Brussels

Status
Not open for further replies.

RichmondCommu

Established Member
Joined
23 Feb 2010
Messages
6,912
Location
Richmond, London
G'day everyone,

My wife and I are off to Brussels next week for a couple of days. Any recommendations for traveling around and things to do and see would be much appreciated!

Kind regards,

Richmond Commuter!
 
Sponsor Post - registered members do not see these adverts; click here to register, or click here to log in
R

RailUK Forums

Quakkerillo

Member
Joined
23 Jan 2015
Messages
543
Main sights:
(1) Grand Place
(2) Atomium + Heysel + Royal Palace in Laeken
(3) Royal Palace in City Centre + Parc & Museum quarter around it + Parliament buildings
(4) Kunstberg/Mont des Arts
(5) Jubepark/Cinquantenaire with the arch.
(6) Miltary Museum is €5 (only if you're into old planes/military things), but it's free first Wednesday of the month after 13:00. Then you can also go to the top of the arch and enjoy an amazing view of Brussels
(7) Manneken Pis (Also: Jeanneke Pis (female version) and Zinneke (canine version))
(8) Palais de Justice/Justitiepaleis (also has an elevator down to 9
(9) Vossenplein/Jeu de Balle (very busy with also an art fair/flee market on sundays)
(10) Use tram 44 from Montgomery to go to Tervuren and look at the Africa Museum (sadly closed) and the park around it. I find it beautiful around there, and it's a nice place to be if weather is good.
(11) Basiliek / Basilique of Koekelberg
(12) Cathedral near Central Station
(13) Bourse/Beurs
(14) Galleries Royales/Koninklijke gallerijen + Beenhouwersstraat/Rue des Bouchers (weird tourist trap restaurant street. Don't eat there, just look! They're almost all owned by the same 'gang'.)

Extra things:
(a) Flagey square (has best fries in Brussels, after a vote last year. Also the famous cafe Belga in the old Radio/TV building, and the ponds)
(b) Abbaye de la Cambre/Terkameren Abdij just South-West of there
(c) Following further the Terkamerenos/Forest de la Cambre
(d) Zoniënwoud. Largest old forest in Europe
(e) Cimétière de Bruxelles / Begraafplaats van Brussel (Cemetery)

That's all I can think of now, although it's probably already enough to have you enjoy your time. If you have more questions, you can drop me a message as well. Since I live here, I might be able to help.

Enjoy the trip!
 

johnnychips

Established Member
Joined
19 Nov 2011
Messages
2,781
Location
Sheffield
Go to the Atomium! It's in a nice area and you can get a Metro from Brussel Zuid (get a day ticket for public transport) to Heysel. It's been done up, looks stunning, and if you like science the exhibitions inside are fascinating.

If you want a nice meal in the tourist area, there is the cheap kebebby option of Kaasmarkt just to the west of the Grand Place, otherwise known as Pita Street. On the other hand, the only restaurant within about a kilometre that my Brussels native friend recommends - and I've been there about ten times, always good, is t'Kelderke, actually on the south side of the Grand Place itself.

if you want to find out about the history, the open-top buses are very informative, if a bit expensive, but of course they offer the get-off, get-on later options, and they pass the Atomium.

Sorry if I'm over-enthusiastic, but in the light of what recently happened, I am delighted that you are going to visit Brussels in one of the, to some extent, most unjustly underrated tourist countries.
 
Last edited:

317666

Established Member
Joined
4 Sep 2009
Messages
1,630
Location
Ely
I think Quakkerillo has summed it up really! All I can add is that if you're a beer drinker, you're certainly going to the right place! Agreed with johnnychips that Belgium is a very underrated country.
 

endecotp

Member
Joined
23 Apr 2014
Messages
134
Visit the various Art Nouveau houses, including http://www.hortamuseum.be/en/Welcome
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
The UNESCO world heritage list is a good place to start looking for "must see" things anywhere. In Brussels, they list 3: the Grand Place, the Horta house, and "Stoclet House", which is another Art Nouveau building.
 

Quakkerillo

Member
Joined
23 Jan 2015
Messages
543
Where is the best place to get waffles?

When tourists come to Brussels, they often get waffles at various places, completely covered with fruit, whipped cream and/or sauce (chocolate/strawberry/caramel/nutella).

I, and with me most of the other locals, avoid that, and go for the pure waffle. Near the tourist traps, there will be "€1 Waffle" signs. There, just ask for a "Gauffre de Liège nature", and you get a good waffle.

There are more expensive places throughout town - such as Belgaufre - but they're more expensive, and the waffles aren't that much better.
 

k-c-p

Member
Joined
22 Jan 2013
Messages
162
Rail-related sights:
- Railmuseum Trainworld in Schaarbeek
- Tramway Museum

For some impressions about what to expect, check out the trip report I did after my visit last year

Another nice destination is Antwerp (about 1 hour away from Bruxelles by train). A lot of great architecture there and the most beautiful station I have ever seen: Antwerpen-Centraal.

