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Belgium motorhome country guide
Belgium is a country of two halves, two identities and two distinct topographies. The northern half of the country is known as Flanders, Flemish is spoken, and there is strong Dutch influence. Flanders has the countries quota of coastline (65km) otherwise the landscape is flat and cycle lanes go everywhere. The dividing line cuts across Belgium south of Brussels. The south, known as Wallonia, has forested hills and small villages that would not look out of place in France. French is widely spoken and the French influence is obvious.
Belgium’s key attractions are Bruges (Brugge), Beer and Belgian chocolate. The good news is that Bruges has plenty of beer and chocolate. The even better news is, Belgium beer is as good as it gets. There is a mindboggling display of chocolate at Praline Paleis chocolate shop located just over the French Belgian border towards Poperinge, N50°49.168’ E002°40.692’. This excellent shop is adjacent to the main road and has parking outside. Not only is this shop conveniently located the owners speak English. Open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 6pm and Sunday 10am to 12 noon. Visit www.pralinepaleis.be
Campsites, Motorhome Stopovers and Offsite-Parking in Belgium (free wild camping)
Belgium is a one hour drive from Calais making it a great place to visit for a long weekend and there are 800 campsites to choose from if you simply want to relax. 250 Wallonian campsites are listed on www.campingbelgique.be Belgium has approximately 50 Motorhome Stopovers mostly conveniently located in towns. Only one third has Service Points and most with facilities charge, either just for using the Service Point or for the parking. Coastal Motorhome Stopovers are popular, whereas inland they are quiet and often underused. All the Aires Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg details Aires in Belgium and is available from www.vicarious-shop.com, Tel: 0131 208 3333. Offsite-Parking is tolerated in Wallonia except along the coast and in forests otherwise there are countless suitable car parks. Offsite overnight parking is not permitted anywhere in Flanders.
Driving your motorhome or campervan in Belgium
Belgium has cheaper fuel than France, Germany and The Netherlands and there are no road tolls. Belgium famously illuminated the entire motorway network, but to save energy these lights are being switched off and removed. Perhaps these savings have been spent improving the main roads and motorways because they have greatly improved. Previously they were often diabolical but the domestic roads are often still uneven resulting in slow driving speeds.
Cyclists are more common than streetlights in the northern half of the country and two-wheeled road users always claim priority, even when they don’t have it, so expect them to pull out on you. Drivers of four wheeled vehicles are little better, best described as selfish. ‘Priority to the Right’ is often expected even when it does not exist. Expect vehicles to enter roundabouts at great speed even if there is insufficient space to do so safely. Traffic congestion around Antwerp and Brussels can add hours to a journey and the lack of motorhome facilities at these towns reinforces the point that they should be avoided.