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Belgium: Travel About Brussels

Updated on January 7, 2015

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

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Travel

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 weather

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.

Culture

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.

Shopping

Brussels, Antwerp, Bruges, Ostend, Namur, Mons, Liège, 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.

Eating Out

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.

Electricity

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

Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gourmet standard by which all other chocolate is measured.

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Comic strip in Brussels
Comic strip in Brussels

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 dessinée (close to Brussels-Central Station)
  • The Marc Sleen Foundation and Museum (opposite the Belgian Comic Strip Center)
  • Museum of Original Figurines

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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 Hergà .

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 Art of the Adventures of Tintin
The Art of 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 Hergà 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.

 

Reader Feedback

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    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 3 years ago

      I love Brussels. I have always found the city to be very vibrant and rich in culture. Plus, some really great beer! Thanks for sharing an informative lens.

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      I've only been to Brussels once and I absolutely loved the place.

    • profile image

      MarcellaCarlton 4 years ago

      Great guide to Belgium! Really super lens.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Thank you for the tour.

    • tedwritesstuff24 profile image

      TedWritesStuff 5 years ago

      I love Belgium as a whole. Brugges is my favourite place followed by Brussels, where I get my favourite beer and chocolate... and mussels and Frites and.....on goes the list.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful article. Fabulous work. I especially like the ability to book a trip right from your page! Bravo!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      What an interesting article. I'm not into comic strips, but I love art in general. I had no idea about the Comic Strip -- how fun! I would love to visit that -- and the carpet of flowers event! Thanks for sharing these unique things about Brussels!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      I enjoyed visiting Brussels and the highlight was the chocolate shops! I'd have loved to have seen the flower carpet.

    • profile image

      Angel_Lou 5 years ago

      I've been in Belgium on number occasions. I have to say I prefer Netherlands over belgium, but - to be fair - Flemmish parts of belgium are also packed with friendly people. Well, I suppose, people are friendly in Vallon parts of Belgium, too...it's just - they can hardly speak English, and that's something quite important for me...

      Good lens anyway!

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Gudday! Enjoyed this lens very much. I especially liked that it gave practical feedback that would actually help us plan our trips to go there. Well done.

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      now wishing to go to Brussels.....

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      now wishing to go to Brussels.....

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 5 years ago from Ireland

      Have been to Bruges before but never Brussels. The flower carpet is just wonderful, it would be a very special site to see. And, as for Belgium chocolates - need I say more...

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 5 years ago

      Brussels is one of the town where I feel always welcome :)

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      I was born in Europe, so I love Brussels and its chocolate delight... but the architecture is what I like the most.

      Thanks for a great lens.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      You make me want to go back!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I enjoyed your lens and learned a lot from it. I would love to visit Brussels!

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 9 years ago

      Brussels is my hometown...

      Unfortunately, since it became the Capital of Europe, native Brussels citizens had to move from their town to the province because of the urbanization and the rising rents.

      Now I live in the country, 45 km away from Brussels.

      However, I love your lens: I'm always happy to read what people have to say about my home town ;-)

    • justholidays profile image

      justholidays 9 years ago

      Brussels is my hometown...

      Unfortunately, since it became the Capital of Europe, native Brussels citizens had to move from their town to the province because of the urbanization and the rising rents.

      Now I live in the country, 45 km away from Brussels.

      However, I love your lens: I'm always happy to read what people have to say about my home town ;-)

    • profile image

      ank 10 years ago

      Hi SoundFinance, Great lens. I also created my lens. It got lots of info on beautiful country Spain. I am quite passionate about my country and you can get loads and loads of info on spain on my lens. To view the lens click here.