Brussels Life and Visitor Travel Tips
(Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium)
The office of the Tourist Information Brussels sells a small selection of leaflets explaining various self-guided walking tours of the old centre, which often concentrate on different aspects of the city, such as an Art Noveau itinerary. These pamphlets offer a good way to experience Belgian life for yourself, first hand, and take you past many of the city's most interesting sights.
The area of Brussels situated within the Petit Ring is easy to explore on foot and the two distinctive areas, Upper Town and Lower Town, feature quite different tours. A good place to begin a walk around the Upper Town of Brussels is at the Place du Grand Sablon, while tours of the considerably more spacious Lower Town usually begin at the Grand Place (Grote Markt), passing its endless guild houses and spectacular Gothic-style Town Hall (Stadhuis), before heading along the Rue Charles Buls.
Many people find that purchasing a three-day Brussels Card is a good way to save money, allowing free entry to most museums, and also free travel on all public transport. However, others find that paying for attractions as you go is simplest, and instead choose to buy a 'One-Day Travelcard, which is valid for up to two people.
Useful Contact Details
The Tourist Information Brussels is generally referred to as simply the 'TIB' and is located on the Grand Place (Grote Markt), within the Town Hall. Although this office is on the small side, it is cram-packed with brochures and information, and sells two useful discount booklets, the Tourist Passport and the Must of Brussels. The tourist office is also a good place to pick up a day pass for the city's public transportation system.
Tourist Information Brussels (TIB)
Address: Grand Place, Brussels, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 02 513 8940
Fax: +32 02 514 4538
Open hours: March to September, daily - 09:00 to 18:00; October to December, Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 10:00 to 14:00; January and February, Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 18:00
Tourisme Vlaanderen and Office de Promotion du Tourisme
(Flemish and Walloon Tourist Authorities / National Tourist Information)
Address: Rue du Marché aux Herbes 63, Brussels, Belgium, BE
Tel: +32 02 504 0390
Fax: +32 02 504 0270
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 13:00, 14:00 to 18:00
Language and Dialect
Residents of Brussels speak everything from German, French and also Dutch.
A local adaptation of Dutch, known as Flemish, is spoken by the biggest number of Belgians in Brussels, although an increasing number of residents are now understanding English, especially those involved with the many difference faces of tourism.
Dos and Don'ts / Tourist Traps
- Belgian Beer - check out one of the beer cafes, where you can enjoy a huge choice of Belgian beers listed and described on actual menus
- Chocolate - when in Brussels you simply must sample some of the traditional Belgian chocolates. Do so at the smallest chocolate shops, where the chocolates are most likely to be handmade and quite sublime
- Eating Out - many restaurants in Brussels are nothing short of tourist traps and provide poor value for money, including a number along the Rue des Bouchers and the Grote Markt. Multi-language menus are commonplace and this does not necessarily denote one targeting tourists. Instead, try only to eat out at somewhere recommended, such as those around the Galeries St. Hubert area
- Manneken Pis - for many, Brussels' iconic Manneken Pis statue of a young boy urinating is a big disappointment, since it is actually quite small and insignificant. Therefore, try to visit the statue on a special day, when he is dressed up in one of his many outfits, or even better, sprinkling beer. Alternatively, visit the statue en route to another attraction, but do try to visit it and always bring your camera
- Reservations - to avoid disappointment, consider reserving a table first at busy restaurants, similarly with theatre shows