Getting Around Brussels

  • Midi / Zuid station, Brussels.
    Midi / Zuid station, Brussels.
    by planxty
  • Midi / Zuid station, Brussels.
    Midi / Zuid station, Brussels.
    by planxty
  • Midi / Zuid station, Brussels.
    Midi / Zuid station, Brussels.
    by planxty

Most Viewed Transportation in Brussels

  • pieter_jan_v's Profile Photo

    Rent a bicycle: CicloCity

    by pieter_jan_v Updated Aug 12, 2014

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I encountered this automated bicycle rental location at Place Rogier.

    It's called CycloCity and there are 23 location throughout Brussels where you can pick up or return the rental bicycle.

    Costs:
    The first 30 minutes : 0,5 €
    Each extra hour : 0,5 €

    Rental terms:
    renter must be at least 14 years old
    renter must be in a suitably fit condition
    renter must possess a Cyclocity card
    renter must possess a third party insurance policy

    Another options are the Blue Bikes rental at stations.

    CycloCity at Place Rogier CycloCity at Place Rogier Blue Bike rental at Brussels-Midi.
    Related to:
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    • Cycling
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    public transport in Brussels

    by gwened Updated Aug 8, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It has an elaborate system of public transport always in renovation and improvements. You have the choice of buses, tramways ,and metro/subway.

    We try them all, taking bus 66, tramways 25 and 92, and metro lines 1,5, and 6. The best deal for a few days is the jump card of 10 trips for 13€ rather than individual 1,80 at machine to 2,50€ inside vehicle. There is a mobib cheaper for 10 trips at 11,80€ but we chose the alternatives to all transport. You can share the 10 with the family for the round trip.
    in addition to main transport site ,there is another one that shows mobility on all modes here in French or Dutch
    http://www.bruxellesmobilite.irisnet.be/content/se-deplacer-a-bruxelles/

    It is a very easy system with machines in all underground stations and sometimes stand along on the bus tram stops. The indications are ok, and we didn't had any problems navigating the system.

    the tourist office will tell you more in English on public transports
    http://visitbrussels.be/bitc/front/content/displayDetail/clt/BE_en/cmid/942/group/CONTENT/id/508.do

    metro line 5 metro line 6 tramway 25 metro entrance Botanique tramway 94 colorful at crossing with 92
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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    CycloCity

    by Nemorino Updated Jun 27, 2014

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At first glance, the CycloCity system of spontaneous short-term bicycle rentals looks just like the Vélo'v system in Lyon or the Velib' system in Paris. No wonder, because it was put up by the same company, JCDecaux, and in theory it works the same way: you insert a credit or bank card (with a chip on it) into the computer terminal to get yourself registered, take a bike, ride it and return it to any station in the system.

    This system works beautifully in Lyon and Paris, but has thus far been a flop in Brussels. In four days I didn't see a single person in Brussels riding one of these bikes or even attempting to get one.

    People in Brussels have various explanations for this (the weather, the Belgian mentality, the traffic, the topography, etc.), but in my opinion it's all a matter of scale. Brussels has only 250 bikes at 23 stations, all within the "Pentagon" or downtown area. Paris, with twice the population of Brussels, has eighty times as many bikes and fifty times as many stations located all over the city.

    I attempted to register at several of the CycloCity terminals in Brussels, but none of them accepted my bank or credit cards, even though they have the proper chips on them. The folks at the Tourist Information at City Hall were no help at all on this point, claiming not to know anything about CycloCity even though there is a terminal right in the middle of their office.

    Second photo: Bikes at night at De Brouckère in the center of Brussels.

    Third photo: Bikes at Porte de Flandre / Vlaamse Poort

    Fourth photo: Bikes at Porte de Namur / Naamse Poort. This station was not far from my hotel, so it would have been really useful if I had succeeded in accessing the system.

    Fifth photo: Close-up of some CycloCity bikes. Like everything else they are bilingual, so they say "Ville de Bruxelles" in French on one side, and "Stad Brussel" in Dutch on the other.

    Update 2014: The bike sharing system in Brussels is now called Villo!, not CycloCity. It is run by the same company, JCDecaux, but I have been told by fellow cyclists that it now works better than it did before. (I haven’t tried it myself, however.)

