Het Steen castle in Antwerp


Studying in Baltic countries gives students great opportunities to travel around Europe (but not limited to Europe only) with a very low price. It gives chances to know about the history, culture, traditions and lifestyle. Also, we can see how students in other European countries spending their time. But you can do all of this with really cheap prices. I want to tell you about my travel experience to one of the most beautiful countries in Europe, Belgium. In this blog, I will give students some tips on how to travel well with a low budget.

My friend and I decided to travel to West Europe and we chose Belgium for our trip. There were several reasons why we chose it. The first reason was that Belgium is famous for its’ ancient and historical monuments which were built from 13th to 17th centuries. The second reason was a variety of cities and sightseeing that you can visit. And last reason (but not least) was that almost in every Belgian city (Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges) there are top ranked Universities, which are ancient like University of Tartu. It is always interesting to know the history of old universities, how they established and develop, how many students they have and etc.

We started finding cheap flights. You can find a flight on special websites (for example, edreams.com), where all airline’s flights are together. You have to correctly choose the time to go because the price of tickets is much higher on weekends. The process did not take much time and we found really awesome ticket with an awesome price. The flight ticket from Riga to Brussels cost only 39€ (Ryanair). Since we saved some money from the ticket, we planned to go to Eindhoven (Netherlands) as well. It is very close to Belgium border, and you can go there by bus in less than one hour. When we checked the ticket price from Eindhoven to Riga, we were in shock, the price was only 16€ (Wizzair). So the whole ticket price was 55€.

After buying the tickets, we started to find an accommodation. Hotels in West European countries are usually very expensive for a student budget, so we decided to find a room in an apartment which would be much cheaper. Mostly in one apartment there are several rooms, and each of the room is rented separately by different people. The best way to find a room in a city is using the website airbnb.com. On this website, you can find photos of the apartments and rooms, with prices, locations and contact information of the owner. Besides cheap price, you can gain experience of communicating with local people and have the possibility to learn more about their traditions, culture, characteristics and etc.

Our plan was to see as many cities as possible. We rented 5 rooms in total: first in Brussels (2 nights), second in Ghent, third in Bruges, fourth in Antwerp, and fifth in Eindhoven. So in 6 nights, staying in 5 different rooms in 5 different cities we paid only 125€ for each.

After that, we cared about local trips. In Belgium, people mostly using trains to move from one city to another, because it is the fastest way to travel. People who are under 26 years, the price is fixed – 6€. In Eindhoven, we traveled by bus because the ticket price was much cheaper.

When you reach the city, the first thing you should do is to find a “free walking tour” which takes you around the city. You can google it; there are plenty of free tours to choose from. The tour guides are volunteers. The tour around the city lasts 3-4 hours and it shows you all amazing and interesting places. There are around 20 people in each tour. So you have the possibility to meet new people and share with them your expectations of the trip. At the end of the tours, you can pay them whatever you want 1€, 2€,5€ or even nothing. But you should give a credit where credit is due.

The photo is taken in Brussels during free walking tour
The photo is taken in Brussels during free walking tour

If you would like to taste national foods and drinks, do not choose places which are in the city center. As locals explained to us the prices are two times higher than in restaurants which are a bit farther from the center. To choose a good restaurant outside the center, you can use “TripAdvisor”
or similar gadgets to this website, where you can see what people think about the restaurant. The city center restaurants and cafes seem really awesome with lots of different lights, but don’t be a victim of marketing and don’t pay double money in the city center restaurants :)

Bruge. The place from where Ray is jumping in the water, from movie "In Bruges"
Bruge. The place from where Ray is jumping in the water, from movie “In Bruges”

At the end, there is one thing, where you cannot save money, it is museum and castle tickets. They are really expensive (6-15€, most museums do not have a reduction for students), but when you enter inside, you directly transformed to ancient civilizations. To be honest, museums were the places where we spent more money than round tickets of airplane :))

Waiting for a train to Bruges :)
Waiting for a train to Bruges :)
The city center of beautiful Ghent...
The city center of beautiful Ghent…

In conclusion, I want to say that 6 days in Belgium were one of the best time in my life. The trip was full of emotions, adventures, amazements and fun. Belgium is the country where I will return for sure.

Have a nice trip to Belgium.