🇬🇧 3 days in Belgium (Dinant, Liège, Brussels) 🇬🇧

What to do in 3 days in Belgium ? Come discover our itinerary and visits.

BELGIUM

6/28/202417 min read

In April 2023 we decided to treat ourselves to a little road trip by van to Belgium and then to the Netherlands. In this article specially dedicated to Belgium, I explain the route we took, what we visited and where we slept.

Van Rental

Before starting the presentations of the country, I will explain to you how we got there.

We decided to rent a van with the “road surfer” agency.

Renting a van allowed us to be completely free with our travels and schedules. We really like this mode of travel and loved our experience with road surfer.

Roadsurfer is a rental agency for converted vans and motorhomes.

Personally, we rented the “surfer suite” and it was perfect for us. It consisted of a fold-out bed on the roof, a second bed on a bench once the seats are laid down, a table and a small fully fitted kitchen (gas stove, sink, fridge and cupboard). We also had water on board which was a real luxury ! Of course we didn't have a shower or toilet, but that didn't bother us. For toilets you can stop at any highway rest area or in any restaurant/store, or go into nature!

And for the shower it's up to you, but we decided to stop at campsites to be able to enjoy it.

Indeed, the advantage of the van is that you can sleep anywhere (or almost). But it’s always good to spend a few nights in a camping. Outside of campsites, we used the park4night application to find authorized and safe locations for the night. Because yes there are many places where it is forbidden to park and sleep at night. But don’t worry, there are also plenty of places where you can stay a night easily and for free ! These are very often public car parks or in the nature. It's up to you to find your favorite places. In the rest of this article I present to you the locations where we slept and whether I recommend it to you.

We paid 79€ per night + 100€ administration fees. You have unlimited mileage, which is not to be neglected because many rentals do not do this. Check the website as they regularly offer discounts !

Remember to bring something to warm you up. Indeed, sometimes nights are cold and in a vehicle the temperature drops very quickly. You can turn on the heat yes, but it costs gas, so we only did it a few times.

In short, we loved our experience and I recommend it to everyone ! Even if you have to prepare for it, life on the road is not for everyone !

Belgium is a country in Western Europe located on the border with France, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and the North Sea. 75% of residents speak French there. So you will have no problem to be understand. Although in some parts of the country the most spoken language is German, Dutch or English.

An ideal location to go for a few days if you are from France. We took a 3 day road trip before leaving for the Netherlands. I present to you in this article everything we have done!

Expenses :

  • Van : 495€

  • Gas : 187€

  • Tolls (In France) : 28€

  • Food : 110€

  • Activities, Visits : 56€

  • Camping : 20€

In total around 896€ (I think I didn't write down certain expenses), or around 448€ per person. This budget was calculated on the total of our trip, so 6 days. 3 in Belgium and 3 in the Netherlands.

Itinerary :

  • Day 1 : Paris > Dinant > Liège

  • Day 2 : Liège > Brussels

  • Day 3 : Brussels > Netherlands

We picked up our van in Paris at 2 p.m. Once installed, we took the road towards Dinant. For approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes drive.

Day 1 :

Dinant

Dinant is a small French-speaking town located not far from the border of France. It is best known for its citadel built on top of a cliff and its colorful houses lined up along the river (the Meuse). It’s a very atypical and super charming landscape. I really liked this little town.

There isn't a lot to do because it's a small place, and we got around quickly. At the time we arrived (6:30 p.m.), all the tourist places were closing their doors. We were therefore not able to visit the citadel or its beautiful Notre-Dame church with its unique dome. Below I have provided a link with all the activities to do on site, don't hesitate to visit as many as possible if you have time!

So we walked around for a while before hitting the road again.

From there, we drove for 1 hour before arriving on the outskirts of the city of Liège. We didn't go inside because it was late and town centers are not easy to access by van. So we looked for a place to sleep.

Here is where we spent our first night : https://park4night.com/fr/place/45389#review-2679161

It wasn't the best place, but we managed to sleep. You can probably find better if you search a little.

Day 2 :

Liège

After a cool night, we set off to explore the city of Liège. It is the 3rd largest city in Belgium. Located in the east of the country in the Walloon region, it is famous for its culture and warm atmosphere and for its delicious Liège waffles.

We began our walk of the city by passing in front of the Palace of the Princes-Bishops which is today the courthouse of Liège.

Then we climbed to the top of the Bueren’s Mountain thanks to its 374 steps. We were rewarded with a magnificent view.

We walked on the Citadel’s hillsides. A site made up of several walks above the city. You can find many historic and emblematic buildings of the city there. We took one of the walks back down into the city.

Then we passed into the Hors-Château street. The most famous and historic street in Liège, it is bordered by many very cute picturesque cul-de-sacs.

Hors-Château street takes us past the Saint-Barthélemy collegiate church, a brightly colored church, built in the 11th century. It is possible to visit it for a few euros. But even from the outside it is very impressive.

