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Rent a Car in Belgium

belgium rent

 

As you might expect from a country that is small, modern and predominantly flat, Belgium is an extremely easy place in which to travel. The toll­ free motorways compare favorably with any roads in France, train travel is swift and competitively priced and there are good bus services in those areas not covered by the railway network.

 

Car hire service in Belgium and Tourist Info

 

  • -Official name: Kingdom of Belgium
  • - Form of government: constitutional monarchy
  • - Area: 30.600 sq km
  • - Population: 10,900,000 inhabitants
  • - Official language: Dutch, French, German
  • - Religion: 50% Catholic, 7% Islam
  • - Capital: Brussels
  • - Currency: EUR
  • - All times are GMT +1
  • - Internet domain: .be
  • - Area code: 00 32

 

Geographical location

 

This small but significant state lies in the northwest of the European continent, on the coast. It has a very flat surface, with mountains only on the southern border with France. Given the country's trilingual population, it also splits into a Flemish region in the north, Wallonian region in the south, and a small German community in the east. The only exception is Brussels, which is mostly French speaking (Wallonian) enclave within the Flemish territory. The two regions are both divided into 5 subprovinces. The Flemish province includes Antwerp, Limburg, West Flanders, East Flanders and Flemish Brabant. The Wallonia consists of Hainaut, Namur Province, Liege Province, Walloon Brabant and Luxembourg.

 

Neighboring countries

 

Belgium is together with Luxembourg and Netherlands known as Benelux, and the three countries were also the founding members of EU. Belgium shares borders with Netherlands in the north, Germany in the east, Luxembourg and France in the south.

 

Climate

 

Belgium has a mild climate, with no big temperature swings. Summers are generally cold with average daytime temperatures 20 degrees Celsius, but occasionally you can experience days with temperature over 30. Winters, on the other hand, are mild, and temperatures rarely go below freezing point. A snow carpet lasting for more than a few days is not likely, except in the Ardennes, in the south-east where the higher parts might be white for days, if not weeks. The best months to rent a car around Belgium are probably May and June, when days are long and the rainfall is low. September is good too, but the days are shorter and the weather might turn very stormy.

 

History of Belgium

 

The area of Belgium has been inhabited since the primeval age, and later dominated by the Celtic tribes, where the most importance gained a tribe called Belgae (and where the country's today name comes from). During the quest of Julius Caesar, the whole area became a Roman province, and remained so until the fall of the empire. After the area fell under the rule of the Germanic tribe, the Franks, the dynasty of Merovingians and later the Carolingians dominated the whole Western Europe. The kings ruled over their nobles by renting them the land, in exchange for their support, tributes and defense of the borders.

 

The area of today's Belgium was later divided into two empires which arose from the land of Franks - France and Holy Roman Empire. As the large states were hard to control, more and more of the Belgium counties became independent. In the 13th and 14th century, also the cities, as Antwerp or Bruges, gained independence and wealth because of the busy ports and international trade. The Low Countries (Benelux today) however soon became part of Burgundy, and later belonged to the Habsburg dynasty, with link both to Austria and Spain. Charles V. divided the lands into seventeen provinces in 1549 - the southern provinces covering Belgium and northern provinces of Netherlands.

 

In 1830, Catholic Belgium declared independence over the Protestant Netherlands and Leopold I became the first king of Belgium. Firstly, French was the only official language in the new country, because it was the language of the ruling class, but later also Dutch gained its importance. Dutch became an official language in Belgium in 1898.

 

When the first World War in 1914 started, Germany invaded Belgium, and for the next four years remained Belgium under constant pressure of invasions and fights. A lot of the battles during World War took place in the western part of Belgium. After the war ended, Belgium was compensated by adding pieces of Germany to its territory, creating the East Kantons, where you can now find the German speaking minority. In 1940, World War II brought another German invasion to Belgium. The initial war was over fast, and left the country occupied for over four years. After the war, Belgium was one of the founding members of the European Union, and it also joined NATO. Brussels then became the headquarters of the EU. The city has restored itself with huge investments floating from the EU, increasing the car traffic and presence of international corporations tremendously.

 

The major cities with car rental offers

 

Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Liege, Limbourg, Oostende, Ypres, Ghent, Namur, Leuven.

