Brussels is the capital of Belgium, one of the smallest yet charming ones in Europe, where all you want to visit is simply within walking distance. Brussels is also home to the main institutions of the European Union, among which the European Parliament. The city is definitely multicultural and with a perfect mixture of architectural styles, from art nouveau to modernism. Arriving in the heart of the city at Bruxelles Central train station you can simply walk out of the station and enjoy the beauty of the architecture and culture immediately. Eurostar visitors start their adventure from Bruxelles Midi, where all the Eurostar trains arrive. The Eurostar from London (London St Pancras) takes exactly 2 hours to reach Brussels, from Paris (Paris Gare du Nord) the journey can be as little as 1 hour 22 mins.
Located just 8 minutes away on foot from the station, Grand Place is the first attraction to visit. The main square in Brussels, completely covered with a flower carpet every two years (the famous 'Tapis de Fleurs', as the locals call it). Grand Place is the historic heart of the city characterised by its typical cobblestone paving, antique buildings and classic cafes. Any visit to Brussels wouldn’t be complete without enjoying the symbol of the city, the Manneken Pis which is just 3 minutes walk away. This small fountain featuring a cheerful child is constantly surrounded by hordes of tourists, you can’t miss it!
Art lovers will find themselves in a perfect environment, as the city is home to the Magritte Museum, home to hundreds of works by the one-time resident surrealist artist, as well as to the Belgian Comic Strip Centre (Centre belge de la Bande dessinée), full of drawings and figures of the Smurfs and Tintin. When visiting the city any trip should also include the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon (Notre Dame de Sablon), right in the heart of the historic centre of Brussels, the nearby (just 7 minutes away on foot) Royal Palace (Palais Royal de Bruxelles), the residence of the King and Queen of Belgium, and finally the Atomium, a futuristic building, originally created for the world's fair Expo 58, with the giant model of a unit cell of an iron crystal were each sphere representing an atom. And what about food and drink? With one of the biggest beer traditions in the world, Brussels (and the whole Belgium) is the perfect place to taste amazing beer - just remember to match it with the famous moules-frites, a popular dish of mussels and fries.
There are three main train stations in Brussels – Brussels Central, Brussels Nord, and Brussels Midi. Brussels Midi is the busiest train station in Belgium and serves Eurostar trains from London, Lille and Rotterdam, Thalys trains to Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, and high-speed German trains to Cologne and Frankfurt. Brussels Central is the city’s second busiest station, with high-speed services departing for key locations across Belgium and the Netherlands (Antwerp, Amsterdam, Ghent). Brussels North serving national and international services is the terminus for the north-south tram line and the departure point for most urban and national buses and international coach services. Travellers can from Paris to Brussels direct in just 1h 23mins with high-speed Thalys trains. The first service departs Paris-Gare-de-Lyon at 6:43am and the final train leaves at 9:13pm, with all service arriving into Brussels South. The train from Brugge to Brussels takes just under an hour with direct services between two of Belgium’s star cities from the national rail company, SNCB. The first train departs from Brugges station at 4:08am with services departing roughly every half hour until the final train leaves at 11:22pm