    1. CycloCity bikes at Agora 2. Bikes at night at De Brouck��re 3. Bikes at Porte de Flandre/Vlaamse Poort 4. Bikes at Porte de Namur/Naamse Poort 5. Close-up of some CycloCity bikes
    Related to:
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  • Gyppo's Profile Photo

    General transportation

    by Gyppo Updated Feb 23, 2014

    Brussels has good public transport and a shocking road system - I don't know why anyone would drive except at weekends and on car-free day (!). This tip is general rather than focusing on any travel method in particular.

    On foot

    Brussels is a very small place, so it's possible to get around a lot of the centre without using any vehicle. In common with most places, it's worth checking out a map even if something looks like it's a few stops away, particularly if you would have to change lines. On the other hand, some of the pavements are awful and the cobbles can be tough in the wrong shoes. When on foot, watch out for Brussels drivers at crossings, particularly buses. Also, watch out for dog excrement. There's meant to be a €50 fine for leaving your dog's waste on the street, but I can only assume it's not enforced, as the streets are covered in it!

    Metro

    The metro is reliable - I only remember a few bad delays, and it doesn't usually get as crowded as London. It costs €2.10 for an hour's journey during which you can transfer lines, including to bus or tram, or make your return journey (and there's a bit of leeway - I was allowed a 'transfer' after 66 minutes once, but not 70). Alternatively you can buy a 10 journey ticket for €14. This has gone up from €12 in the two years I've been here, but you can put more than one person through at a time. You can get an electronic ticket (similar to Oyster in London, for instance) which charges €2 per journey or 10 journeys for €12.50.

    They have a slightly odd system for numbering the metro - or rather for how they describe the lines. They have a 'metro', which is mainly underground (lines 1, 2, 5 and 6), and a couple of semi-underground trams which they call the 'pre-metro' (lines 3 and 4). They're basically the same, so I use metro for both in my tips.

    In common with a lot of metros, people will try to push through with you. It's very annoying, and I try not to allow it. That's part of the reason the price has gone up so much!

    There are often musicians begging on the metro, or other beggars. Some of these appear to be part of organised groups, and sometimes they have children with them. I prefer to donate to Samusocial (http://www.samusocial.be/) rather than give to individuals, but it's your call.

    One more point - some metro stations shut at night, and some have shutters which come down to seal the stations. The staff don't seem to check the stations are empty before this closure, so once I had to run and roll under the descending shutter, Indiana Jones-style!

    Buses

    Buses are numbered intermittently from 12 to 98 (12 and 21 go to the main airport at Zaventem). The journey prices are the same as above but it costs €2.50 if you buy tickets in advance from a machine. Again, they're very regular and run on time. There's a live update service online, and an app for smartphones etc. You can get these from STIB, the guys who run the metro, bus and tram service, at http://www.stib-mivb.be/index.htm?l=en

    At about midnight, the Brussels transport system is delivered by the night buses (Noctis). These are numbered, again intermittently, from N04 to N018. They have a reasonably wide coverage, but I don't tend to use them.

    Trams

    Once more, intermittent numbering for the trams - this time from 7 to 97. Again, reliable and regular. Prices as above.

    Taxis

    These seem expensive here. It'll cost about €15 for a 10-12 minute, 4km ride. Take down the cab number if you can, as otherwise if you leave anything in a taxi, it's gone forever. I've heard that you can't hail a free cab as it passes, but have to pre-book or go to a cab rank. That hasn't meant too much to me, as I tend to be in areas with ranks when I need one, but worth being aware of. Cabbies will usually only speak French in my experience, and have been known (as in a lot of places) to take a scenic route - when they do, if you remonstrate (in French!) and refuse to pay the full fare, they seem to accept it with a shrug. No guarantees, though.

    Trains

    I don't use trains within Brussels, but to travel outside the city they are very good. There are frequent trains to all of the major towns, and most of the minor ones. They're cheap and, although they look like they were built in the 60s, quite comfortable. At the weekend you can get a reduction in the standard return tariff. International rail travel is simple, although there's a €7 return surcharge for international tickets bought at the station.