 

Tourism in Belgium

 

Belgium being a small country may seem not to offer anything worth visiting. That is not entirely true; Brussels became over the past years very busy tourist destination, due to the presence of many international organizations. The other hot spots are the coast indeed, and cities of Bruges and Antwerp, together with the art pieces of medieval Flemish painters van Eyck, van Dyck, Brueghel or even Rubens. The traditional symbols of Belgium are however of a mere short lasting character - the kingdom is famous for its French fries, hundreds types of beer, Belgian chocolate and mussels.

 

Brussels tourism and places to see

 

Brussels is called the capital of Europe, since it hosts the European Union institutions, including the Parliament and numerous buildings of the Commission. Some of the tourists nowadays are definitely motivated to visit Brussels because of these; there are also various seminars for public, organized by EU or the member states, trying to increase the involvement and awareness of the so called European citizens. 

 

Now most of the things you want to see are in the centre, or close, so it is probably better to go on foot, or by metro, because finding a place to park your car in the centre could turn into a nightmare. Starting with Place de Luxembourg, where the European Parliament is located, you can take a nice walk towards the Royal Palace and Park, pass the Library and continue downtown, to the main square, Grand Place. The surrounding houses have a beautiful architecture, including the tall City Hall. Close enough, you can see Manneken Pis, favorite Brussels landmark in form of a bronze statue of a urinating boy. On the other side of the square, a female statue can be found. It is called Jeanneke Pis. As Brussels is mainly known for its exquisite cuisine, plenty of traditional restaurants are open day and night near the Grand Place. Some places can also be rented for special occasions or company parties.

 

Except of tasting Brussels mussels and fries, you simply have to drink some of the delicious beers Belgium has to offer. Among the most popular are fruity beer kriek, or brands like Leffe or Chimay. Every kind of beer is drunk from a special glass, and you will find some very peculiar glasses - like a glass with a wooden handle for the beer called Kwak. Driving is not recommended after a few of them, although the locals tend to drive a car after drinking alcohol, probably proving their resistance.

 

Traveling with a rented car

 

After the rather enervating traffic in Brussels, driving in the rest of Belgium is a relief. The motorways are fast, reason­ably well maintained and toll­ free, while major roads are also excellent. Drivers in cities outside the capital tend to be more relaxed, although the trend in Flanders for car­ free city centres can make navigation demanding. The only difficulty most drivers encounter is an occasional absence of clear signs for motorway exits and junctions, which can necessitate taking extra care when approaching junctions (in Flanders, many drivers are confused by signs for “Uitrit”. It means exit). Speed limits are at 50 kph (30 mph) in built­-up areas, 120 kph (75 mph) on motorways and dual carriageways and 90 kph (55 mph) on other national roads. If you break down, three motoring organizations should be able to provide assistance: Touring Club de Belgique, Royal Automobile Club de Belgique and Vlaamse Automobilistenbond in Flanders.

 

Driving regulation in Belgium

 

It is worth getting breakdown coverage before you leave, and you must have a valid driving license (from the EU, US, Australia or Canada) or an International Driving License on your person. It is also essential to have comprehensive insurance and/or a Green card, and visitors are expected to carry a first­ aid kit and a warning triangle at all times. All the major rental agencies operate in Belgium, although renting a car can be an expensive business. To rent a vehicle, you must be 21 or over, with a year’s driving experience, and have a credit card. A week’s rental with unlimited mileage will cost €370 or more but might be reduced on the regular special deals at the big firms. Local agencies may also be cheaper, but be sure to check the terms and conditions. Bicycle hire is available in most Flemish towns with a modest deposit of €15.

 

Public transportation versus car rental

 

Belgium’s train network is a more than adequate means of getting to and from major towns and cities. From Brussels, there are direct links to Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Ostend, Liège, Mons, Namur and the Ardennes, and even journeys involving a change rarely take more than two hours in total. Run by Belgian National Railways (Société Nationale Chemins de Fer Belges/ Belgische Spoorwegen), the system is clean, modern and efficient, although the quality of rolling stock varies some­ what: older carriages have a slightly drab feel, but new. 

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    An European Car Rental Agency
    Main office
    205 Calea Mosilor
    Colentina, Bucharest   020861
    Romania
    Phone number +40 732 545 342
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