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Driving in Mechelen

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Mechelen.

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Mechelen, like most of Belgium, is generally straightforward. The roads are well-maintained and signposted, and the drivers are usually courteous. However, it’s important to be aware of the priority to the right rule, which means that unless otherwise indicated, the driver coming from the right has the right of way. This can be confusing for newcomers, so it’s important to be vigilant at intersections.

2. Car Recommendation

As Mechelen is a relatively small city with narrow streets, a smaller car is recommended. This will make it easier to navigate the city and find parking. However, if you plan on making frequent trips to the countryside or other parts of Belgium, a larger car may be more comfortable.

3. Parking in Mechelen

Finding parking in Mechelen can be challenging, especially in the city center. There are several paid parking lots and garages available, but they can fill up quickly. Street parking is also available, but it’s often metered and can be expensive. It’s recommended to use public transportation or walk when possible.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Belgium with an international driving permit for up to six months. After that, you will need to obtain a Belgian driving license. It’s important to note that not all countries’ driving licenses are recognized in Belgium, so it’s best to check with the local authorities.

5. Obtaining a Belgian Driving License

To obtain a Belgian driving license, you will need to pass a theory test and a practical driving test. The tests are available in several languages, including English. If your home country has a reciprocal agreement with Belgium, you may be able to exchange your existing license for a Belgian one without taking the tests.

6. Be Aware of Cyclists

Mechelen, like many Belgian cities, has a large number of cyclists. Always check for cyclists before turning, especially on the right, and give them plenty of space on the road. Remember that cyclists also have the right of way when they are on a bicycle path.

7. Use of GPS and Navigation Apps

Using a GPS or navigation app can be very helpful when driving in Mechelen, especially for newcomers. These can help you navigate the city’s streets and find the quickest routes. However, be aware that some older parts of the city may have restrictions on car traffic, so always pay attention to road signs and signals.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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