    One final point to note on trains is that I've never been on a train from Antwerp to Brussels which wasn't absolutely packed, and that's included travel at a wide variety of times and days. Part of that is down to the fact that a lot of connections are made through Antwerp.

    Car

    I only drive in Brussels when I have to. Use a sat-nav (GPS) to help you make it through the awful one way system; that won't help you deal with the terrible Belgian driving and road surfaces. Make absolutely sure you don't park where you shouldn't as towing seems to be the first response, and once the tow van is there, they won't let you drive away (even if you were to offer to pay the fine of €200) and will take your car to the out-of-town recovery area. Don't park with even a foot of your car anywhere near a garage (carport): it'll be towed.

    The one good thing about Brussels roads is the tunnels - not because they are that useful for getting places, as they make it very easy to miss your turn, but because they often come above ground to let you see landmarks (such as the arch at Parc Cinquantenaire, or the Basilica du Sacre-Coeur at Koekelberg), before taking you back down again.

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Bruxelles central train station

    by gwened Written Jan 2, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    a building in the middle of the city and inside its a huge transport hub,commonly call the gare Centrale, it is a link between the stations gare du Nord and gare du Midi
    It is said to be the most frequented station in Belgium even if it only has 6 tracks of trains.
    The metro station by same name gare centrale is link to the station and connects with lines 1 and 5 of the metro system.
    you have buses stopping here on lines lignes 29, 38, 63, 65, 66,71 ,and 86
    tramways do not but they do come close to it on no 92 and 94.

    on the SNCB site you have all the information on the station in French,
    http://hari.b-holding.be/infsta/InfoStation.aspx?StationId=1000215&Lang=0
    also the schedule sites has it in English in contact

    We did use it on metro line 5 connection,and it was easy,there is also some stores on top in what it is a shopping center Victor Horta, named after the originator of the station

    main building transport side of gare centrale schedule board the layout of shopping center and transport hub the entrance to galerie Horta and inside connect t
    Related to:
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    • Trains
    • Architecture

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    driving in Brussels

    by gwened Written Jan 1, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    well against popular views here, my driving in Europe has been superb, and Brussels is no exception. I have come and gone by personal car, rented cars out and in at the airport and gare du Midi train station and all has been very easy.

    My last trip was no exception coming from France drove into Schaerbeek area and out, plus went to the botanique area to shop, very easy to load into the car lol!!!.

    It is true parking on the street is not easy and need to pay, but what I do is park at Botanique or Rogier parking underground and move about to the areas I want to go. If walking is the best way to see the city, the car is the best way to get in and out of a city.

    you can go on the link provided in contact, and place the mouse over the map of Brussels until the area you are going, then zero in maximizing until you get the exact address. Then trace it in your plan paper or viamichelin and off you go.

    I arrive on the RO or Ring road of Brussels to exit No 13 or the road N8 at Chaussée de Ninove (where I always get in from France); past by suburbs of Dilbeek, Molenbeek, Anderlecht, under the tunnel Leopold II to left blvd Barthélemy, and then right on rue Antoine Dansaert to left blvd Anspach, to blvd Adolphe Max to right on blvd du jardin botanique.
    and return on blvd du jardin botanique to blvd Adolphe Max left continuing on blvd Anspach then right on Rue Antoine Dansaert, then left on blvd de Nieuport to Chaussée de Ninove direction Mons to get on the RO ring road direction Mons. There you go on the Belgian A7 or E19 roads towards Paris.

    see the pictures for the parkings.

    parking botanique, my favorite walking to parking botanique across street to parking Rogier one to consider parking Poelaert
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    riding a bike in Brussels

    by gwened Written Dec 24, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    plenty to do for the bike enthusiast as done by friends there;;the main recommended sites are

    www.villo.be
    Open 7j/7 and 24h/24, you can do day or night;and do unlimited trip depending on your purchase

    www.provelo.org
    the bornes to rent the bikes are at
    Bois de la Cambre (Carrefour des Attelages)
    Parc de la Woluwe (Bas du Parc)
    Parc de la Pede (Anderlecht)
    open from April to October , weekends from 12h-18h
    all year at Maison des Cyclistes , rue de Londres 15 • 1050
    Price is 7,00 €/hr, 15,00 €/day

    www.recyclo.org

    villo stand on botanique
    Related to:
    • Cycling
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    • Road Trip

