’s fee of 12.10 euro per day. Those aged 25 and older can rent Luxury and Premium vehicles.

Car Insurance Costs

Car rental insurance varies depending on the company, but it is a must to get insurance if you're driving as a tourist in Belgium. The policy for insurance in Belgium states that fire and third party liability insurance are requirements. Third party liability insurance serves as a protection and coverage towards outsiders who may cause damage to the vehicle with the range of coverage starting at a million euros and above. In fire insurance, there is an unlimited amount of coverage.

Car Insurance Policy

Some coverages are optional though still a necessity for the security of tourists driving in Belgium. A collision damage waiver might be optional, but it is still recommended to cover you if you get involved in an accident and costs around $45-$75 per day. Theft coverages range from $9-$20. These prices are the general prices and would still vary depending on the rental company.

Belgium photo by K. Mitch Hodge

The Road Rules in Belgium

Part of tourist driving in Belgium is knowing the basic rules of the road to avoid accidents and run-ins with the law. This guide tells you what you need to know about driving in Belgium, from the road rules to the common traffic signs that will help make your journey smooth and worry-free.

Important Regulations

The legal age to drive in Belgium is 18-23, so anyone below 18 cannot drive. Driving without a legal driver’s license or an IDP is also illegal, so before you go to Belgium for a road trip and are not from an EU nation or in possession of a US driving license in Belgium, you should get an IDP to avoid any hassle.

It is crucial to stay disciplined as a tourist driving in Belgium since you are in a foreign country, and breaking the law can spell trouble that will cost you money and time. Belgium's blood alcohol level limit is at 0.5 mg per milliliter of blood. Do not get intoxicated before driving to avoid legal troubles and accidents.

General Standards

It is essential as a tourist driving in Belgium to abide by the general standards of driving to avoid any mishaps and delays. Take the initiative to educate yourself on the driving rules in Belgium. Having this information can save you the trouble of having bad encounters with the law.

Before Driving:

Before driving, make sure that you aren’t intoxicated since Belgium has a low legal limit. Ensure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel and are confident that your car is in good condition. Check for required emergency tools such as visibility vests and warning triangles. Emergency kits and required documents such as driver’s license, IDP, and insurance are now required by law.

While Driving:

Wear your seat belt at all times and avoid any distractions. Children should also be equipped with the suitable child-restraint system. Your eyes should be focused and be aware of traffic signs. Speed limit rules are essential when driving in Belgium, so be mindful of the speed limit in the particular area that you are in. Spot-on fines are strictly implemented, and you can get fined if caught speeding, not wearing a seat belt, etc.

After Driving:

When parking in Belgium, remember to only park in blue zones. Park in the direction of traffic, which is the right side. Your car won't be clamped for parking illegally but will be if found to be uninsured, so be sure that you have your documents with you when driving a rental car in Belgium. Have your insurance, passport, native driver’s license, and an International Driver’s License for Belgium.

Speed Limits

The speed limit in Belgium varies depending on the place you'll be driving in. The motorway's speed limit is 120 km/h, while national roads or main roads have a speed limit of 70-90 kph. Built-up areas like residential and village have a lower speed limit at 50 kph or even 30 kph if a school is nearby. Surveillance cameras and speed traps are installed in Belgium to detect and apprehend speeders since Belgium’s accident rate is relatively high. Speeders are fined on the spot for driving above the speed limit.

As discouraged as it might be to drive fast in an unfamiliar country, should you find yourself being pulled over for speeding, do not resist. Simply comply and pay the designated fine as resisting would cost another fine on top of speeding. It will also help if you have your documents such as your native driver's license and International Driver's Permit for Belgium as a means of identification.

Driving Directions

Belgium is a European country that is surrounded by countries such as Germany, France, and Luxembourg. Since it is landlocked, reaching these countries by car is possible. The driving directions in Belgium to get to the countries nearest to them can be challenging but it’s worth a try.

When driving in Belgium, overtake on the left and not on the right. Should you need to pass a cyclist, keep a one-meter distance between your vehicle and theirs. In some situations, overtaking is prohibited, especially when there is a St. Andrew’s cross sign, at intersections where a right-hand priority is being observed, at pedestrian lanes, and in times of bad weather.

