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Car Hire Belgium
Belgium has so much to offer the traveller, from its beautiful medieval towns to its bustling cities and one of the best ways to get around is by booking rent a car Belgium for your trip. There is so much to see and do in Belgium that you will want an uncomplicated way to get around. The roads are well made and maintained, so you can use your Belgium car hire to see everything from countless castles to Belgium’s museums. This is a place where the food, culture and people will amaze you at every turn. Whatever your reason to visit the country is, Belgium rent a car can help you see all there is on offer.
There are places of interest for the tourist in Belgium. Car hire Belgium lets you see the most amazing sights that this peaceful, yet hip country has to offer. From the capital of Brussels to the untouched countryside in the South of the country, Belgium is small country but has distinct contrasts for the tourist to explore. Rental car Belgium is popular, and you will need to book well in advance to get the dates and the type of car you desire.
A feel with the country you are visiting is really important so rent a car Belgium lets you take it easy along the roads of the country and also get from place to place in comfort and style. There are many options for car hire Belgium that you will want to decide early and get the most from your trip. It is easy to make a booking and the cars are modern and well-maintained, so don’t worry about your Belgium rental car experience – it’s just like driving your own car!
Belgium is a country that has seen its battle scars from its fields to its cities. Site to some of the most brutal conflicts in modern history, the country draws in visitors that wish to remember, understand and mourn. The battlefield where Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, as well as both WW1 and WW2 sites have museums and memorials that sensitively honour the dead and keep their stories alive for future generations. Some of the other top activities in Belgium include:
- Feast on Belgium’s world famous mussels and frites
- Visit the Royal Palace in Brussels
There are other cities and sights, as we will see later in this guide.
The country is home to over 11 million people with to two main linguistic groups: the Dutch-speaking, mostly Flemish community, which constitutes about 59 percent of the population, and the French-speaking, mostly Walloon population, which comprises about 40 percent of all Belgians. Belgium has land borders with France, Germany, Netherlands and Luxembourg. It has been dubbed the ‘Battlefield of Europe’, due to Belgium serving as the battleground between many European powers. The country covers around covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres, so there is a dense population in the country.
Belgium lies right in the middle of Western Europe, the summer in Belgium are June, July and August, while the winter months are December, January and February. The weather in the country is temperate, with four distinct seasons.
The national language is Dutch, but a large portion of the population speak French and German. The country’s main sport obsession is football, though Belgium has produced many world-famous stars in other sports such as Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin who were both were Player of the Year in the Women’s Tennis.
Popular Cities in Belgium
The capital of Belgium is Brussels and is known as the ‘Capital of Europe’. The streets can be explored and navigated by rent a car Brussels from the airport to your hotel and beyond. There are over a 1.2 million people living in the city and this swells by more in the work day, as Brussels is the home of the European Union Headquarters. As well as being home of the EU, tourists flock to see the magnificent Grand Palace and the home of Hergé (creator of Tintin) so get your Brussels car hire and get ready!
Antwerp is the home of the renowned artists Rubens. And you can get your Rubens fix in many places across the city. The art galleries across the city hang many of his famous works. But the best place to take your Antwerp car hire when looking to learn about the artists is Rubenshuis. This is where he used to live and displays many of his works of art too. Not only his former home, this was also his workshop where many of his most famous works of art were created. The house has been renovated over the years and features an amazing courtyard garden. Parking is pretty good in the area so take your Antwerp car hire with you.
Antwerp City Hall is another major tourist hotspot. And for good reason. It has stood there for nearly 500 years and is an architectural delight. It has a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage list and was heavily influenced by the Renaissance movement. Again, the parking across the city is good, so your car hire Antwerp is the best way to get around and see it all. Take in Antwerp City Hall on your visit whether you’re there for a short period of time or in Belgium for longer.
On the edge of the city you will find Cleydael Castle, which looks typically European. Dating from as far back as the 14th century, the castle has four towers that are named Fox, Chapel, Owl and Cat. The castle has a long history, recently being part of a gold course. But now it is a great place to visit in your Antwerp car hire, stopping for a picnic as you travel. Antwerp is full of surprises and these are some of the highlights that your car hire Antwerp will get you to.
This little-known Belgian city is filled with gems. Arlon rental car will help you to visit all of these on your stay. As far as this part of the world is concerned, castles and abbeys are the order of the day. Our favourites include Koerich Castle, Clairefontaine Abbey and Colpach Castle.
