Areas in Brussels
When to go
Brussels’ climate is mild and maritime, meaning that while the summers are warm and the winters are gentle, rain can come tumbling down at any time. It’s hardly monsoon weather, though, and the city can make a rewarding visit at any time of year.
PlanesBrussels Airport carries flights from a wide variety of airports in the UK and US, and is 25 minutes by train from the city centre. Charleroi (where a lot of budget carriers (such as Ryanair) touch down, is south of the city centre, about an hour’s coach ride away from Brussels Midi station. Antwerp’s airport can be handy too.
TrainsEurostar services link Brussels Midi station to London, Paris and Lille. Tickets to Brussels include travel to any other Belgian station. You can also hop on high-speed intercity services to Amsterdam, Cologne and Frankfurt.
AutomobilesThe Fast and the Furious wasn’t filmed in Brussels, but it could have been – ‘Belgian road sense’ is on a par with ‘Zimbabwean political transparency’. Traffic laws are lax and confusing, pedestrian crossings are primarily street art, and – in any case – the city’s compact and navigable by foot and public transport. You can, however, rent cars at the airport from companies such as Avis (www.avis.com).
TaxisYou can flag down taxis in the street – if you can find them – and ranks are rare too. Book a cab at your hotel, or try Taxi Verts on +32 (0)2 349 4949; it also runs a limo service.
With its penchant for reverie-inducing confections, you’ll encounter a troupe of Willy Wonka-esque chocolatiers in Brussels. If you want sweet treats without having to be rescued by an Oompa Loompa, head to Zaabär to spend 90 hairnet-clad minutes hand-rolling truffles in meringue and coconut; sprinkling milk and dark cocoa bars with dried fruit, nuts and spices; and perfecting your calligraphic chocolate drizzle – then promptly scarf down your creations afterwards. Sated? Head to Rue de la Tête d'or to visit the Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate.
Stay Be Manos; if the dramatic bubble chandelier and monochrome design of the restaurant don’t woo you, melt-in-the-maw Blanc-bleu Belge beef, lemongrass soup and tongue-fizzing sherberts will.