BRUSSELS FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. Brussels Airport is the main airport in the city; the simplest route is to take the outbound train from the airport to Brussels Central Station. Trains run every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The trip takes about 20 minutes to Bruxelles-Central and costs approximately €8.60 one way. You will need to buy special tickets for travel on the airport line, the easiest way to book is online by printing the tickets prior to leaving, but can also be bought at the station ticket office or from ticket machines at the station or in the baggage reclaim area.

The Brussels Airport Bus will take you to the European district of Luxemburg and the city centre. There are two bus options: The Airport Line and the De Lijn bus company. The Airport Line is a public bus company offering two buses: Line 12 (operates Mon-Fri until 8pm) and Line 21 (operates after 8pm on weekdays and on weekends). Tickets run about €4.50 if purchased from ticket machines, or around €6 from the bus driver which is cash only. Bus tickets are valid for any number of changes within 60 minutes of first stamping the ticket. The De Lijn bus company operates services between Brussels Airport and destinations in Flanders and can be used to reach Gare du Nord/Noordstation, and to Roodebeek metro station. Tickets must be purchased from the bus driver and cost approximately €3.

Taxis are also available and can run about €45 to €55 from BRU to Brussels center-city. It is recommended to pre-book if you choose to use a taxi service.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

There are three main rail stations, which are the primary international train hubs: Bruxelles-Nord, rue du Progrès; Bruxelles-Central, Carrefour de l`Europe; Bruxelles-Midi, rue de France (the Eurostar, Thalys, TGV and ICE terminal). All three stations are served by Metro, tram, or bus lines, and have taxi stands outside. For more train information visit www.sncb.be

Note: These train stations are not in the nicest parts of town. Keep a close eye on your possessions as pickpocketing is common in these stations. Do not travel to/from the train station on foot if you can avoid doing so. It is recommended to take a taxi or public transportation.

How do I get around Brussels using Public Transportation? Is the public transportation system safe?

Brussels has an exceptional, fully integrated transit network run by STIB (tel. 070/232-0000; www.stib-mivb.be). The public transportation network of Métro (subway), tram (streetcar), and buses operate daily from around 6am to midnight. NOCTIS, the night network of the STIB, contains 11 lines that are active during Friday and Saturday from midnight to 3am.

Generally, Belgium is a safe place to travel however, it is recommended to always keep a close eye on your belongings while traveling on the transit network as pickpockets have been reported to frequently operate.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis cannot be hailed on the street, but there are many taxi stands on the side of the main roads so you can identify them easily, particularly in the city center and at rail stations. All taxis are metered and fares start around €2.40 between 6am and 10pm and around €4.40 between 10pm and 6am, with a tariff both inside and outside the city center. Tip and taxes are included on the meter price so you do not need to tip. If you are not close to a main road or taxi stand it will be easier to call for a taxi to arrive at your pick-up point.

Is Brussels a walking city?

Brussels is absolutely a walker`s city and highly recommended to explore the interesting architecture, status, parks, and fountains this city has to offer. There will be many walkers out exploring the city alongside with you!

Is Brussels a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Like many major cities, there are some areas in Brussels you do not want to walk alone in after dark. The Metro has a high crime reputation, and though increased police presence and video surveillance has brought this down, it`s recommended not to venture alone into isolated Metro walkways after dark. Pickpockets are quite common and you will want to keep yourself and your wallets safe at all times. Always maintain your personal space and do not let strangers come into close personal contact with you if possible. Pickpockets generally prey on slower or distracted people. Most likely you will not notice any problems, far less encounter them, but it doesn`t hurt to be aware and be cautious.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Brussels shopping offers the highest quality boutique shops to the most diverse mix of goods at the Brussels markets. Although the city does not have a reputation to be bursting with bargains, there are inexpensive items to be found in the markets. The more luxury shopping can be found on Brussels two renowned shopping streets: Boulevard de Waterloo and Rue Antoine Dansaert. You will find more affordable shopping on Rue Neuve, a pedestrian only street with an abundant amount of shops and a mall called City2. You will also find open markets all over the city operating in small squares serving up fresh vegetables, cheeses, and knick-knacks. And Brussels has one of the oldest shopping arcades (malls) in the world offering high quality brands and luxury items.

