Discovering the Beauty and Nuances of Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium

Traveling by car gives you the luxury of seeing landscapes at your own pace, often uncovering the little-known jewels that only the locals are aware of. Recently, I embarked on a road trip covering Luxembourg, Western Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Each country had its own flair, and here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Luxembourg

  • Parking: If you’re driving to the heart of Luxembourg, the Parking Glacis Luxembourg is ideal. The parking system is rather unique; you pay upfront and have the flexibility to adjust durations in increments of 10 minutes. The rate is €1/h, and after 18:00, parking might be free, though I experienced this on a Wednesday.
  • Eating Out: Remember, many establishments close from 14:00-18:00. For a late lunch, the city center has a handful of Asian restaurants that might be open.
  • Sightseeing: The park is serene and picturesque, perfect for a leisurely stroll. Certain pathways are exclusively for pedestrians, while others allow bicycles. Some of the key landmarks include the city center, Philharmonie Luxembourg, and the Adolphe Bridge.
  • Car Rentals: While renting a car from Europcar at Luxembourg Airport, even after opting for full insurance, I had to deposit around €300. The company asked for photographs of any existing damages and insisted on a report for any new ones – an uncommon practice in my experience.

2. Germany

  • Food: Don’t expect the Schnitzels to rival the ones in Austria. However, it’s flavorful and usually made from pork. Other must-tries include Appfelstrudel with vanilla sauce, Bratwurst, and Pretzel. Interestingly, Schnitzels are often served with salads comprising carrots, beets, and a mayonnaise dressing.
  • Sightseeing: The Cologne Cathedral is iconic. Nearby parking at Koln Dome Parking costs €2.5/h with a cap at €25. A meal at Goffel am Dom is a treat. Just remember, if you’re indulging in their beer, place a coaster over your glass to signal you’re done. Otherwise, the beer keeps coming!
  • Traveling: The countryside in Western Germany is enchanting. Quaint villages, impeccable roads, and captivating castles dot the landscape. A minor hiccup – not many signs are in English and locals might seem a bit reserved when interacting with tourists.

3. The Netherlands

  • On the Road: Public restrooms at petrol stations aren’t free. The highways are immaculate, surrounded by lush landscapes. Speed limits vary based on the time of day which allows 100km/h from 06:00-19:00 and 120km/h otherwise.
  • Attractions: Sera Orchideeën Hoeve, with its vast expanse and beauty, demands at least a 2-hour visit. Upsidedown in Amsterdam was entertaining, with P+R Rai Amsterdam offering substantial parking discounts if you’re also using the metro. Iconic windmills beckon you at Marineweg 3, Alblasserdam. Beware of the parking rules here!
  • Parking: The country is stringent about parking permits. P+R parkings are the safest bets, combined with public transport. Violations can be expensive.

4. Belgium

  • Impressions: Belgium, except for Bruges, felt a tad underwhelming. Cities tend to shut down by 18:00, so shop early if that’s on your agenda. Brussels felt a bit lackluster.
  • Sightseeing: Blankenberge Beach is a relaxing spot, while Bruges is an absolute gem. In Bruges, the Underground Parking Garage – Zilverpand at €2.5/h is convenient. Dining at Brasserie Mozarthuys and savoring their waffles is a must.
  • Interactions: Flemish people seemed more hospitable compared to others in the country.
  • A Word of Caution: Beware of the Low Emission Zones (LEZ). In many Belgian cities, even Euro 5 and 6 vehicles need a permit. Apply only through the official city websites to avoid scams and hefty fines of €150/day.

As enriching as this road trip overview might be, there’s so much more to delve into. Each country, with its distinct culture, cuisine, and character, deserves a more in-depth exploration. Stay tuned, as I will be sharing detailed accounts of each leg of this journey in separate articles soon. Happy travels!

For moving moments, swing by my TikTok and Instagram.