I’m rounding up a few more interesting places and tips for anyone else planning a trip to Brussels. First, a few things we didn’t manage to do:
Tourist Tramway & Tram Museum
If you’re in Brussels on a Sunday during the Summer, this looks really fun – a tour around the city on a 1930s tram! It does take four hours and cost 20€ but you get to see a lot of places. The tram museum looks interesting too.
Mini-Europe & Océade
Both right beside the Atomium, and there are combined tickets if you visit more than one so worth doing if you have the time. Mini-Europe is, as the name suggests, a collection of scale models of European landmarks and Océade is a water park.
www.minieurope.com | www.oceade.be
Comic Book Museum
If you like comics but don’t want to trek out to Musee Herge, this looks pretty good too. It was quite close to our hotel, but we never quite made it there.
The Metro (subway) and trams turned out to be pretty easy to use, once we got the hang of it. The best way is to buy a multi-journey ticket as you can use these on the metro, trams and buses. There are English-language ticket machines and it’s one price/ticket for each trip you take, no matter how far you go. We were lucky that our hotel was on the same metro line as the Eurostar station and the Atomium so we didn’t have to do anything too complicated. We also managed to buy train tickets to Louvain-la-Neuve from a ticket machine at Gare du Midi without any issues, though having our multi-lingual mother around to check things was very helpful!
Our hotel had free wi-fi everywhere so that was brilliant for researching trains and opening times and things (as well as spamming Instagram with updates!). I don’t know if there was much free wifi around town as we mostly managed fine without it. I just had to remember to screenshot things I might want to check later.
In general, shops are closed on Sundays and museums on Mondays so plan carefully! If we’d known this, we could have done our out of town trip on the Sunday and kept our Saturday for shopping. We walked all the way into town from our hotel on Sunday and the only thing that was open was a Carrefour until we got to Grand Place, where the tourist shops were mostly open.
This was my first time on the Eurostar, and one of the reasons for choosing Brussels, and it was brilliant. The check-in/security stuff is a bit tedious, but nowhere near as bad as getting a plane, plus you leave and arrive right in the city centres. It’s really fast and you get a decent amount of space. I would definitely use it again and I think we’re all already thinking about where else it goes.
This isn’t really anything to do with Brussels, but we stayed in the crazy cheap EasyHotel in Glasgow on the way back as we got in really late, and it was a real surprise! For £19 a room, we were expecting something super basic, grotty and cramped, but bearable for a night’s sleep. Instead we each got a clean room with a double bed, a little bit of space around it and a little bathroom pod including a shower! It was actually much nicer than our shared room in London at 3 times the price. You have to pay extra for wifi, TV or a window but the lack of window was actually a bonus as we slept really well in the pitch dark. I will be keeping it in mind if I need to stay over in Glasgow again. There are EasyHotels in Edinburgh and London too, but they seem to be more expensive.