Which country is cheaper, France or Belgium?
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Belgium and France can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.
We'll start with a quick overview, and below we will go into all of the details.
|Museums & Attractions|
|Culture & History|
France is one of the most popular travel destinations in Western Europe and Belgium continues to grow in popularity. Each country has its own unique offerings and makes a great place to visit while you're in Europe. Belgium is significantly smaller the France, so if you're short on time or don't want to travel to many different destinations, then Belgium is a good option. It's also relatively easy to integrate a trip to Belgium in to a trip to other parts of Europe. One great perk about visiting Belgium is that you can pick one base, and explore the country with several great day trips. The transportation network is excellent and if you don't want to spend a lot of time packing and unpacking, this is the way to go.
France is a significantly larger country with a lot to offer visitors. If you have a lot more time, then a trip to France is a great option. Alternatively, you could easily fill a week in Paris alone.
In general, Belgium is less expensive than France. It's a great place to spend some time and is often overlooked, or rushed through during trips to Europe.
Belgium is a diverse, quaint, and prosperous country. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Other popular activities here include shopping, museums, theater, and history and culture.
Belgium is a smaller but diverse nation with a long history, lots of attractions, and a mix of cultures. As it's at a crossroads in Europe, visitors can see influences from the native Belgian and Flemish people as well as from nearby France, Germany, and Holland. Historic and world-class cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, and Ghent offer amazing cuisine, historic art and architecture, and fun activities for all types of travelers. Smaller cities such as Bruges, Liege, and Leuven let you delve into history in their historic old towns with cathedrals, charming cafes, art galleries, and carriage tours. And as a smaller country, it's easy to get around to see everything on the trains in just a few hours at the most between destinations.
France is a historic, beautiful, and cultural country. Many visitors also come because of it's amazing beauty. Other reasons to visit include museums, theater, adventure travel, and national parks.
France is actually the most visited country in the world, and it's easy to see why. Offering amazing food, deep history, beautiful coastlines, wine regions, world-class cities, and small villages, this amazing and diverse country offers something for everyone.
Below we will examine the differences and similarities between Belgium and France. With this information, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.
Spend time exploring the sights and museums in either Belgium or France.
You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Belgium. From art to history to culture, you'll find something for everyone. Some of the most popular art museums include The Magritte Museum in Brussels, François Duesberg Museum in Mons, and the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art (SMAK) in Ghent. But it's not all about art, as visitors also love the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS) in Antwerp which focuses on the city's history as a maritime port. Also, science lovers should check out the Euro Space Center and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. For interesting history lessons, visit the Gallo-Roman Museum, Dossin Casern, and the In Flanders Fields museum.
The museums, monuments, and landmarks in France are among the most recognizable in the world. Some of the world's best museums can be found in the major cities. The Louvre in Paris can't be missed, as it offers a huge collection of art, historical artifacts, and cultural items that would take several days to peruse. But it's only one of many museums in the city of lights, as it's also possible to see other major art exhibits around town. Additionally, other major cities offer plenty of museum options as well. Especially Lyon which has several marionette puppet museums, a cinema museum, and the large Musee de Confluences which focuses on humanity.
Paris: One of the most world famous landmarks is the Eiffel Tower. The city is also home to the world renowned Louvre, Notre-Dame, and Palais Garnier Opera House.
Lyon: There are many world class museums and historic landmarks in the city including Musée des Beaux Arts, Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine, and Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière.
You'll find fairly similar levels of culture, arts, and history when visiting both Belgium and France.
Belgium is a terrific destination to visit for history, arts, and culture, as it has many sights worth visiting. Although it's a smaller country, the history and culture here is packed into its cities and small towns. You'll find museums that focus on art, history, science, and more in many of the cities and town. For example, visit the Grand Palace in Brussels, the Castle of the Counts in Ghent, or the grand cathedrals of Antwerp. Large castles dot the countryside, many with grand views such as the one in Bouillon. Theaters are everywhere, too, so you can take in a play, opera, or the ballet in addition to enjoying the cafe culture and the unique cuisine.
See also 14 Free Things to do in Brussels.
France is known for its world-famous historical and cultural sights and attractions. It's hard to find a country with more cultural and historical destinations. Starting with Paris, you'll find multiple museums, monuments, cathedrals, and other attractions that showcase the history and art of France as well as Europe as a whole. But Paris is not the only place, as other major cities such as Lyon and Marseille offer similar historical and artistic experiences in their museums, theatre productions, and architecture. Furthermore, even the small towns in the countryside have historic sights such as the numerous chateaus, castles, winery villages, and more.
France generally has more big cities and urban activities than Belgium.