Traffic Road Signs

When driving in Belgium as a tourist, it is essential to get yourself acquainted with the common traffic road signs you might encounter before heading out on your road trip. Being in a foreign country has its challenges, and familiarizing yourself with the road is just one of them. Still, this guide can help equip you with the necessary information you need to ensure that your road trip in Belgium is smooth sailing and less accident-prone.

The traffic lights in Belgium are about the same as anywhere else in the world. Red light means to stop or do not cross, the amber light is a yield or stop when you are too close to cross, and green means go. Most of their road signs are recognizable as they are similar to those in other countries. Certain signs that warn against falling rocks and slippery signs can also be found, and animal crossing signs for roads near wildlife.

Right of Way

When driving in Belgium, remember that the priority is on the right. In more urban areas, the speed must be monitored for bus drivers who are about to depart from the stop. When on a roundabout, the priority should be given to those already driving in the roundabout.

The priority of the right is being contested in Belgium due to a high number of accidents with vehicles assuming that the right of way would be given, therefore resulting in collisions. The authorities have now erected signs banning the right of way, controlling the casualty count.

Legal Driving Age

To be able to hold a Belgian driver's license, the applicant must be at least 18 years old. The age limit varies depending on the vehicle you wish to drive. Those aged 21-24 are permitted to drive the economy and compact cars, while those 25 and older have a more liberal choice for the vehicles they choose to drive. The minimum age for renting a car in Belgium is 21 years old, while the minimum age to get an IDP for Belgium is 18.

Laws On Overtaking

Overtaking in Belgium happens on the left and not on the right. Signs such as the St. Andrew’s cross sign prohibits drivers from overtaking, and at right-hand priority intersections. Bad weather and pedestrian lanes restrict overtaking, as well.

A new law in Belgium states that trucks can now overtake on motorways wherein they were once prohibited from doing so provided that there aren’t any signs that prevent them from overtaking. Other parts of this law for trucks include banning overtaking when raining and implementing surveillance cameras to detect speeders quickly.

Driving Side in Belgium

Belgium is just one of the 76 countries that practice left-hand driving. Belgians drive on the right-hand side of the road, meaning that their steering wheel is on the left, similar to cars in the United States. Left-hand driving is when a car has its steering wheel on the left side, meaning they have to drive on the right side of the road. American citizens driving in Belgium should have a far easier time driving around since driving on the right-hand side is what they are more used to.

Driving Etiquette in Belgium

Emergencies are the worst of what can happen on your trip to Belgium, especially if you’re driving. Still, these things happen, and it is best to be equipped with knowledge of driving etiquette in Belgium so you would know what to do should an unfortunate incident as such arise.

Car Breakdown

Car breakdowns can happen even to the newest, most reliable cars no matter how well maintained it appears to be. If your rental car should break down, move over to the emergency lane. Belgium has a law where emergency lanes must be cleared to make way for cars needing emergency assistance. This law is mandatory, so this should assure you that you are safe in the emergency lane, away from all the passing vehicles.

It is a requirement to have reflective jackets and warning triangles when driving a rental car in Belgium. These reflective jackets are worn to signal an emergency. At the same time, the warning triangle must be placed at least 30 meters behind your vehicle for ordinary roads and a hundred meters for the motorway with visibility from a 50-meter distance.

Police Stops

If the police pull you over in Belgium, it is usually just to check if you have your proper documents and an emergency kit in check in your car. To avoid delays and misunderstandings on the road with Belgian authorities, always have important documents such as your passport, native driver’s license, and International Driver’s Permit for Belgium with you. Police may sometimes inspect your car for rental insurance or if there are any rules, you may have violated.

In case of a violation, police will pull you over and state your violation along with the corresponding fine or penalty, which you will pay at the police station. Do not get into an argument or contest the police; rather, just calmly comply and admit your violation. In Belgium, it is illegal to resist rightful arrest, and another fine on top of your existing one will be charged to you.

Asking Directions

Getting lost is an inevitable part of tourist driving in Belgium. You are in a foreign country, and sometimes no matter how much research you do, you still find yourself losing your way once you are behind the wheel. If you need to ask for directions, keep in mind these simple phrases, you can ask locals to help you get back on track:

  • Excuseer mij-Excuse me
  • Waar is…-Where is?
  • Helpen- Help
  • Ik ben verloren-I’m lost
  • Het station-The train station
  • De luchthaven- The airport

Checkpoints

There aren’t any checkpoints between Belgium and other Schengen countries. However, if driving to a non-Schengen nation, certain checkpoints might take place for inspecting documents. For citizens of Switzerland, EU, and EEA, only a valid resident ID is required, but complete international travel documents could be asked of you for all others.

