Visiting Belgium

Archived Q&A and Reviews

July 2002

We're traveling to the Netherlands and Belguim in late August and I'm hoping for suggestions about places to go, things to do with a 3 1/2 year old. Anyone have recommendations? Jill

We travelled to Belgium last summer with our then 3 year old and hade a fantastic time in Bruges. It's an old medieval city with canals an hour (or so) drive north from Brussels. We rode on the canal boats about a million times, climbed the clock tower and rented bikes with a child seat and rode to the windmills. We stayed at the Hotel Romantik which was outstanding. A bit pricey, but well worth the extra expense. August is high season there, so you may want to book early. We drove then to the Belgian coast and took the ferry to Middelburg, NL. There we visited a children's ''little town'' where everything is miniature. I can't remember the name, but our daughter had a great time there. If we were to go again, we would probably spend another week in Bruges. brook

Having lived in Belgium when I was a teenager, (and now having 2 kids at 30) I'll try and give suggestions based on what I can remember.

Brussels (downtown anyhow) is lovely but not very child- friendly. Lots of traffic, fast drivers, a bit overcrowded and polluted. Grand Place is great though because there are no's all pedestrian traffic, and you can let your little one run around and explore with you all the fun nooks and crannies (stores, cafes, etc). If you get a chance, hop on the train (Brussels has an awesome train system) to visit the smaller towns and villages around, like Aantwerp, Rochefort, Liege, Waterloo (the famous Napoleonic battle, where the French and English to this day still argue about which way the lions should point since the French say Napoleon won, and the English say he lost.) Almost all those towns are only an hour or so train ride away and your little one will probably love the train ride) It's really lovely to get out into Belgium's countryside where you have all the ammenities of the big city without the congestion. And those towns are where Brussels' true charm lies. Culturally, historically, and people-wise. You probably know that almost all the towns of Belgium have their own beer! Stella- Artois is a great beer.

Enjoy et bonne chance! (bring your French guide book. More people speak French than Flemish there.) Islena