Fact file: Belgium

Did you know?
Comic strips (bandes dessinees) are a highly-regarded art form in Belgium
Language
Flemish, French and German. English widely spoken.
Visas
None required for EU residents.
Getting there
Belgium has two international airports: Zaventum just outside the capital Brussels and Deurne near Antwerp. Both have regular flights to London and Liverpool
Flying time from London
One hour 10 minutes.
Getting around
Cheap and easy. Highly efficient rail and bus services. Car and bicycle hire is also easy. Trams in Brussels and Antwerp.
Currency
Euro.
Costs
A pint of beer from £1 (although varies widely according to the beer), moderate restaurant meal £15, roll of film £3, four-mile taxi ride around £6, litre of petrol 70p, but costs do vary.
Weather
A temperate climate, so no extremes. Warmest between April and September when temperatures from 13C-22C (56F-72F), but that doesn't mean you shouldn't expect rain. Winter temperatures from -1C-5C (34F-42F).
Time difference
Two hours ahead of GMT in summer, one hour ahead in winter.
International dialling code from the UK
00 32
Voltage
220V, 50Hz
Opening hours
Shops normally open from 8.30/9am-noon/12.30pm, 2pm-6pm. Monday-Saturday (some shops don't close for lunch). Some shops in Brussels open on Sunday, while some around the Grand Place don't open on Monday. Banks in Brussels don't normally close for lunch and are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, and on Saturday mornings
Health - Before you go
The UK has reciprocal healthcare arrangements with Austria but you'll need to take an EHIC card (from post offices here).
Health - When you are there
Most doctors speak English. Chemists are usually open 8.30am-7pm, and sometimes on Saturday. A notice in the shop window will detail the nearest 24-hour chemist.
Warnings
Beware high medical costs.
Emergency
Police, 901 (906 in Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent or Mechelin). British Embassy, 28 Rue Joseph II, Brussels. Tel: 02 217 9000.
Customs
Consuming lots of chips, beer and chocolate.
Pets
Good news - you can take your cat or dog to and from Belgium and the UK under the pilot Pet Travel Scheme, but documentation takes some time to set up. See your vet for details.
Tipping
Service is included on restaurant bills, but it is also customary to leave a small tip.
Tourist office
31 Pepper Street, London E14 9RW. Tel: 020 7867 0311.


Telephone

+44 (0) 203 696 2870

Mon – Fri 8:30am – 5:30pm

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