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 –
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Phone – 02/5138940
Brussels International Tourism
Town Hall, Grand Place.