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As the centre of European culture and institutions, Brussels has much more to offer than most people imagine.
These Brussels tourist attractions will keep you and children well entertained during your stay there. They are best visited during daytime. And during evening, you can enjoy some of the great Brussels restaurants and bars.
A delicately sculpted town square erected over centuries to become the representation of Brussels history. Almost all of the buildings have a historical significance and the Hotel de Ville (Town Hall) is still in use today. Located just down from Brussels Centrale, this historical marketplace is a must.
Just a few narrow alleyways from the Grand Place, the Peeing Boy or Manneken Pis is a famous little statue. Locals celebrate many festivities at this bronze fountain and there are over 700 costumes for this little fellow. Brusselans dress him while celebrating many events of the year from many countries around the world.
Just as Paris had warmed to the Eiffel Tower, Brussels had to The Atomium – its own legacy from a world fair. World Expo of 1958 left behind this gigantic structure shining in the sun. Sounds interesting? Then journey up into the Heysel area of Brussels to explore the Atomium which yields a spectacular view of the city as well as art and science exhibitions and a restaurant in its 9 spheres.
Mini-Europe Brussels is a theme park with miniatures of the most famous monuments, sites and scenery of Europe. It is located next to the Atomium in Brupark in Heysel area. It is a great chance for families to have a nice day out with children. The miniatures are about 25 times smaller than the life size versions, some of the most famous include the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Mount Vesuvius and of course the Grand Place.
The Autoworld Brussels is a collection of old cars dating back to the late 1890s when the first cars rolled onto the roads. Based at the Parc du Cinquantenaire, this warehouse holds over 400 vehicles and stocks mostly European or U.S. original models. It’s a great walk back into history for both car buffs and families.
The most famous opera house in Belgium is La Monnaie (The Mint). Along with many historical buildings in Brussels, this building has enjoyed a long history of construction, rebuilding and refurbishment. Brussels opera is still highly active and the agenda is packed. So admire the structure during the day but pay a visit to the theatre at night.
Brussels city has become quite proud of the number of parks they have available in the city, called green spaces. These parks range from grand boulevards with statues and fountains to quaint parks with lakes and flowers. A leisurely stroll through the parks is not a bad idea for visitors who want to see nature within a concrete jungle. Picnics, books, children and dogs are most welcome.
About 30 minutes out of Brussels city, in the area of Planckendael, lies the Brussels city zoo. It is a large enclosure with animals from all over the world organised by regions of the world – Africa, Asia, Europe etc. This zoo makes for a great day excursion for animal lovers and visitors with children.
Getting to Brussels from the ariport
Compared to most airports around the world, Brussels airport is fairy close to the city center. The distance is 12 kilometres (7 miles) and the fastest travelling time is an 18 minute drive. However, since Brussels is a busy European city, you really should have a time reserve and make proper travel research beforehand.
There is a train going from Brussels Zaventem Airport to Brussels Central Station every 10 minutes between 5am and midnight, 7 days a week. The ride takes 18 minutes and costs €12,70. However you will need to deal with public transport from the central station to your hotel. If you think you will not like that after a flight then consider the taxi option below.
There is not a distinctive taxi look and there are more taxi services operating. Some even unlicensed. So it is always unpredictable to go for a blind journey. The availability, price and person who drives you can be of all sorts. You can order taxi service online and a tested driver picks you up with a name sign at arrival. It costs €85 per car and is available 24 hours every day.
Every airport bus departs and arrives at the bus station at Level 0.
The Airport Line is a public Brussels airport bus that takes you to the European district of Luxemburg and to the city centre. There are two buses: Line 12 and Line 21.
- Line 12 (operates Mon-Fri until 8pm) and only travels to main stations – the only metro stop is Schuman (EU Headquarters) and the last stop is Luxemburg station.
- Line 21 (operates after 8pm on weekdays and on weekends) has many more stops and ends at Hertog/Ducale, the metro stops are Schuman and Trone. The last stop is close to the city just outside the Royal Palace – 10 minutes walk from Brussels Centrale.
De Lijn bus company operates regular Brussels airport to Brussels city center transfer service.
The bus 471 goes to and from Brussel-Nord station and takes 45 minutes. Number 659 takes you to and from metro station Roodebeek.
To rent a car at Brussels Zaventem Airport use the Brussels car-rental webpage.
Brussels airport is within driving distance of all major cities in Belgium – the longest trip is from Bruges (1 hour 9 minutes) and the shortest is Brussels (18 minutes). There is an outer ring road surrounding the top half of Brussels called R0 on maps. The Brussels airport is located at the northeast side of the ring road. Once you get to R0 you will see signs that point towards Brussels airport or Brussels. Other driving distances to and from Brussels airport are: Antwerp (43 km, 34 min), Ghent (68 km, 48 min) and Liege (91 km, 59 min).