Belgium: Travel About Brussels
Brussels, The Capital of Europe
Brussels, the bilingual capital of Belgium, is a hub of travel activity with millions of tourists a year coming to sample the cities culture, fine food & interesting landmarks.
Being the Administrative centre of the European Union Brussels has earned the title of the Capital of Europe and is a crucial destination for an endless number of businesses.
Brussels is a highly popular tourist destination not only within Belgium but also throughout Europe with affluent visitors taking short breaks & holidays from France, Holland, Spain, Italy & Britain among others.
The character of Brussels has developed by the coexistence of French and Flemish culture. Street names and traffic signs are always in both French and Dutch, the two official languages of the city.
Nowadays Brussels is home to many nationalities from around the world, adding a cosmopolitan flavour to the environment. The vibrant atmosphere of Brussels is further enhanced by picturesque medieval streets, lively squares, beautiful boulevards, impressive monuments and spacious parks. Cafes and restaurants are part of an active cultural life.
Whirl Wind Tour of Brussels
Have you ever been to Brussels?
Delta Air Transport has inaugurated its new European airline SN Brussels Airlines recently. It flies to more than 58 destinations in Europe and as well as worldwide. The Brussels Zayentem airport is twelve km from the city and it takes 35 minutes to reach the city from the airport. The airport has facilities like duty free shops, car parking, taxi booking, car hiring, banks, post office, restaurants, and medical help. Internet and fax services are provided for the passengers. The Airport City Express train transports passengers to three main railway stations - Brussels North, Central and South. One can avail a bus which runs regularly from the airport, taxis can also be hired which wait outside the arrival hall. Tipping the taxi drivers is considered customary. Train runs every 15 minutes.
Another airport, Brussels South Charleroi, is 5 km away from Charleroi and 46 km from Brussels. Ryan air serves as the local airline here and has cheap deals for several European destinations to and from Charleroi. The facilities provided here are bus and train services, cafes, car hire, and duty free shops.
Ostend airport is 5 km away from the city and car parking, car hire, duty free shops, and restaurants are provided here.
Antwerp airport is just 2 km away from the city. Buses run to the Brussels Central Station every few minutes.
Liege is situated at a distance of 5 km away from the city. Buses run at regular interval here.
The departure tax at Brussels Zayentem is Euros20.93, Brussels South Charleroi is Euros3.49, Ostend and Antwerp is Euros10, and at Liege is Euros7.
There is a network of high-speed trains, which are operated by Thalys, from Belgium to France, connecting Brussels with other destinations like Bordeaux, Cannes, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Valence Perpignan, and Rennes. Booking should be made in advance for these trains. The national railway operates throughout the day providing service every few minutes to destinations such as Andorra, Austria, France, Czech, Germany, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK and the Netherlands. Insiders can avail the Inter-Rail pass which allows visitors to travel almost 29 European Countries. This service is valid for residents who have been settled there for more than 6 months.
Travel Tips in Belgium
The months from April to September are the warmest. Otherwise the weather is pretty humid and skies are gray, that explains why umbrellas and raincoats should be part of your wardrobe.
Belgians are English-friendly and will make every attempt to speak in English with a foreigner. Always remember to take a small gift or some flowers if invited over for dinner.
Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ostend, Namur, Mons, LiÃ¨ge, Ghent and Mechelen are the main shopping centers. Belgium is famous for ceramics and hand-beaten copperware from Dinant, laces from Bruges, crystals from Val Saint Lambert, woodcarvings from Spa and Belgium's finest chocolates.
The specialty of most of the restaurants is horse and rabbit meat dishes. Although visitors can find a wide range of ethnic foods the most famous are frites and mayonnaise and mitraillette. Mitraillette is a large bun filled with fries, meat and garlic sauce. Vegetarians can ask for a veggie substitute for the meat. While eating at a restaurant, tipping is considered customary along with the value-added tax.
Voltage is 230 V and frequency is 50 Hz.
Duty Free Items
Visitors can carry alcohol, tobacco, cigarettes, coffee and tea without getting customs duty levied on them, but only the amounts should be limited. Check out for the limits before carrying these goods. Food items that are not preserved should be avoided.
Brussels in Bloom - The bi-annual flower carpet of Brussels
The beautiful flower carpet is created as a bi-annual event in the Grand Place in Brussels and made of all fresh begonia flowers -- about 70,000 begonias create the masterpiece. The event is in August with the last one taking place in 2008.
Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gourmet standard by which all other chocolate is measured.
Do you like Belgium chocolates?
The Comic Strip Trail
It may be that the comic strip is more popular than chocolate and beer in Brussels. One of the most famous comic strips is Tintin whose creator, Herge (real name Georges Remi) introduced the clean line cartoon style to Belgium.
Belgian cartoonists moved away from the American influence with precision drawings and clear line techniques creating the Ninth Art joining the arts of drawing, painting, sculpture, music, literature, performing arts, printmaking and cinema.
More than 30 comic murals are dotted around Brussels providing a fascinating walk of discovery through the city known as the Comic Strip Trail.
Brussles and the Comic Strip
Belgium is the birthplace of the comic strip and there are no fewer than four comic strip museums to visit in Brussels.
- The Belgian Comic Strip Center
- The Maison de la bande dessinÃ©e (close to Brussels-Central Station)
- The Marc Sleen Foundation and Museum (opposite the Belgian Comic Strip Center)
- Museum of Original Figurines
What would you most like to do in Brussels?
- Brussels.info - Brussels Museums
Useful information about the museums of Brussels
The Famous Comic Character Tintin is now a Movie - Based on a series of classic comic books by Belgian artist Georges Remi
Georges Remi (1907-1983), wrote under the pen name of HergÃ .
The series of Tintin Comic Books is one of the most popular European comics of the 20th century, with translations published in more than 50 languages and more than 200 million copies of the books sold to date.
The Adventures of Tintin
The artists at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop worked with Steven Spielberg to bring HergÃ's wonderful characters to the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin.
Five years were spent working on the movie and this book tells the story of how the filmmakers started with the original HergÃ artwork and books and ended up with what you see on-screen. It features early concept drawings, previous sequences, models, costume designs and final stills from the film.