The train station, (Gare) in Mons is situated conveniently near the town center and an easy way to travel from one city in Belgium to another for day trips.
Traveling by train is fun, relaxing and efficient. There are several ticket options and of course the Eurail Pass was, at the time I was there, a traveler's best bet. One of the advatages of the Eurail Pass for adults is First Class travel. In my experience, hardly anyone in Belgium travels First Class so I found no competition for a great seat.
The train station was more practical in design than "old world" charming. I felt immediately immersed in the local culture here, as it does not seem to cater to "tourists" as one might find in more popular destinations. Though I'd have to say that this is a big mistake on the part of "tourists."
Most of the amenities can be found here, a small restaurant/bar, bus and taxi stations out side and a place to store luggage for a few days at a reasonable price are among them.
Having the use of a car, though not necessary, would be useful. Of course, if it is your plan to stay in / around the Grand Place, a car would be of little use. To see some of the other interesting things around Mons, a car is needed.
The center of Mons is a small area ringed by roads that were once the walls of the city. Some towns have one main ringed road, but Mons has several. This is because as the town grew, the walls became too confining, so they tore it down and built a larger wall to include the whole town. This town has historically been in the path of wars and the walls were necessary to safe guard it's population.
Many of the narrow streets in the older section of town are not car friendly and there are parking restrictions that make driving in this section less efficient.
Mons is a small city, best to be discovered on foot. Don't wear high heels though, because in the city centre there are a lot of combled streets.
If however, you are too tired, you can use one of the free buses that drive around the city centre. Just ask for the 'Intramuros' buses.
There are 2 different routes.
It is quite easy to get to Mons.
From the Belgian capital Brussels you have 2 trains an hour during weekdays.
( 1 each hour during weekends)
The trip takes about 55 minutes.
The train station in Mons is only a 10 minutes' walk from the city centre.
A great way to go to Mons is the train!!!!! From Brussels, there is one IC-train to Mons every hour in the weekend (every hour 57min) and more during the week. It is safe and it does not go faster than the car!!!! Mons is also on the Thalys-line to Paris from Charleroi.
Coming with the train will allow you to look at the beautiful wall of the big hall of the station that you see on the picture! It is a representation of the tradition of Mons : the ducasse!
Thanks to TEC transportation company in Mons, you have at your disposal free busses to circulate inside the town! So forget about the car and enjoy it! There are two circuits coverings almost every places you would wish to go to!!!!! Main stop : square in front of the train station....and if you are already on the way and see one bus coming, you just have to make a sign and the bus will stop for you if it is not full!
By train : direct trains from Brussels
By car : highway E19 direction Mons/Paris (in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, the city of 'Mons' is indicated on highway signs as 'Bergen') Mons lies at about 65 km from Brussels.
Use a belgipass if your under 26 its under 34 US$ and you can take 10 trips, its all I needed for a month.
They have a free bus that travels around the town just hop on and off. It looked cool but I never used it.
I traveled to Mons by car and another time by train. The station is quite close to the Grand Place.
Though I must walk with a cane, I chose to walk to the Grand Place when my friends were busy or at work. I stayed in a home one mile from the center of town, it took me over an hour, but a normal walker could cover the same distance in fifteen minutes or less.
There are many walking streets around the Grand Place and many interesting things to see along the way. (Though cars are not prohibited, they are strictly regulated and not encouraged in the center of town. First to see were the residential sections. The houses are old and I enjoyed the various styles, which are very different from what I am used to seeing at home.
The closer I got to the town center, the fewer cars I saw. The town is located on sort of a hilly section, but walking around the area was pretty nice, easy--even for me--and I felt safe where ever I was, even on the less populated side streets.
The city is not too large so if you are not in a hurry, you can take time to walk from the train station to the center of Mons.
Otherwise, little free buses that stop everywhere may help to visit the city. They are frequent and follow two itineraries. Take them from train station as well. They are free. Yellow buses are for long distance. Free buses are the white ones.
In Rue de la Poterie 17, not far from the Town Hall, you'll find Maison des cyclistes. This is where you can rent a bike, book family trips around Mons, on bikes of course…
Stroll along the old, cobbled streets, search for architectural and historical treasures in the many tortuous, steep alleys, visit the churches and museums, take a break in the parks and gardens …
Mons/Bergen is only 35 miles (56km) away from Brussels, and there are direct trains from the capital every 30 minutes (weekends every hour).