Usually, checkpoints do document checking. This is why it is essential to have your important documents such as a passport, valid native license, car insurance, and an International Driver’s Permit ready within reach. Should these documents be asked of you, you can easily present them and continue on your European journey without worries.

Other Tips

What if I Get Into an Accident?

Since we can never tell when we will be getting into an accident, it’s best to always stay equipped with first aid kits and the necessary reflective jackets, warning triangles, fire extinguishers, along with some spare tires. Vehicles in Belgium are required by law to have these in their vehicles, and a fine shall follow if you are found without them. Here’s what you have to do in case of an accident when driving in Belgium.

Stop your car and wear the reflective jacket along with your warning triangle. Hazard lights must be switched on while you coordinate with the other individuals involved. An accident report form would need to be filled up once agreed upon and sent to the insurance company. Do not sign any document that both parties did not agree to. For fatal accidents, cars should be moved away from the motorway, and the authorities must file an accident report. An ambulance or the fire department should be called to attend to the victims involved.

What are the Parking Rules in Belgium?

When parking in Belgium, park in the opposite direction of the traffic. A 15 m distance between other vehicles, namely trams and buses should be allotted while 1 m distance for cars is recommended. Take note of areas where one cannot park, you could find your car towed. Under any circumstances, avoid double-parking.

Driving Conditions in Belgium

To make driving in Belgium even more convenient, it isn’t enough to just know the rules and the common country etiquette. You must also know what kind of conditions you will be facing when driving in Belgium as a tourist. Knowing these can help you prepare better and anticipate the hurdles and driving conditions in Belgium.

To make driving in Belgium even more convenient, it isn’t enough to just know the rules and the common country etiquette. You must also know what kind of conditions you will be facing when driving in Belgium as a tourist. Knowing these can help you prepare better and anticipate the hurdles and driving conditions in Belgium.

Accident Statistics

Belgium is reputed to be one of the lowest ranking countries in Europe in terms of road safety. In a list of 30, Belgium ranked 23rd, and the high accident rate is frequently blamed on the dense roads, multiple exits, speeding, drunk driving, amongst others, despite being a highly monitored road with penalties for every violation. Remember to be extremely cautious when driving in Belgium.

According to statistics, compared to 2018, wherein there were 38,453 road-related accidents, 2019 showed a 2% decrease bringing it to 37,699. A reduction of 3.2% in casualties in 2019 was seen as only 47,793 compared to 2018, which amounted to 49,357. The age common for fatalities is between 20 and 29, with car drivers being the primary vehicle of most victims. 2020 saw the rise of vehicular accidents again in Belgium, which brings the death toll to 620, most of which died on the spot.

Common Vehicles

The most commonly used rented vehicle in Belgium is an SUV. 2016 saw a spike in SUVs being sold in Belgium, with 1 in 4 cars in Belgium being SUVs. Most Belgians choose this car because of its lightweight, multiple seating, spacious interior, and fuel efficiency. As far as rented cars are concerned, more tourists are renting compact vehicles as its fuel efficiency features save them gas money, and the compact model makes it easier to squeeze into crowded cities.

Toll Roads

Most Belgian roads are toll-free. Tolls only take effect when you use freeways and certain roads. Vehicles that are 3.5 tonnes or more are subject to toll fines which reflect on OBUs or On Board Units. Motorists must purchase e-Vignettes when driving on Belgian freeways for payment of toll fees.

Road Situations

Highways in Belgium are described as well maintained with the occasional bumps and potholes. Since Belgium experiences winter, the roads tend to get icy and slippery. Vehicle preparation and gathering of the necessary emergency tools and some spare tires can be helpful. Since rains occur frequently and without warning, exercise caution when driving in the shower since the roads tend to get slippery, and make sure that your windshield wipers are working well to fan away droplets of rain and fog.

Certain precautions must be taken in winter since this when accidents and breakdowns occur frequently. Before heading out to the snow, pump your brakes to check if they are working well, keep spare snow tires in the trunk and make sure your vehicle has sufficient fuel as it can be stressful to look for a gas station availability or refilling gas in the middle of a rural area. Drive slowly in the snow and keep your headlights on at all times. Driving in cold weather can be an adventure, but only when planned out well.

