Sandwiched between the Netherlands and France, Belgium is split into two distinct regions. Dutch-speaking Flanders is in the north, while French-speaking Wallonia sits in the south. To confuse things, the Belgian capital, Brussels, is mostly French-speaking but stands in the Flemish region. If you have a hire car in Belgium, you may not even notice these divisions though. You will notice, however, the differences between the flat coastal plain in the west, and the rolling Ardennes hills and woods to the east. The visitor highlights include the architecture of Brussels, Bruges and Ghent, while the battlefields of Waterloo and World War One are important historic sites.
The art nouveau facades and ornate Grande Place of Brussels are major attractions but they are rivalled by the prettiness of Bruges, a small intact medieval town built around canals. And if you have a hire car it's easy to drive between these main Belgian attractions. Don't miss the lesser-known historic cities too: Ghent has a fine Gothic Cathedral and castle between its canals, and Antwerp's Grand Place is one of the most picturesque in Europe. Elsewhere, the Flanders battlefields and site of the Battle of Waterloo are poignant places, while the valley of the Meuse River is an unexpected joy as it winds through lush wooded gorges and charming riverside towns.
Belgian traffic drives on the right and priority must always be given to vehicles approaching from the right. Trams and buses, however, always have priority in built-up areas. Seatbelts must be worn where fitted. The speed limit on motorways is 120kph (75mph) and, unless there's congestion, there's a minimum motorway speed limit too: 70kph (43mph). On other roads the maximum Belgian speed is 90kph (56mph). In residential areas the limit is normally only 20kph (12mph). Traffic police can issue on-the-spot fines to rule breakers, including those who fail to carry a reflective jacket and warning triangle.