France has amazing and huge cities with tons of activities and things to do. With multiple large cities, anyone looking to explore museums, history, restaurants, and attractions will easily find it all in France. And Paris is just the beginning, as Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, and others offer charming streets filled with art, architecture, museums, nightlife, and more.
Belgium has some large cities, so you'll find plenty of things to do when visiting. Brussels and Antwerp are both popular destinations for visitors because of the large number of attractions and activities. In both of these cities you'll find a wide array of hotels, restaurants, historical sites, museums, and activities for every type of traveler. In Brussels, tour the Grand Palace, climb the Atomium, and go shopping at the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. In Antwerp, after admiring the historic railway station, check out the Meir area for some shopping and chocolates, the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp, and the windows of the Diamond District.
Belgium and France both are comparable with their activities in villages and small towns.
Belgium is a great destination to visit small towns and villages just waiting to be explored. Some of the more popular small towns to visit draw large crowds to see the old cathedrals, local markets, narrow canals, historic homes, and delicious local cuisine. Bruges is one of the most popular towns for travelers because it has several gorgeous cathedrals, scenic canals, museums, and terrific restaurants all packed into a small walkable area. Other popular smaller towns include Spa, where you'll find relaxing hot springs; Bouillon, home of a beautiful castle; Durbuy, with its winding narrow streets; Dinant, with cliffs above a scenic river; and Rochefort, famous for its beer from the historic monastery. But dozens more small towns are dotted around the countryside, and if you have the time, are worth visiting.
You'll find plenty of local activities in all of the small towns and villages in France. Travelers could easily spend their entire trip in the small towns in the French countryside. Many of the most charming small towns are in the wine regions of Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, Provence, and others. Visitors to these towns will find historic architecture surrounded by beautiful agricultural landscapes along with delicious food and friendly locals. Some have their own history dating back centuries, too.
There are theater venues available in both Belgium and France.
If you have some extra time in Belgium, take in a show. While Brussels has the most theater productions, Antwerp, Ghent, and others host a variety of shows and concerts, too. The most popular theaters in Brussels include the Théâtre Royal du Parc, Vaux-Hall, and the KVS. For other interesting performances, don't miss the Royal Toone Theatre with its myriad of puppets or La Montagne Magique (Magic Mountain) which offers youth and children's productions in French. In Antwerp, a few of the most popular theaters are Koningin Elisabethzaal, De Roma, Stadsschouwburg, and Bourla, among others.
France offers many theater and performance venues for visitors. In Paris, the opera and the ballet are very popular attractions. And if you're looking for something not as sophisticated, a number of review and musical shows provide fun options as well. Also, there's the theatre productions, too. Furthermore, you'll find many other great theatre productions all around France in the heart of Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Lille, Strasbourg, and more.
Paris: There are world class theaters as well as smaller local venues where you can enjoy a show.
Foodies will appreciated the dining options available in France a bit more than Belgium.
Many restaurants in France have been singled out for their culinary prowess. The food here is second to none. French food has earned its reputation over the centuries as being gourmet, elegant, delicious, diverse, and gluttonous. From the fine dining restaurants of Paris and Lyon to the farm-fresh cafes in the small towns, to the abundance of wine in Burgundy or Bordeaux, we promise that you won't go hungry. Every city is proud of the food they serve, and you'll find regional specials throughout the nation, too.
Paris: There are countless local restaurants, markets, and patisseries to explore. Make sure you try the steak tartare, pate, and macarons.
Marseille: It's famous for its bouillabaisse, which is a hearty seafood soup that was once affordable but is now quite pricey.
Lyon: Known as "the Gastronomic Capital of the World" this city stands above the rest when it comes to Michelin star restaurants (there are 17!), fresh ingredients, and unique local flavors. Favorite local dishes include pâté en croûte, rosette de Lyon, and saucisson brioché.
Nice: The cuisine brings together fresh regional ingredients and mixes Provençal and Niçoise flavors. You'll find a lot of Italian influence as well. Fresh seafood is the thing to try while you're in town, but other local favorites include socca, Ratatouille, and Salade niçoise.
Bordeaux: Both food and wine are a major draw to this culinary city, which is known for its pastries and rich flavors. Popular local dishes include grilled duck, duck foie gras, and canelés.
Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Belgium. While Belgium is famous for waffles, beer, and chocolate, plenty of other traditional dishes should be on your list as well. Furthermore, as a modern and diverse nation, you can find cuisine from all over the world in the big cities such as Brussels and Antwerp. World-class chefs have started terrific restaurants serving a wide variety of dishes. But if you're after some traditional fare, try the mussels (moules), fries with garlic-mayo, Flemish stew, or Croquettes, and Vol-au-vent.
If the nightlife is your priority, you'll find comparable options between Belgium and France.
The nightlife in Belgium has something for everybody. As the largest city, Brussels not only draws the biggest crowds in the evenings, but has also earned itself a reputation as a party-oriented city at night. With dozens of nightclubs offering every type of music, to the vibrant bar and pub scene, as well as the theater and fine dining offerings, Brussels has an active scene for both locals and visitors alike. Some of the best spots in Brussels include Madame Moustache, the Music Village, Fuse, and Spirito. Antwerp also offers its share of nightlife. Dozens of bars and clubs come alive at night here also. Ghent, Bruges, and other tourist destinations also offer plenty of bars and theaters, although the nightlife scene is not as active later in the night.
Ghent: With its young student population, you'll find plenty of lively bars and clubs around town. There are many places where you can party or dance into the early hours of the morning and some of the best places are around Oude Beestenmarkt, De Overpoort, and De Vlasmarkt. There's also the famous Ghent Festival every July.
France offers plenty to do in the evening. While Paris is the obvious choice for its bars, clubs, theatre, and shows, the rest of France offers plenty of nightlife, too. The other major cities each have their own vibe, especially along the southern coastal destinations of Marseille, Nice, and Biarritz where beach-goers turn towards nightclubs at sundown. Even some of the smaller cities in the wine regions offer then own nightlife experiences after a day of tastings.
Paris: Head to Pigalle or the Latin Quarter for some of the city's best nightlife. There are all-night parties, cabarets, and exclusive night clubs that you can experience.
Marseille: Much of the city's nightlife is centered around being outdoors. Whether you're on the beach or hanging out at a rooftop bar, Marseille is a magical place.
Nice: The city has some of the best nightlife on the Cote d'Azur. You'll find a number of nightclubs along the seaside as well a bars and pubs in the Old Town. Some of the best clubs are along Promenade des Anglais.
Saint-Tropez: It is a place to see and be seen, so if you're looking for A-list celebrities, glamourous yacht parties, and ritzy dance clubs, then this is your place. While the nightlife scene is filled with extravagance, there are still laid back clubs where you can sip a cocktail in style. The best season to come and party is during the summer months, but you'll still find plenty to do throughout the year.
See also Paris Party Hostels.
While Belgium and France are both popular beach destinations, overall the beaches at France have more to offer.
France is considered to be a world-class beach destination. The southern, Mediterranean coast of France offers plenty of beaches with gorgeous sand, blue water, warm weather, and historical towns. Whether you stay in a larger town with restaurants, hotels, history, and nightlife, or move further along to the quieter spots, you'll enjoy plenty of clear skies with equally clear water and that special French Riviera feeling. Some of the most popular beach destinations in this part of France include Nice, Saint-Tropez, Cannes, and Marseille. Along the Atlantic coast, you'll find even more diversity. The northern coastline is a bit colder and historic, while in the south you can find even more warm-weather beach vacation towns such as Biarritz and the surrounding resort towns close to Spain.
You can check out the beach in Belgium. The relatively short stretch of coastline here has some beautiful beaches which can be enjoyed during the warmer months. Some areas are more natural with sand dunes and open spaces, while others have stretches of hotels, restaurants, cafes, and seaside attractions. Knokke-Heist is a popular area with plenty of activities and hotels. De Panne and Nieuwpoort are also extremely popular with wide, white beaches and a diverse selection of dining options. On the other hand, Bredene is more secluded for those that want to escape the crowds.
If you're looking to go shopping, Belgium and France both offer plenty of spots.
Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Belgium. Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and other major cities offer plenty of trendy shops, fashionable boutiques, art galleries, and chocolate shops. Also, you can't miss all of the diamond stores in Antwerp. Even if you're not buying, it's fun to peruse the window displays. In Brussels, make sure to visit the Royal Saint Hubert Galleries not just for the shops, but also for the architecture and history of the building. Another nice indoor spot is Passage du Nord, and Boulevard de Waterloo has plenty of upscale shops. In Antwerp, the diamond shops are located not far from the historic train station, while more of the clothing boutiques are found in De Modewijk, the fashion quarter of the city.
Brussels: Although it's famous for diamonds, the city also has many shopping streets where you can find designer brands, vintage shops, and other unique boutiques that are fun to explore.
Antwerp: The city has become known for its fashion scene. The main shopping street is Meir, which is where you'll find a variety of European fashion chains. It's also fun to buy chocolates, art, or other souvenirs around town. You'll find both locals and tourists perusing the main shopping areas around town.
France is a popular shopping destination with plenty of stores. Paris quickly comes to mind as one of the best shopping cities in the world, as it offers multiple neighborhoods each with their own vibe and personality. But other major cities, as well as the resort areas on the coast, showcase diverse and trendy boutiques where everyone can find something they like.
Paris: Some of the best areas for shopping are Boulevard Haussmann and the Grands Boulevards, the Marais, and Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées.
Lille: The city is filled with shopping opportunities. Almost any store you could want is in or around the old town and the two main shopping centers in town are McArthur Glen and A l'Usine. Also by the train station is a shopping mall.
Cannes: With its many affluent visitors, the shopping scene in town is filled with luxury brands and posh boutiques. Perfume and porcelain are both popular things to buy in the area.
Saint-Tropez: Surrounded by luxury, shopping is a must in this glamourous resort town. There are international luxury brands as well as local designer boutiques. Whether you're looking for yachting clothes, cigars, jewelry, or perfume, this is one of the best shopping destinations along the Cote d'Azur. Art is a particularly popular item to purchase while you're in town.
With various activities, both Belgium and France are good places to visit during Christmas.
Plenty of visitors enjoy Christmas activities while in Belgium. The large public squares of Brussels, Antwerp, and other historical cities raise large Christmas trees and decorate their town centers with lights and decorations. Many towns have festivals and parades, especially during the arrival of Sinterklaas or Pere Noel (depending on the region). Also, many small towns and big cities host Christmas markets with food, drinks, gifts, crafts, ice skating, and more. Brussels has a Winter Wonderland Christmas Market where the buildings are illuminated. Other touristy towns such as Bruges host special events with entire sections of town covered in lights and special market shops.
France is an extremely popular place to visit during the Christmas season. Plenty of cities and towns put up lights and trees with Christmas decorations, host festivals and shows, and organize festive markets. While larger cities such as Paris are always popular, smaller towns are equally as beautiful and visited. Strasbourg, Dijon, Reims, Tours, and Lille are just a few of the destinations which organize extravagant holiday celebrations for residents and visitors alike.
Paris: The city of lights really proves itself around the holiday season. In addition to checking out the Christmas lights, it's fun to go window shopping or check out one of the city's Christmas markets.
While Belgium and France both offer hiking, overall France is considered to have more to offer.
Plenty of visitors go hiking around France. A diverse set of hiking options is available for travelers here, as you'll find great trails from the Alps to the Pyrenees to the hills in the wine regions to the beautiful coastlines. In the summer months, the Alps and Pyrenees are especially welcoming to hikers, as these winter ski areas become warm and active with visitors. Also, when exploring the wine regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, or the Loire Valley, don't forget to take a break from wine and history to admire the beautiful landscapes on foot.
A few hiking trails can be found near Belgium. Many hiking trails are within easy reach of nearby cities and towns, making them accessible. Many are also easy hikes since Belgium has a fairly low elevation. Some of the best areas to hike include Deux Ourthes Natural Park, Southern Ardennes Natural Park, or Eifel Natural Park.
While Belgium and France both have national parks worth visiting, overall France is considered to have more destinations.
Plenty of travelers enjoy the national parks of France. Visitors looking to escape to the wilderness can find plenty of parks to see, especially in the rugged mountainous regions. A few of the best include Pyrenees national park and Vanoise national park, both of which are known for their hiking and beautiful mountain scenery. Elsewhere in France, Le Perche natural regional park in Normandy and Armorique natural regional park in Brittany offer beautiful natural landscapes with a touch of history.
Belgium has some national parks and wilderness areas for those that seek them out. With only two national parks and 10 other large natural protected areas, most visitors don't come here to see the wilderness. But a variety of beautiful scenery can still be found in this small country. Hiking trails and camping spots providing opportunities to see the rivers, hills, and native birds of the region. They make for a good escape from the cities if you're looking for somewhere nearby to get into nature.
Both Belgium and France offer an fairly equal range of watersports for travelers.
Belgium is a good destination to participate in watersports, as there are some fun activities. The beach along the coastline offers surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing, and swimming during the warmer months. Also, plenty of the canals and rivers through the country are great spots for kayaking, boating, or swimming, too. While you can explore the waterways of the countryside by kayak or canoe, don't forget that you can often do this in the cities and towns as well, which offer a fun perspective on the historic urban areas.
France is a great destination for participating in watersports. With a very long stretch of coastline on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean, as well as a huge array of rivers and lakes, there's no shortage of watersports here. Surfing is popular along both coasts, and not just where the water is clear and blue. Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular, as is kayaking, canoeing, and boating on the ocean, sea, and rivers.
Both Belgium and France offer an equivilent number of outdoor activities for travelers.
Belgium is a good destination to visit the outdoors, as there are some fun activities. Wildlife areas and parks are very accessible to the larger cities and towns, many by public transit. So, if you're looking to get out of the urban areas, these parks are a good option. Hiking trails, boating, swimming, and other fun activities are found all over the country. And while the country is smaller than many others, it still has scenic outdoor spots such as the West Coast (Westkust) cycling route from De Panne or the Zwin walking route in Knokke-Heist, or the Eifel Nature Park.
France is a great destination for participating in outdoor activities. The countryside that normally draws a crowd to see the vineyards and castles also offers plenty of other activities for visitors. From hiking through the beautiful landscapes to horseback riding to rafting and kayaking, there's something for everyone here. Many of these activities are also kid-friendly, and it's easy to find a day tour or rent equipment on your own for whatever you choose.
Overall France is considered to be better for road trips, as it has more opportunities.
France is an extremely popular destination for those that want to take a road trip. As the roads and highways here can take you anywhere fairly quickly, many visitors to France will hire a car and leave the major cities to venture into the countryside. The wine regions of Burgundy, the Loire Valley, Bordeaux, and Alsace are popular destinations, as you can see the vineyards, chateaus, castles, and historic towns intermixed with beautiful mountains, rivers, and the French countryside.
Belgium is generally not the best destination for road trips, but it has a few options. To see some of the small towns in the countryside, taking a road trip might be a good option. Since the distances between cities and towns are not large, driving can be quite quick between destinations. The roads are great, and having your own car means that you can see some of the small and quaint places that are not as easy to reach by train or bus. Don't miss some of the castles (such as in Bouillon, or the monasteries that produce beer such as the one in Rochefort. Keep in mind that visiting the big cities with a car is generally not recommended since parking is limited.
Both Belgium and France are fun to visit with kids.
Belgium is a very family-friendly destination. From fairy-tale cities such as Bruges to the large cathedrals filled with lights, and from the horse-drawn carriage rides and playgrounds to the old Castle of the Counts in Ghent, kids will be very entertained here. After all, this is the country of waffles and chocolate, and the adults can have a Belgian beer on the side, too. Many of the cities are also bike-friendly, which adds to the fun if you want to take a tour on two wheels. Or hop on a boat tour as Ghent, Bruges, and many others have canals and rivers with scenic views, too. And Brussels offers the Pixel Museum which is all about gaming and technology, as well as a puppet theater and various other art and history museums. You can also get into the outdoors to visit hiking trails and national parks, as well as interesting caves. And any kids interested in military history should visit Waterloo as well as the trenches of Ypres
With a huge array of activities for kids, France is very family-friendly. Plenty of activities for families and kids can be found in almost every corner of the country. The coastal areas in the south draw families for the beaches and resorts, while the mountains bring families for outdoor activities mixed with history and culture. The larger cities offer plenty of fun as well in the form of museums, theme parks, great food, and large parks.
Saint-Tropez: With great beaches, several amusement parks, waterparks, and even Marineland, there are an endless supply of activities for kids. There's also a zoo and nature reserve for wildlife enthusiasts. For adventure lovers, there are a number of different watersports to try and if the weather isn't cooperating, there are a few good museums and other indoor activities as well.
Couples will find a longer list of romantic activities in France than Belgium.
France is a great country for couples, as it has plenty to offer. So many destinations in this large country are perfect for couples looking to get away on a romantic trip, or even a honeymoon. Paris is the obvious choice, as the city of lights oozes romance with fine restaurants, historic architecture, theatre productions, and hidden alleyways. But other destinations are terrific for couples as well, such as the coast, the mountains, the wine regions, and the small towns.
Paris: A city filled with romance, you really can't find a more ideal destination for a European honeymoon or a couple's getaway.
Nice: The old town is filled with romance and charm. You can also take a walk along the Promenade Des Anglais or soak up the romantic countryside that surrounds the town.
Cannes: It's grand hotels and luxury beach clubs make this a perfect romantic destination. There are world class restaurants, a vibrant nightlife scene, and many romantic spots around town that make for a memorable honeymoon or couple's getaway.
Saint-Tropez: Whether you're honeymooning or taking a short getaway to the French Riviera, this is a great option for couples. You can take a stroll at sunset, relax on one of the beautiful beaches, dine on local seafood, and soak up the rich local culture. The romance and beauty of this French Riviera city make it a world class romantic destination.