Driving Culture

According to surveys and accident statistics, Belgium is the European nation with the worst drivers and most frequent accidents. The condensed roads and multiple exits also spell disaster for tourists driving in Belgium.

If you are a tourist, do not let this discourage you. From the citizens to the officials, Belgians can be approached and asked for directions and help you with some car troubles you might be having. Just remember to follow the driving rules in Belgium yourself, and like anywhere else, be cautious when driving on unfamiliar roads.

Driving Culture

According to surveys and accident statistics, Belgium is the European nation with the worst drivers and most frequent accidents. The condensed roads and multiple exits also spell disaster for tourists driving in Belgium.

If you are a tourist, do not let this discourage you. From the citizens to the officials, Belgians can be approached and asked for directions and help you with some car troubles you might be having. Just remember to follow the driving rules in Belgium yourself, and like anywhere else, be cautious when driving on unfamiliar roads.

Other Tips

Belgium can be a land of great adventure, which you can achieve by driving. You must first learn other cultures and details specific to Belgium that can guide you when driving. Knowing their unit of speed is important for reading signs and staying within the speed limit. Understanding if Belgians are safe drivers or if nighttime road trips are recommended can help you better navigate your way in the country by car.

Do They Use Kph or Mph?

Kph or Mph is used for measuring speed, and it is important to know what measurement the country you’ll be visiting uses to avoid confusion and possible speed limit violation. The conversion is different as one isn’t equal to the other with 1 mile being 1.609 kilometers and a kilometer being 0.62 miles so be mindful of this to avoid being too slow or overspeeding. Most countries around the world use kph and Belgium is one of them.

Since the USA is one of the countries that use mph, driving in Belgium for American citizens can be a bit of a challenge. If you are a U.S. tourist driving in Belgium you could be more used to Mph. You might frequently notice speed limit signs written in kph. The number on your speedometer could be higher than expected so keep the conversion in mind or ask for additional assistance if you feel confused.

Is Night Driving in Belgium Safe?

Since Belgium is a relatively safe country, with well-maintained toll-free roads, night driving is safe for any tourist. Just remember to stay sober when driving, have your documents and safety equipment with you. Make sure your car is properly tuned and with functional windshield wipers, brakes, headlights, and wheels.

Is Belgium Safe for Tourists?

Generally known as a safe country for tourists to visit, you should have nothing to worry about in Belgium. While there are occasional pickpockets, thefts, and scams to watch out for, Belgium is a tourist-friendly country. Just remember to always bring your valuables like cash and documents with you and park your car in well-lit areas when traveling at night.

Things to Do in Belgium

Driving in Belgium as a tourist can be more fun and carefree, but if you’ve decided to take up residency and drive in or work in Belgium as a driver, then it’s a whole other level. Tourists and those applying for residency can drive in Belgium, but there are many more requirements and conditions waiting for you. Read below for the information you need to consider before driving as a tourist in Belgium or taking it up as an occupation.

Drive as a Tourist

Driving as a tourist in Belgium is possible. If you are from the EU/EEA/Switzerland or the UK, you can use your native driver’s license to drive in Belgium. Tourists who aren’t from the aforementioned countries must obtain an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium to legally drive in the country. One can get an IDP on the website, choosing between a physical or digital copy, both of which take only a short time to approve and process.

An International Driver’s Permit for Belgium comes in handy not only for driving but for border checkpoints and police stops for document inspection. One can use an International Driver’s Permit for Belgium in legal transactions such as banking and purchasing. Acquiring one is easy and can be done conveniently online or at a corresponding office.

Work as a Driver

If you wish to work as a driver in Belgium, you would first have to get a Belgian driver’s license unless you are from the EU nations whose licenses are recognized in Belgium. While you can use an American driving license in Belgium, you need to obtain a Belgian driving licence if you are staying for a long time. Getting a Belgian driver’s license would require you to pass a driving test.

Before getting your Belgian driver’s license, the practical test would require you to either take up a 20-hour lesson on driving or have a more experienced guide with you. Once passed, you can claim your license in the local hall. Once you have your driver’s license and a work permit, you can now start driving in Belgium and earning from it at the same time.

