The climate of Belgium is cool and wet because it is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, especially on the coast and the plain. In the south-eastern regions (Ardennes), which are located at higher altitudes as well as at a greater distance from the sea, the climate is more continental, and also more unstable in summer.
Precipitation is frequent, but not particularly abundant. The coastal area is less rainy, and it is also slightly sunnier than the interior: precipitation amounts to 820 millimeters (32 inches) per year in Ostend, located on the coast, to 850 mm (33.5 in) in Brussels, a hundred kilometers (60 miles) away from the coast, and to 1,100 mm (43 in) in Spa, in the Ardennes.

The seasons

Winter is cold on the coast, but not freezing. The average temperature in February (which is, albeit slightly, the coldest month on the coast) is about 3.5 °C (38.5 °F). Sunshine is rare and the rains are frequent.
Proceeding towards the interior, the temperature gradually decreases. The rains are frequent here as well.
In the Ardennes, the winter is colder, both because of the altitude and because of the greater distance from the sea. In Bastogne, 500 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level, the average January temperature drops to about 0 °C (32 °F), and snow often falls instead of rain.
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 Atlantic currents 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 become 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, and fog and low clouds can form.

Summer is pretty cool on the coast, with maximum temperatures reaching 21/22 °C (68/72 °F) in July and August. Cloudy and rainy days, brought by Atlantic fronts, can occur in Belgium even in this season.
In inland areas, the weather in summer is slightly warmer: in Brussels, the daily average in July 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 afternoon thunderstorms.
In the Ardennes, the temperatures are slightly lower than in the plains, while afternoon thunderstorms are even more frequent.
Sometimes, Belgium can be reached by air masses of Mediterranean origin, which can bring hot and sunny weather, with maximum temperatures equal to or higher than 30 °C (86 °F), though it generally does not last long, only two or three days.
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.
Ostend - Sea temperature
Temp (°C)87891113161717151310
Temp (°F)464546485255616363595550

Spring and autumn are cool and cloudy seasons. It can be still cold in March and in the first half of April, and sometimes even in early May, with highs around 10 °C (50 °F). Spring, however, is not as rainy as autumn, and it's the (relatively) driest season of the year. Autumn can be windy and gray, especially on the coast.



In Brussels, the capital, the average temperature ranges from 3.5 °C (38 °F) in January to 18.5 °C (65.5 °F) in July and August. Here are the average temperatures.
Brussels - Average temperatures
Min (°C)1135912141310842
Max (°C)671014182123232015106
Min (°F)343437414854575550463936
Max (°F)434550576470737368595043

As mentioned, in Brussels, 850 mm (33.5 in) of rain fall per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Brussels - Average precipitation

The sun in Belgium is rarely seen from November to February, but even it does not shine very often in summer, however, from May to August, there are slightly more than 6 hours of sunshine per day on average. Here are the average sunshine hours per day in Brussels.
Brussels - Sunshine


As mentioned, temperatures in the Ardennes are lower throughout the year. Precipitation is more abundant, and in winter, it occurs quite often in the form of snow. In Bastogne, the average temperature ranges from 0.5 °C (32.5 °F) in January to 16.5 °C (61.5 °F) in July. Here are the average temperatures.
Bastogne - Average temperatures
Min (°C)-2-302691111851-1
Max (°C)3481216192121171374
Min (°F)282732364348525246413430
Max (°F)373946546166707063554539

In Bastogne, precipitation amounts to 1,025 mm (40 in) per year. Here is the average precipitation.
Bastogne - Average precipitation

Best Time

The best time to visit Belgium is from mid-May to mid-September: the temperatures are mild, the sky is often cloudy, but the percentage 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.
As regards to the other seasons, while it is true that weather extremes in Belgium are rare, late autumn (November) is dark and rainy, while in winter, it can sometimes be very cold or windy.

What to pack

In winter: bring warm clothing, a sweater, a coat, a wind jacket, an umbrella, and possibly a warm hat and gloves for colder periods.
In summer: bring light clothes, but also some clothes for spring and autumn: a shirt, a jacket, a sweatshirt or sweater, and a raincoat or umbrella.

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