Brussels, Belgium – Info

About Belgium & Brussels
Belgium is a country of about 30,500 sq. km with a population of over 10.3 million. It is a parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchy. It gained its independence from Netherlands in 1830. It is bordered by France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the North Sea. It has rather mild climatic conditions. Cool summers, mild winters and often rainy and humid. It averages about 45°F in winter and about 75°F in summer. It is nevertheless pleasant. But it’s better to have an umbrella/raincoat with you. The country has three official languages – Dutch or “Flemish,” French and German. This adheres to the ethnic make of the population too with the Dutch speaking region, Flanders in the north and the French speaking region of Wallonia in the south. Belgium is a highly industrialized country with a good manufacturing base and an excellent transportation network. The industries are concentrated more in the northern Flemish areas. Around 3/4th of its trade is with other EU countries. Euro currency started here in 2002. It is one of the founding members of the European Union. It is nicknamed Capital of Europe and Comic city.

Its capital Brussels is in the centre and is bilingual. It is known as the capital of European Union (albeit de facto) since it is the administrative center of the EU. The Head Quarters of NATO, EUROCONTROL and Western European Union are situated in Brussels.
To be specific, the capital is actually the City of Brussels municipality, which is the largest municipality of the Brussels Capital region. There is plenty to see and enjoy for a tourist in Belgium.

The official website of the city is be.brussels

 

Transportation and Tourist info in Brussels, Belgium

Belgium has rather mild climatic conditions. Cool summers, mild winters and often rainy and humid. The average temperatures range from about 40 – 45°F in winter and about 70 – 75°F in summer. It is nevertheless pleasant. It is good to layer oneself so as to adjust clothing accroding to the weather! And it’s better to have an umbrella/raincoat with you. Working days are from Monday to Friday. Banks are open from 9 AM to around 4:30-5:00 P.M. Some are open on Saturday first half. Stores are normally open till 6 P.M. and on Fridays they could be open late. Very few are open on Sundays too.

As in any other European country, Belgium runs on 220 volts electricity whereas U.S. and Canada uses 110 volts. Hence during travel to Europe one must carry a voltage adapter/transformer for appliances like hair dryer, chargers etc. Belgium has three official languages – Dutch, French and German.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium. It is best seen on foot. It is a good experience. There are numerous means of transport for getting around Belgium and Brussels in particular – train, metro, tram (streetcar), bus, taxis or cars.  The tram, metro and bus service can be opted for using the same ticket. You can take a single journey ticket, five journeys or 10 journeys ticket or a one day ticket. One can hop on and off these vehicles and it is very convenient. The ticket needs to be validated every time you get into a vehicle. Though for one hour after the first validation, the transfers are free. One can get taxis from the designated stands. Unlike NY, you cannot hail a cab in the streets. Also there the meter price includes tip. No extra tip needs to be given.

Transportation in Belgium/Brussels-

Trains in Brussels –
Le Thalys
This is a joint service by Belgian, French, Dutch and German Railways. It touches the following –
In Belgium – Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent,Liège,
Mons, Namur, Ostend.
In Netherlands – Amsterdam, Schiphol, Rotterdam, The Hague
In France – Albertville, Bourg-St.Maurice, Moutiers, Chambery, Paris
In Germany – Aachen, Cologne

SNCB
Société National des Chemins de Fer Belge (SNCB )
Tél FR : 02/5552525
Tél NL : 02/5552555

Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges SNCB (Belgium), is the Belgian national railway operator. It was created in 1926. The NMBS/SNCB is an autonomous government company. This has the facility of taking your car with you. It is cheap and fast but might be little wanting in comfort. It provides a comprehensive rail service in partnership with Thalys, Eurostar and TGV network.

Eurostar
This is a high speed rail service from U.K to France and Belgium through the Channel Tunnel (or Chunnel!). It tarted its operation in 1994. It takes a little more than two and half hours between London and Paris and about 2 hr. 15 min. between London and Brussels. This service runs daily. It also offers connecting tickets to 100 destinations across France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The fares from London to Belgium for standard class ranges from €50 (or €100) single ride for passholder type to €199 (or €398 return) single for fully lexible type. Its higher for the Leisure Select and Business Premier Class.

TGV
This is a high-speed European Rail Network connecting France to London, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Milan, Torino etc. The Gare Centrale (1000 Bruxelles) station is the closest to a number of city attractions. Other train stops include Gare du Midi (Rue de France 2, 1070 Bruxelles), Gare du Nord (Rue du Progrès 85, 1210 Bruxelles). These are well connected through other means of transport like streetcars/trams, taxis and subway (Metro). The Gare Centrale has a subway station (or Metro station) nearby along with bus stops and taxi stands.