Clairefontaine Abbey is a place that has been inhabited since the time of the Romans. And with that much history, it really is worth taking your Arlon rental car to the site to explore. Close to the border with Luxembourg, the abbey was visited by the Pope and his entourage in 1147. Pope Eugene III and 18 cardinals visited the site, where one member of his following was said to have performed a miracle with the local water. It is still said to have healing properties to this day.
Gaspar Museum was the home of animal sculptor Jean-Marie Gaspar. This home has been converted into a museum to showcase his talents, as well as give you an idea of the way life was back in the 1840’s. The house was given to the town of Arlon and Gaspar is a beloved son of the place.
Koerich is a short hop over the border to Luxembourg. And well worth the visit in your rental car Arlon. The town itself is pretty. But the most remarkable parts of this pretty little place are the castle and the church. Known as the Valley of The Seven Castles, this part of the world is ripe to be explored. If you and your rental car Arlon want to take in some sights, then this is a great place to do it. Koerich Castle is the jewel in the crown of this region and dates back as far as the 12th century. Pretty impressive stuff.
Straight away, if you want to get a feel of this place then the Gruuthusemuseum is the place to go. Bruges is an individual place. Knowing the history of the settlement will really help you to get to know the4 city better. And, of course, a Bruges rent a car is a great way to get around. It’s a museum of the applied arts from the 15th century onwards. But the Gruuthusemuseum is far more than that. It gives you the unique perspective the people of the city have about their place in the world. Must-see.
You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the Basilica of The Holy Blood. This religious site is said to be stained with the blood of Christ. And that makes it a place to visit for people from all over the world. The blood in question was supposedly gathered by Joseph of Arimathea and brought back to Belgium. Whatever your view on that story, your Bruges rent a car will get you to this and all the other beautiful places in the great city.
Choco-Story is my kind of place! It is the chocolate museum that tells the story of Belgian chocolate. The building itself has a diverse history, being a wine tavern and a bakery before being transformed into a chocolate museum. If you love chocolate then jump in your Bruges rent a car and head on over to Choco-Story for your sweet fix.
This is a very industrial part of the world, one that matches natural beauty with natural resources. There was a great deal of coal mining in Charleroi over the decades. The Bois du Cazier mine was the scene of a significant accident in Belgian history. In total, 26\men were killed in the mine which is situated a short drive outside of the city. It really is worth a visit to see how people worked only a few short decades ago. Take your Charleroi car hire and see this site desiccated to the accident in 1956. There is a museum on site now, so this can be a good half day trip out. Well worth the time.
The Musee de la Photographie showcases photography from Belgium and the rest of the world with some interesting temporary exhibitions happening on a regular basis. Check out their website to stay informed of what is going on when you visit the city. Charleroi car hire is a great way to visit this and all the other museums of the city, as the streets are well-maintained, and parking is ample. The museums of the area match the industrial past, and show you the birth and growth of the city.
Another site worth visiting when in Charleroi is the Farciennes Castle. Rather than a castle, this is actually a fort which has been abandoned for many years now. Built in the 17th century on top of an earlier building, this haunting yet beautiful sight is a must see when in the area. The roads out to Farciennes Castle are good, so your Charleroi car hire will get you there in no time.
Geel is s lesser known city in Belgium, but it packs a large punch for its small size and reputation. Olmense Zoo has become a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. The big cats are the star attraction here, drawing crowds as people flock to see these animals up close and personal. The zoo is a short hop from the city centre and you can get there easily in your Geel rental car. The car park is free to use, so you don’t even have to worry about the correct change for a parking mater.
St Jacobs Chapel is a place to stop and take a little time in this hectic life If you are travelling through the country, then you might want to take a few minutes (or more) to sit in the chapel and contemplate this thing we call life.
Then it’s time to get moving again! Take your Geel rental car out to Bobbejaanland, which is Geels’ equivalent of Disneyland. It was founded by a local singer and guitarist with the same name. Although the original owner, Bobbejaan Schoepen sold the site back in 2004, it remains a popular place to visit. It’s an amusement park with a distinctly Flemish feel. And something that you must try to make time for when you’re in Geel.
Last but not least, you should take your Geel rental car and your camera to the Nike Laakdal Wind Park, which is situated in the middle of the town. Making use of the natural resources, the wind park is a modern wonder and provides photo opportunities from just about every angle.
This is a city of culture, with many museums. Our top picks include the Ghent City Museum. A relatively new museum, opening its doors in 2010 for the first time, the Ghent City Museum is the new home for the collection that has been in place since the 1830’s. If you want to know about the city and how it has developed over time, then this is the ideal place for you to learn. The STAMcafe is a particular favourite for locals, serving great food from breakfast to late in the evening. Definitely worth a visit for the café alone. Take your Ghent rent a car to carry you home afterwards!
Sitting pretty in the middle of the city is the stunning Saint Peter’s Abbey. This was a Benedictine Abbey back in the 7th century and the building has grown in size and stature ever since. This is a beautiful building, attracting many people and their cameras at all times of the day and year. The story of the building through the ages is told well while in the building, so we won’t go into too much detail here. Suffice to say that your Ghent rent a car is the ideal way to see this and the other buildings this city offers.
Another amazing building in the city is St Bavo’s Cathedral. It is an imposing sight, towering 89 metres tall. Impressive now but must have been mightily impressive back when it was built. Saint Bavo himself is the patron saint of the city. The jewel in the crown of the cathedral is the Ghent Altarpiece, which is famous for its stunning artwork, dating back to the 15th century and is a symbol of the power of the city back in those days. It is considered to this day to be one of the masterpieces of European art. Your Ghent rent a car will get you where you need to be in the city, including St Bavo’s Cathedral. Enjoy!
Like much of Belgium, Hasselt is a small place that packs a large punch. And if you’re in the town then your Hasselt car hire is the perfect way to get around and see the sights we’ve listed here.
Strangely, there is a connection between Hasselt and Japan. It has a twin city named Itami. The Japanese Tuin is a garden that was laid out in the early 1990’s in a typically Japanese style. They say that it is a symbol of the connection and friendship between the two places, thousands upon thousands of miles apart. Spanning 2.5 hectares, the gardens are the perfect way to spend a few hours relaxing in the city. And with ample parking, your Hasselt car hire is the ideal way to get to and from this beautiful haven. Check out the waterfall, small bridges and stone lanterns that form part of the Tuin and its creek.
Herkenrode Abbey is another timeless piece of Belgium that has stood for centuries. The buildings have been converted into a religious community with a church and retreat. This spans many acres and is mostly accessible on foot only. So, leave tour Hasselt car hire out front and go in to enjoy the scenery and history of the abbey. This was once the richest abbey in the Netherlands but is now part of Belgium.
Once you’ve seen the great outdoors then you should see the Fashion Museum for a bit of culture. And something to do indoors if the weather isn’t great! This place is great for all the family, young and old. They have some pretty amazing regular temporary exhibitions that showcase the fashion of Belgium and the rest of the world too. This is the perfect reason to get a car hire Hasselt that looks stylish. You don’t want to arrive at a fashion museum looking anything g other than fabulous.
The M Museum is the best place to start your stay in Leuven. It is situated in the inner city with well over 40,000 works, so there is something for every eye. Start in the 16th century with some sculpture before moving through the ages to some classical 19th century paintings and then some more modern pieces. Leuven sits in the heart of the Flemish region and you can see paintings from the Flemish masters such as Rombouts and Meunier. Simply park your Leuven rental car outside and spend the Day in this wonderful museum.
Groot Begijnhof is an architectural delight around 3 hectares in size that takes in streets in downtown Leuven. As part of the rea there are around 100 houses and 300 apartments, many of which are still untouched after centuries. This is the place to view the old Belgium and the old Leuven. Known as a beguinage, this is the way they used to build in the Low Countries. And Leuven houses probably the best example of this style still standing. Hop in your rental car Leuven and see the way they used to live.
Belgium’s oldest botanical garden is in the city and your Leuven rental car is the best way to get there and explore the site. In a splendidly Romanesque name, Hortus Botanicus Lovaniensis has been on the site since the 1730’s. It is a meeting point for many people who live in the city. And the perfect place to while away a few hours when visiting the city.
If you’re into the arts and culture, then the Opéra Royal de Wallonie is an amazing place to visit when you’re in the city. Loo on their website to see what’s on when you’re there and you might be in for a treat. Just looking at the architecture of the place is good enough for most. Getting inside and sampling the acoustics takes it to another level. This is the place for selfies in the city, day or night. And your Liege rent a car can get you there or any other place in this gem of a city.
The Curtius Museum sits on the banks of the Meuse River in the city, once the home of an industrialist who made his money from selling munitions. The building itself is stunning, picking up the light with its red and natural stone layers. The place was built between 1597 and 1610 for Jean Curtis but now belongs to the city. The museum houses art from the collection of the former owner as well as other works that have been added over the centuries. Drive past and look at the building in your Liege rent a car before heading inside to see the art and spend a little time.
If you look back through Europe’s history, war was a common theme. Liege was fortified against invasion by 12 forts in the late 19th century. The Fort de Loncin still stands to this day. No longer protecting the city against invasion, the fort is a tourist attraction that tells the story of those days. The fort again came into prominence in the First World War, and you can see the story of this part of history too when visiting the fort. Get n your rent a car Liege and see this important part of the history of the city.
This is the capital of the Walloon country in Belgium. And as such there are many fortifications around the city. Get in your Namur car hire and see all there is in this beautiful and historic city.
Let’s start things off with a nice drink Belgium is famous for amazing beers. And Namur itself is famous for the beers made in the Floreffe Abbey, a historic site that doubles up as a brewery. Of course, if you are drinking then please leave your Namur car hire behind. A designated driver is always a great idea whenever you visit places like this. Floreffe Abbey has guided tours throughout the tourist season and these are a great way to get to know more about the place.
In the centre of the city you will find St Aubin’s Cathedral, which is the only one you will find in Belgium built in the late Baroque style. The exterior is a good place to see and be seen, with places to eat and gab a cup of coffee nearby. The interior is distinctive for the avoidance of colour. The church is made in an austere style. Standing on the site for around a millennium, the church is steeped in history.
The site most visited in Namur is the Citadel. As part of the fortifications of the Walloon capital, this sits where the two major rivers of the city join. It was built back in Roman times but has been destroyed and rebuilt many times since then. The current version dates back to 1692 though, so this isn’t a modern building by any standards. Get in your Namur car hire and view the Citadel and the rest of this interesting city.
This coastal city has massive links to the sea both in peacetime and during war. An Ostend rental car isn’t just great for the city and the country of Belgium – it can get you over to France or across the North Sea to England. Just make sure your Ostend rental car is good for more than one country.
As part of the sea connection, the Atlantic Wall Museum is a must see when in the city. You can make the walk from the city centre or jump in your rental car Ostend to visit. It is the site of coastal defences out there by Hitler’s army in the Second World War, to defend against the Allies. It is well preserved for the time and shows a fascinating glimpse behind the way the world was back in the 1940’s. Take your time and enjoy this museum.
Lange Nell Lighthouse is another tourist attraction that is inspired by the sea. Get in your Ostend rental car and visit the lighthouse that stands 58 metres high, warning ships of the impending danger of the rocks along the coast. In fact, the site has been a lighthouse station in one way shape or form since 1771. This can be seen for 27 nautical miles, so you will be able to get a good view wherever you are in the area.
Back in the city, the Mu.ZEE is an art museum that houses Belgian art from the 1830’s onwards. Mu.ZEE was the child of two former museums that came together in 2008. It matches some impressive temporary exhibitions with the permanent displays, meaning that there will always be something new to see whenever you visit. See art from the likes of Ensor, Spillaert and Permeke in the museum and discover some artists you’ve probably never seen before.
Verviers is a great place to visit although quite unknown outside of Belgium. The Fort de Battice was built in the 1930’s as part of Belgium’s strategy to protect against any potential German attack from the East. Of course, we now know that the strategy wasn’t particularly successful. But the fort is a good place to spend a few hours, arriving here in your Verviers rent a car. The fort was the scene of a short resistance against German forces in 1940. But the battel wasn’t long or particularly fierce, ensuring the building is preserved in good condition to this day.
A great day out in your Verviers rent a car is to Gileppe Dam. It was built in the 1870’s to supply the wool industry with a ready supply of water. Verviers grew up on the back of industry, much of it in wool. The dam itself is a lovely place to go for a walk and enjoy nature. As well as the water for the wool industry, it provides much of the drinking water for the city as well as making electricity. The views are something to behold.
Once you’ve built up an appetite, it’s time to head on over to the La Chocolaterie Darcis to take a tour around a chocolate factory. Not quite in the style of Willie Wonka, this is a place to take in the history of chocolate before sampling some of the good stuff. Always a favourite.
The city was a prosperous place back when wool was the industry of the day. The Hotel de Ville is testament to the amount of money flowing through the city, and a great place to grab those photos that sum up the place. Your Verviers rent a car is the ideal way to get around the city, including this important building.
If you’re ever in doubt as to what makes Wavre famous, then look to the Musee Herge and you’ll find its most famous son. Yes, this is the home of the creator of the Tintin books. Did you know that the producer of the books was actually called Georges Remi? You’ll find out more facts about the global phenomenon that is Tintin when visiting the museum. The museum itself is an homage to modern architectural design. Pull up in your car hire Wavre and take a look at the wonders inside.
And if you’re visiting the area with the family then you are spoiled for choice. It seems to have grown up as a family destination, at least for Belgians. Our top two pick here are –
Walibi is a theme park that used to be owned by the Six Flags corporation in the USA. It has rollercoasters and other rides that make it a popular attraction. The water rides are a particular draw.
Aqualibi has a Caribbean twist for a water park. There are rides, slides and pools for all the family. As it is all housed inside, the temperature can be controlled, and you can visit Aqualibi all year round. This makes it a great pace to go whenever you visit the city. And your Wavre car hire is the perfect way to get to these places that are fun for all ages.
And once you’ve had your fill of excitement, something more relaxing is the order of the day. The lake itself is a beautiful place to visit, take a walk or even go fishing. You can hire rods, tackle and bait. Your Wavre car hire is the best way to get out there as it is situated outside the city. Once there, you can sample the bar and restaurant or even stay in the 5-star hotel situated on the shore of the lake. This is popular for the locals and is a great place for you to recharge the batteries and experience life in the slow lane for a while.
Zavantem is a suburb of Brussels where you will find the airport. As a largely industrial zone, you might not find a great deal to do in Zavantem itself but this is a great place to pick up your Zavantem rental car from the airport and then head on to the rest of Belgium, especially the capital Brussels.
Zavantem rental car hire is the best way to get out there and see the rest of the country. You will find many different choices so stick with us to find the best option for your visit.
In Zavantem, you will find Brussels Cemetery which houses war memorials, highlighting Belgium’s place in Europe and the wars that have been fought around and across its borders. Look for a monument to the Battle of Waterloo, which is one of the largest monument sin the cemetery and was designed and sculpted by Jacques de Lalaing. The greaves of many notable mayors of Brussels are in the cemetery too. Use your Zavantem rental car to park up and take in the sights as well as take a walk in this pretty part of town.
This part of town is also famous for its restaurants, bars and brasseries. Take in these at your leisure and enjoy authentic Belgian cuisine. Think Pulp Fiction as you eat chips with mayonnaise on them. If you have a drink, then please remember not to get back into your Zavantem rental car. We recommend wherever you are in the world to never drive when you’ve had a drink, no matter how small.
As with any new experience, you will need to know what you are letting yourself in for. Check all the rules of the road before you leave for Japan to ensure you stay safe. Here are some of the more important ones:
- The driver is responsible to make sure all occupants of the car wear seat belts at all times
- You cannot drive while under the influence of alcohol, fines will be imposed.
- You must carry an international drivers licence with you at all times while on the road in Belgium
- Children under three years old must always travel in a child restraint system suitable for their size and weight
- Children under the age of 18 and shorter than 135cm must use a child restraint system suitable for their size and weight.
- Trams have priority over all other users, whether on the right or on the left. In built-up areas you must slow down or stop for bus drivers who’ve indicated they intend to move away from the bus stop.
- The Belgian Police are able to impose and collect fines on the spot for minor traffic offences.
- They drive on the right-hand side of the road
- The use of a mobile phone while driving is prohibited, with the exception of a hands-free system.
- A warning triangle, reflective vests, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher must be carried in all vehicles registered in Belgium.
- The major cities can be very busy at rush hour so leave plenty of time for your journey
- On roads in towns and built up areas the speed limit is 50 kph / 31 mph
- On an open road, the speed limit is 90 kph / 55 mph
- On the motorway, the speed is- 120 kph / 74 mph
Make sure you know what to do when driving in Belgium to say safe and on the right side of the law.
Airports in Belgium
Belgium has transport links to the rest of the world through trade and other activities. Here are some of the busiest airports in Belgium:
- Brussels Airport
- Brussels Charleroi Airport
- Liege Airport
- Ostend Airport
- Flanders International Airport – Kortrijk Airport
- Antwerp International Airport
- Liège-Guillemins Airport
The best way to get the most from your car hire Belgium is to book from the airport so you know you have the transport you need. Do this in advance to get the best prices available.
When driving on the roads of Belgium, you want to be safe. You should research the rules of the road, as said before, but also have the number 112 programmed in your phone on case of emergency, this is for the police, ambulance and fire brigade.