Belgium is a popular tourist destination with many historic cities, medieval architecture, art museums, chocolate shops, and world-famous beer. However, the best time to visit Belgium depends on your interests and tolerance for crowds and high prices. Here is an overview of the worst times to visit Belgium and tips to avoid the pitfalls:
Summer (June to August)
Summer is considered the peak tourist season in Belgium. June to August brings warm and sunny weather ideal for outdoor sightseeing. However, this is also the most crowded and expensive time to visit major cities like Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp.
Downsides of Visiting Belgium in Summer:
- Accommodation prices surge, often doubling compared to other months. Book well in advance.
- Top attractions like Grand Place and Manneken Pis will be packed with tourists. Long lines expected.
- Restaurants and bars charge peak rates. Make reservations to avoid disappointment.
- Roads, trains and public transport crammed with summer travelers. Expect traffic jams and crowded trains.
- Festivals and events lead to hotel shortages and higher costs.
Tips for Visiting Belgium in Summer
- Book accommodation and trains 2-3 months in advance for best rates and availability.
- Visit popular sights first thing in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the biggest crowds.
- Consider staying outside the city centers to save money on lodging.
- Purchase a multi-ride public transport pass to save money getting around.
- Pack light clothing as temperatures can reach 25°C with extended sunny periods.
Belgian school holidays lead to more families traveling domestically across the country. Major holidays to avoid include:
- Spring school break: 1 week in February or March
- Easter school break: 2 weeks in April
- Summer holidays: July to August
- Autumn half-term: 1 week in late October or November
- Christmas holidays: 2 weeks in late December to early January
Avoid travel during Belgian school breaks if you want to escape crowds and high prices. Book well in advance if traveling is unavoidable.
Belgium has 10 public holidays annually when government offices, schools, banks and some shops are closed. While not as busy as summer, public holidays draw more local tourists for short breaks and day trips. Hotel demand surges around holidays like Easter, Ascension Day and Pentecost Monday.
Major public holidays:
- Easter Weekend (Good Friday to Easter Monday)
- Labor Day (May 1)
- Ascension Day (May)
- Pentecost Monday (May or June)
- Assumption Day (August 15)
- All Saints’ Day (November 1)
- Armistice Day (November 11)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
Avoid travel on and around Belgian holidays if you want to skip crowds and high prices.
Belgium’s climate is moderate, but extreme cold, heat or rain can occur at any time:
- Cold waves – Frigid temperatures below -10°C are not uncommon in January and February. Sightseeing outdoors will be miserable.
- Heat waves – Temperatures exceeding 30°C occur in summer. Avoid mid-summer heat if discomforted by heat and humidity.
- Heavy rain – Belgium averages 200 rainy days per year. Downpours can flood streets and attractions. Always have a backup plan and umbrella.
Check the weather forecast before scheduling your trip. Aim for pleasant spring or fall temperatures between 10-25°C.
Low Season (November to March)
While cooler weather prevails, visiting Belgium in low season has advantages:
- Hotels and flights are significantly cheaper, except around the Christmas holidays.
- No crowds at main attractions like Grand Place, museums and restaurants.
- Locals have more time to engage with tourists when not busy in summer.
- Christmas markets and festive lights in mid-winter create magical atmosphere.
- Ideal season for indoor activities like museum-going, theater and dining.
Just bring warm clothing for potentially cold or wet weather. Off-season travel deals abound if you don’t mind bundling up.
The best times to visit Belgium are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). The weather is pleasant and mild, with fewer crowds and better hotel rates than summer.
Book at least 2-3 months ahead for summer visits. For other times, 1-2 months in advance should secure decent rates. Always book earlier for major events and festivals.
Winters are cold at 2-5°C and summers are mild at 18-25°C. Rain can occur any time with 200+ rainy days annually. Pack layers and an umbrella for changeable weather.
Yes, most restaurants in major cities stay open year-round. Some smaller cafes in tourist areas may close in the winter low season. Check opening hours in advance.
Yes, Brussels draws huge tourist crowds in summer. Attractions like Grand Place will be jam-packed. Visit in spring or fall for a more comfortable experience.
- The peak summer months of June-August bring crowds, high hotel rates and long lines at top attractions in Belgium.
- School holidays like Easter, summer and Christmas lead to more family travelers and higher demand.
- Public holidays create congestion and limit opening hours, especially around Easter and Christmas.
- Weather extremes of cold winters and hot summers can impair sightseeing.
- Aim for spring and fall for better prices, mild weather and fewer tourists.
- November to March offer low season deals, minus the summer crowds. Just pack warm!
While Belgium offers attractions year-round, carefully timing your visit around peak seasons, holidays and weather can enhance your experience. For moderate prices, smaller crowds and pleasant weather, target spring and fall. But don’t rule out winter – you may score great deals even if you have to bundle up! Avoid summer and holidays if you don’t like waiting in lines. With smart advance planning, you can find the best time to enjoy Belgium no matter when you choose to go.