Famed for its craft beer, delicious chocolate, and indulgent waffles, Belgium is so much more than just a foodie’s paradise. It’s also home to beautifully preserved towns and vibrant cities that can be explored throughout the year, with each season offering a unique atmosphere.
In this article, we’ll help you figure out the best time to visit Belgium, depending on your interests and preferences. Discover what you can expect each month in terms of weather, tourist crowds, and festivities, so you can make an informed decision when planning your stay. Once you’ve decided, be sure to book your accommodation as early as possible, with online rental platforms such as Rentola Belgium offering a wide choice. You can compare apartments in Brussels with family homes in Ghent and lock in your preferred dates before they book out. In addition to securing your accommodation, getting familiar with Belgium’s unique charm during various months will enhance your travel experience.
Due to its small size, Belgium’s weather doesn’t vary dramatically from north to south, although you can expect slightly cooler temperatures in the Ardennes Hills.
Spring (March to May)
Spring is always a beautiful time to be in Belgium, with the leaves returning to the trees and the countryside blanketed in wildflowers. Temperatures once again begin to rise, with the mercury hovering around highs of between 10°C and 18°C (50°F to 64°F). At the start of spring, you can still expect crisp mornings and chilly nights, although things get noticeably milder as May approaches. Restaurants, and cafes start setting up their tables outside, so you can enjoy the comings and goings along the streets and canals.
Film buffs should coincide their visit with the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in April while Belgian Pride takes place in the city in mid-May. This is followed by the Brussels Jazz Weekend, which sees free concerts taking place around the capital region. If you want to see a reenactment of the battle between Saint George and the dragon, head to the Ducasse de Mons, which has been recognized by UNESCO for its cultural importance.
Summer (June to August)
As summer approaches, things begin heating up and you can expect highs in the low-20s throughout the season. The mostly dry days make it a great time to be out and about exploring the cities or relaxing on the North Sea beaches, as well as hitting one of the hiking trails that wind through the Belgian countryside. That being said, summer is the peak tourist season across Europe and Belgium is no exception, with tourists flocking to popular destinations and accommodation prices rising accordingly.
One of the reasons why summer is such a great time to visit is because of its festivities, which include the Brussels Summer Festival, the Ghent Festival, and Tomorrowland. Medieval concerts ignite Bruges during the Musica Antiqua Festival in August while La Ducasse (a traditional procession of puppets) takes place in the town of Ath. Belgian National Day is celebrated on July 21 with a flypast by the Belgian Air Force and a fireworks display.
Autumn (September to November)
With tourist numbers dropping off at the end of August, autumn is a wonderful time to visit Belgium. You can expect milder days (between 9°C and 19°C/48°F and 66°F) coupled with ever-cooling nights and some beautifully crisp mornings. One of the main reasons to visit during this period is the lack of crowds at major tourist sites and reduced demand for accommodation, which usually translates to lower prices. You’ll also be rewarded with magnificent displays of multi-colored leaves on the trees and beneath your feet.
Autumn is a great time for festivals across the country, with the Belgian Beer Weekend taking over Brussels’ Grand Place in early September. This is followed shortly after by the Comic Strip Festival, which celebrates the country’s links to “Tin Tin” and “The Smurfs”, as well as the Ghent Film Festival. September also marks the start of the Brussels Nocturnes, which continues through to December and sees select museums opening their doors after dark.
Winter (December to February)
While winter brings with it freezing temperatures that hover between 1°C and 7°C (33°F and 44°F), it can be a wonderful time to explore Belgium, provided you come prepared. There are few other tourists around and the cities are beautifully decorated in the lead-up to the festive season. Much-loved Christmas markets take place around the country and there is no shortage of fireplaces to warm you up in the pubs and restaurants.
Not to miss is the “Winter Wonders” Christmas market that takes place in Brussels, with family-friendly rides and an ice skating rink among its attractions. If you’re traveling with kids, coincide your visit with St. Nicholas Day, which is marked by a procession in honor of Santa Claus’ arrival. Once the New Year’s festivities have settled, carnival season arrives and continues through to April, with notable events in Binche and Stavelot.