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Get away: International travel options from Brussels
Belgium is at the heart of the highspeed train network. Eurostar trains use the Channel Tunnel and serve Brussels, