In a previous post, I’ve divided Europe for travelling purposes into “bite-sized” regions, areas you’d be able to thoroughly travel in several weeks. I’ll start with the BeNeLux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) – the most bite-sized region, consisting of three of the smallest countries in Europe.
- Why go there?
No, not just because of Amsterdam. Nor only for Brussels. Outside the crowded and expensive capitals a whole world of classic windmill landscapes, plenty of cheese and Trappist abbeys breweries awaits. The short distances of the BeNeLux mean you can enjoy museums in The Hague, modern architecture in Rotterdam and shopping in Antwerpen in one day. But why would you rush? Take your time in the “low countries, pay attention to small Medieval cities like Delft, Ghent and Brugge, enjoy nature and peace of mind on the pristine beaches of the West Frisian Islands or the rolling forested hills of the Ardennes. Well, OK, do yourself a favour and visit Amsterdam, but leave the best for last.
- What’s it best for?
Travelling with children – safe, small, plenty of entertainment – the BeNeLux is ideal for introducing kids to Europe.
- When is the best time to go?
April and May are the driest (on average), the tulips fields are in blossom, and it’s festival season. This year make sure you’re in Holland on April 30th! It’s going to be a hell of a party.
- How to get around?
The railway grid is dense and connections are excellent, and parking costs are sky-high. Take the train.
- Why is it best to avoid?
Real wilderness is hard to come by here, and the prices are spiky.
- Where to go if you just have one week?
Go to Limburg, the hilly area where the borders of Germany, Belgium and Netherlands meet and greet in a common dialect. In and around the cities of Maastricht, Liege and Aachen you’ll find the best of the German, French and Dutch culture as well as great cycling and accessible hiking routes.