Taxis in Belgium-
Taxis Verts: 02/3494949
Taxis Bleus: 02/2680000
Taxis Oranges: 02/5136200
Taxis Autolux: 02/5123123
Tours Taxis : 02/5371010

Car Hire in Belgium-
Avis : 02/7306211 ; 02/7306252 (H.Q. Rue Colonel Bourg 107, B-1140 Burxelles)
Hertz : 02/7173201

Metro, Tram and Bus in Belgium-
The most convenient way of travel in Brussels, the Metro forms the underground network. Brussels, Belgium Transport Map
The STIB runs the metro, tram and bus lines. All details and the trip planner are available in their official site.

Train Information, Belgium(in English)-
For both domestic trains and trains to other Euro countries (for Thalys, TGV, Eurostar) call 02/5282828.

Tourist information offices are –
The Belgian Tourist Information Center
Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes 63
1000 Bruxelles
Phone – 02/5138940

Brussels International Tourism
Ground Floor
Town Hall, Grand Place.

Related Article:
Tourist Spots IN Bruges
Tourist places NEAR Bruges

How to get to Bruges (Brugge), Belgium – Transportation
Traveling within Bruges (Brugge), Belgium – Transport Information
The Markt (Market) Square-Bruges
Belfry (Belfort) of Bruges
.
Church of Our Lady & Statue of Madonna and the Child – Part 1 ; Part 2
The Beguinage (Begijnhof) of Bruges
Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek)- Part 1 ;   Part 2

Miami Airport shuttle (MIA) to South beach, FLL airport, port everglades, Miami beach, key west, dolphin mall

Miami Airport shuttle – A variety of shuttle services are available from Miami International airport to various destinations and area hotels, including MIA shuttle to South Beach. There are frequent shuttle departures and this is an incredibly cheap option. Most area hotels provide complimentory shuttle services for their customers. The commercial shuttle services provide a discount for additional passengers in the same group, traveling to the same address ( only the first passenger pays the full rate ).

MIami Airport Code is MIA (Miami International Airport).

MIA shuttle to South Beach

South Beach ( SoBe), an awesome entertainment hub, is located east of the main Miami city between Biscayne bay and the Atlantic Ocean. There are numerous night clubs, Hotels and restaurants. The major neighborhoods include City center, soFi – south of fifth, star, rivo alto hibiscus island, belle isle, san marino and palm islands. South Beach is well connected by numerical streets starting all the way from south pointe drive ( Biscayne street) to lincoln road.

Shuttle rates for passengers going to or  coming from the following locations (Hotels ) :

  • Coconut Grove–   $15 ( first passenger), $8 (Additional passengers)
  • Key Biscayne –  $25 (first passenger),  $15 (Additional passengers)

miami_airport_shuttle

Miami Airport shuttle to south beach, hotels, port everglades

For door-to-door service to residential areas, the fare is higher. Service to Coconut Grove and adjoining areas will cost $22 for the first passenger and $11 for additional passengers. The shuttle fare for Key Biscayne and nearby areas is $27 for the first person and $14 for additional passengers in the same group ( discounted rate).

The route 150 bus (Airport Beach express) is a direct bus service that connects Miami International airport to various neighborhoods of South Beach and it costs $2.35 for the ride. The frequence is every 30 minutes from 6:00am to 11:00 pm, including weekends.

Miami Airport shuttle to Miami Beach

Miami Beach is a popular resort city, consisting of a number of barrier islands between Biscayne Bay and Atlantic City, located in Miami-dade county. Neighborhoods include Brickell and Downtown, and there is a network of Metrobus lines connecting Downtown with Metrorail ( take the “S” Bus ).

Shuttle fare between MIA and Sunny Isles as well as North, Central and South Miami Beach :

Miami  Beach North :

  • 71st street   :   First passenger – $25 , additional members : $ 11  ( for door to door residential addresses, it is $22/$11)
  • Bal Harbor :  $ 22 / $12  ( Residential rates :  $25/ $14 )

Miami Beach Central :

  • 41st street :  $20/$10  ( Res : $24 / $11)

Miami Beach South :

  • Lincoln Road : $20/$10  ( Res : $24 / $11)

Sunny Isles :

  • 163rd street :  $30 /$15  ( Res : #32 / $16 )
  • 185th street :  $31 /$6  ( Res : #33 / $17 )

MIA airport shuttle to key west – Fare

Key west is an island located in the straits of Florida and is about 4 miles long and approximately 1 mile in width.

Rate :  Approximately $75 to $90 per passenger.

