Driving in Belgium
Despite the ease of getting around, driving around Belgium does have some surprises you should be aware of.
Belgium has such an impressive network of toll-free, well-lit motorways that it would be tempting to tear through the country without stopping.
But to do so would be a mistake because it’s only when you get onto the picturesque back roads that the true beauty of this charming little country reveals itself.
Hit the road
There is a rule that drivers must give way to vehicles merging from the right, which invariably confuses British drivers, as does the use of both French and Flemish names on road signs.
If you don’t have a good map, you’ll wonder why Mons has suddenly become Bergen, and Tournai has switched to Doornik.
If you’re sitting in stationary traffic with your engine idling you may get dirty looks from other drivers. The law says you should switch off unless "absolutely necessary".
In some built-up areas, you can only park in designated "blue zones". To use these you must first buy a parking disc from a filling station, garage or police station.
In Southern Belgium there is an association of 22 villages that call themselves Les Plus Beaux Villages de Wallonie, which translates to the Most Beautiful Villages of Wallonia.
You can pass through some of these on a gentle circuit of the province of Namur. Head along the beautiful Meuse and Molignee valleys to find gems such as Falaen, Crupet and Celles.
Best of the rest
The N30 rolls prettily across the hills between Liege and Bastogne and is the scene of Belgium’s most famous and toughest cycle race.
By car it’s a lot easier and just as beautiful. From Bastogne you can then delve into the Belgian Ardennes along the N834, N833 and N898.
Laws of the land
All car passengers must wear seatbelts if fitted.
You must carry a warning triangle.
When using a rear-facing child seat in the front, passenger airbags must be deactivated.
Cars approaching from the right always have priority unless signs indicate otherwise.
Horns should not be used in built-up areas, except in emergencies.
You must give way to trams.
You can be fined for using a phone whilst driving, though ‘hands free’ phones are OK.
Motorcyclists must dip their headlights during the day and wear crash helmets.
Belgian speed limits
|Road type||Speed limit|
|School areas||30 km/h|
|Urban areas||50 km/h|
|Outside built-up areas||90 km/h|
|Dual carriageways with central reservation||120 km/h|
|Motorways||120 km/h (minimum 70km/h)|
Planning on driving to another country? Take a look at our section on driving abroad.