See also Hostels for Female Travellers and Couples in Paris.Belgium makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. While it might not be the first place that couples think of, the big cities such as Brussels and Antwerp offer plenty of charming and romantic activities. Furthermore, many of the castles and chateaus in the countryside have been turned into luxury hotels, so you can experience history and luxury together. Hikes from some of the small villages to nearby castles are common any time of the year, especially in the spring and fall. And whether you're in a small town or one of the big cities, you'll find chocolate, waffles, and beer all over, not to mention plenty of other gourmet food options for that romantic evening out on the town. Theaters are also common, so take in a show or a concert after dinner.
For backpackers, both Belgium and France are fairly comparable places to visit.
It's common for backpackers to visit Belgium. Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and other major tourist destinations might not be the most budget-friendly places, but plenty of hostels and low-cost accommodations can be found in and around the cities. Furthermore, food at most restaurants is reasonably priced, especially if you avoid the touristy areas and the higher-end establishments. In generally, there's plenty of activities which are free or low in price. And younger travelers tend to enjoy Belgium's vibrant nightlife and bar scene, which is especially popular in Brussels as well as Antwerp, Ghent, and elsewhere. Transportation is also cheap and readily available.
France is a good country to visit for backpackers. It's easy to find budget accommodation in most cities and towns, although the overall in this Western European country tend to be high. But the sheer diversity of sights and destinations means that budget travelers or backpackers can find low cost food, activities, and accommodations in most places around the country.
Paris: It's a big city, so it's easy to get lost in the chaos, but there are many hostels and other backpacker hangouts around town.
For students, both Belgium and France are fairly comparable places to visit.
It's common for students to visit Belgium. With major universities attracting students from all over the world, along with an active nightlife and bar scene, as well as affordable travel options, this country is a pretty good place for students. You'll find hostels, affordable food, fun cafes, and cheap activities in Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, and other cities. The largest university areas are found in Brussels, Leuven, Liege, Ghent, and Antwerp, so you might want to focus on these areas if you're visiting or are interested in studying abroad.
Ghent: The city is very popular with international students so it has a young and energetic vibe with plenty to do throughout the year.
Many students visit France. With multiple large universities, this country hosts many students every year as both tourists and study-abroad participants. From the large cities to the small towns, it's easy to get around as a student, especially since many hostels and museums offer discounts for anyone under 26. Also, the nightlife is terrific in many of the major cities such as Paris, Lyon, and Nice.
Paris: The city is one of the most popular destinations for international and study abroad students.
Lyon: It is a very livable city with many fun cultural activities for students. There are many different entertainment options during the day, and during the evening there are plenty of places to hang out.
Montpellier: Montpellier is a popular university town that is home to many trendy university students. It's also where you'll find the youngest population of any city in France.
See also Free Things to do in Paris.
Belgium and France both offer transportation to get you around.
Visitors in Belgium can get around quickly with the extensive transportation system. The combination of the national train system, city trams and buses, great roads, and a good network of bike paths makes this one of the easiest countries to get around. Belgium is fairly small as a country, so the major cities and towns are not too far apart. The trains run frequently and efficiently, as do the local city trams and buses. Roads are well built for those that want to drive, too.
Is it easy to travel around Belgium?
France has a world-class transit network to take passengers everywhere in the country. The French rail system is a terrific way to move around the country quickly and easily. Most small towns are connected to the larger cities by rail, and the larger cities are connected with high-speed rail, too. The airports are also modern and efficient, and offer connections to everywhere in the world. The roads are also great for driving, too.
See also How to Visit the Loire Valley from Paris.
Is it easy to travel around France?
Both Belgium and France are very comfortable to travel around, and offer plenty of amenities for visitors.
People often come to Belgium because it is such a comfortable and luxurious destination. Modern European comforts and luxuries are found everywhere here, so whether you're traveling to the cities or the countryside, you can expect modern conveniences. The larger cities have the most variation in price ranges for accommodations and restaurants, but at any price range you can expect modern facilities and quality service. Transportation is efficient and safe, and a large network of infrastructure for both locals and tourists alike can be found everywhere. The food is also excellent, clean, and safe no matter where you visit in Belgium. So, whether your a family looking for comfortable places for the kids, a couple on a romantic break, or a younger backpacker on a tight budget, everyone can expect to travel around efficiently and in comfort.
France is extremely comfortable for travelers as it is a modern destination with plenty of amenities. If you're looking to explore in comfort and luxury, then you'll have no trouble here. As the most visited country in the world, travelers will find a huge number of modern and luxurious hotels, along with great public transport, plenty of taxis and tour companies, and an amazing selection of restaurants and cafes. Even if you're traveling on a budget, the level of comfort and amenities in France is very high.
France generally has a more touristy vibe than Belgium.
