The Benelux economic union is an international union of three overlapping monarchies in Europe. The three Benelux countries are Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg, as you can tell from the union’s name itself (BElgique – NEderland – LUXembourg). Each of the three countries has a unique charm to bring to the mix and the top 3 travel destinations in the Benelux union are their beautiful capital.
Brussels is best known for being the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. But there’s a lot more to the city from the Benelux region than just meeting halls and bureaucrats. Brussels radiates a vivid and elegant feel through its museums and art galleries. It’s also a foodie traveler’s dream when visiting the Benelux countries: Brussels awaits with delicious fish, waffles, chocolate, truffles, and foaming steins of good beer.
- Brussels is prone to wet, gray weather. Summer may be the wettest season, though.
- The warmest months are July and August with a peak temperature of 22°C.
- Winter lasts from November to March and brings temperatures near freezing and slush and sleet.
Getting to Brussels and about
- The main airport in Brussels is Zaventem. From there, it takes a train 25 minutes to get to the city center and a new train comes every 15 minutes. Busses and taxis are also available.
- Brussels has three major train stations: Brussel Zuid or Bruxelles Midi in the south of the city center, Brussel Zuid Centraal or Bruxelles Central right next to the city center, and Brussel Noord or Bruxelles Nord (you guessed it!) in the north. The high-speed Thalys trains connect Brussels with Cologne, Paris, and Amsterdam.
- It’s easy to get around Brussels. The city has metro lines, several buses, and many tram lines. Brussels also has short-term bike rentals available but keep in mind that there are many hills in the city!
Major events in Brussels
- On the last weekend of May, the city is swinging at the Brussels Jazz Marathon.
- July brings Ommegang, a medieval-style procession that takes place in the illuminated Grand Place or Grote Markt, the main square of Brussels
- August, during even years, decorates Belgium’s capital with the Flower Carpet.
- During the summer months, the Grand Place, the Sablon, and the Place Ste. Catherine offer al fresco concerts that both travelers and locals enjoy for free.
Amsterdam is the freewheeling open city of the Benelux countries, with stunning buildings, lovely tree-lined canals, amazing shops, and very friendly people.
- The lovely summers of Amsterdam make it a city that loves outdoor living.
- Winters, on the other hand, are utterly miserable with cascading heat.
- Spring is muddy, but it’s a season when the city’s flora bursts into vibrant life.
Getting to Amsterdam and about
- Schiphol airport is one of the largest in the world and it provides extensive connections.
- Busses are economical and the train is very convenient.
- There are also ferries to the United Kingdom and Norway.
- Cycling is the fastest way to get around Amsterdam. Walking is all right, too, because the city is small. However, Amsterdam provides an effective public transport network that covers much of the area. The Central Station is a public transit center where tram, bus, train, and subway lines converge.
Major events in Amsterdam
- The March Silent Procession is a festival in which Catholics travel along the Holy Way to celebrate the Miracle of Amsterdam.
- Queen’s Day on April 30 brings a market, street parties, and live music.
- In May, the locals celebrate The National Windmill Day is in May.
- The country’s largest arts festival is the Holland Festival, which takes place in June.
- September is the season for the Flower Parade
- Traditional Dutch Christmas takes place on 6 December.
Luxembourg is the fairy tale land among the capitals of the Benelux countries, with its charming hamlets, green fields, and silver rivers. A landlocked territory between Belgium, France, and Germany, Luxembourg is the only Grand Duchy in the world and one of the smallest countries in the world.
- Winters are fairly mild in Luxembourg, although January and February can be very cold.
- Spring and autumn are beautiful, but there is constant rain.
- Summers tend to be very hot with temperatures at about 35°C in July and August.
Getting to Luxembourg and about
- Luxembourg International Airport is about four miles away from the city. Flights are linked to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Zürich, and Frankfurt.
- You can get to Luxembourg by train from Paris, Metz, Brussels, and Trier.
- Metz, Brussels, and Trier are linked through highways to the ring road around Luxembourg City.
- The city has a bus service, and most routes include the Hamilius Central Bus Station and the Hamilius Train Station. Tickets can be purchased after boarding the bus.
- Luxembourg is well suited for cycling.
Major events in Luxembourg
- On 28 February, Burgsonndeg marks the end of winter.
- The National Day is celebrated on 23 June with parades and fireworks.
- Liberation Day takes place on 9 September to commemorate the liberation by the Allies in 1945.