Work as a Travel Guide

Working as a tour guide in Belgium if you’ve enjoyed it so much is also possible once you’ve got a work permit to make your employment legal. Tour guides rates in Belgium vary depending on the employer, but it is a nice way to make a living by putting your acquired knowledge of the country to good use. You just need to be well informed about Belgium’s tourist spots and fluent in French, Dutch, and German.

Apply for Residency

Belgium has many perks for foreigners who are seeking residency. First and foremost, being a Belgian citizen gives you free access to Schengen nations as it is a member of the European Union. According to EU guidelines, once you have your license in Belgium, you can use it anywhere in the EU as it is considered valid. Belgium is also the heart of business in Europe, which would give you more employment opportunities in various fields. Other perks include its excellent healthcare system, education system, and the ability for you to be a resident without being a tax resident.

Citizens of EU/EEA and Switzerland need only stay for five years to become a permanent resident in Belgium. Citizens of other nations must obtain a residence card that is valid for five years. For this, you must file a permanent residency application at a local office. Once forwarded and reviewed by the Federal Immigration Office, you shall receive your residence card.

Other Tips

There are plenty of things one can do in Belgium. Belgium offers opportunities for other fields of employment apart from driving, which you can look into if you have specialization. Have a look at some other jobs and industries one can enter once in Belgium

How to Seek Employment in Belgium?

Foreigners seeking employment in Belgium are required to get a Belgian work permit except for those coming from EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals. The need for a work permit for all other citizens depends on the nature of the profession as those with a permanent residence with an indefinite stay are exempted from getting work permits. There are three work permits in Belgium (A, B, and C) depending on the classification of your job.

What are Other Job Opportunities in Belgium?

As a foreigner seeking employment, you will never run out of opportunities in Belgium. Depending on your skill level and your chosen field, you can search on popular sites such as Brussels Jobs, Stepstone, Jobs in Brussels, Career Jet, and Indeed. If you’re fluent in English and would like to impart your knowledge to the world, you can apply as an English teacher in Belgium.

Look for teaching jobs on ESL Café, Total ESL and ESL Employment to kick-start your teaching career.

Top Destinations in Belgium

To make the most out of the European glory that is Belgium, getting around by car is the best way to do so. Belgium is overflowing with tourist hot spots that are urban and rural, from the museums and markets in Bruges right down to the majestic Ardennes. You won't ever run out of destinations to visit. Here are some of the top road trip picks in Belgium.

Driving in Belgium to experience all these scenic wonders is the best way to truly experience the country. To make driving a breeze, remember to always carry your International Driver’s Permit with you at all times, and follow the road rules and regulations. The best kind of travel is a safe

Ardennes-Belgium photo by Casper Menting

Ardennes

Ardennes is a paradise on Earth for nature lovers. Its countryside village ripe with traditional culture and folklore gives an old-time feel with a picturesque sight. Hiking in Rochehaut or exploring the Rochefort grotto is a must for adventurous ones. If you’re up for a more modern tour, you can visit the Grand Curtis Museum or the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Liège or maybe go on a brewery tour and see how the best drinks in Belgium are made.

Driving Directions:

  1. To get to the Ardennes, take the E40 in Woluwe Saint Lambert from Rue Belliard and N23.
  2. Follow E40 and E25 until you reach Baraque de Fraiture on Vieslam, where you can take Exit 50.
  3. Continue on Braque de Fraiture until you hit Manhay.

Things to Do

Adventure awaits you at the Ardennes. Whether you opt to hike at Rochehaut or appreciate the taste of quality Belgian beer by going on a brewery tour, there’s always something new to learn in this Belgian area.

When driving to the Ardennes to get a taste of this old town world with modern-day charms, have an International Driver’s Permit. The IDP comes in handy during border checkpoints and unexpected police stops. This legal document enables you to drive in Belgium freely.

1. Hike at Rochehaut

The glorious Ardennes is known for being a hiking paradise Rochehaut is an ideal place for adventure in the Ardennes with its beautiful scenery. The Rochefort grotto located nearby is a must for explorers.

2. Visit the Grand Curtius Museum

Art enthusiasts are in for a treat at the Grand Curtius Museum that houses a wide array of artistic masterpieces. Famous works such as a Napoleon Bonaparte portrait by Ingres along with archaeological artifacts can be found in this historical museum.