It was at this point that we took a little break to eat our sandwiches, but also a Liège waffle. We bought them at “Une gaufrette saperlipopette” and they were absolutely delicious. Liège waffles are different from Brussels waffles, of course ! The secret of its recipe lies in the dough, where the pearl sugar is slipped in and melts gently inside during cooking, giving this incredible caramelized flavor. I really recommend this address !

We resumed our visit passing in front of the Archaeoforum of Liège. Located under Saint-Lambert Square, it is an incredible archaeological site. It is on this square that the Notre-Dame-and-Saint-Lambert cathedral was located before being destroyed during the Revolution. You have to pay to visit it and it is open every day except on Sunday.

Then we visited Saint-Paul Cathedral. First a church founded in the 10th century, it was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 13th century. After the Revolution and the destruction of Notre-Dame-and-Saint-Lambert Cathedral, it was elevated to the rank of cathedral. Entrance is free and you can stroll through the adjacent corridors. It is a very impressive cathedral and definitely worth a look.

And this is how our visit of Liège ends. I liked this city but it wasn't a favorite for me. When we went there, it was under construction everywhere because of the construction of the tram lines. Which therefore somewhat spoiled our experience and the beautiful buildings or landscapes that we could see there. Once the work is completed, I would love to return there to be able to rediscover it from another angle.

Then we took the road towards Brussels !

Brussels

After 50 minutes on the road, we arrived in Brussels.

Brussels is the capital of Belgium, situated in the center of the country, in the Brussels- Capital Region. It is a French-speaking city full of charm, full of history and good atmosphere. You can walk around it easily, such as a small city but with the advantages of a big capital. Its beers, fries and Brussels waffles also make it a famous gastronomic city.

Because we arrived around 3:30pm, we had a little bit of time to visit Brussels before the end of the day.

We started our visit by the Atomium. The symbol of Brussels and Belgium, the Atomium is a huge 102 meters high atom, built during the 1958 Universal Exhibition. Inside there are permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as a restaurant. But I don’t really recommend to go inside. You have to pay to enter, and the interior is apparently disappointing. I suggest you to walk around, take the path away from the atom, and take your best pictures !

At the foot of the Atomium there is the Osseghem Laeken park. A huge park where you can find a very picturesque landscape with wooded and grass areas. We walked there for a moment, the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature a little bit. Festivals are sometimes organised there.

Once the park crossed, you will find the Museum of the Far East with its Japanese Tower. It is a Japanese Art Museum with Japanese style buildings from the 20th century. Unfortunately, because of major infrastructure problems, it is impossible today to visit the buildings. But you can still walk around the little park and admire the buildings from the outside.

After this long walk we took our van to go to the center. Especially because it was time to eat and we were dreaming of eating Belgium fries ! So we went straight to the « Café Georgette » restaurant. It is a very famous restaurant in Brussels. So I suggest you to book in advance. We ate so well and we had the chance to try the famous Belgium fries. And I can tell you that we were not disappointed. They were the best fries I’ve ever eaten in my life ! They are very special because they are cook in beef fat. Which is why they have a very original taste and they are to die for.

After eating so well, we strolled through the streets of Brussels passing through the Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries. Built in 1847, they were the very first shopping gallery of Europe. They are very chic and elegant. You can find a lot of major luxury brands there, with magnificent devantures but also cafes and restaurants.

And we went all the way to the Grand-Place. It is Brussels’ most famous place. It is a huge square made up of architectural buildings built from the 15th to the 17th century. Before a market place, it is today the most famous square in the world. You can find in particular :

  • The Town Hall : The oldest of all. It has a 96 meters high tower.

  • The King’s House : Place of residence of monarchs for several years, today it is the City Museum.

  • House of the Dukes of Brabant : A set of seven neoclassical style houses.

  • The Dove : A property which served as residence to Victor Hugo.

There are often festive events organised on the square.

By the time we went there it was dark, and I found it magnificent and impressive. We had the opportunity to see it again during the day the next day (I talk about it later). But you don’t have the same effect at all during the day and night. I simply suggest you to do both. Personally, I preferred the square at night. It was grandiose with all of its lights !

After this, we went out of the city center to find a place to sleep. And I was pretty happy with my find for this night. We were on a little parking in a village not far from Brussels and it was very calm, we slept really good !

This is where we slept : https://park4night.com/fr/place/107077#review-2681973

Day 3 :

After a good night of sleep we left for Brussels because we still had a lot of things to see.

After parking our van in the city (be careful, you have to pay for almost all of the parkings), we went to the Cinquantenaire Park (Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary). It is the second most important park in Brussels, it is mostly frequented by the many workers of the European Union buildings that are around.

