A weekend in…

Be­fore you go

… al­low us to point out some easy ways to get more out of your city trip to Brus­sels. As is so of­ten the case, the se­cret lies in the prepa­ra­tion. When should you go? What’s the best way to get there? Where should you stay? Which items are in­dis­pens­able i

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Let’s face it: Brus­sels isn’t ex­actly an ex­otic, sunny par­adise. In fact, the weather is pretty much the same as in the United King­dom, if a tad drier. To in­crease your odds of hav­ing a sunny stay, late spring or sum­mer are the times to go. From April on, the tem­per­a­tures are mild and the num­ber of rainy days de­creases. In July and Au­gust, the tem­per­a­tures can climb up to 25 de­grees – or you might even get a rare 30 de­grees, if you’re lucky. If you go be­tween Septem­ber and April, you might want to wear a warm coat and bring an um­brella. These are just sta­tis­tics, though. The weather in Brus­sels seems to fol­low only one rule – you can never be sure what to ex­pect.

What to pack?

Be­sides warm, water­proof cloth­ing (if you go in win­ter), you should bring some cash with you. While su­per­mar­kets, restau­rants and ma­jor shops al­most al­ways ac­cept card pay­ments, smaller pur­chases of­ten have to be made in cash. Of course, the city counts ATMs aplenty, so you can with­draw money any­where you want.

Brus­sels is easy to walk through, so hik­ing boots can – but don't need to be – worn. Avoid en­ter­ing the his­toric cen­tre on stilet­tos, though. Its cob­bled streets make it a high-heel night­mare.

Brus­sels isn’t overly touristy, so book­ing your vis­its in ad­vance is usu­ally not re­quired. Only a guided visit to the Euro­pean in­sti­tu­tions re­quires a reser­va­tion. When go­ing for din­ner, how­ever, we ad­vise you to book a table in ad­vance, at least if you’ve got your mind set on a spe­cific place. Bel­gians eat

around 7pm, so by then, it can be hard to find a va­cant table any­where. If you want to go to a con­cert, play or sports event, check in ad­vance whether a reser­va­tion is nec­es­sary.

Brus­sels is easy to reach by plane, as most Bri­tish and Euro­pean in­ter­na­tional air­ports have at least one daily con­nec­tion with Brus­sels Air­port. More­over, flights are usu­ally very cheap. If you are lucky, you can get to Brus­sels for 20 eu­ros or less. If you want to travel by train, you can take the in­ter­city from Am­s­ter­dam

(3 hours), the Thalys from Am­s­ter­dam (2 hours) or Paris (1.30 hours), the Eurostar from Am­s­ter­dam (2 hours) or Lon­don (2 hours), the ICE from Cologne (1.45 hours) and Frank­furt (3 hours), or the night train from Inns­bruck (15 hours) or Vienna (14 hours).

Where to stay?

As a busi­ness cen­tre pur sang, Brus­sels counts nu­mer­ous af­ford­able busi­ness ho­tels. If you crave a bit more lux­ury, lush places like Steigen­berger Wiltcher (from €179) and The Ho­tel – where Barack Obama used to stay when he came to Brus­sels – (from €112) are great op­tions. If you search a bit, you will also dis­cover that the city counts plenty of well-hid­den bou­tique ho­tels and charm­ing bed and break­fasts – both wal­let friendly.

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