3. Go for a Brewery Tour

Witness firsthand how the best beer and wine are brewed in Belgium. One of the best attractions in the Ardennes is a brewery tour which gives tourists a chance to experience not only the taste but the process of making one of Belgium’s most noteworthy products.

4. Visit the Abbey Notre Dame

The Abbey Notre Dame is more than just its medieval facade. If you enjoyed the brewery tour, the Abbey Notre Dame is the best beer abbey the country has to offer. Visit the pharmacy and museum in the area to learn more about its history.

5. Appreciate Liege Art

The Musee de Beaux-Arts de Liege might look plain and unassuming on the outside, but its inside brags a plethora of artworks from all centuries

Bruges-Belgium photo by Scott Evans

Bruges

A trip to Belgium isn't complete if you don't get to visit the town of Bruges which is renowned for its medieval architecture, townhouses, and Gothic marvels that are right out of a European storybook! The Grote Markt that bears gargoyle sculptures along with the Basilica of the Holy Blood are churches that will surely make you feel like you've gone back in time.

Always have your important documents ready when going for a scenic drive in the Bruges area. An IDP comes in handy when driving in another country so make sure you always have it with you in case of checkpoints.

Driving Directions:

  1. To get to Bruges from Brussels Airport, take the Boulevard du Jardin Botanique and R20-A10 in Sint-Agatha Berchem.
  2. Follow E40 to Koning Albert I-Iaan/N397 in Brugge.
  3. Take the N397 exit from N31 and continue on Koning Albert I-Iaan. Drive.

Things to Do

Bruges itself is bursting with life and there is never a shortage of activities one can partake in. From shopping at markets to visiting holy sites to experiencing a romantic gondola ride, tourists can do it all in Bruges.

1. Shop at the Grote Markt

The Grote Markt is an ideal place for shopping, dining, and sipping great Belgian coffee. Its medieval streets make it perfect for picture taking.

2. Visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood

One of the oldest, most popular churches in Belgium is the Basilica of the Holy Blood. This church with its fairy tale exterior reputedly houses the Holy Blood of Christ, brought to Belgium by Thierry of Alsace.

3. Wine and Dine at Belgian Pubs

If you're feeling a little modern and would like to explore the delicious wonders of Bruges, the merchants in the country market have got just what you need from Belgian fries to Irish Pubs.

4. Go for a Gondola Ride.

Couples can also go for a romantic gondola ride down the canals. Bruges has got a lot of surprises for tourists looking for some city adventure.

5. Appreciate the Belfry Tower


The Belfry tower is a 15th-century architectural marvel now hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that rings out the tune of the bells. Arrive early if you want to climb to the top as only a certain number of people will be allowed

De Haan Beach Photo by Thibaut Santy

De Haan Beach

De Haan is a village located in the northern part of Belgium renowned for its beach that extends up to 11 km decorated with white sand. This place is quite popular amongst couples and honeymooners as well as tourists who are fond of beaches. There is never a shortage of things you can do on De Haan beach be it long beach walks, cycling, going to bars or cafés, or relaxing in a resort overlooking the seaside.

Driving Directions:

  1. To get to DeHaan take the Boulevard du Jardin Botanique from the Brussels Airport and R20 to A10 in Sint-Agatha Berchem.
  2. Follow E4- to Elfhoekstraat in Jabbeke then exit 6-Jabbeke from E40.
  3. Take N377 and Dorpsstraat to Koninklijike Baan then turn left to De Haan.

Things to Do

De Haan might be a summery place to visit in Belgium, but if sand and sea aren’t your types of travels, check out the other destinations you can drive to in DeHaan. There’s always something for everyone in Belgium.

1. Enjoy De Haan’s beaches

De Haan is known for its pristine white beaches. A popular honeymoon destination and getaway attraction, De Haan has beaches that make relaxation under the sun or the moonlight a memorable experience. One can go cycling, walking, or partake in water sports in De Haan.

2. Nightlife in De Haan

Apart from its glorious beaches, De Haan is known for being surrounded by bars and cafes. Choose among a wide array of nightclubs to have a memorable Belgian seaside nightlife.

3. Play Golf at a Royal Golf Club

Situated in De Haan is a golf course called Royal Golf Club Oostende. This course boasts a wide green range, located only a hundred meters away from the beach.