Enjoy your trip. Bruxelles is worth a visit.
 

duncanp

Established Member
Joined
16 Aug 2012
Messages
2,025
Location
Birmingham/Smethwick
You might also be interested in taking tram no 44 towards through the Foret De Soignes.

The ride is quite scenic and there are several stops where you can get off and take a walk if the weather is good.

To pick up the tram, take the metro to Montgomery.

Happily full services on the metro have been resumed since the events of 22nd March.
 

crehld

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
1 Nov 2014
Messages
1,994
Location
Norfolk
Many thanks for all of your replies. We travel on Thursday morning. Any hints and tips for public transport?

A good starting point is the STIB/MIVB website, here: https://www.stib-mivb.be/index.htm?l=en

Brussels has phased out most paper tickets. You can still get paper singles, but it is much cheaper to get a 'MOBIB Basic' card (the Brussels equivalent of Visitor Oyster Card) and load products onto it. Information on the various products can be found here (a 48 hour JUMP ticket might work for you): https://www.stib-mivb.be/tourist.html?l=en#

You can get a MOBIB card at the larger metro stations (look for the kisok or bootik signs). Be warned that if you are coming in by Eurostar to Midi, then everyone heads straight for the metro which results in a massive queue for the ticket office. I usually walk into town (15 min walk), drop bags off at the hotel and then head to a quieter station such as De Brouckere - although I appreciate the walk is not for everyone, especially if you have bags.

Speaking from personal experience, the premetro lines (3 & 4) between Gare du Midi and Gare du Nord are incredibly busy so if you're after a relaxing experience or intend to travel with a lot of luggage I would avoid this section.

On the whole I don't find travelling the metro all that great. It's smelly, you wade through litter, and get hassled by professional beggars, but that's a personal perception developed over many years visiting the city. If you're planning on staying around the city centre then there really is no need to get public transport anyway as you can walk most of it.

The trams, however, I find delightful, and are well worth a ride in themselves. Particularly those towards the east of the city centre.
 

smoky_bacon

Member
Joined
28 Jul 2011
Messages
28
Does anyone know whether the 24 hour ticket (train/bus/tram) to travel around Brussels includes the train journey from the airport to city centre?
 

Wolfie

Established Member
Joined
17 Aug 2010
Messages
3,106
Does anyone know whether the 24 hour ticket (train/bus/tram) to travel around Brussels includes the train journey from the airport to city centre?

It doesn't. See:
https://www.stib-mivb.be/DiscoverBrussels.html?l=en

Note the specific mention of "the entire STIB network (including the Bourget-Brussels Airport section)" while stating "in 2nd class the SNCB rail network in the Brussels-Capital Region" (the airport technically is not in Brussels). STIB/MVIB run buses from the airport (if you fancy getting some varied transport in on the way fro the airport you could catch a bus and change to a tram at NATO)...

You may also find these useful:
http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/passngr/to_from_brussels_airport/train/
http://www.belgianrail.be/en/stations-and-train/fast-airport-connections.aspx
 

Quakkerillo

Member
Joined
23 Jan 2015
Messages
543
@ Duncanp: I already listed the journey on tram 44 in my list towards Tervuren ;)

@ smoky_bacon: To get from the airport to Brussels, I can advise either bus 471 (The De Lijn quick route) to Brussels-North station, or 359/659 to Roodebeek metro station. Journey time on the first is 33 minutes, the latter is 20 minutes. Both options run every 15 minutes.
Single ticket is €3 each. Compared to MIVB-STIB bus (€5 each to Schuman/Luxembourg station, journey time 30 minutes, runs every 10 minutes) and the train (€8,60 with journey time of 17 minutes, runs every 15 minutes), I find these De Lijn buses offer better value for money, and are generally less busy than the other options (especially the MIVB/STIB bus 12).

@Richmondcommu: For transport, it really depends on where you're staying. If it's in the city centre itself or towards the east of it (Ixelles/European quarter), then walk most of the time. Only use a day ticket for the day you'll visit the Atomium and Laeken palace area, Basilique, and tram 44 towards Tervuren.
 

Bookd

Member
Joined
27 Aug 2015
Messages
445
Just a quick question - do Eurostar tickets still allow you to continue to other Belgian stations? If so you could change at Midi and go one stop on any mainline train to Centraal, which is a much more pleasant arrival point. (In the reverse direction I once went the one stop on a Swiss train which had come, I think, from Zurich).
 

smoky_bacon

Member
Joined
28 Jul 2011
Messages
28
@ smoky_bacon: To get from the airport to Brussels, I can advise either bus 471 (The De Lijn quick route) to Brussels-North station, or 359/659 to Roodebeek metro station. Journey time on the first is 33 minutes, the latter is 20 minutes. Both options run every 15 minutes.
Single ticket is €3 each. Compared to MIVB-STIB bus (€5 each to Schuman/Luxembourg station, journey time 30 minutes, runs every 10 minutes) and the train (€8,60 with journey time of 17 minutes, runs every 15 minutes), I find these De Lijn buses offer better value for money, and are generally less busy than the other options (especially the MIVB/STIB bus 12).
Thank you, not bad for a bus so I will keep this in mind as a plan B.

