Getting round Brussels – Lonely Planet

Video Getting round Brussels – Lonely Planet

Not too large, not too small, Brussels is juuust proper for leisurely exploring. Getting round Belgium’s capital is straightforward by foot or by wheel and there’s no scarcity of sustainable public transport on this historic, foodie metropolis.

Town’s multilingual signage and complicated ticketing techniques will be complicated, however as soon as tickets are in hand, getting round Brussels is as straightforward as navigating some other European capital. Listed here are some ideas that can assist you in your merry manner.

Understanding the Brussels transport system

Simply as Belgium is culturally divided into French-speaking Wallonia and Dutch-speaking Flanders, public transport in Brussels is run in a number of languages by a number of corporations who’ve solely a love for acronyms in frequent. Getting a deal with on who does what’s the key to understanding public transport within the Belgian capital.

Do not overlook strolling: downtown Brussels could be very pedestrian-friendly ©kavalenkava / Shutterstock

Brussels’ wonderful built-in bus-tram-metro system is operated by the transport firm STIB/MIVB (made up of French STIB and Dutch MIVB), and its tickets are legitimate for all trams and the Metro, however not for all metropolis buses. Most downtown buses are run by STIB-MVIB, with indicators in French, however buses to town’s outskirts could also be run by Flemish firm De Lijn (white and yellow buses) or Wallonian firm TEC (yellow and crimson buses), with their very own ticketing techniques.

Belgian practice firm SNCB-NMBS, has an analogous break up establish; SNCB is French, NMBS is Dutch. Which title you see will rely on the place you might be, and the language you’re studying in. Simply do not forget that they’re the identical factor, they usually don’t settle for STIB/MVIB tickets. Head spinning from all of the acronyms and divisions? Welcome to Belgium!

Regardless of the firm or language, providers run from about 6am to midnight and join each nook of town. Maps exhibiting routes and connections in English, French, Dutch and different languages will be downloaded or considered on the STIB/MVIB web site and the web sites of different operators.

Transport Passes

Fortunately, now you can save your self a headache on public transport with the BRUPASS. Launched in 2021, this mixed ticket can be utilized on any type of transport inside Brussels, together with STIB/MVIB buses, trams and the metro, De Lijn and TEC suburban buses and SNCB/NMBS commuter trains.

BRUPASSes are loaded onto a plastic MOBIB card, which you scan when getting on and off public transportation. The MOBIB card itself is €5, so it solely works out cheaper in the event you’ll be in Brussels for a couple of days. To make use of the cross on SNCB-NMBS trains, validate your MOBIB card on the ticket merchandising machines by deciding on ‘Validation Brupass’ earlier than boarding.

Offered at kiosks and ticket workplaces in main practice and metro stations, BRUPASSES can be found for single journeys and blocks of 10 journeys, or as season tickets; the 10-trip BRUPASS is probably the most economical possibility. You may want the marginally costlier BRUPASS XL model for day journeys outlying stops on the SNCB-NMBS practice community.

A tram trundles by way of downtown Brussels ©Shutterstock / JJFarq


It doesn’t matter what you do in Brussels, take the tram at the very least as soon as. Powered by renewable vitality, trams in Brussels are probably the most scenic and sustainable transport possibility, and you will get nice views of town as you trundle across the cobbled streets. That is additionally one of the simplest ways (subsequent to strolling) for getting a way of how town suits collectively.

Trams are straightforward to search out, too. STIB-MIVB operates 147km (92mi) of tram traces all through the capital, and tram stops are recognized by indicators and shelters beside the tracks. Buy tickets from the driving force on the entrance, then listen! Trams don’t robotically cease at every cease, so when nearing your vacation spot, press the button by your seat and the tram will halt and allow you to off.

Native’s tip for taking the tram: Taking a brief hop sans ticket may appear tempting, particularly when late or after a couple of tripels, however don’t collapse to that temptation. Unsympathetic police patrol tram stations, and fines for touring with no ticket are €100+. Save your self a effective and simply purchase a ticket.


