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The multi lingual North European country of Belgium has a cultural diversity that contradicts its dull reputation among travellers.
With two main linguistic groups, the population of Belgium is divided between the Dutch speaking Flemish of the north and the French speakers of Wallonia in the south. There are also some pockets of German speakers residing in the east towards the German border.
The 3 main regions of Belgium are visually very different too. The Flemish or Flanders region covers the North of the country and includes the cities of Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Bruges, while the Walloon region covers the south with its largest cities being Charleroi, Liege, Namur and Mons. Brussels, the capital marks the meeting of the two.
Ferries connect the North of England with Belgium providing a great way of arriving on the continent from Northern England with minimal driving. Crossings are year round and operated by modern cruise ferries. Ferry crossings from the south of England (usually to Ostend) are often revived but nothing permanent is available currently.
If you are travelling from England, especially from the south, then it may be more convenient to get to Belgium by travelling to a port in France or Holland.
"Spirit of Britain"
I am a regular ferry traveller between the UK and France and took the opportunity to travel on P&O's new ferry The Spirit of Britain shortly after she came into service. She is a large modern fast ferry and on one occasion when there was a considerable swell in the channel she took it in her stride and brushed the waves aside without any noticeable movement of the ship, something that is not always the case with the smaller older ferries on that route. Onboard facilities and catering were excellent with friendly and helpful staff, boarding and disemabarking was fast and efficient due to multiple loading/unloading ramps.Read More Read Less
"Fast Ferry to France"
I travelled across on foot to see some freinds at their Chateau in August. This is my impression of the LD Lines Ship: - Food was average - poor choice, but relatively tasty - The ship was clean, especially the toilets - a big bonus - The barman knew how to pour a pint (or three). Expensive though! - We boarded and departed on time and were only a few minutes late arriving. I''d definately do it againRead More Read Less
We''ve been twice, good cabin upgrade recommended. Had our own food, sarnies and cupa soup. Cheap booze in shop, reasonable prices in bar. Take a travel-kettle & cups etc. Bruges is fantastic! a mini Venice, go for it.Read More Read Less
"Great trip - Sunday 18th September 2011"
As part of a 1,000 mile charity cycle ride from Suffolk to the south of France myself and 2 friends took the ferry crossing from Dover to Calais with access to the private lounge and restaurant. We took the 9:40 crossing which was perfect for our schedule as we needed a hearty breakfast and space to relax. The boarding and departure process was really quick, the ferry on time and the lounge and restaurant offered attentive service and a fantastic full English breakfast. Having previously used the tunnel this is definitly the better way to travel! Nick MillsRead More Read Less
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