The Benelux is a region full of attractions and made up of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Putting them all in the same basket seems a little over-encompassing in my opinion, but for the sake of summarizing our time spent in these 3 countries it makes sense, as we were only there for a total of 7 days. But what amazing days they were!
The Best Attractions of Benelux
In Belgium, we chose to concentrate on the Flemish region, where they speak Dutch. This region has a rich architectural heritage which charmed us with its rows of gabled buildings, colored bricks and wooden shutters. We had our first negative experience since the beginning of our world tour: a feeling of insecurity in some central and tourist areas of the city of Brussels. Our biggest highlight was the city of Ghent.
In contrast to Belgium where we experienced near-chaos on the streets of Brussels, we were rendered speechless when confronted with the efficacy of the Dutch infrastructure. The country lies mostly below sea-level and has developed an ingenious irrigation system of dikes and canals in order to prevent disappearing. In the Netherlands, everything seems to be designed to ensure the perfect fluidity in the movements of its citizens. I was captivated by the design of the roads and highways and by how a single roundabout can be designed to slow vehicles down as little as possible. A huge network of cycle paths seamlessly intertwines with the roads and sidewalks. A citizen of Utrecht can park their bike at Utrecht station, get to Amsterdam in 18 minutes and counting, and go straight to work on their other bike already waiting on the other side. You can imagine how impressive the bike parking lots are! Wow!
Luxembourg possesses an excellent strategic position at the heart of Western Europe. It is among the top 3 countries for the largest GDP per capita. That the citizens enjoy a very high quality of life here goes without saying, and you can really feel it as you wander along the streets of the capital. Fortifications, towers, stairs and bridges are all part of the landscape in Luxembourg City. From its heights, you can admire breathtaking panoramic views.
For a better preparation
As part of our tour of France that we made a 7-day detour to Benelux. We dedicated three days to Belgium (Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp), three to the Netherlands (Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Utrecht) and one to the city of Luxembourg.
Transportation and accommodation
To get around, we had the same Renault Grand Scenic which we rented for our trip around France.
In Belgium we also managed to find an amazing AirBnb for 3 nights right in the center of town with parking included. We used this as our base during our visits to other Belgian towns.
In the Netherlands, I would’ve liked to stay in Amsterdam but due to the extortionate prices we stayed a little outside the capital in an apartment-hotel in Utrecht for 3 nights. It was a great decision in the end as we probably would have never had the opportunity to discover this wonderful city which has now become our #1 destination in the Netherlands.
In Luxembourg, for the sake of saving money we also chose to stay in Thionville, the French border town, for one night.
We never knew a waffle could be so succulent. In Belgium they are thick, soft and sweet. A real delight!
Mussels and French fries are the fame of Belgium. We tried them in Brussels 20 years ago without being terribly impressed. 20 years later we were still not terribly impressed. They’re nice, but that’s it.
In Belgium, don’t make the same mistake as me by ordering ‘French fries’ in a local fries stand as they’ll treat you like a criminal. Their fries are on a whole other level to those at McDonalds, thanks to a two-stage cooking method in beef fat which gives them a unique flavour.
In the Netherlands, herring is eaten fresh by holding it by the tail and dangling it into your mouth. It’s sweet on the palate and full of flavors!
As you can imagine, accommodation made up the larger part of our costs. We travelled with my parents and sister. So, as with our trip round France, I’ve subtracted 3/7 of our accommodation and food costs which made up my parents and sister’s contribution. I haven’t subtracted transport costs as travelling without them wouldn’t have saved petrol, toll and parking costs.
In the end the real cost of our trip to Benelux for our family of 4 was:
- 1.501,00 EUR (1,632.34 USD);
- 214,42 EUR (233.18 USD) per day;
- 53,60 EUR (58.29 USD) per person per day.
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Accomodation||873,00 EUR / 949.39 USD|
|Transport (including gas and parking)||320,00 EUR / 348.00 USD|
|Eating out||182,00 EUR / 197.93 USD|
|Groceries||126,00 EUR / 137.03 USD|
|Total||1.501,00 EUR / 1,632.34 USD|
In a nutshell
|Dates||2018-07-02 to 2018-07-09|
|Number of days||7|
|Cities we visited||Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Luxembourg City|
|Inbound||From France by car|
|Outbound||To France by car|
|Mode of transport||Rental car|
|Distance travelled (car, subway & foot)||1430 km|
|Number of photos taken||1650 (235 per day)|
|Currency||The Euro (1,00 EUR = 1.09 USD)|
Our trip to Benelux was brief but very intense. This region comprises of 3 countries with some similarities but many differences. The Netherlands stands out as having a way of life and way of approaching life which particularly fascinated us.
Don’t miss our next post on Austria!
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