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Brussels in Feb2013

Regina, Canada
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Brussels in Feb2013

I am accompanying my husband to Brussels in Feb on a business trip for a month so he will be busy at work and I will be left to my own devices at least during the week. This would be my first time in Europe. Language will be a barrier, I know. We will be staying at Novotel on the airport. Can anyone suggest museums, restaurants/ coffee shops/ bakeries, shopping malls, historical places that I can visit during the day. How good is the bus service and how much does it cost?

Thanks,

Brussels
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1. Re: Brussels in Feb2013

< Language will be a barrier, I know >

Probably less than you think. Brussels is a very cosmopolitan and international city and has several thousand native English-speaking residents. It is the capital of Belgium, but only about two-thirds of its inhabitants are actually Belgian. You should be able to make yourself understood in English in most of the places you are likely to go.

< Can anyone suggest museums, restaurants/ coffee shops/ bakeries, shopping malls, historical places that I can visit during the day >

Perhaps start looking here visitbrussels.be/bitc/…visiteur.do

Public transport in the city is by metro (subway), tram (streetcar) and bus http://www.stib.be/index.htm?l=en

Novotel novotel.com/gb/…index.shtml

http://goo.gl/maps/opA0X

The centre of Brussels is not very big, and many places of interest, shops, restaurants etc can be reached on foot.

Edited: 5:22 pm, December 18, 2012
Brussels, Belgium
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2. Re: Brussels in Feb2013

Your hotel is located in Diegem, which is in Flanders, outside the Brussels city and Region.

The easiest way for you to get into the city(at least if you were only here for a few days) would be to use the free shuttle between the hotel and the airport, and then the train, costing €7.60 single to any station in Brussels. The most convenient for you being Bruxelles-Central, only 5 mins walk from the Grand' Place.

The Brussels city transport company STIB also runs a bus (12 or 21, the latter evenings and weekends) from the airport, which is cheaper than the train at €3.50 for individual ticket purchased fromthe machine at the bus stop, €6 if you have to buy it from the driver. The bus doesn't go into the city centre (the 12 terminates near the European Parliament, and the 21 near Trône metro station) but passes by Schuman metro station, where you can change to the metro (or buses from Place du Luxembourg); and unlike the train or De Lijn (Flemish bus company) buses, transfers onto other means of transport run by STIB are free, within 60 mins of first stamping your ticket in the bus.It does, however, take longer than the train especially at weekends as the 12 stops only at NATO, Diamant, Schuman and Luxembourg but the 21 stops everywhere on the way to Trône.

As you will apparently be staying in Diegem for a whole month, you can also get a 10-trip Airport Line card (valid on 12 and 21 buses to/from the airport as well as on other buses etc. as mentioned above, each stamping giving you 1 hr travel on the STIB network) for €25; see http://www.stib.be/tickets.html?l=en

The equivalent if you want to travel into Brussels a lot by train is the "key card", which costs €17 for 10 trips between 2 stations in a given area (assuming that Bruxelles-Central is within the "key card area" for the airport station, Bruxelles-Nat-Aéroport) see www.b-rail.be/nat-r/E/tarifs/passes/keycard/ - however,using the airport station you would still have to pay an extra €4.33 "Diabolo fee" on top of each use of the key card (€1.70 per trip), which adds up to a cost of €6.03 each way. Admittedly this is cheaper than the standard single at €7.60 but it's more expensive than the bus.

You could also walk to Diegem (or Zaventem) station from where a standard single into Brussels costs only €2.50. But it's a bit of a hike from the Novotel.

Edited: 8:16 pm, December 18, 2012
3. Re: Brussels in Feb2013

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