After 2 hour flight from Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport we arrived in our 5th county of our Euro Trip, Brussels, Belgium. Apart from its famous chocolates and beers there are many attractions that most visitors cannot begin to imagine. Brussels is a centre of European culture, officially nicknamed ‘the European Village’, with almost 90 museums, beautiful parks, fascinating walks, trendy restaurants and bars.
There is a lot to learn about the history of the city, the architecture, the Belgian obsession with comic strips, and the art of chocolate and beer.
Getting to Brussels is quite easy; Brussels airport and Charleroi airport both welcome cheap flights; there are high-speed trains from London, Paris and Amsterdam, an intercity train network that can bring you from all over Europe; and you can even get here by ferry!
Brussels Public Transport
In the city, public transport is easy to use; a great tip is to find the nearest metro stops on a Brussels map before you book accommodation. This way, you can easily reach the city centre and main tourist attractions. Check this link to learn more about Brussels’s transports.
A high quality public transport infrastructure supports the basis of transportation in Brussels and ensures people can travel quickly, safely and affordably all over the city without needing to drive a car or pay for expensive parking. Inner-city transport uses the same ticketing system so you can use the same ticket for bus, metro or tram or a combination. All together public transport is made up of metro lines, train lines, buses and trams.
The most basic ticket is 1 “jump” ticket which entitles the traveller to take any inner-city transport for 1 hour from time of validation. These can also be purchased in groups of 5 or 10. 1 day tickets and monthly season tickets are also available.
The Brussels Metro system (underground train) is of one the most convenient and fastest ways to travel to the main destinations of the city centre. There are 4 metro lines and 2 tram lines that service the Brussels city centre. Metros run frequently: every 3 minutes at peak; every 10 minutes after 8pm; every 5 minutes on weekends.
Purchase tickets at GO machines in the metro stations. Validate your tickets at the little machines before hopping on the metro or you may be fined. Doors to metro trains and trams do not open automatically so be sure to pull the leaver or press the button on the door before you miss your stop.
Buses are convenient if your departure point or destination is not close to a metro station. Buses have timetables which are available at each bus stop and also online but they do not run as frequently as the metro so it pays to check the timetable before waiting at the bus stop. Tickets can be purchased from the driver at €2 for a 1 hour ‘jump’ ticket, which can be used on the metro and trams as well. Tickets are cheaper when purchased at a metro the station. www.stib.be
Trams are similar to the bus and metro except they are slightly slower than the metro and slightly more frequent than the bus. It will depend on your route whether you should take a tram, a bus or metro to your destination. Tram lines run along the street and sometimes on the same line as cars because there isn’t a lot of space on some narrow streets! So watch out for cars as well as trams when crossing the road. Arrival times, departure times and stops are shown at each tram stop. There are also convenient street maps at each stop.
The intercity train system is very convenient for making day trips from Brussels to the other major cities in Brussels. Trains run frequently throughout the day (at least 1 train per hour) and tickets can be purchased from any railway station (marked with a B with a circle). All tickets have open time schedules so you can board at any time during the day. Tickets are stamped on the train after you have boarded.
Brussels travel is cheap compared to London and Paris, with a touch of charm and elegance. Hotel accommodation includes luxury hotels, star-rated hotels, hostels and apartments for rent. Hotels can be booked online before you arrive at very reasonable prices. But as I mentioned on previous post, we alway looking for apartment as our preferred accommodation via AirBNB. One of the best apartment we get is iDesign Apartment.
Hanging around Brussels in short period of time
Brussels people love good food, good beers and a relaxing atmosphere (preferably outdoors). If this sounds like you then you’ll fit right into the dining scene. Here are some suggestions for Brussels restaurants, a brief introduction to Belgian food and beer and a few suggested areas to eat out.
There are a few dishes that are typically Belgian and you will frequently find these on the menu in Brussels. Other firm favourites are mussels and fries. This section gives an introduction to some of these Brussels favourites.
With over 400 varieties of Belgian beer, it is hard to escape them when you are in Brussels. Even those who do not drink beer will find something suitable for the palate amongst the varieties, especially fruit flavours such as peach and cherry.
The Atomium, symbol of Brussels and Belgium, is an international tourist attraction. This unique piece of architecture, created on the occasion of the World Fair of Brussels in 1958, became one of the most popular monument of the capital of Europe. The Atomium (at the Heysel) was created by the architect André Waterkeyn on the occasion of the World Fair of Brussels in 1958. Its original structure symbolizes an iron crystal enlarged 165 billion times. In the 1950s, the atom was at the center of attention as the almost inexhaustible symbol of energy and modernity.
Manneken Pis is a landmark small bronze sculpture in Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It was designed by Hiëronymus Duquesnoy the Elder and put in place in 1618 or 1619. It’s located near the Grand Place of Brussels
The Grand-Place is the central square of the City of Brussels. All over the world it is known for its decorative and aesthetic wealth. The Grand-Place is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi. The Grand-Place is considered as one of the most beautiful places of the world. The Grand-Place of Brussels was registered on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO in 1998.
Back to Amsterdam
We have spend 2 romantic & memorable days in Brussels. On the last day we prepare to travel back to Amsterdam for the final journey of our 2014 Euro Trip. Somehow God always look on us and give us a lot of luck on this journey. The day when we went back to Amsterdam, there is a massive demonstration act in Brussels and it end up with riots. It cause delays, on most of the Intercity trains all over Europe. But luckily our trains depart without any lot of problems. Thanks God.
Up Next Euro Trip Day 17-20: Amsterdam Part 2