Many of tourists come to France every year, as it's an extremely popular destination. Since it's the most visited country in the world, no one should be surprised with the number of tourists around major sights and attractions, especially in the more popular areas. Paris, Lyon, the southern coastline, the wine regions, and the French Alps are all quite busy with tourists year-round. So, when visiting, you won't be alone. However, it's also not too hard to escape the crowds as this country is fairly large.
Belgium has a reasonable number of visitors. Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, and Liege are the most popular destinations for visitors. They each see fairly large numbers of travelers, especially in the summer months. However, the cities themselves are large enough so that any particular area isn't overcrowded and the cities are easily manageable. Bruges is an especially popular place to visit, as this smaller city offers many attractions, so it can feel much more touristy than other places. Also, specific areas of each city are popular, such as the Castle of Counts in Ghent which sometimes has a long queue to enter. Other popular attractions include the Grand Palace in Brussels, the Belfry in Ghent, Bouillon Castle, and Waterloo. It's common to experience crowds at these locations and other popular spots, but again, it's usually manageable.
In either Belgium or France, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in France than Belgium because of the overall number of sights and activities.
The ideal length of time for a trip to Belgium is 3-7 days, and the ideal length of time for a trip to France is 7-21 days.
Belgium is a great place to explore. With so much to do, a weekend is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.
In France, you'll find museums, theater, and adventure travel. The length of your trip often depends on your style of travel. Most people come for the beaches. Since there is so much to do in the area, a weekend is probably not enough for all of it.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in Belgium. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.
France is a great place to explore. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. Since there is so much to do in the area, five days is probably not enough for all of it. Anyone can find something fun to do here.
Many travelers enjoy the theater, history and culture, and nightlife when visiting the prosperous destination of Belgium. This country offers a variety of activities to choose from. If you have one week, this is a great place to go. This would be the perfect place to spend one week, as it has just the right amount of activities.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in France. In France, you'll find adventure travel, national parks, and history and culture. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. With all of its activities, you can easily fill one week here.
Travelers enjoy the theater, history and culture, and nightlife when visiting the tranquil destination of Belgium. This country offers a variety of activities to choose from. Two weeks may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.
It's hard to know how much time to spend in France. In France, you'll find adventure travel, national parks, and history and culture. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. Two weeks is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that France has to offer.
These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.
The average daily cost (per person) in Belgium is €114, while the average daily cost in France is €186. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each country. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Belgium and France in more detail.
Looking for a hotel in Belgium or France? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.
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Some typical examples of transportation costs in Belgium are as follows:
Also for Belgium, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:
Here are some examples of typical transportation prices from actual travelers in France:
Some specific examples of transportation prices in France:
Prices for flights to both France and Belgium change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.
Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Belgium:
For Belgium, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:
Some typical examples of dining costs in France are as follows:
Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in France.
For Belgium, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:
Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Belgium.
Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in France are as follows:
Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for France are as follows:
Some typical examples of the costs for nightlife and alcohol in Belgium are as follows:
Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Belgium:
Below are a few samples from actual travelers for alcohol and nightlife costs in France:
Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in France:
When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Belgium and France, we can see that France is more expensive. And not only is Belgium much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Belgium would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Belgium and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in France would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in France than you might in Belgium.
In general, France is a bit more popular as a tourist destination, which can drive prices up a bit. Paris is one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe, and the prices reflect this. Coastal towns in France are also quite expensive, particularly during the peak summer months. Belgium is a bit less popular with visitors so there are still good deals to be found. It's also possible to base yourself in one place and explore the country with day trips, which can be an affordable way to experience Belgium.
What are the most expensive and cheapest places to visit in Belgium and France?
In France, Paris can be a bit more expensive than the countryside, but the coastal areas are also quite expensive, particularly during peak travel months. Prices in Belgium are relatively consistent throughout. It's possible to find affordable hostels in most cities and towns, and there are a variety of restaurants with reasonable options as well. Travel times are also quite short within Belgium, so the cost of traveling between locations is reasonable.
It's easy to visit either Belgium or France during the spring or fall when the prices are a bit less and the crowds aren't as intense. If you want to save some money then this is a great time to explore the area.
Belgium can be explored through a series of day trips. Pick a base and then spend some time in nearby towns. This will give you a feel for the country in a shorter amount of time.
Buses are almost always cheaper than trains, so look into all of your transportation options before buying tickets.
Head to a local market and pick up some local produce and cheese. A picnic is a great way to enjoy local specialties without paying for an expensive sit down meal. It also lets you enjoy the atmosphere of the area.
Slow down and take time to really enjoy the cities and towns you're in. Exploring less places in more detail will give you a feel for the area and also save you money, because you'll spend less money on transportation.
Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.
The Belgian climate in northern Europe experiences four seasons with cooler summers and cold wet winters. While the temperatures are often cold in the winter, it only snows periodically near the coast. And because the summers are not too hot, the weather is very pleasant during this popular time to visit.
