Going on holiday by car? 8 surprising destinations close to home
Long-distance travel is not an option for the time being. Like last year, we have to stay a little bit closer to home when looking for a summer destination. Fortunately, there are many hidden gems in Belgium and our surrounding countries. Places that you might otherwise never discover. These 8 destinations can be reached by car and are also perfect if you drive an electric vehicle.
Car holidays have many advantages. You can travel to your destination at your own pace, you get the chance to view the regions you drive through, and you usually emit less CO2. The latter is especially true if your car is an electric vehicle (EV). For longer trips, the driving range of an EV’s battery can sometimes still be an obstacle, although the many fast chargers along motorways make it perfectly possible to cover long distances with an electric car.
Before you go on holiday with your EV, be sure to check the route you will be taking and find out where you can stop to charge your battery. Bear in mind that your car may weigh slightly more than during a regular journey because of the luggage. This can have an impact on your range, but you should be able to cover at least 200 to 300 kilometres without any problems. This is the ideal moment for a short (coffee) break – the same applies to drivers of conventional cars. If you use a fast charger, you should be able to continue your journey with 80% of your battery after half an hour. By driving a little bit slower, you can also significantly extend the range of your EV.
Not decided where you are going this summer? The following 8 destinations in Belgium and our neighbouring countries were perhaps not yet on your bucket list, so this is the perfect opportunity to explore them. Assuming, of course, that we can travel safely during the summer months. All these holiday destinations are also easily accessible with an EV, often without the need for a stopover.
1. The Belgian castle tour
The country with the most castles per square meter is … Belgium! We already know the castles of the Loire region in France, but our own country has no less than 3,000 castles to discover. Moreover, a lot of these castles can be visited. Ideal for a road trip through Belgium. A few examples of our enchanting castles: Beloeil Castle in Mons, Gaasbeek Castle in Lennik, Ooidonk Castle in Ghent, and Alden Biesen Castle in Hasselt.
2. Magical Terschelling
The Wadden Islands are an amazing piece of nature along the coast of the Netherlands. On the way, you pass the impressive Breezanddijk by car. The ferry then takes you to Terschelling in about an hour and a half. You can visit the entire island by bike or on foot. Let the combination of sand dunes, forests and the special fauna and flora surprise you. On the island, the maximum distance you can cover by car is barely 15 kilometres. It is also possible do some island hopping.
3. The High Fens in summer
Everyone knows the High Fens, but we usually associate this region with winter fun. Why not drive to the highest point of Belgium during your summer vacation? It is much less crowded and the nature is surprisingly beautiful. It is the ideal place for hikers. From here it is also not far to the National Park De Hoge Kempen. Be sure to visit Connecterra, the area between Maasmechelen en Dilsen-Stokkem where you can admire spectacular landscapes.
4. Germany's Tuscany
As many people have discovered during the TV show De Mol, Germany is a very beautiful country. A region you would probably not immediately think of is Markgräferland. Located in the south-west of Germany, not far from the Black Forest, the climate here is remarkably mild. You can still enjoy pleasant temperatures in the late summer months. The Germans have therefore nicknamed the area “Germany’s Tuscany”. It is also a delicious culinary region that produces a lot of wine.
5. The Belgian Grand Canyon
The name ‘Grand Canyon’ is probably a bit exaggerated. According to Belgian standards, however, the Viroin-Hermeton nature park in the province of Namur has an impressive gorge with a depth of no less than 20 metres. The nature reserve itself is a wonderful place for hikers who can discover all kinds of plants and animals. And if you are a bit more adventurous, there is even a network of caves and caverns.
6. Back to prehistoric times in Drenthe
The Netherlands have many hidden gems and Drenthe is certainly one of them. This region is located just below Groningen and is perfectly accessible by car. Definitely worth a visit are the dolmens, burial chambers that our ancestors built more than 5,000 years ago. In Drenthe, you will return to prehistoric times and learn about the first people who inhabited our regions.
7. The Lommel Sahara
Desert area in Belgium? The Lommel Sahara did not steal its name. This unique area in Limburg is a large sand plain that looks like a miniature desert. But there is more, because the clear blue lakes, moors and the combination of pines and broad-leaved trees make this region really special. If you climb the watch tower, you can see the entire landscape.
8. The "oldest" city in Belgium
There is some debate about which Belgian city is actually the oldest, but officially three cities could claim the title: Tongeren, Doornik and … Arlon! The capital of the Belgian province of Luxembourg is located in the furthest corner of southern Belgium. The region has something to offer for everyone: remains of the Roman era for history lovers, beautiful nature reserves and forest for hikers, and Arlon is also a top culinary destination.
One final piece of advice: as long as the corona measures are in place, you should always be well-informed. Some of these measures are very complex and regularly change. They can also vary depending on the country you visit. Especially when you travel abroad, you better find out whether you need a negative corona test or even a vaccination certificate. Fortunately, the government keeps us up to date: make sure to check this website before you leave. Have a safe and amazing journey!