Vacation Rentals in Brussels>
Brussels is easy to reach by plane, with flights arriving at its airport from every corner of the globe. In addition, the city is on the main routes heading inland from the Channel ports and is well connected by train to major cities across Europe, including direct from London via the Channel Tunnel. Brussels itself has a good public transport system, which puts the main points of arrival - its airport, train and bus stations - within easy reach of the city centre.
Planes land at Brussels' international airport
in Zaventem, 13km northeast of the city center. There are two tourist information desks
in the arrivals hall. One is Info Tourisme (daily 6am-9pm), which has a reasonable range of information on Brussels and its surroundings and shares its space with Espace Wallonie, representing OPT, the Wallonian tourist board; the other is Destination Belgium (daily 6.30am-9.30pm), where the emphasis is on the Flemish-speaking regions. Destination Belgium (but not Info Tourisme) will make hotel reservations on your behalf anywhere in Belgium, a service that is provided free - you just pay a percentage of the room rate as a deposit and this is then subtracted from your final hotel bill. In addition, the arrivals hall has all the facilities
you would expect of a major airport, notably bureaux de change, a bank, a post office and ATMs.
From the airport, trains run every fifteen minutes to the city's three main stations. The journey time to Bruxelles-Centrale (the nearest station to the Grand-Place) is about twenty minutes; the cost is ?2.35 one-way, and tickets can be bought from the ticket office in the airport-complex train station. If the ticket office is closed, you can pay the ticket inspector on the train at no extra charge, but there is a small surcharge if the office is open and you still choose to pay the inspector. Trains run from around 5am until midnight; after that you'll need to take a taxi into the city centre - reckon on paying around ?34.70 for the trip. Finally, there's an hourly bus service (6am-11pm) from the airport's bus station through the city's northeastern suburbs to the Gare du Nord; the journey takes about 35 minutes - much longer during rush hour.
Brussels has three main train stations
- Bruxelles-Nord, Bruxelles-Centrale and Bruxelles-Midi. Almost all domestic
trains stop at all three, but the majority of international
services only stop at Bruxelles-Midi, including Eurostar trains from London and Thalys express trains from Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne and Aachen. Bruxelles-Centrale
is, as its name suggests, the most central of the stations, a five-minute walk from the Grand-Place; Bruxelles-Nord
lies amongst the bristling tower blocks of the business area just north of the main ring road; and Bruxelles-Midi
is located in a depressed area just to the south of the city centre. Note that on bus timetables and on maps of the city transit system, Bruxelles-Nord appears as "Gare du Nord", Bruxelles-Centrale as "Gare Centrale" and Bruxelles-Midi as "Gare du Midi". The former name stands for the mainline train station while the latter signifies the métro stop. If you arrive late at night, it's best to take a taxi to your hotel or hostel - and you should certainly avoid the streets around Bruxelles-Midi.
If you need to transfer from one of the city's three main train stations to another, then simply jump on the next available mainline train. There are services between the three stations every ten minutes or so; the journey only takes minutes and all you'll have to do (at most) is swap platforms. In addition, Bruxelles-Midi and Bruxelles-Nord are linked by underground tram - the prémétro - with several services shuttling underneath the city centre between these two stations. Thus, there are two ways to reach the Grand-Place from either Bruxelles-Nord or Bruxelles-Midi: either take a mainline train to Bruxelles-Centrale, or take the prémétro to the Bourse station; from either it's a brief walk to the Grand-Place.
Most international bus services to Brussels, including those from Britain, are operated by Eurolines, whose terminal is in the Bruxelles-Nord station complex. Belgium's comprehensive rail network means that it's unlikely that you'll arrive in the city by long-distance domestic bus , but if you do, Bruxelles-Nord is the main terminal for these services too.