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How to Brussels

Language

French and Flemish

Currency

Euro (€)

Dialing code

+32

Time zone

Central European Time (CET)

Getting Around

In typically European fashion, Brussels’ public transport is expansive and reliable, with bus, tram and metro lines connecting everywhere from the center to the suburbs. A day pass will set you back just €7.50 and allow unlimited access to all services. If you’d prefer to travel under your own steam (or burn off those Trappist beers and frites and mayo) the Villo! bicycle-sharing scheme is great value, and as eco-friendly as you can get.

Seriously, Try the Fries

You haven’t eaten proper fries til you’ve had the Belgian variety! Searingly hot and perfectly crisp, yet still fluffy on the inside – they may be Earth’s greatest foodstuff. Usually doused in mayonnaise, they’re admittedly not the best option for calorie-counters. But in a country whose cuisine is dominated by waffles, chocolate, and beer, sometimes it’s best to tune out the sound of arteries clogging and just savor every greasy mouthful.

Flemish Fun

Brussels has livened up the country’s slightly dowdy reputation by establishing a thriving nightlife scene. There’s something for everyone: pub-goers will enjoy sampling some of the hundreds of local beers in the countless ‘brown’ cafes, while the young and young-at-heart can seek out the city’s clubs, with famous venues like Fuse and Bloody Lewis playing enough deep house and techno to keep you grinding your teeth way into the early hours.

What to do in Brussels

Get Political

Whether you’re left, right, or apathetic, don’t miss out on an exclusive tour of the European Parliament's plenary chamber – the sacred space where EU policies get decided and Nigel Farage regularly embarrasses himself. The free audio guide (available in all 23 EU languages) will get you up to speed on the who’s, what’s and how’s, and you can ‘visit’ every member state in the adjoining exhibition. Best of all, it’s completely free!

Choo-Choo

Railways played a vital role in the development of modern Europe, whisking goods and people up and down the continent during the Industrial Revolution and beyond. Brussels’ charming ‘Train World’ celebrates all things steam-powered, with vehicles and carriages from almost two hundred years of locomotive history. Did you know Belgium has the oldest railway network on the European mainland? You do now – all aboooooaaaard!

Take a Hike

If all those heavy Belgian beers and mayo-laden fries are taking a toll on your wallet and waistline, the city’s numerous free walking tours should be just the antidote. Just grab a map from one of the multiple tourist offices and get your stride on. The tours are all themed, so you can take your pick from routes that cover the city’s comic book-themed murals, its turn-of-the-century Art Nouveau architecture and so much more.

EU-Inception

See European Unions within European Unions at the family-friendly Mini-Europe. Famed for its Lilliputian landscapes and unimaginative naming, Mini-Europe lets you tower over intricately detailed models of Europe’s architectural highlights, lovingly recreated in teeny-tiny 1:25 scale. Many of the cityscapes have interactive elements, so you can operate the lochs on the Panama Canal, or try your hand at knocking down the Berlin Wall.