Parking in Belgium often uses either a fee-based/parking meter system or what is called a Blue Zone parking system, common in many European countries. Parking meters can be found on most streets and are straightforward to operate with a credit or debit card or with cash.
Many cities also operate the Blue Zone parking system, indicated by signs placed around the parking area that include an image of a disc or read “Disque Obligatoire” or “Schijf Verplicht”. You will find Blue Zone parking areas in the following Belgian cites: Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Gent, Liege, and Oostende. Don’t ignore the parking requirements! Wheel clamps are used on cars parked illegally in Antwerp and Gent.
In the Blue Zone parking system, drivers are required to display a cardboard display clock that is set to the time of their arrival. Drivers can find blue display clocks (or sometimes just a parking ticket or blue disc) available at gas stations, newsstands and police stations, often free of charge. Generally you are allowed to park in a Blue Zone for a maximum of 2-3 hours.
- Always defer to public transportation - parking is forbidden within 15 meters of tram, bus and rail stops. Also take care not to park near tram/rail lines crossing the roadway.
- If you notice a yellow line on the curb, this indicates a no parking area.
- Busy streets may be marked with red triangle signs that indicate “Axe Rouge” or “Ax Rode”, meaning that parking is prohibited (during heavy traffic times between 7:00-9:30AM and 4:00-6:00PM).
- If you plan to park in a parking garage, make sure to have coins available to pay your fees - some garages will be unmanned on weekends and holidays and you’ll need to pay with proper coins to exit. Take a ticket when you enter the garage and insert the ticket to pay upon leaving. Neat tip: If you’re driving to Bruges, Belgium in the northern region of Flanders, consider parking in a garage instead of in the Centruum blue zone parking area. Often it is less expensive to park in a garage (the maximum fee for a full-day of parking is under 9 Euros) and sometimes you’ll find that a complimentary bus ticket - to the Centruum in Bruges - is included in your parking fee!
- Did you receive a parking fine? You can pay your fees at the local Post Office.