Belgium’s capital is a fascinating city full of contrasts. While being the administrative capital of the EU labels the city as bureaucratic, you will be surprised by its laid-back lifestyle and cultural diversity. Brussels is still recovering from the recent terrorist attacks at the Brussels airport and the Schumann metro station, but this city is still worth to be on your itinerary. Getting from the Brussels airport to the city and navigating the city is one of the first lessons you need to learn before your trip. While timetables and route maps are the essential tools you will need, these few pieces of advice will help you use the Brussels transportation system like a local.
Getting from the Brussels airport to the city
The Brussels airport is located 11 km northeast from Brussels and the short distance makes it easily accessible from the city centre. As the main hub for international flights in Belgium, the Brussels airport is well connected with the rest of the country, as well. There are few transportation options available, including train, bus, car hire, airport taxis, and private Brussels airport transfer.
Public transport is a cheap Brussels transportation option to get from the airport to the city centre. The train station is located at -1 level and the journey takes around 20 minutes. The trains are departing every 15 minutes starting from 04:40 am till 11:00 pm. The trains run to the three main stations in Brussels: Nord, Central, and Midi, from where you will need to arrange additional transportation to your destination. The airport bus station is one level above the train station and you can take the Express airport bus 12. Depending on the traffic conditions, you can reach the city centre in 30 minutes. The bus makes stops at the Brussels-Luxembourg Train Station and Schuman metro station where you can easily change to the metro. After 8 pm, the airport bus 21 operates from the Brussels airport instead of the airport bus 12.
Car hire is another Brussels transportation option from the airport and is especially convenient if you plan to visit the nearby cities. All major car rental companies have their office at the airport and you can make the reservation online prior to your arrival. Brussels airport taxis are located outside the airport and it is recommended to take an official taxi from the queue in order to avoid overcharging.
Private Brussels airport transfer is a door-to-door service and can be arranged prior to your trip. You can make the reservation online and the driver will be waiting for you at the airport with a sign showing your name. The price is fixed and charged by vehicle, which is especially cost-effective for a larger group of people. This Brussels transportation option is recommended when you carry a lot of luggage or travelling with your family.
Brussels transportation services
Brussels has an integrated and efficient public transport network which covers the city and its suburbs. Getting around the city is easy once you understand how the Brussels transportation network works and study the maps of the metro, tram and bus lines. The public transport in Brussels uses a unified ticketing system so you can use the tickets on any of these Brussels transportation options, except for the lines operating to and from the Brussels airport.
The metro is a fast and efficient way to explore different parts of the city and is the preferred Brussels transportation option. The Brussels metro network has in total 4 metro and 3 premetro tram lines. You can buy tickets at any metro station office or from the machines located there. If you plan to use it more frequently, it’s more cost effective to get a 1-day card or 3-day MoBIB card. As Brussels is the proclaimed capital of comics in Europe and full of amazing murals featuring the most famous comics characters, so the metro is one of the places which display the best murals in the city.
Brussels areas which are not covered by the metro network would require using the bus. The extensive bus network covers all municipalities in Brussels and the nearby areas, so it’s a convenient transportation option for daily excursions. For tourists, the bus line 71 is a perfect choice since it makes stops at the most important Brussels landmarks. The bus departs at Place de Brouckere, making stops at the Central Station, Place Royale, through Ixelles and Delta as the final stop. The night bus lines run from 8 pm to 3 am, so if you want to explore the nightlife in Brussels, check the night bus timetable.
Brussels taxis are the more expensive Brussels transportation option, but it’s especially convenient if you’re not sure how to get to your destination. They are operated by private companies but the taxi fares are regulated by the Government. It’s important to order a licensed taxi by phone or get one at the designated taxi ranks.