Miami airport shuttle to cruise port terminal/ Miami airport shuttle to Port Everglades – Fare

Port Everglades is a busy seaport located in Broward county ( in fact, it is the third busiest cruise port in the world – the first and second being port Miami and Port canaveral).

  • Shuttle rates from MIA to Port Everglades :  $37/$28  (residential door-to-door rates :  $43 / $16 )

Miami international airport shuttle to dolphin mall – Fare

The Dolphin mall is located five miles west of MIA Airport at the intersection of Florida turnpike and Dolphin Expressway (SR 836). The mall is open from 10am to 9:30pm. Dolphin mall is the largest shopping and entertainment center in Miami dade area. Dolphin Mall provides a shuttle service to the mall from the Miami International Airport (MIA) as well as nearby hotels in the Airport area and Downtown Miami. The pick up and drop off area is at the Airport Departure Level ( 2nd Floor) concourse “E” outside the Airport Hotel at bus station # 3 as well as outside concourse “H” at bus station # 5. The shuttle can seat 32 passengers.

  • Round trip shuttle fare from MIA to Dolphin mall : $10

Miami Airport shuttle to FLL airport – Fare
Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (Airport code : FLL) is located near the cruise line terminals of port Everglades and is about three miles from downtown fort Lauderdale. A large percentage of the flights is to the caribbean.

  • Fort Lauderdale Airport – FLL : $37 / $15  ( residential : $42 / $16 )
  • Fort Lauderdale Downtown :  $48/$20

Other Rates :

MIA to Hollywood ( $30/$20 ),  Miami airport to South Homestead ( $60),  North Homestead ($40),  Miami airport to Kendall (Dadeland) : $25, Miami airport to west Kendall ($31),  Airport to Miami springs ($16),  Miami international airport to Hialeah south ($23), Hialeah North ($26), Airport to Coral Gables ( 7th to 24th street ) –  $18, Coral Gables ( 24th to 40th street) : $22.

MIA airport shuttle to south beach, miami beach
MIA airport shuttle to south beach, miami beach

 

Checkout additional Miami / MIA airport information here:   MIA Taxi fare, Metro bus, Train and cabsMiami Airport Cheap parking, Discount rate, MIA Parking coupons etcMiami International airport /MIA / Wilcox field terminals , City of Miami Beach official site

 

Cuba – New frontier for travel companies

[vc_row full_width=”” full_height_row=”” parallax=”” wide_row=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][imageeffect image=”1023″ titleoverlay=”” lightbox=”” target=”_self”][vc_column_text]Now that Cuba is opening up for American travelers (almost !), the travel industry is planning a major expansion to cater to a large number of tourists visiting the island. Airlines, Cruise lines and agents are getting ready to handle visitors under the new rules which allow “purposeful” trips like humanatarian or educational missions. However most agencies are preparing for the open travel, which they beleive would be in the near future.

Carnival cruises said in a statement that it will begin cruises to the island next May for cultural exchanges.

Cuba already ranks as the second-largest tourist destination in the Caribbean and could become the number one if American travel is completely opened up. As per most estimates, Americans already account for one in six of Cuba’s 3 million visitors (Mostly Cuban-Americans visiting family). Once the travel policies/regulations are cleared, that number is expected to increase by 1.5 to 2 million.

Contingent on Cuban government approval, Carnival plans weeklong trips from Miami every other week starting in May on a 710-passenger ship ( fathom) which specializes in “social-impact travel” such as volunteering & cultural exchange.[/vc_column_text][imageeffect image=”1024″ titleoverlay=”” lightbox=”” target=”_self”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Vacation rental search engine startup tripping.com funded 16 million

[vc_row full_width=”” full_height_row=”” parallax=”” wide_row=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][imageeffect image=”1020″ titleoverlay=”” lightbox=”” target=”_self”][vc_column_text]Tripping.com has received 16 Million investment from multiple investors including Steadfast Venture Capital and Enspire Capital. Enspire is based out of Singapore. Tripping can be considered as a vacation rental search engine, which operates through partnership with other booking websites like hipmunk, goseek, tripadvisor etc. Unlike Airbnb, Tripping’s role is limited to searching for a great deal; it doesn’t get involved in rental management.Those arrangments are handled by it’s partners on a commission basis.

CEO Jen O’Neal describes the company as “the first vacation rental search engine” working in partnership with worldwide agencies and has the entire range from budget rentals to luxury mansions.

Tripping has over five million listings in over 100,000 cities. The search filters are comprehensive – so it’s easy to narrow down on a property based on location, rates, amenities like Wifi, AC etc.

As of July 2015, the company has raised over $21 million USD.

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