The weather in France is fairly predictable, as it sees four seasons. Summers are warm all over, and winters can be cold, especially in the northern areas. The southern coastal areas are not quite as cold in the winter, but they can still be a bit chilly at times. The summer, fall, and spring tend to be the busier times for travelers to visit, with summer being the peak time of year for most of the country.
Belgium is a great country to visit anytime between April and October. There are a variety of music festivals during this time and the weather is quite pleasant. The crowds usually peak during the months of July and August, which is also when the prices are the highest.
France is also beautiful during these times with spring and fall being a great time to visit if you wish to avoid the crowds. In general, it has become a bit more difficult to get off season discounts in France for accommodation or tours. Even during the coldest winter months, many hotels are popular with business travelers or tour groups, which can drive up prices. Deals on airline tickets can still be found during these low times.
Both France and Belgium during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Belgium for the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to France in the summer for the beaches, snorkeling, the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences.
In July, Brussels is generally around the same temperature as Paris. Temperatures in Brussels average around 18°C (65°F), and Paris stays around 20°C (68°F).
In Paris, it's very sunny this time of the year. In the summer, Brussels often gets less sunshine than Paris. Brussels gets 186 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Paris receives 241 hours of full sun.
Brussels usually gets more rain in July than Paris. Brussels gets 75 mm (3 in) of rain, while Paris receives 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain this time of the year.
The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Belgium and France. Many visitors come to Belgium in the autumn for the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to France for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.
Brussels is around the same temperature as Paris in the autumn. The temperature in Brussels is usually 12°C (54°F) in October, and Paris stays around 13°C (56°F).
Brussels usually receives less sunshine than Paris during autumn. Brussels gets 114 hours of sunny skies, while Paris receives 127 hours of full sun in the autumn.
In October, Brussels usually receives more rain than Paris. Brussels gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Paris receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain each month for the autumn.
The winter brings many poeple to Belgium as well as France. Most visitors come to Belgium for the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to France because of the skiing, the museums, the Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, the theater shows, and the cuisine.
The weather in Paris can be very cold. Brussels can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Brussels is cooler than Paris. Typically, the winter temperatures in Brussels in January are around 3°C (38°F), and Paris is about 5°C (40°F).
In the winter, Brussels often gets less sunshine than Paris. Brussels gets 49 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Paris receives 62 hours of full sun.
Brussels usually gets more rain in January than Paris. Brussels gets 67 mm (2.6 in) of rain, while Paris receives 55 mm (2.2 in) of rain this time of the year.
Both France and Belgium are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Belgium because of the natural beauty. Also, the beaches and the natural beauty are the main draw to France this time of year.
In April, Brussels is generally cooler than Paris. Temperatures in Brussels average around 10°C (49°F), and Paris stays around 11°C (52°F).
Brussels usually receives less sunshine than Paris during spring. Brussels gets 147 hours of sunny skies, while Paris receives 172 hours of full sun in the spring.
In April, Brussels usually receives more rain than Paris. Brussels gets 57 mm (2.2 in) of rain, while Paris receives 50 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.
|Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)||Temp (°C)||Rain (mm)|
|Jan||3°C (38°F)||67 mm (2.6 in)||5°C (40°F)||55 mm (2.2 in)|
|Feb||4°C (39°F)||53 mm (2.1 in)||6°C (42°F)||45 mm (1.8 in)|
|Mar||6°C (43°F)||72 mm (2.8 in)||8°C (47°F)||52 mm (2.1 in)|
|Apr||10°C (49°F)||57 mm (2.2 in)||11°C (52°F)||50 mm (1.9 in)|
|May||14°C (57°F)||71 mm (2.8 in)||15°C (59°F)||62 mm (2.4 in)|
|Jun||17°C (62°F)||79 mm (3.1 in)||18°C (64°F)||53 mm (2.1 in)|
|Jul||18°C (65°F)||75 mm (3 in)||20°C (68°F)||58 mm (2.3 in)|
|Aug||18°C (65°F)||63 mm (2.5 in)||20°C (67°F)||46 mm (1.8 in)|
|Sep||16°C (60°F)||59 mm (2.3 in)||17°C (63°F)||53 mm (2.1 in)|
|Oct||12°C (54°F)||70 mm (2.8 in)||13°C (56°F)||55 mm (2.2 in)|
|Nov||7°C (45°F)||76 mm (3 in)||8°C (47°F)||57 mm (2.2 in)|
|Dec||4°C (40°F)||76 mm (3 in)||5°C (42°F)||55 mm (2.2 in)|
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