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Camping & Backpacking in Belgium

Hello all, My husband and I will be traveling to Belgium this coming June or July and we would like to save money on accommodations by camping for much of our trip. We are semi-experienced campers/backpackers who have each done some backcountry camping and quite a bit of car camping in the States. We have never traveled to Belgium but have traveled abroad. We would also like to travel across the country by train/bus/bike to avoid renting a car.

Is camping common in Belgium?
How much does it generally cost per night?
Do you have to reserve a site ahead of time?
Is it possible to camp anywhere you'd like, not only at an official campsite?
Any recommended "must-hike" or "must-camp" places? Places to avoid?

Posted by
12040 posts

Camp in Belgium if you want to camp there. But this isn't a particularly good method of actually seeing the country.

"Is it possible to camp anywhere you'd like, not only at an official campsite?" No. You can only camp on designated properties.

Camp grounds are fairly common in Belgium. However, they generally aren't located in convenient locations, usually out in the middle of nowhere in a not particularly interesting location. And almost never easily accessible by train. You would have to figure out the bus systems in Flanders and Wallonia (which aren't linked or complementary to each other).

Areas where you would likely find the highest density of campsites are on the coast, in the Ardennes and in the Kempen region of the NE (both of which are fairly sparsely populated regions compared to the rest of the country). The Ardennes features forested low mountain, with some deep river valleys. The Kempen is mostly flat, but the ground is sand. There's even areas that look like small deserts, although most of it resembles the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

Posted by
1831 posts

Usually most camping grounds are located far from cities, but there are campgrounds too.

Brussels: Camping Ciel Ouvert https://cielouvertcamping.wordpress.com/regulations/
Antwerp: Camping de Molen http://www.camping-de-molen.be/
Ghent: Camping Blaarmeersen https://www.gent.be/blaarmeersen/camping-blaarmeersen
Bruges: Camping Memling http://www.campingmemling.be/

Be aware of their regulations (like curfews) and one is more convenient located for public transport than the other. During summer there are many festivals in Belgium and these grounds will be fully booked quickly.

Camping in someones garden becomes more and more popular, comparable with AirBnB and there are quiet a lot of places now. http://campinmygarden.com/

If you prepare well, camping is to my opinion certainly doable. You can have a look at Google Maps for the location of each camping ground and read the reviews. I have experience with camping but not with the mentioned places.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks, everyone! We do enjoy camping quite a bit, but will likely also pepper in some hostel or AirBnB stays within cities, too.

Posted by
1806 posts

Unless you really just love to sleep in a tent, I'd recommend sticking with hostels or signing up now to become members of Couchsurfing and seeing if you can find someone willing to put you up for free for a few nights at each of your stops. And of course there is Airbnb which can be fairly cheap if you are just looking for a single room inside someone's occupied home and you don't necessarily need to rent the entire place for yourselves.

I've been to Belgium a number of times, including in the summer - and although temps can vary, I will say, even in the dead of summer it was not exactly the warmest place I've been in Europe (and I live in New England, so it's not like I am not used to some chilly temps). Also, with the size backpack you would likely need to tromp all over Belgium with your own camping gear, it's sort of a pain if you are going to be relying solely on public transit or bikes because you don't want to rent a car. To really get outside of the main cities and towns, I think you might want to reconsider the car rental if you are going to have a lot of gear.