What are you looking for?
Plan your trip to Flanders with useful practical travel information: passport, currency, health, holidays and opening times, among others.
Customs and immigration
Belgium is part of the European Union and the Schengen Area. People from the 28 European states in that area only need a valid ID or passport to travel to Flanders, no visa is required.
US and Canadian citizens in possession of a valid passport don’t need a visa for stays up to 90 days within a six-month period. For other nationalities, these terms may vary. To make sure, check with the Belgian Embassy or nearest Consulate Office for visa requirements. More information at www.diplomatie.be.
The Belgian currency unit is the EURO (€), just as in 19 other European countries. In most places you can pay cash, as well as with all major debit or credit cards (Visa, American Express, Diners Club and Euro card). You can withdraw cash in banks or at a wide spread network of ATM’s. Foreign exchange traffic is not regulated. Get the latest exchange rates here.
Belgium's health care system is one of the best in Europe. It is easily accessible, offers high-quality treatments and has well equipped hospitals where you will always be taken care of. In case of emergency, you can dial the pan-European #112 (equivalent to 911 in the US). For urgent police care, dial #101. For more information on Belgian medical services, visit Healthcare Belgium.
Shops, banks, museums and sometimes bars and restaurants will generally be closed on the following days:
- January 1st (New Year’s Day)
- Easter and Easter Monday (dates may vary)
- May 1st (International Worker’s Day)
- Ascension Day (the sixth Thursday after Easter)
- Pentecost/Whit Sunday and the Monday after that (the 7th Sunday/Monday after Easter)
- July 21st (National holiday)
- August 15th (Assumption of Mary)
- November 1st (All Saints' Day)
- November 11th (Armistice Day)
- December 25th and often December 26th (Christmas and the day after Christmas)
Most shops are open from Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, although those hours may vary from store to store. Most shops are closed on Sundays, except Brussels at the Gallery St Hubert and gift shops near the Grand Place. In large cities such as Antwerp, Ghent and Bruges there are monthly Sunday shopping days, on which shops are usually open. Shops along the Flemish coast are also open on Sundays.
Calling (to) Belgium
Belgium’s country code is +32, so always dial 0032, followed by the area code and telephone number.
Belgium Time is located in the Central European Time Zone (CET)
- 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1)
- 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST+6)
- 9 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time (PST+9)
The electric plugs in Belgium might be a bit different from those in your home country. You may need an adaptor of the type AC.220 volts. Plugs are continental 2-pin round.