Brussels can definitely be described as the heart of Europe. Most people associate it with European Union and its headquarters. But the capital of Belgium offers much more: modern architechture, historical monuments and helpful locals. The city is well communicated and there are alleys for lazy walks as well. Simply – perfect place for a weekend trip. See our travel guide – Brussels What To See how to get the most of Brussels.
How to get in Brussels
Charleroi airport is located far from Brussels, but has wide network of connections with cities in almost the whole Europe. Many budget flights are served by Ryanair and Wizz Air there.
The main airport called Zaventem, which is very close to Brussels, operates traditional carriers, but have a few cheap routes by Ryanair too.
Warsaw Chopin – Brussels Charleroi – Warsaw Chopin (Wizz Air, €19 RT)
FROM AIRPORT TO THE CITY
Charleroi Airport – Brussels Midi/Zuid station – Charleroi Airport (Flibco bus, online from €10 RT, 55 minutes)
Airport shuttles run every 30 minutes, so don’t worry if you’re late. Try to book online your ticket as early as you can to get the lowest price, even €10 RT (approx. $12).
How to get around Brussels
Metro will get you wherever you want in this city.
Most important stations:
Midi – for Charleroi airport shuttles and international train connections. The station is extremely big and it’s easy to get lost there.
Gare Centrale – Grand Place (central square of Brussels)
Schuman – European Union buildings
Heysel – Atomium
Prices for metro tickets:
€2.10 (approx. $2.50) for single ticket
€7.50 (approx. $9) for 24h ticket
€14 (approx. $17) for 48h ticket
€18 (approx. $21) for 72h ticket
Notice: Prepare coins to buy tickets for metro at vending machines, as they don’t accept notes (cards are accepted, but our ones were refused). Also you can buy it from the driver or during the day at the ticket counters.
What to see in Brussels
102 m tall model of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. From the top you can admire the beauty of Brussels suburbs. Ticket at the top costs €12 (approx. $14), but for students it’s only €8 (approx. $9.5).
Central square of Brussels with the impressive Town Hall and King’s House. At the Grand Place every other year in August tourists can admire the enormous carpet made with thousands of flowers.
Small bronze sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. It’s located within the stone throw from Grand Place.
EUROPEAN UNION BUILDINGS
As Brussels is the heart of EU you can see there some of its main buildings. European Parliament is the only one, which you can easily see inside. The tour is free of charge and takes place from Monday to Thursday a few times a day. It includes a few parts of the building but no doubt that all visitors arrive there to see the Hemicycle from one of available galleries. No advance booking is required – just show up 15 minutes before beginning. To get the exact timetable you can visit the official website of European Parliament: CLICK HERE
Sleeping, Eating, Safety and other tips
It can be surprising how expensive hotels in Brussels are. Cheapest double rooms go for €45-50 (approx. $53-60) and beds in hostels for €17-18 (approx. $20-21). That’s why it’s a great place to use Couchsurfing or Airbnb. We found on this second one a nice and spacious room for €36 in total, so cheaper than we could get on a traditional hotel market.
Dinner in budget restaurants costs around €12 (approx. $14), but if you make an effort you will eat even for less than €10 (approx. $12). Don’t forget to try Belgian fries (around €4 – approx. $5) and Belgian chocolate! Belgian beer is always a good idea too ;)
Midi station is a bit dodgy at night, so look out for your belongings there!
Brussels was the place where we met lots of kind and helpful locals. Probably more than in any other European city we’ve visited so far. It made our staying there much easier and caused that we have very nice memories of this trip.
How much does it cost? (per person)
flight tickets RT: €19 (approx. $22.5)
airport shuttles RT: €10 (approx. $12)
24h metro ticket: €7.50 (approx. $9)
accommodation with Airbnb: €36/ 2 persons: €18 (approx. $21)
food spending: €20 (approx. $23)
Atomium at the top: €8 (approx. $9.5)
TOTAL for the whole trip (1 day): €82.50 (approx. $97)