Antwerp Belgium Photo by Zoë Gayah Jonker

Antwerp

A hybrid of modern and olden, Antwerp boasts Gothic architectures such as the Antwerp Central Station, a train station with a splendid exterior that functions and persists perfectly in the modern age and is hailed as one of the five most beautiful train stations. Belgian art has also made quite an impact in Antwerp and tourists from far and wide visit museums such as the UNESCO heritage site Museum Plantin-Moretus.

Driving Directions:

  1. To get to Antwerp from Brussels Airport, get on E40 in Woluwe-Saint Lambert from Rue Belliard and N23.
  2. Take E19 to N113 in Antwerpen.
  3. Exit 5a-Antwerpen-Centrum Het Zuid from E34.
  4. Continue on N113.
  5. Take Leopoldstraat to Eiermarkt

Things to Do

Architecture and art come alive in Antwerp, where museums and all things modern and urban come together. If traveling to cities is more of your cup of tea then come to Antwerp and marvel at the gorgeous works that make Belgium notable around the world.

1. Visit Antwerp Museums

Antwerp houses popular museums such as Museum Plantin-Moretus, a UNESCO heritage site that displays artwork and is also a library. Works of Christopher Plantin and Jan Moretus are the focal points of this museum, hence the name.

2. Gaze at the Antwerp Train Station

Known for its Gothic facade, the fully functional Antwerp Train Station is as useful as it is elegant. Tourists from far and wide visit this work of art that is one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

3. Try Local Delicacies

If you’re in the mood for food, then Antwerp’s got it for you! Tourists from across the globe flock to taste the authentic French Fries that Belgians have put on the map along with the Antwerp Brewery where the famous De Konnick beer was brewed.

4. Visit the Diamond District

The Diamond District is the place to be if you wish to see how diamonds are formed. Visit this area to see the process of making and trading jewelry, and maybe try bargaining to get yourself a shiny diamond piece!

5. Go Shopping at Boutiques

Antwerp is home to many luxurious boutiques you can both shop or window shop at, depending on what you like. Apart from popular luxury brands, local Belgian designers put up shop in the Huidevettersstraat area.

Brussels-belgium photo by Polly

Brussels

The capital of Belgium is also a melting pot of cultures, artistry, and commerce. Tourists come here to see and get a slice of Belgium’s history in every corner. Brussels brings two worlds together, striking a balance between high-energy and relaxed. From its museums to its monuments, right down to its restaurants, there’s always something special going on in Brussels.

When driving in the Brussels area, always have your important documents such as your IDP ready with you, just in case of police stops and checkpoints.

Driving Directions:

  1. .Take Leopoldlaan from Brussels Airport to A201.
  2. Continue on A201. Take Exit Zaventem, E40, N23 and R20 to Avenue du Boulevard/Bolwerklaan in Sint-Joost-ten-Node
  3. Take Boulevard du Jardin Botanique/Kruidtuinlaan, Boulevard Emile Jacqmain/Emile Jacqmainlaan and Rue de Laeken/Lakensestraat to Bisschopsstraat/Rue de l'Evêque in Brussel

Things to Do

In this urban landscape merging with classical attractions, you will never run out of things to do. You can either head out to visit Brussels’ monuments and churches, or perhaps its shops and restaurants. Brussels is vibrant and always bursting with life in every corner.

1. Visit the Notre Dame du Sablon

This 14th-century church reportedly houses a healing Madonna statue. Not only is its interior stunning, but the landscape that welcomes tourists inside is a sight to behold.

2. Tour the Costume Museum

Fashion enthusiasts will truly love the costume museum. The lace outfits on display boast various styles through the eras.

3. Admire La Botanique

La Botanique has been existing since the 19th century and is more than just its luscious, blooming green surroundings. This greenhouse hosts theater productions such as musicals, as well.

4. Visit the Atomium

This hundred-meter tall atom infrastructure situated at the center of the Heysel Park was built to welcome the atom age. Tourists can visit the top of the structure where they can indulge in food and drink.

5. Visit the Old England Building

This former department store from the late 19th century is home to a load of musical instruments that tourists can visit and even still hear.

Wheel IDP

Ready to get your International Driving Permit and start driving abroad?

Get an International Driver's Permit starting at

Start my Application
Start my Application