The most effective occasions to go to Belgium for festivals, enjoyable and tripel beer

A wealthy historical past of artwork and structure, opulent culinary traditions, scenic cities, picturesque canals – Belgium’s finest bits could be loved in any season, as long as you carry a raincoat alongside.

The most effective occasions to go to this small nook of Europe are spring and fall, when the climate is delicate, and the sights will not be overcrowded. These are additionally the right occasions for nature lovers, who will recognize spring’s flower fields and fall colours within the forests of the Ardennes.

This is a month-to-month information to what to anticipate from Belgium all year long, and the very best issues to do, serving to you select the very best time in your go to.

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The excessive season (July–August) is the very best time for music festivals, seaside days, and summer time bars

As the most popular months of the yr, July and August see locals flock to the coast to flee the summer time warmth, which might get fairly intense in densely-packed cities comparable to Brussels, the place temperatures can rise to 38°C (100°F). Vacationers nonetheless fill the historic facilities of Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges that are extra bearable in the course of the warmest months with rivers, canals, and harbors to maintain them cool.

In peak season, Belgium’s North Sea seashores come to life, whereas cities see the opening of guinguettes (summer time bars) galore, and parks brim with out of doors cultural applications. A jam-packed music pageant calendar sees occasions happen everywhere in the nation.

The shoulder seasons (April–June & September–October) are the very best occasions for lovers of nature’s colours

In the course of the shoulder seasons, crowds and costs plummet. With delicate days and funky nights, spring and fall are the very best occasions to go to Belgium. In spring, cities get up from their winter sleep and cafés and restaurant homeowners begin placing chairs on the sidewalks to greet the primary solar rays. The lots take over restaurant terraces, parks refill, and the live performance season is in full swing. There’s promise within the air because the countryside bursts into bloom, and magnolia and cherry bushes beautify city scenes.

The autumn foliage reveals its finest facet within the rolling hills of the Ardennes, the place the receding summer time warmth offers good situations for mountain climbing and mushroom searching. September, when the artwork season restarts after the summer time break, is an ideal month for tradition vultures to go to.

The off-season (November–March) is the time for foodies and Christmas lights

The winter months are comparatively chilly, quiet and gray, however snow and freezing temperatures are uncommon in Belgium. Crowds and costs drop once more, besides in the course of the Binche carnival in February, and December, when cities lure in vacationers with Christmas markets, mulled wine and beautiful mild decorations. Regardless of the typically disagreeable and wet climate, the low season is a good time for low-budget metropolis journeys, museum visits with out ready in line, cozy restaurant meals, and warming mugs of Belgian sizzling chocolate.

Christmas markets in Belgium’s historic cities at all times draw a crowd © Matyas Rehak / Shutterstock

January is quiet and budget-friendly

January might be the quietest month of the yr, because the nation recovers from Christmas and New 12 months’s festivities and life slowly will get again to regular. It is an ideal time should you’re touring on a finances and need to keep away from the vacationer lots.
Key occasions: BRAFA (Brussels), New 12 months’s Dive (Ostend), Brussels Jazz Festival

Carnival arrives in February

February is carnival season, particularly within the Belgian countryside. Probably the most well-known celebrations happen in Binche close to Charleroi, which is residence to certainly one of Europe’s oldest road carnivals, with roots within the Center Ages. Count on over-the-top parades and costumes paired with boozy celebration vibes.
Key occasions: Carnival in Binche, Bright Brussels

March brings folks out into the streets

Costs and customer numbers are low, and vacationers get to witness Belgium waking up from hibernation on the first indicators of spring. Locals come out en masse to take in the solar, even at low temperatures. Cafés and eating places take over the sidewalks once more, and big bonfires throughout Wallonia have a good time the top of winter.
Key occasions: Large fireplace of Bouge (Namur), Festival Anima (Brussels), Klarafestival (Brussels)