As a general rule the upper city around avenue Louise and Porte de Namur is more expensive than the lower city around rue Neauve and the center-city shopping galleries around La Monnaie and place de Brouckere. There are definitely exceptions to the rule though, such as the Galeries Royales St-Hubert, in the lower city, which are outrageously expensive.

Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is 21% in Belgium. A reduced rate of 6% applies to goods/services considered basic necessities, and to books, transport, concerts and hotels. Visitors from outside the EU can obtain refunds.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Belgium is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many bank locations throughout the city. ATMs are also widespread throughout the city accepting bank cards and credit cards.

What is the weather like?

Belgium`s climate is typically mild, with few extremes in temperature either in summer or winter. The city does get a lot of rain all year round, but with their mild temperatures it rarely gets really cold. Temperatures are lowest in December and January (average 42F), and highest in July and August (average 73F).

I don`t speak French or Dutch. Will many people speak English?

There are three official languages in Belgium: French, Dutch (dialect called Flemish) and German. The French language is the most common spoken in Brussels. Most Belgians speak enough English for tourists` needs, and it is common for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists to use the English language. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is the food like? What time do they usually eat?

Brussels people love good food, good beers and a relaxing atmosphere; and have a reputation for having some of the best food in Europe with a strong influence from Italian and French cuisines. They serve food from all over the world, but Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries, mussels, and beer. Belgians usually eat lunch between noon and 2pm and dinner around 8pm. It is said to avoid the touristy restaurants that are known to be overpriced and low quality.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an Emergency dial 100

Medical care can be obtained by calling the CHS (Community Help Service) Help Line 02/64 4014, who will put you in touch with an English speaking Doctor. Emergency Doctor can be reached at 02/ 479 1818. The closest Hospital with an Emergency Department: Brussels Saint-Luc University Hospital, tel.02/764 1602.


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BRUSSELS FAQ`S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you have not booked a private transfer with us then you have a few options. Brussels Airport is the main airport in the city; the simplest route is to take the outbound train from the airport to Brussels Central Station. Trains run every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The trip takes about 20 minutes to Bruxelles-Central and costs approximately €8.60 one way. You will need to buy special tickets for travel on the airport line, the easiest way to book is online by printing the tickets prior to leaving, but can also be bought at the station ticket office or from ticket machines at the station or in the baggage reclaim area.

The Brussels Airport Bus will take you to the European district of Luxemburg and the city centre. There are two bus options: The Airport Line and the De Lijn bus company. The Airport Line is a public bus company offering two buses: Line 12 (operates Mon-Fri until 8pm) and Line 21 (operates after 8pm on weekdays and on weekends). Tickets run about €4.50 if purchased from ticket machines, or around €6 from the bus driver which is cash only. Bus tickets are valid for any number of changes within 60 minutes of first stamping the ticket. The De Lijn bus company operates services between Brussels Airport and destinations in Flanders and can be used to reach Gare du Nord/Noordstation, and to Roodebeek metro station. Tickets must be purchased from the bus driver and cost approximately €3.

Taxis are also available and can run about €45 to €55 from BRU to Brussels center-city. It is recommended to pre-book if you choose to use a taxi service.

How do I get from the train station to my hotel?

There are three main rail stations, which are the primary international train hubs: Bruxelles-Nord, rue du Progrès; Bruxelles-Central, Carrefour de l`Europe; Bruxelles-Midi, rue de France (the Eurostar, Thalys, TGV and ICE terminal). All three stations are served by Metro, tram, or bus lines, and have taxi stands outside. For more train information visit www.sncb.be

Note: These train stations are not in the nicest parts of town. Keep a close eye on your possessions as pickpocketing is common in these stations. Do not travel to/from the train station on foot if you can avoid doing so. It is recommended to take a taxi or public transportation.

How do I get around Brussels using Public Transportation? Is the public transportation system safe?

Brussels has an exceptional, fully integrated transit network run by STIB (tel. 070/232-0000; www.stib-mivb.be). The public transportation network of Métro (subway), tram (streetcar), and buses operate daily from around 6am to midnight. NOCTIS, the night network of the STIB, contains 11 lines that are active during Friday and Saturday from midnight to 3am.

