Belgium in Summer – 5 Things We Love

By andrew - July 27, 2011 (Updated: November 21, 2014)

Summer in Brussels, Belgium

It may not always be sunny, but there’s still lots to love about summer in Belgium

Despite the lack of a government and the chilly days of the past week, there’s a lot to love about being in Belgium during the summer. Recent visits from travel blogging friends have reminded me of these things and I thought they were worth sharing. The following is my list of favorite things about Belgium in the summer.

1. Terraces

Sure there are terraces the world over, but when the sun comes out in Belgium, the whole country seems to move outdoors. Like a bunch of lemurs warming their bellies in the sun, people in the city congregate on the terraces of cafés and pubs, chatting and people watching. If you’re in Brussels, in the summer, I recommend getting away from Grand Place and check out St. Gery or the shady square at Place St. Catherine.

Terraces in Brussels

Dining Al Fresco in Brussels – A summer treat

2. Less Traffic

With most of the country on vacation, traffic in Belgium becomes manageable in the summer, (except where there is construction). It’s a good time to rent a car and drive to places like the Abbaye des Villiers or visit the locks at Ronquières. Less traffic also makes the roads more bike-friendly. Rent a bike and visit the forests in the Ardennes or follow the Brussels-Charleroi canal.

Abbey Villiers, Belgium

Abbey Villiers is a lovely place to visit in Belgium in the summer

3. Fresh Food

The fields around the country are now being harvested and fresh produce is readily available. Asparagus in the spring, new potatoes and carrots in the early summer, and just about everything else in late summer, means eating well and with wonderful variety. Seasonal menus at restaurants around the country now have chalkboards full of local ingredients. For inspiration, check out some of our favorite restaurants.

breast of pork with head of pig braised in Leffe beer with a salad of peas and pea shoots

Fresh ingredients all summer long in Belgium

4.  Festivals

We’re not big on standing in fields, with crowds of people, but Belgium is renowned for music festivals. Kicking off with Rock Werchter in early July, the summer continues with music festivals like Pukkelpop, Marktrock, and Jazz Middelheim. If you’re not interested in music festivals, there are loads of other options. Check out to see what is coming up. You can see a full listing of music festivals in Belgium on Wiki.

Music Festival in Brussels

Check out one of the many festivals in Belgium during the summer months

5. Shopping

July in Belgium is the month of sales! For anyone interested in stocking their wardrobe, even DOD is on sale. Belgium only has 2 months a year when shops can discount their wares, so it is a great time to find a good deal. If you’re employed in Belgium, this time of year also coincides with your summer bonus payment, so it’s as if the stars have aligned! To avoid the worst of the crowds, try to avoid shopping on Saturdays, if you can.

I’m sure there are lots of other things to love about Belgium in the summer. What do you enjoy?

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Andrew is our resident tech-geek and is normally found lurking behind the scenes on doing things with code that Alison finds mysterious. He comes out of hiding occasionally to write about history and technology. He is also part of the duo that produces Tech Brew, a podcast about beer and technology in Belgium. He loves castles, driving on narrow, twisty mountain roads and relaxing with a glass of peaty Scotch. Follow Andrew on Google+
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  1. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler July 29, 2011 at 00:43

    Oh that does look so tempting!!! Loving that food pic too… Now of course I wish I could travel there especially with a year off… If only traveling with an infant alone was slightly easier!

    • Comment by Andrew

      Andrew July 29, 2011 at 19:47

      Thanks! I can’t comment on traveling with children, but there are definitely things to do in Belgium with kids. A definite favorite is to visit the coast, but there are lots of events that happen as well. For you, a flight to Belgium might be a bit much with an infant though! 🙂

  2. Comment by Sarah

    Sarah August 23, 2011 at 16:23


    Love this article (especially #5 and #1). We recently survived the crazy Gentse-feesten festival!

    I just wanted to say that I really love reading your blog! My husband and I recently became expats in Belgium (specifically Gent)! We’ve used your blog to identify good weekend getaways.

    I’ve actually started a blog as well as a way to document our experience. I’m very new at blogging, but am having a lot of fun with it!

    Thanks for all the tips!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison August 23, 2011 at 16:35

      Thanks for the lovely comment Sarah! We’re always glad to know other expats in Belgium are enjoying their stays here and it’s great to know CheeseWeb has been helpful to you. Best of luck with your new blog and your adventures in Belgium!

  3. Comment by Pete Heck

    Pete Heck September 12, 2011 at 10:41

    It was great meeting you two! and thanks for the tips in Belgium, we are trying to figure out our last week here. We went down to the South Station market yesterday and it was fabulous. The vendors are so electric and hilarious to make a sale they will yell, make jokes, whatever it takes!

    Hopefully we meet again, and definitely throw our names in the hat against W&B and Sherry for next year 😉

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison September 12, 2011 at 11:06

      It was great meeting you guys too and I can’t wait to follow your adventures! I’m glad you made it to the Midi Market. It truly is an experience like no other!

      • Comment by Bruce

        Bruce September 24, 2011 at 20:30

        Found your blog from HeckticTravels – I love travel blogs & yours looks right up there!


        • Comment by Alison


          Alison September 26, 2011 at 09:23

          Thanks Bruce. Glad you like it!

  4. Comment by HeadingThere

    HeadingThere October 6, 2011 at 12:58

    What a fantastic introduction to summer in Brussels. Personally I have only visited in the winter (for the Christmas markets) and I think it is a fantastic winter destination. I will have to come back and see it for myself in the summer though 🙂

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison October 7, 2011 at 09:46

      The Christmas markets here are lovely and certainly December is a great time of year to visit. Spring and summer are my favourite times here though. Belgium is a whole different country when the sun shines!

  5. Comment by Rachel

    Rachel October 14, 2011 at 02:55

    I love Antwerp for some shopping! Going right after Christmas also provides the ideal sale-time shopping experience – if you can withstand the crowds! Also, when they put all the flowers in Grand-Place in Brussels (In August I believe) its absolutely beautiful and worth seeing!

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison October 14, 2011 at 10:55

      There are sales in August too so that’s another thing to love about summer 🙂 You are correct, the Flower Carpet is in August, every other year for about 10 days.

  6. Comment by Greet

    Greet October 24, 2011 at 15:50

    I think you summed up most of the things I love about Belgium in the summer. Except for the beach maybe, you’d almost forget but we do have a beach 🙂

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison October 25, 2011 at 10:52

      You are right Greet. We do have a beach… all 69kms of it 🙂

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