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    connection train stations in Brussels

    by gwened Updated Dec 24, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    very easy all are interchange with connections.
    some information to help you from a Belgian site
    http://www.brussels.info/train-stations/

    Bruxelles Centrale is at Carrefour de l'Europe,2 at 200 meters from the Grand Place
    Bruxelles Midi, Rue de France,2
    Bruxelles Nord, Rue du Progress 85
    Bruxelles Luxembourg ,Pl du Luxembourg
    Bruxelles Schuman, rond point Schuman
    official train site at www.sncb.be
    or www.b-rail.be
    you can contact from abroad at +32 (0) 2 528 28 28

    the metro bus site is here
    http://www.stib.irisnet.be

    passing Brussels Nord train station
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Brussels Midi train station

    by gwened Updated Dec 24, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    well when I need to use the train, business trip its normally the Thalys and I end up here at Bruxelles Midi,Rue de France, then I rent a car to my business branch. Lovely station, plenty of eateries and easy to walk thru it.
    http://www.thalys.com/be/en/

    you ,can ,also, get the Eurostar train and the TGV here.

    Brussels Midi or Zuid thalys arriving at Bruxelles Midi
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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    how to move around

    by mindcrime Written Oct 25, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    walk
    Most of the sites/landmarks are located in the center so you can walk around and see Grand Place for Hotel de Ville, Manneken Pis, St Catharina, the Cathedral, the Royal Palace, The Museum of Fine Arts etc
    Many locals use bicycles so you may try that too, we saw lots of ramps with bicycles near some parks, squares etc

    Metro/buses/trams
    If you have more than one day in Brussels you will need to catch a local tram/bus or take the metro. We were there for 3 days so we used a 3day card that was very convenient and could move everywhere around the city fast and easy as there are 4 different metro lines. The metros stations are dirty but the main problem is that there are many pickpockets especially around the central stations.

    Single Tickets cost €1,80 with the possibility to change between lines, on the STIB network (except for the NATO-Brussels Airport section of lines 12 and 21).
    1 fare JUMP purchased outside vehicle cost €2,00 (if inside €2,50) same as above but also valid on the networks of DE LIJN and TEC and SNCB in Brussels.

    We preferred to buy a 72hours -Discover Brussels- card for € 13, we used the metro 4 times per day so it was a bargain. Our ticket covered the entire public transport network of the STIB including the bus to the airport! Any ticket machine we saw accepts only coins so we were happy with the card.
    There’s also a card for 24hours card (€6) and 48hours card(€10).
    There are also 5 and 10 journey tickets.

    There are also some nightbuses (ticket cost €3)

    For lazy people there is also the typical hop on hop off bus that passes by all the main sites/landmarks.

    street signs bicycles local bus local tram hop on hop off bus

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    how to go there

    by mindcrime Written Oct 25, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    By plane
    Brussels International Airport (BRU) is located 13 Km northeast of the city center that you can reach by:
    1)train. One every 20’ that reach the center in about 20’ and passes by north, south and central train stations in Brussels. The ticket is 2e and the train runs 5.30am-12.20am (4.45am-23.10 from the city)
    2)taxis are available 24 hours of course but pricey (about 50euros to the center)
    3)bus #12(Brussels Airport - Brussels City) is an express line that reaches european district in 30’. Ticket costs 3,50e at the machine but must have coins with you, the machine doesn’t accept bills (6e if you pay inside). Have in mind that During the week after 8 PM, on Saturday, Sunday and holidays it lifts off with flight number 21(Brussels Airport–Ducale) and halts at every stop (#12 only at the most important ones).