Has anyone here ever travelled by train from the airport using their FIP facilities? I know it's valid but I just wonder whether there is any supplement to pay (and how much) if you use your coupons.
 

crehld

Established Member
Associate Staff
Senior Fares Advisor
Joined
1 Nov 2014
Messages
1,994
Location
Norfolk
BTW, Brewdog pub opposite Gare Central is really good, nice food and Belgian beer in addition to their usual stuff

I quite enjoy Le Cirio next to the Bourse. It's a traditional no nonsense Brussels tavern and retains its original 1920s decor. A great place to atopboff for a drink while exploring the city centre.
 

341o2

Established Member
Joined
17 Oct 2011
Messages
1,275
Main sights:
(1) Grand Place
(2) Atomium + Heysel + Royal Palace in Laeken
(3) Royal Palace in City Centre + Parc & Museum quarter around it + Parliament buildings
(4) Kunstberg/Mont des Arts
(5) Jubepark/Cinquantenaire with the arch.
(6) Miltary Museum is €5 (only if you're into old planes/military things), but it's free first Wednesday of the month after 13:00. Then you can also go to the top of the arch and enjoy an amazing view of Brussels
(7) Manneken Pis (Also: Jeanneke Pis (female version) and Zinneke (canine version))
(8) Palais de Justice/Justitiepaleis (also has an elevator down to 9
(9) Vossenplein/Jeu de Balle (very busy with also an art fair/flee market on sundays)
(10) Use tram 44 from Montgomery to go to Tervuren and look at the Africa Museum (sadly closed) and the park around it. I find it beautiful around there, and it's a nice place to be if weather is good.
(11) Basiliek / Basilique of Koekelberg
(12) Cathedral near Central Station
(13) Bourse/Beurs
(14) Galleries Royales/Koninklijke gallerijen + Beenhouwersstraat/Rue des Bouchers (weird tourist trap restaurant street. Don't eat there, just look! They're almost all owned by the same 'gang'.)

Extra things:
(a) Flagey square (has best fries in Brussels, after a vote last year. Also the famous cafe Belga in the old Radio/TV building, and the ponds)
(b) Abbaye de la Cambre/Terkameren Abdij just South-West of there
(c) Following further the Terkamerenos/Forest de la Cambre
(d) Zoniënwoud. Largest old forest in Europe
(e) Cimétière de Bruxelles / Begraafplaats van Brussel (Cemetery)

That's all I can think of now, although it's probably already enough to have you enjoy your time. If you have more questions, you can drop me a message as well. Since I live here, I might be able to help.

Enjoy the trip!

Item no 10 - tram route 44 starts off as a street tramway, and ends up on its own right of way through the forest to its outer terminus
 

Quakkerillo

Member
Joined
23 Jan 2015
Messages
543
Thank you, not bad for a bus so I will keep this in mind as a plan B.

Has anyone here ever travelled by train from the airport using their FIP facilities? I know it's valid but I just wonder whether there is any supplement to pay (and how much) if you use your coupons.

The price of the train ticket includes €5,14 "Diabolo supplement", which has no deductions whatsoever. I strongly doubt FIP can be used here.
 

Alicatt

Member
Joined
29 Apr 2016
Messages
16
Location
Ice Cold in Alex or Eating in Eksel
BTW, Brewdog pub opposite Gare Central is really good, nice food and Belgian beer in addition to their usual stuff

Ah thanks for that info, never knew there was a Brewdog in Belgium, I'm a bit far from Brussels but I do love the Brewdog products :)

For the best waffles, the Zilversand café on the beachfront of Blankenberg serves the best ones I have ever tasted, they do great food as well and we usually allow for a detour to Blankenberg on our way to/from the UK.
 

smoky_bacon

Member
Joined
28 Jul 2011
Messages
28
The price of the train ticket includes €5,14 "Diabolo supplement", which has no deductions whatsoever. I strongly doubt FIP can be used here.
That's what I suspect as well but either way I will post info here once I get a response from SNCB.
 

smoky_bacon

Member
Joined
28 Jul 2011
Messages
28
Just confirmed by SNCB - coupons/FIP can be used, but don't cover Diabolo supplement, so the cheapest option is 5.14 euro + free coupons.
 
Joined
7 Jan 2009
Messages
594
Just confirmed by SNCB - coupons/FIP can be used, but don't cover Diabolo supplement, so the cheapest option is 5.14 euro + free coupons.

And I've done it, so this works. You may need to remind the ticket office staff that the GB FIP cards allow you 75% off the fare: they don't see many of these and the normal default is of course 50%.
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.

Top