Generally, Belgium is a safe place to travel however, it is recommended to always keep a close eye on your belongings while traveling on the transit network as pickpockets have been reported to frequently operate.

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Taxis cannot be hailed on the street, but there are many taxi stands on the side of the main roads so you can identify them easily, particularly in the city center and at rail stations. All taxis are metered and fares start around €2.40 between 6am and 10pm and around €4.40 between 10pm and 6am, with a tariff both inside and outside the city center. Tip and taxes are included on the meter price so you do not need to tip. If you are not close to a main road or taxi stand it will be easier to call for a taxi to arrive at your pick-up point.

Is Brussels a walking city?

Brussels is absolutely a walker`s city and highly recommended to explore the interesting architecture, status, parks, and fountains this city has to offer. There will be many walkers out exploring the city alongside with you!

Is Brussels a dangerous city? Are there certain areas I should avoid?

Like many major cities, there are some areas in Brussels you do not want to walk alone in after dark. The Metro has a high crime reputation, and though increased police presence and video surveillance has brought this down, it`s recommended not to venture alone into isolated Metro walkways after dark. Pickpockets are quite common and you will want to keep yourself and your wallets safe at all times. Always maintain your personal space and do not let strangers come into close personal contact with you if possible. Pickpockets generally prey on slower or distracted people. Most likely you will not notice any problems, far less encounter them, but it doesn`t hurt to be aware and be cautious.

What are the best areas for shopping?

Brussels shopping offers the highest quality boutique shops to the most diverse mix of goods at the Brussels markets. Although the city does not have a reputation to be bursting with bargains, there are inexpensive items to be found in the markets. The more luxury shopping can be found on Brussels two renowned shopping streets: Boulevard de Waterloo and Rue Antoine Dansaert. You will find more affordable shopping on Rue Neuve, a pedestrian only street with an abundant amount of shops and a mall called City2. You will also find open markets all over the city operating in small squares serving up fresh vegetables, cheeses, and knick-knacks. And Brussels has one of the oldest shopping arcades (malls) in the world offering high quality brands and luxury items.

As a general rule the upper city around avenue Louise and Porte de Namur is more expensive than the lower city around rue Neauve and the center-city shopping galleries around La Monnaie and place de Brouckere. There are definitely exceptions to the rule though, such as the Galeries Royales St-Hubert, in the lower city, which are outrageously expensive.

Note: Value-added tax (VAT) rate is 21% in Belgium. A reduced rate of 6% applies to goods/services considered basic necessities, and to books, transport, concerts and hotels. Visitors from outside the EU can obtain refunds.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Belgium is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for Euros upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at the airport and many bank locations throughout the city. ATMs are also widespread throughout the city accepting bank cards and credit cards.

What is the weather like?

Belgium`s climate is typically mild, with few extremes in temperature either in summer or winter. The city does get a lot of rain all year round, but with their mild temperatures it rarely gets really cold. Temperatures are lowest in December and January (average 42F), and highest in July and August (average 73F).

I don`t speak French or Dutch. Will many people speak English?

There are three official languages in Belgium: French, Dutch (dialect called Flemish) and German. The French language is the most common spoken in Brussels. Most Belgians speak enough English for tourists` needs, and it is common for hotels, restaurants, and shops that are aimed at tourists to use the English language. We suggest you get a good English-French guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is the food like? What time do they usually eat?

Brussels people love good food, good beers and a relaxing atmosphere; and have a reputation for having some of the best food in Europe with a strong influence from Italian and French cuisines. They serve food from all over the world, but Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries, mussels, and beer. Belgians usually eat lunch between noon and 2pm and dinner around 8pm. It is said to avoid the touristy restaurants that are known to be overpriced and low quality.

What should I do if I need medical assistance or need to go to the hospital?

In an Emergency dial 100

Medical care can be obtained by calling the CHS (Community Help Service) Help Line 02/64 4014, who will put you in touch with an English speaking Doctor. Emergency Doctor can be reached at 02/ 479 1818. The closest Hospital with an Emergency Department: Brussels Saint-Luc University Hospital, tel.02/764 1602.