Backpacking Belgium: Safety Tips for Young Travelers

Backpacking Belgium: Safety Tips for Young Travelers

Belgium, with its enchanting medieval towns, vibrant cities, and rich cultural heritage, is a prime destination for backpackers. From the cobblestone streets of Bruges to the bustling metropolis of Brussels, Belgium offers a unique blend of history, art, and modernity that appeals to young travelers. However, as with any travel adventure, safety should be a top priority. This article provides essential safety tips for young travelers backpacking through Belgium, ensuring a memorable and secure journey.

Planning Your Trip

Before embarking on your Belgian adventure, thorough planning is crucial. Researching the country, its culture, and travel requirements can save you from potential pitfalls. Here are some key considerations:

1. Travel Insurance

Investing in comprehensive travel insurance is non-negotiable. Ensure your policy covers medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost belongings, and other unforeseen incidents. Carry a copy of your insurance policy and keep emergency contact numbers handy.

2. Vaccinations and Health

Check the latest health advisories and vaccination requirements for Belgium. Carry a basic first-aid kit, including any prescription medications you may need. Familiarize yourself with the location of hospitals and pharmacies in major cities.

3. Documents and Money

Make copies of important documents like your passport, visa, and travel insurance. Store these copies separately from the originals. Inform your bank of your travel plans to avoid any issues with your debit or credit cards. Consider using a money belt or hidden pouch to keep your cash and valuables secure.

Staying Safe While Traveling

When you arrive in Belgium, staying vigilant and following local customs and regulations will help ensure a safe journey. Below are some practical tips:

1. Accommodation Safety

Choose reputable hostels, hotels, or guesthouses. Check reviews on trusted travel websites before booking. Ensure your room has a secure lock, and use lockers to store your valuables. Avoid sharing accommodation details with strangers.

2. Transportation Safety

Belgium boasts an efficient public transportation system, including trains, buses, and trams. Here’s how to stay safe while getting around:

Trains and Buses: Always keep an eye on your belongings, particularly in crowded areas. Avoid sleeping in public transport as it makes you an easy target for pickpockets.

Taxis and Ride-Sharing: Use licensed taxis or reliable ride-sharing services like Uber. Verify the driver’s details and the car’s license plate before getting in.

Cycling: Belgium is bike-friendly, especially in cities like Ghent and Bruges. Wear a helmet, follow local traffic rules, and use designated bike lanes.

3. Personal Safety

While Belgium is generally safe, taking precautions is always wise:

Avoid Isolated Areas: Stick to well-lit, populated areas, especially at night. Avoid parks and alleys that are poorly lit or deserted.

Stay Connected: Share your travel itinerary with family or friends and check in regularly. Use a local SIM card or a portable Wi-Fi device to stay connected.

Beware of Scams: Be cautious of strangers offering unsolicited help or deals that seem too good to be true. Common scams include fake petitions, overcharging tourists, and distraction techniques used by pickpockets.

4. Cultural Awareness

Respect local customs and traditions. Learn basic Flemish or French phrases to help you navigate daily interactions. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites and always ask for permission before taking photos of people.

Emergencies and Assistance

In case of emergencies, knowing whom to contact and where to go is crucial. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Emergency Numbers

  • Police: 101
  • Fire and Ambulance: 112

2. Embassies and Consulates

Locate your country’s embassy or consulate in Belgium. They can assist with lost passports, legal issues, and emergencies. Keep their contact information handy.

3. Local Assistance

Belgian residents are generally helpful and approachable. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance if you’re lost or need directions. Tourist information centers are also valuable resources for maps, guides, and advice.

Must-Visit Destinations

While safety is paramount, don’t forget to immerse yourself in Belgium’s beauty and culture. Here are some must-visit destinations:

1. Brussels

The capital city is famous for its grand architecture, vibrant nightlife, and delicious waffles and chocolates. Visit the Grand Place, Atomium, and Manneken Pis. Don’t miss the stunning art at the Magritte Museum and the Royal Palace.

2. Bruges

Known as the “Venice of the North,” Bruges is a fairy-tale town with picturesque canals, medieval buildings, and cobblestone streets. Explore the Belfry Tower, the Basilica of the Holy Blood, and take a boat tour on the canals.

3. Ghent

A blend of history and modernity, Ghent is home to the iconic Gravensteen Castle, St. Bavo’s Cathedral, and the vibrant Graslei and Korenlei streets. The city’s lively student population ensures a buzzing nightlife.

4. Antwerp

Famous for its diamonds and fashion, Antwerp boasts impressive landmarks like the Cathedral of Our Lady, the MAS Museum, and the historic Grote Markt. Don’t forget to visit the hipster neighborhood of Zuid for trendy cafes and boutiques.

Food and Drinks

Belgium is a paradise for food lovers. Indulge in local delicacies like fries (frites), mussels, waffles, and, of course, Belgian chocolates. Beer aficionados will appreciate Belgium’s diverse and world-renowned beer culture. Always consume alcohol responsibly and be aware of your surroundings when visiting bars and pubs.

Recreating the Experience or FAQ

Recreating the Experience

If you want to recreate the backpacking experience in Belgium or share it with others, consider the following:

Travel Journals: Document your journey through photos, videos, and a travel journal. This not only helps preserve memories but also provides valuable insights for future travelers.

Social Media: Share your experiences on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, or a travel blog. Use hashtags like #BackpackingBelgium to reach a wider audience.

Local Meetups: Join local travel groups or forums to connect with fellow backpackers. Share tips, itineraries, and safety advice.


Q: What’s the best time to visit Belgium?

A: Belgium is a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit is during spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are fewer.

Q: Is Belgium safe for solo travelers?

A: Yes, Belgium is generally safe for solo travelers. Following basic safety precautions and staying aware of your surroundings will ensure a secure trip.

Q: How much budget should I allocate for backpacking in Belgium?

A: A daily budget of €50-€100 should cover accommodation, meals, transport, and entry fees to attractions. Costs can vary based on your travel style and preferences.

Q: Do I need to speak Flemish or French to travel in Belgium?

A: While English is widely spoken, learning basic Flemish or French phrases can enhance your experience and help you navigate daily interactions.

Q: What’s the public transportation like in Belgium?

A: Belgium has an efficient and well-connected public transportation system, including trains, buses, and trams. The Belgian Rail website and apps like Google Maps can help you plan your routes.

Q: Are credit cards widely accepted in Belgium?

A: Yes, credit cards are widely accepted in most establishments. However, it’s a good idea to carry some cash for smaller shops, cafes, and markets.

Q: What should I pack for my trip to Belgium?

A: Pack comfortable walking shoes, weather-appropriate clothing, a travel adapter, a reusable water bottle, and a daypack for daily excursions. Don’t forget your travel documents and any necessary medications.


Backpacking through Belgium offers an incredible adventure filled with history, culture, and unforgettable experiences. By prioritizing safety and following the tips outlined in this article, young travelers can explore Belgium with confidence and peace of mind. Whether you’re wandering the charming streets of Bruges, indulging in Brussels’ culinary delights, or immersing yourself in Ghent’s vibrant atmosphere, Belgium promises a journey of a lifetime. Happy travels!

Share via
Copy link