    By train
    Centrally located in Europe Brussels is well connected with many European cities by rail that’s why the locals just take the train to visit France, Netherlands etc
    Train is also useful if you’re coming from any other Belgium city as Brussels is well connected with numerous train throughout the day with Gent(40’), Brugge(55’), Antwerp(35’), Liege (60’) etc
    There are 3 different train stations but the names in French/dutch are a bit confusing:
    Gare du Midi/Brussel Zuid(south), Gare Centrale/Brussel Centraal(Cetral) and Gare du Nord/Brussel Noord(North).
    In the stations there are different windows for internation, locals (same day) and advance tickets. Sometimes they have weekend offers with 50% discount if you buy a return ticket.

    bus 12 from the airport buying tickets at Gare Centrale ceiling at Gare Centrale Gare Centrale waiting for the train to Gent

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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Bicycle rentals at Pro Vélo

    by Nemorino Updated Aug 3, 2011

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fortunately for people like me who are unable to access the CycloCity system, there is a fine bicycle rental place called Pro Vélo in La Maison des Cyclistes a.k.a. Het Fietserhuis, meaning "The House of the Cyclists".

    I rented a bike here for a day and paid 13 Euros, which is the second highest daily rate I have paid thus far (the highest being 14 Euros in Munich). But bike was really good and the service was competent and friendly. The guy at the desk even lent me his personal cycling map for the day, which was very helpful for finding pleasant bicycle routes away from the main thoroughfares.

    The cyclists' organization GRACQ (meaning "Groupe de recherche et d'action des Cyclistes Quotidiens" = Group for research and action of the Everyday Cyclists) also has its headquarters in the same building.

    15 rue de Londres/ Londenstraat, 1050 Brussels
    50°50'17.08" North; 4°22'3.66" East

    Second photo: Bicycles at Pro Vélo.

    1. The House of Cyclists 2. Bicycles at Pro V��lo
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  • clareabee's Profile Photo

    Use your feet to see the city

    by clareabee Written Jun 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I always think that where possible it is best to use your feet to explore a city if that is possible.
    We did a fair bit of walking whilst we were in Brussels and I will say that some sights you do need to use public transport to get too but in the main we saw many wonderful sights and buildings that we would probably have missed had we used the metro.
    The walking is also good to burn off all the calories from the frites, beer, waffles and chocolates!

    Many parts of the city are pedestrianised and it is a very safe city to walk around even at night we thought.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Beer Tasting
    • Photography

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  • iaint's Profile Photo

    Airport

    by iaint Updated Dec 27, 2010

    Strange that I'd not thought to write a tip about the airport. A case of missing the obvious.

    It is one of my favourites, and one of my most used. Not so much recently, but in the 90s my business took me to Brussels every couple of months. Plus at that time Sabena was promoting its hub by offering great discounts on its UK regional flights connecting with another SN flight.

    I remember well the old 1960s (or whatever) vintage terminal. The new "wings" are a huge improvement, but no soul...

    I was at the airport for a few hours yesterday, and with it being 26-12 and me still in holiday mode, I took a few photos to remind me to write this.

    It is a place where you can eat very well if you want to pay the price.

    snowy scene cool artwork cool sculpture
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  • johngayton's Profile Photo

    Villo Bike Hire - The 1st Half Hour Is Free!

    by johngayton Updated Oct 4, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This looks like an excellent system if you are confident enough to cycle around a strange city, hills and all. Villo was launched early in 2009 and aims to provide affordable short-term cycle hire for use within the city, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for locals and visitors alike.

    There are 2,500 bikes located at 180 "stations" throughout the city, with stations being only about 450 metres apart and therefore close to pretty much anywhere you could wish to be: transit centres, shopping areas, the EC district and all the main tourist spots.

    The way it works is that you register in advance with a credit card (this can be done online or by phone) and choose a subscription term - 1 day, 7 days or annual. You are then charged for the chosen period and then further charges apply depending on how long you use the bike for. Noting that for short journeys the first half hour is always free, no matter how many short journeys you take. The maximum single hire period is 24 hours but if you need a bike for a couple of days then you just use the stations for parking it and then when you come to take out another one the 24 hour max period restarts.

    This looks like a pretty good way to get around and if you are crafty you can plan your cycle tour around the downhill parts of town and use the bus or metro to do the uphill bits! The website has all the details as well as maps of the city's cycle lanes.

    Villo Bikes At Midi
    Related to:
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    • Budget Travel

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