Small and perfectly formed, Belgium sits on the north-eastern coast of Europe, bordering both France and Germany and acting as the cultural boundary between Germanic and Latin Europe.
For tourists there are a host of picturesque medieval cities - including Ghent, Liege, and the capital Brussels - while the extraordinary scenery of the Ardennes and dynamic Flemish centre of Antwerp also draw in the crowds during the summer months. The country is an ideal short break destination from the UK, with the capital served by two international airports. Ferry and rail links are also available from various departure points in the UK, with Belgium well served be internal rail and road connections.
Destinations in Belgium:
Antwerp is a cosmopolitan city, filled with outstanding museums, picturesque galleries, sculpted streets and beautiful architecture and home to the Flemish Baroque master Rubens. Bruges is the capital city of west Flanders. Bruges cherishes its architectural and artistic treasures of the past - presenting them in a thoroughly modern environment. Ghent sits on the confluence of the Scheldt and Lys Rivers and has a history dating back to the Middle Ages. Ghent is filled with glistening waterways and unique monuments. Brussels is the capital of the nation and home to the headquarters to the European Union and NATO, the international metropolis of Brussels is often referred to as the Capital of Europe. Flanders is the northern part of Belgium and filled with historical cities, quaint medieval squares, tree-lined canals and elegant architectural facades. The Ardennes or Wallonia, is a region home to a host of peaceful villages, colourful carnivals and enchanting castles.
Getting to Belgium:
Belgium is served by a number of international airports, with most travellers likely to arrive at either Brussels Airport Zaventem (BRU) or Charleroi Brussels South Airport (CRL). Both are located within travelling distance of the city centre and are well served by road and rail - offering a base for short-break holidaymakers. Airlines including flag-carrier Brussels Airlines, Ryanair, Flybe and British Airways all fly to the country from various UK destinations.
For those arriving by sea, P&O North Sea Ferries sails daily from Hull to Zeebruges, with a journey time of around 14 hours, while Transeuropa Ferries sails from Ramsgate to Oostende up to four times daily. From Scotland, Super Fast Ferries offers one departure per day with a crossing time of just over17 hours. Eurolines serves a number of Belgian destinations by coach from London, including Brugge, Ghent, Liege, Mons and of course Brussels, while for those with a little more cash but a little less time may want to check the Eurostar options on offer. Once in Belgium, B-Rail offers internal connections across the country, while a host of internationally recognisable car rental companies - including Avis, Alamo and Belgium - all operate across the country.
Belgium Essential Information:
Currency: Belgium uses the euro. For up-to-date exchange rates see: www.xe.com/ucc
Languages: Flemish, French and German are widely spoken. To learn the basics visit www.bbc.co.uk/languages
International dialling code: +32
Time zone: GMT +1
British Embassy: Avenue d'Auderghem 10 Oudergemlaan 1040 Brussels www.ukinbelgium.fco.gov.uk
Beautiful canals and cultural richness make Belgium a popular destination for tourists and, of course, Eurocrats heading to Brussels.