According to Air Belgium, South Africans are growing increasingly fond of Belgium.
It’s the home of Tintin, the birthplace of French fries, and it’s famous for its ability to cut diamonds, including those from our soil.
As the number of South Africans visiting Belgium increases, here some of the reasons Air Belgium believes South Africans should visit the country.
1. It’s in the heart of Europe
A high-speed train in Brussels that connects to other European cities. Picture: Supplied
According to Air Belgium, while there’s much to see and do in Belgium, it’s also bookmarked by France and the Netherlands, making it an ideal place to kick off a European experience.
This new underwater drone is helping to clear unexploded World War mines along Belgium’s coast
The airline said that you could easily take a loop tour of Belgium, the Netherlands and northern France with Paris and surroundings in 10 days without feeling rushed.
“A high-speed train will take you from Brussels to Paris in a record-breaking 1 hour and 22 minutes, and a bus ride in just over three hours. Amsterdam is even closer. The distance between Brussels and Amsterdam is 210 km,” said the airline.
The airline also revealed that travelling to Belgium from South Africa just got easier and more affordable.
“We’re excited to offer South Africans a convenient, affordable and quality air service, with our new direct flights from South Africa to Brussels twice a week, bringing them to the heart of Europe. From here, they can explore the continent or simply enjoy everything our country has to offer,” said Niky Terzakis, the CEO of Air Belgium.
2. You can understand the “taal”
The airline also revealed that despite English not being the primary language of Belgium, a large part of the population speaks it fluently, which means South African travellers can get by with English when travelling through Belgium.
The airline said that Flemish, a Belgian dialect, and Afrikaans are often referred to as “Dutch cousins” and share many similarities.
3. Belgians take Christmas seriously
Brussels hosts an annual Christmas market and festival called Winter Wonders. Picture: Supplied
Experiencing Christmas in chilly climes is a novelty for South Africans, however, Christmas is celebrated like nowhere else in the world in Brussels.
The airline said that the city hosted an annual Christmas market and festival called Winter Wonders, which is a must-see for anyone who wants to experience a traditional European Christmas.
4. More than just beer and chocolates… Belgian cuisine is exceptional
There are more than 200 breweries in the country and about 2 000 chocolate shops, many of which are centuries old.
It said that the country’s unique and delicious beers, brewed with yeast-infused spices and flavours of clove, pepper and banana, are world-renowned for their originality and variety and inspire many contemporary craft brews, including those made in South Africa.
“The small country is a food lover’s delight that offers rustic, authentic and healthy dishes. There is a vast choice of regional specialities that have earned their place at the world’s gastronomy table. Did you know that Belgium even has its own version of our boerewors?” said the airline.
5. Beach or Forest? You can enjoy the great outdoors …
According to the airline, De Panne, on Belgium’s north coast near the French border, is one of the most beautiful places in Belgium to get close to nature. With its wide-open spaces, ancient sand dunes and grasslands, it is perfect for a family break.
Or, you could try the mountains: “For the most breath-taking forests and picturesque villages, the Ardennes is the place to be.
“Springtime in the Ardennes is the season for walking, cycling, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Horse riding, climbing and mountain biking are other examples of popular sports in the Ardennes. In winter, this region transforms into a true winter wonderland,” said the airline.