Brussels Travel Guide

Flights, Train & Cruise

By plane

Brussels Airport (BRU)

Brussels' main airport is Brussels Airport, (locally still commonly referred to as Brussels National or Zaventem) . Several major carriers operate out of the airport, including the local Brussels Airlines.

Brussels Airport has a luggage locker service (Level 0) where you can leave luggage for a fixed duration. The lockers say that you will have to retrieve your bags within 72 hours or else they will be removed. But they are actually moved to the room next door and stored until you retrieve them. This is a useful facility for people wanting to stow away big suitcases somewhere safe. The rate is €7.50 per day. You need to pay in coins, a change machine is nearby.

A train (€7.80) runs every 15 min from the airport (Level -1) to Brussels three main stations taking 15–25 minutes with most trains continuing to other parts of Belgium.

Bus 12 and 21 run every 20 to 30 minutes via metro-station Schuman (where you can transfer to metro lines 1 and 5) to the European district around Place de Luxembourg/Luxemburgplein. The same ticket is valid for a total of 60 minutes on the metro, buses or trams into the centre from the moment it is validated as you get on the bus. The buses depart from level 0. Price is €4 from the vending machine next to the bus stop, or €6.00 on board . Frequent travelers can buy a 10-trip ticket (€27.00), a monthly ticket (€50.00) or a yearly ticket (€525.00) for this line. The latter is valid on the entire STIB network.

A taxi to the centre costs around €35. Taxis bleus/blauw (blue): +32 (0)2 268 0000, Taxis Autolux: +32 (0)2 411 4142, Taxis verts/groen (green): +32 (0)2 349 4949. Beware of "waiting" charges if your flight is delayed and you pre-ordered a cab, some companies charge you parking fees + €25-30/h for waiting. Always confirm the final charge with your driver before getting in the car. It is not uncommon for drivers to rip you off and ask €80 even more to go to the centre, especially if they realize that it is your first time in Brussels and don't know your way around.

Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL)

Several budget airlines, including Ryanair and Wizzair fly to Brussels South Charleroi Airport, connecting to cities such as Barcelona, Belgrade, Budapest, Dublin, Edinburgh, Manchester, Rome and Warsaw. This airport is south of Brussels and one hour drive away from Brussels Midi/Zuid Station at the city centre.

A shuttle bus (€13 one way, €22 return) runs every 30mins to Brussels Midi/Zuid station. Unless you want to spend a good 40 min in the queue to purchase a ticket, it would be advisable to purchase your ticket online before you arrive. You will be asked to pick specific times, but they are flexible with allowing you to change the time if your flight arrives earlier or later. To purchase your ticket after arrival, the kiosk is outside the airport and to the right. There is a big arrow on the ground that directs you to the kiosk. The buses wait in the same area, but are poorly labelled so check with the driver before loading your bags.

The bus stops at Midi/Zuid station, on the Rue de France/Frankrijkstraat in the west. The metro and international trains (Eurostar, Thalys) are on the west side of the station, so upon entering the station from the bus stop, head left rather than straight. Midi/Zuid station PDF map

To go by train, take TEC Bus A (€3.00 one way) direct from the airport to the Charleroi train station. A combined train+bus ticket to or from Brussels can be obtained for €12 at the train station or from the TEC vending machine at the airport.

You can also get a taxi from the airport to the city centre, but this will cost a fixed price of €90.

Other

Antwerp Airport also has a good train connection to Brussels.

By train

Brussels has three main train stations: Midi-Zuid, to the south of the city core, Central-Centraal, which is right next to the city centre, and Nord-Noord, to the north of the city center (at Place Rogier). High-speed trains stop only at Midi/Zuid, except the ICE also stops at Nord/Noord. There is a shower at Midi/Zuid located in the toilet near platforms 19-20 (between Origin'O and Quick).

At Central-Centraal, trains for various destinations can stop at any single platform every few minutes. Thus, if you arrive several minutes early at the platform, verify before boarding whether it's your train that has stopped using the departure display or the destination signs on the train itself. An announcement for a change in platform could occur within a few minutes of train departure. Except for trains to the airport, the announcements are made in French and Dutch only. Thus, if your French or Dutch is weak, keep your eye on the displays showing train departures and platform assignments.

Learn to recognize the city names in both French and Dutch as stop and destination displays on board the train could use either name, which may be different from the name used in English.

ThalysThe high speed Thalys train connects Brussels with Cologne (1h52), Paris (1h20) and Amsterdam (2h00). It is much cheaper to book further in advance. With your Thalys ticket you can also take a local train to or from Central-Centraal, Nord-Noord, Schuman and Luxembourg/Luxemburg stations.
Intercity from Luxembourg/LuxemburgAn hourly Intercity train from Luxembourg (3h07, via Arlon, Libramont, Namur) connects to Midi/Zuid, Central, Nord/Noord, Schuman and Luxembourg/Luxemburg stations. You don't need a reservation. A weekend return ticket costs 41.60.
EurostarPhone: +32 2 528 28 28The Eurostar train line links Lille Europe (0h39, 22+), Ashford (1h38, 40+) and London St. Pancras (1h51, 40+) with Midi/Zuid. Some Eurostar tickets are also valid for internal train travel within Belgium for 24h from the time of the Eurostar ticket), so once in Belgium travel is free for the day. Check in the bottom left hand corner of your ticket and confirm this before you get on the train. A 7 service fee will be added for both telephone and in-person bookings (doesn't apply when booking over the internet).
ICEGerman ICE connects four times a day to Cologne and Frankfurt (39 one way, "Europa Spezial Belgien" offer starting from 29).
TGVConnects Lyon, Marseille, Avignon, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nice and many other French destinations to Midi/Zuid.
NMBS/SNCBPhone: +32 (0)2 528 2828The Belgian train service. The train fare for passengers 65+ travelling within Belgium is often capped at 6.00 and is valid for same-day return but such a fare may require travel only after 9AM.
By bus

The buses usually pick up / drop off passengers at the parking lot next to Brussels-Central station (around the corner from Wings Tavern).

EurolinesPhone: +32 (0)2 274 1350Fax: +32 (0)2 201 1140Offers bus travel from many countries to Brussels, for example 8 hours from London Victoria station at 39. In Brussels, they stop outside the Gare du Nord-Noordstation and Gare du Midi-Zuidstation train stations
MIVB/STIBPhone: +32 (0)7 023 2000 (0,30/minute)The Brussels Capital region bilingual public transport service.
iDBUSPhone: +32 (0)70 300 042 (0.30/minute)Runs a couch service between Paris, Lille and Brussels. Busses arrive at the Gare du Midi/Zuid Station.
De LijnPhone: +32 (0)70 220 200 (0,30/min)The Flemish region (Dutch speaking) public bus service.
TECPhone: +32 (0)10 23 5353The Walloon region (French speaking) public bus company.
By bicycle

Brussels is the third capital on Eurovelo Route 5, which starts in London, through Brussels and Switzerland and ends in southern Italy. A number of other international and national cycle routes converge on Brussels.

source: Wikivoyage

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