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11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

California
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11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

Is there any advice on how I can see some of the city during my daytime layover? I thought about the hop on hop off bus idea but am not sure where I would find it at/from the airport. Any alternative solutions or ideas? I don't want to just sit at the airport. Are there any Brussels city tours available from and returning to the airport? thanks..

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Brussels, Belgium
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1. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

No there are no tours leaving from and returning to the airport (unless taxi tours). But you can take the train from below the airport into Brussels, get off at Gare centrale (2nd stop) and either take HoHo bus from there - they all wait in that area - or better yet, just walk down the hill and visit the Grand' Place and Galeries St. Hubert for yourself. If you then want to continue on HoHo bus (which can't visit these as pedestrian only), there's a stop outside the Falstaff next to the Bourse (stock exchange) on the other side of the GP from Gare centrale: take rue au Beurre, which is the street to the right of the Roi d'Espagne, the big building straight ahead of you is the back of the Bourse, walk to the left of it and you'll find the HoHo stop.

KTfromNC
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2. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

But you can take the train from below the airport into Brussels, get off at Gare centrale (2nd stop) and better yet, just walk down the hill and visit the Grand' Place and Galeries St. Hubert for yourself.

I have to agree with this advice, but maybe with some addition.

Walk down the hill from Gare Centrale to Grasmarkt, grab a bit to eat, then go around the corner to enter the Grand Place, continue on through to go see Mannekin Pis, then walk back through the Grand Place, stop and grab an ice cream cone on your way to Galeries St. Hubert and your trek back uphill to Gare Centrale and you train back to the airport.

You'll see some very nice sights, your feet will be worn, and you'll be filled with good food.

And very ready to sit at the airport.... :-)

Edited: 30 June 2011, 02:12
California
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3. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

Thanks so much KT from NC and quaminari for your input. Now I have a game plan! Can't wait to see some of Brussels!

Brussels, Belgium
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4. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

"Walk down the hill from Gare Centrale to Grasmarkt": Grasmarktstraat or Rue du Marché aux Herbes IS the street going down the hill: from Gare centrale, take the archway to the left of the Méridien hotel and turn right after it - you will be in rue du Marché aux Herbes. Where it flattens out at the bottom there is a (triangular) "square" with a fountain, called the Carrefour de l'Europe, and you will see on your right the Galeries St. Hubert and on your left (after Panos) a street leading into the GP.

I don't know why you should eat anything, necessarily, before visiting either of these (would depend somewhat on the time of day!), and no local would recommend visiting the Mannekin Pis at all, but you can decide for yourself what you do and don't want to see in that area, it is easy to research on the internet.

If you want to taste local specialities, this would not be ice-cream - and especially not from the American chain Haagen-Däzs at the entrance to the Galeries St. Hubert! However, the first branch of the first Belgian chocolate shop, Neuhaus, is in the Galeries (along with several others); and one block from the GP on the other side of it - on the way to the MP, if you are going there - you will find Dandoy opposite the Amigo Hotel. They produce different types of biscuits (cookies) such as speculoos, and upstairs there is a café serving the best waffles, of both the Brussels and Liège varieties, in the city if not the whole of Belgium. If you do go as far as the MP, right next to it is a beer café called Poechenellekelder which is the only place in Brussels where the bill (check) comes in Bruxellois.

Also if you go that far, if you walk (left) a little way up the street running between the MP and Poechenellekelder, and turn around to face downhill, you will see, on the side-wall of a building on the left, one of Brussels' cartoon murals, showing a firework display. If, instead of walking back the way you came (rue de l'Etuve), you then walk straight ahead down the rue des Grands Carmes - past the Cercle des Voyageurs on your right where you might stop for coffee - cross rue du Midi, and - just before the church - turn right into rue du Marché au Charbon, you will pass a couple more cartoon murals on either side of the junction with rue du Lombard. Rue du Marché au Charbon brings you back to the GP or you can carry on down rue du Midi to Bourse - and if you continue along rue des Fripiers, Place de la Monnaie where the opera house is, and the beginning of the main shopping area. Incidentally if you take the street just before Place de la Monnaie, it leads up to the cathedral (near Gare centrale), and the other end of the Galeries St. Hubert i.e. the opposite end from the one near the GP.

Edited: 30 June 2011, 12:33
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5. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

< "Walk down the hill from Gare Centrale to Grasmarkt": Grasmarktstraat or Rue du Marché aux Herbes IS the street going down the hill: from Gare centrale, take the archway to the left of the Méridien hotel and turn right after it - you will be in rue du Marché aux Herbes. >

No. The street that runs behind the Méridien hotel and alongside Novotel is rue de l'Infante Isabelle. Rue du Marché aux Herbes starts after Carrefour de l'Europe, by Galéries St Hubert.

The street address of Novotel is "rue de l'Infante Isabelle" - even though the main entrance is round the corner at the top of the square.

California
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6. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

Thank you for your clarification of streets! I also appreciate the effort to point out where I might have an authentic Belgian nibble or two... however, I follow a kosher diet so likely will not find much that I will be able to eat.. unless you know of a kosher restaurant in that area! It is so kind of you to take the time to guide me on my mini-tour on my first visit to Brussels!

Great Neck, New York
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7. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

I am taking the same trip on Aug 2nd.

I do also follow Kosher diet. I do like to hear of your research and the experience. thks

8. Re: 11 hr layover.. need to see some Brussels

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