Brussels travel guide
City of diplomacy. Home of Tintin. Famous for their waffles and chocolates. You may hear from people that there is nothing in Brussels and the best thing about it is being a transfer hub to Amsterdam and Paris. There is no doubt about its geographical importance and it offers something for sure. On the other hand, I can say it’s not as rich as other European cities but it is not a bad idea to spend your weekend in Brussels. In my Brussels travel guide, you will find major attractions you shouldn’t miss, suggested budget, time to visit and money-saving tips. Here we go.
Special tips for Brussels
- Brussels has two languages as an official language. (Dutch and French). So don’t be surprised when you see two different names for the same thing.
- Be aware of 3 digit bus lines as your normal ticket won’t be valid in them (they are intercity busses). You need to buy a separate ticket from the driver.
- Herge Museum is free of charge on the first Sunday of each month.
- If you look for accommodation, being 1km away Grand Place can save you 30%.
- There are chocolate shops around the Grand Place that allow you to try for free. You can save a few bucks.
- Watch out pickpocketing around Grand Place. It is more common than you think especially during street shows.
- On Sundays, most of the places are closed.
- If you want to eat cheap, avoid places around Grand Place as they are overpriced.
- You might want to check these common travel scams before you go.
Brussels travel guide: Major attractions in Brussels
Brussels travel guide: Typical costs
Perhaps due to being the capital of European diplomacy, living standards in Brussels is higher. So bear this in mind while planning your budget.
Is BrusselCard a good deal?
With this card one can get free access to 30+ museums in Brussels. 24h option costs 34.5€ (public transport included). In my opinion, unless you are an art lover and looking for something special in Brussels, I would pass this time.
With a low budget, you expect to stay in a bed in a dorm. From/to airport is also covered in this plan. However, when you get to the center you will mostly be walking. I walked 20km on the first day (I also believe the best way to discover a city is by walking).
You can a burger at Mcdonalds or equivalent places and croissant for breakfast. If you want to try waffles and beers you should spend a bit more. Some chocolate places let you try their chocolates for free, you can find them nearby Grand Place.
Since the majority of attractions don’t require a ticket you can save some money from this part.
The mid-range budget will get you a 3star hotel near Grand Place. You can try different beers and get a better meal. You can take public transport to reach some of the places (Mini Europe and Atomium). If you want to save some money, look for accommodation 1.5km away from Grand Place. You can cut the cost by 30%.
The luxury budget will get you a nice 4-star hotel near Grand Place. You will get decent meals. You can get some deals as above plus visit the museums I mentioned below.
Expect higher costs during peek times.
These are typical costs however, it is personal and heavily depends on your habits. You can cut from some parts and add them to another.
Coffee in the Grand Place: 3-4€
Beer in Delirium (most popular bar): 3.5-4€
The average cost of a meal 13-15€ (If you go outside Grand Place you can save 25%)
Brussels travel guide: When to visit
Peak times are from June to September. October to mid-March is cold and may not be pleasant to travel. In winter expect temperatures around 0℃ (30 °F) and summers are not too hot. Around July it would be nice to visit. However, keep it in mind that accommodation is more expensive in summer.
Brussels travel guide: Transport
In this part of my Brussels travel guide I will explain
Airport to/from city center:
From Brussels Airport (BRU) to/from city center:
By Train: One-way train to the city center costs 9€ during the weekend and 15€. If you want to save some money, consider the bus.
By bus: Line 272 and 417 will get you to North railway station, after that you can either walk 20min or take a tram. Another option is line 21. It will take you to Schumann station where you transfer to the metro or tram. For both options, you can buy tickets from the driver (6€). If you buy it from kiosk you can save 1.5€. Overall, it takes 45-60min depending on the traffic.
By taxi: Costs around 45€. It is really expensive for a 12 km distance. I would avoid it unless you are a group of 4-5
From Charleroi Airport: Avoid this airport as it is really far from the city. In fact, it is in a different city, I don’t know why they operate in Brussels.
By Bus: Return ticket costs 34€ and takes around 90 min.
I don’t even consider the taxi. You do the math.
Getting around in Brussels:
A single ticket costs 2.5€. A daily ticket costs 7.5€. You can use it for bus and tram as well. If you want to use more frequently, you can also get a 5/10 journey ticket (8€/14€). Don’t forget to validate your ticket.
Important info: 3 digit bus lines (number over 100) are intercity buses. Your normal ticket won’t be valid. You have to buy a ticket separately from the driver if you want to use them. I made this mistake so you don’t do it.
If you just want to stick to the central part (which is 80% of the attractions) I recommend to walk.
Brussels travel guide: More things to see and do
After you are done with the popular attractions you can continue with these:
Nice urban park. At the end of the park, the Triumphal arch is waiting for you.
Although currently not in use, it is still worth to see. It is open to public visits between June and September.
It closes at 5 PM in winter and 6 PM in summer. It is located outskirts of Brussels (It is reachable by metro lines 2 and 6 Simonis station). The entrance is free but climbing the dome costs 5€. If you don’t have much time, you may consider changing this with another attraction below.
If you want to take an adventure to the Belgian comic world, this place is for you. The entrance costs 10€.
If you grew up with the adventure of TinTin you might want to see this museum dedicated to Georges Rami (pen name: Herge), creator of TinTin. Entrance is free on the first Sunday of each month.
You can see what is European parliament doing. The entrance is free. It could be interesting families with kids.
Founded in 2000. It might be interesting for art lovers.
House and the workshop of Victor Horta, a famous Belgian architect. Some of his designs are now on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The tickets cost 8€.
Biggest flea market in Brussels. You might find some interesting paintings etc.
Brussels travel guide: Eating / drinking in Brussels
In this part of my Brussels travel guide, I will explain the foods/drinks you should try. This list can go on forever of course but no life span would be enough for this.
Mussels: I know you think will that will be enough? You will change your mind when they bring you a bucket of mussels. Together with beer and fries, I call it a day. You can check out Chez Leon. It is close to Grand Place
Beer: Belgium is famous for its beer. You don’t have to drink Leffe and Duvel. In some places, there is an option to do beer tasting where you can choose more than one type. It comes with smaller cups so you can try as many.
The most popular bar is Delirium. You will be surprised by the number of selections. (There is a Cafe with the same name but I meant the bar.)
If you like fruit flavor beers you can buy from Beer temple.
Brussels travel guide: Map of the main attractions
In this Brussels travel guide, I showed major tourist attractions, getting around in the city, typical costs of visiting city and shared money saving tips. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask me.
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