Run by STIB/MVIB, the metro is the quickest approach to get round Brussels. Signage is obvious even in the event you don’t converse French, trains are frequent and (largely) on time, and there aren’t any site visitors jams… although you may need to combat your manner onto the platform throughout rush hour. As an additional perk, Brussels’ metro runs on renewable vitality.

All stations have STIB/MVIB ticketing kiosks. Purchase a paper ticket or cost up your reusable MOBIB card, then scan your ticket or faucet your card to open the gates. If you wish to bypass tickets utterly, contactless cost was just lately launched on the Brussels metro. Simply faucet your bank card or cell phone (with Google Pay or Apple Pay) on the crimson scanners by the gates. Nevertheless, you possibly can solely use one card per passenger.


A number of corporations function buses in Brussels: STIB/MVIB runs most buses downtown, whereas De Lijn and TEC cowl the suburbs. Frustratingly, their tickets aren’t interchangeable, so select the best ticket to your journey. Tickets will be bought from drivers for all three corporations; De Lijn additionally sells e-tickets on their app and web site, and TEC has its personal app for e-tickets. Validate e-tickets within the app proper earlier than boarding, then present the affirmation to the driving force.

A row of bicycles ready for riders in Brussels ©Shutterstock / Latent Picture


Belgium is a bicycle-loving nation, and pedal fanatics fill Brussels’ bike lanes. Cyclists must cease at lights-and ought to, for security reasons-but since bikes can simply bypass queues of site visitors, biking remains to be a quick approach to journey across the metropolis. Should you come to Brussels on the Eurostar, folding bikes will be carried (in a bag) even if you cannot safe an area for a full-sized bike.

Should you’d somewhat organize wheels on arrival, some resorts supply complimentary bicycles, and plenty of have areas to cost electrical bikes. For leases, native bicycle sharing platforms corresponding to Billy Bike, Villo! and Blue Bike make it straightforward to lease by the hour. Obtain the corporate’s app, hyperlink your card to an account, then you definitely’ll be able to roll.


Relying on which Brussels neighborhood you’re staying in, you may not want to make use of overland trains in any respect. Trains are solely actually mandatory to move to the airport or take day journeys from Brussels. Should you do want the practice, head to one of many three predominant stations: Gare du Nord (north), Bruxelles Centrale (central), and Bruxelles Midi (south); most intercity trains by way of Brussels cease in any respect three.

Prepare tickets are offered at ticketing terminals and workplaces in stations, or through the Belgian practice system’s web site or app. Observe that trains in Belgium have first and second class compartments, indicated by numbers by the doorways. To be fancy in top notch you want an expensive top notch ticket.

Native’s tip for taking the practice: Belgium trains are sometimes delayed… generally for greater than an hour. If timing is important, go away early so your plans gained’t be ruined by delays.

Driving comes second finest to taking public transport in Brussels ©Jonathan Smith / Lonely Planet


Vehicles are probably the most troublesome approach to get round Brussels. Petrol costs and parking charges are steep, highway signage is extreme and illogical, and Belgian drivers are notoriously unconcerned with guidelines. If you wish to get round Brussels by automobile, extra sustainable options are Taxi Verts or experience sharing apps like Heetch or Uber (which was technically banned in Brussels as of 2021 however remains to be used). When you have a European driver’s license, you possibly can lease a automobile in Brussels by the hour with car-sharing apps Poppy and Cambio.

Accessible transportation in Brussels

Widespread accessible transportation in Brussels isn’t a factor… but. Some stations are solely accessible by steps, elevators don’t all the time work, and vacationers should ebook forward to obtain help on trains. You possibly can nevertheless ebook accessible taxis by way of Taxi Verts. Till the problems are resolved, is a helpful metropolis information for disabled vacationers. It lists accessible stations in Brussels by transport sort and offers contact info for reserving help prematurely.

You might also like: 5 finest neighborhoods to get a really feel for BrusselsBrussels’ finest metropolis parks with a Belgian twistThe 10 finest day journeys from Brussels

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