April brings loads of tradition and blooms

April is a busy month in Belgium and a unbelievable time to go to. The magical Hallerbos forest beams with fields of bluebells, the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken open their doorways to the general public for a restricted period of time, and the worldwide artwork world meets on the annual Art Brussels truthful (resort charges rise that weekend). At Easter, you’ll discover plenty of locals on the seaside or staging out of doors egg hunts.
Key occasions: Artwork Brussels, Tour of Flanders, Bruges Beer Festival, Floralia (Groot-Bijgaarden Fortress)

Flamboyant costumes at the Binche Carnival, Belgium
The Binche Carnival is a riot of colourful costumes © Kobby Dagan / Shutterstock

Could is the beginning of the summer time bar season

France’s tradition of guinguettes – wood drinks stalls in metropolis parks – has taken Belgium by storm, and with summer time simply across the nook, these refreshment stands open up once more in Could, making for a convivial vacation ambiance. In picturesque Bruges, the spectacular Procession of the Holy Blood attracts historical past buffs with a parade that goes again to the 14th century.
Key occasions: Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Brussels Jazz Weekend, 20km of Brussels, Procession of the Holy Blood (Bruges)

Summer season warms issues up in June

With the summer time warmth not but at its peak, sunny June is an efficient alternative for hikers, cyclists and followers of canal cruises and different out of doors actions. The cultural calendar is filled with open-air occasions from the Fête de la Musique, held at varied venues, to a reenactment of the battle of Waterloo that includes as much as 800 actors.
Key occasions: Fête de la Musique, Ommegang of Brussels, Ducasse de Mons, BRIFF (Brussels)

July is peak season in Belgium

Whereas it’s the excessive season for vacationers, Belgians go on trip too, leading to extra parking areas and a refreshing lack of visitors jams within the cities. The coast will likely be swarming with sunbathers and kite surfers in the course of the hottest month of the yr, which additionally constitutes the top of the internationally well-known Belgian music pageant season.
Key occasions: Tomorrowland (Growth), Dour Festival, Belgian Nationwide Day, Rock Werchter, Cactus Festival (Bruge), Gentse Feesten (Ghent), Les Ardentes (Liège)

August sees busy seashores and boisterous festivals

The pageant season continues, and seaside cities and vacationer points of interest stay extraordinarily busy. A preferred water-based exercise away from the coast is a kayak tour down the Lesse River, main you thru the plush inexperienced forests of the Ardennes.
Key occasions: Jazz Middelheim (Antwerp), Procession of the Giants (Ath), Pukkelpop (Hasselt), Medieval Festival of Bouillon, Outremeuse festival

The bright lights of the Tomorrowland EDM festival in Boom, Flanders
The brilliant lights of Tomorrowland, Belgium’s most well-known EDM pageant © Jonas Roosens / AFP / Getty Photographs

September sees a calmer vibe throughout the nation

Again to highschool vibes pervade because the nation wakes up from its summer time daze and slowly goes again to regular. Brussels Gallery Weekend kicks off the artwork season with a bang because the pageant season lingers.
Key occasions: Brussels Gallery Weekend, Festival of Wallonia, Belgian Beer Weekend (Brussels), Brussels Design September

Fall colours shine in October 

If you happen to’re fortunate, you may get a golden October, a time to marvel on the Ardennes’ fall foliage drenched in daylight and shimmering in reds and yellows. That is the right time for mushroom searching, or having fun with seasonal hearty dishes in certainly one of Belgium’s many high-quality eating places.
Key occasions: Ghent Film festival; La Foire de Liège

November is quiet and chilly, and folks keep indoors

Principally chilly and gray, November is a quiet month, finest loved indoors. Go museum-hopping, soak up a reside gig, or get pleasure from a craft beer in certainly one of Belgium’s numerous breweries. A bowl of carbonade, a Flemish stew with beef and beer, or a cup of sizzling Belgian chocolate will at all times heat you up!
Key occasions: Armistice Day in Ypres

December sees spirits decide up for Christmas

Chilly and moist December is brightened up by Christmas markets galore, plus ice skating rinks and mulled wine. Though it’s low season, the streets are buzzing, and Bruges seems particularly magical right now of yr.
Key occasions: Plaisirs d’hiver (Brussels), The Christmas Village (Liège), New 12 months’s Eve