When we travel across Europe it seems that everything will be easier. If you speak a little English and have guidance everything will be much easier. However there is something we often forget. Cultural differences, in transport or in gastronomy are small “problems” with which you will find and it will depend on your power of adaptation to get ahead like a pro traveler.
Luckily for you, from now on you will not have any problem because in this post you will gut some of the peculiarities of Flanders and the tricks to survive them.
As good Europeans, the Belgians, they follow schedules completely different from the ones we have in Spain and although there is no change of schedule as such, their life is completely different. The shops and tourist places open very early in the morning, around 8 and close very early in the afternoon, around 5.
The trick: Get up early and take advantage of the day. So in the afternoon, once you close everything and until dinner time you can return to the hotel to rest and then go out to dinner.
Like the shops, restaurants open the kitchen from 12 to 14 and in the evening from 18 to 21 at the latest. Some restaurants only open at noon and at night they are closed on weekdays.
The trick: Adapt your schedules to yours or you will eat snacks most days. Luckily as you get up early to give you time to see everything, at night you will sleep soon and you will not need to refresh.
Getting around Flanders by train is the most comfortable thing in the world. The routes are not very long and there are at all times. If there is no direct train between the two cities that you are going to travel, be sure that there is another one that arrives with transshipment.
The trick: Look on the web belgianrail and on the screens of the station before going directly to the platform. If in doubt, ask, there is always someone who can help you.
That Belgian chocolate is one of its greatest exponents is well known. In all the cities there are many shops, in some streets you will even find them because it smells like chocolate. It is certainly one of the souvenirs with which you have to return. But, how to know which to buy?
The trick: I was told from € 25 a kg is a good price to know that you are buying quality chocolate. There are brands that may seem very commercial, but some of them are also the best, only have had better advertising.
Another of the flagship products of Flanders without a doubt. There are more than days a year, so take it easy on your trip to because Belgian beers are fights. In each city there are some local brands that you should try without hesitation because in this case, you can find the most commercial in Spain.
The trick: Guided by your tastes or do a tasting to guess which type is your favorite. If you still have questions, ask the sommeliers. They will know to indicate according to your tastes so that you take the most special ones.
It is something that draws particular attention when traveling to Flanders. In restaurants the service is especially slow compared to, for example, Spain. They will take their time before bringing you the letter and between plate and plate.
The trick: Take advantage of the bread and butter that you get at first. It is a temptation in which it is almost impossible not to fall. If you go with a beer … I will not tell you.
It is true that if you leave Brussels, the price of hotels in the center of some cities of Flanders is somewhat higher than in the capital. You can choose between hostels, hotels of all categories or accommodations type Air Bnb.
The trick: Find accommodation outside the historic center. The cities of Flanders are not very big. In Antwerp, which is the largest, getting to the center from the newest areas of the city costs as much as 20 minutes of walking that are done by shopping streets.