Map from Google - Belgium
The climate of Belgium is cool and wet
, being influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, especially on the coast and the plain, while it becomes more continental and also more unstable in summer in the south-eastern regions (Ardennes), which are located at higher altitudes, as well as at a greater distance from the sea.
is frequent, but not particularly abundant. The coastal area is less rainy and is also slightly more sunny than the interior: precipitation amounts to 750 millimetres (29.5 inches) per year in Ostend, located on the coast, to 820 mm (32 in) in Brussels
, a hundred kilometres (60 miles) away from the coast, and to 1,100 mm (43 in) in Spa, in the Ardennes.
Here is the average precipitation in Brussels.
Average precipitation - Brussels
in Belgium is cold on the coast, but not freezing. The average temperature in February (which on the coast is, albeit slightly, the coldest month) is about 3.5 °C (38.5 °F). Sunshine is rare and the rains are frequent.
Proceeding towards the interior, the temperature gradually decreases. Even here the rains are frequent.
In the Ardennes, the winter is colder, both for the altitude and for the greater distance from the sea: in Bastogne
, 500 metres (1,600 feet) above sea level, the average January temperature drops to 0 °C (32 °F), and instead of rain, snow often falls.
Here are the average temperatures of Bastogne.
Average temperatures - Bastogne
Apart from the average temperatures, in winter the weather in Belgium varies depending on meteorological condition. The coldest days occur when the normal flow of the Atlantic winds is arrested, and is replaced by cold air masses from Eastern Europe: in these cases the temperature drops below freezing (0 °C or 32 °F), and snow can fall throughout the country. On the contrary, when the westerlies get stronger, the temperature can be mild even in winter, above 10 °C (50 °F), but sometimes there can be strong winds and even storm surges.
At other times, when a high pressure system moves over the country, a phenomenon quite rare but not impossible, the weather becomes cold and gray, with possible fog and overcast sky.
in Belgium is pretty cool on the coast, with maximum temperatures reaching 20 °C (68 °F) in July and 21 °C (70 °F) in August. There is no shortage of clouds and rains, due to Atlantic fronts, which even in this season can affect the country.
In inland areas, the weather in summer is slightly warmer: in Brussels the July daily average is about 18.5 °C (65.5 °F), with highs about 23 °C (73 °F), but even here hot days are rare. The rains are more frequent, because of the higher chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Here are the average temperatures of Brussels.
Average temperatures - Brussels
In the Ardennes, the temperatures are slightly lower than in the plains, while afternoon thunderstorms are even more frequent.
Hot days, with maximum temperatures equal to or greater than 30 °C (86 °F), are quite rare but not impossible.
Spring and autumn
are cool and cloudy seasons. It can be still cold in March and the first half of April, sometimes even in early May, with highs around 10 °C (50 °F). Spring, however, is less rainy than autumn and it's in fact the (relatively) less rainy season of the year. Autumn can be windy and gray, especially on the coast.
In mid-summer (July-August) only the brave can try to swim in the sea: the sea temperature
is 16 °C (61 °F) in July and 17 °C (63 °F) in August.
Sea temperature - Ostend
When to go
The best time to visit Belgium goes from mid-May to mid-September
: the temperatures are mild, the sky is often cloudy, but the percent of sunshine is not so low. The mid-summer period (July-August) is relatively warm, but it's also the rainiest, because of afternoon thunderstorms that can form especially in inland areas.
The other seasons are not definitely inadvisable, because weather extremes in Belgium are rare, but late autumn (November) is dark and rainy, while sometimes in winter it can be very cold or windy.
What to pack
In winter: warm clothing, sweater, coat, wind jacket, umbrella, possibly a warm hat and gloves for colder periods.
In summer: light clothes, but also some clothes for spring and autumn: shirt, jacket, sweatshirt or sweater; raincoat or umbrella.