In the center of the park, there is the Cinquantenaire palace, built to celebrate the 50 years of the birth of Belgium as an independent nation. The most impressive part is its arch with 3 arcades and with its enormous statue on top. Today, the palace shelters the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History, the Cinquantenaire Museum and Autoworld.

In spring, there are a lot of flowers decorating the park and walking there is very pleasant. We even had a picnic there.

Then we walked until Brussels Park. The oldest park of the city and the Brussels residents’ favorite. Former royal hunting lodge, it is today a relaxation place for the population and it is very lively. There are a lot of people, and I found the stroll in this park less pleasant than in the Cinquantenaire Park.

Once we crossed the Brussels Park heading south, we found ourself in front of the Royal Palace of Brussels. Built in the 19th century, it was for a long time the main residence of the kings of Belgium. Today it is still the seat of the Belgian constitutional monarchy and inside are the kings offices, ministers, official meeting rooms and rooms to welcome heads of state.

It is only possible to visit it during summer, from the end of July to the beginning of September.

Not far from the Royal Palace you can find the church of St. James on Coudenberg. It was build from 1776 to 1787 in the neo-classical style on the Royal Place. It is very impressive and you can enter for free.

Right next to the church you can find the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. They include 6 museums (Oldmasters Museum, Modern Museum, Meunier Museum, Wiertz Museum, Magritte Museum et fin-de-siècle Museum) and they contain over 20 000 drawings, sculptures and paintings, from the early 15th century to today.

We didn’t visit them but I’m sure they are worth it for the arts lovers. They are open every day except on Mondays.

Then we went to Mont des Arts Garden, which provides a transition between the top and the bottom of the city. Designed for the 1910 Universal Exhibition, it took its definitive place in the 1950s. It also includes the Royal Library, the National Archives and Brussels Meeting Centre.The garden was created by the landscape architect René Pechère. It is a very nice stroll and you have a beautiful view over the city.

And we walked to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, the most important cathedral of Brussels, built from 1226 to the 15th century. It is of Brabantine Gothic style and is dedicated to Saint Michael and Saint Gudula, the patron saints of Brussels. You have to pay to go inside, so we didn’t visit it.

Then we headed toward the city center and we stopped in front of the Jeanneke Pis, the Manneken Pis feminine version (I talk about it further). You have to be curious and go down a little dead-end to find it. She is 50cm high and overlooks a small basin. She is a lot more recent than the Manneken Pis and was installed with the aim of restoring equality between men and women and adding a touch of Brussels humour. I personally preferred Jeanneken Pis, I found her very funny and much more accessible than the Manneken Pis.

In this same dead-end there is the famous beer bar : the « Delirium Café » The unmissable place for the beer amateurs because you can taste over 2500 beers from all around the world. It holds the Guinness World Records for the number of beers they are selling since 2004. The perfect place for a small refreshing break !

After this awesome beer-tasting we decided to go buy some Belgian beer in « De Biertempel » store. It lives up to its name because it is a real beer temple ! You can find more than 650 Belgian beers and their glasses to bring back as souvenirs or to drink quickly…

After this beer break, we went to the chocolate side. We stopped at "Candy Time". A big store sign of chocolates and candies you can find all around the world. In the Brussels one, you can of course find delicious Brussels chocolates !

Then we went back to the Grand-Place but during day time. And, like I told you above, the effect isn’t the same. But it remains a very impressive square, magnificent and essential to see, even during the day.

It is in an adjacent street to the Grand-Place that you will be able to see the famous Manneken Pis. This famous little boy became a symbol for the city of Brussels. Coming from a legend which told that during the siege of the invaders, they tried to discreetly set fire to the city. But a little boy who wanted to urinate came out at the same time and decided to urinate on the flames, thus saving the town from certain fire. He then became the hero of Brussels and a statue was erected to his glory in 1619.

He's also the kid with the biggest wardrobe ! Indeed, the Manneken-Pis has more than 1000 pieces of clothing, worn on different occasions over the years. You can also visit his wardrobe on Chêne street.

But be careful, the Manneken-Pis exhibited in town is only a representation. The real one is today on display at the Brussels City Museum located on the Grand-Place.

In short, you can't pass through Brussels without seeing his little face everywhere since he is decline in hundreds of objects : key rings, chocolate, bottle openers... there is something for everyone !

The only downside is that there are a lot of people in front of the statue during the day.

Then it was time for a little waffle break ! After tasting the Liège waffle, we had to taste the Brussels waffle. For that, we stopped at « Le Funambule » situated right next to the Manneken Pis. You can’t miss it because it has a crazy window that makes you want to taste everything ! Sweet or savoury waffles, there is something for everyone. I personally loved mine. But I’m not very objective, I’m a big fan of waffles in general…

And it was the end of our trip in Belgium.

We then took the road for the Netherlands. You can also find the part of this trip HERE !

I hope you liked this article and that it makes you want to travel.

Do not hesitate to contact me via social medias for any questions.

See you soon in a next article,

Laura :)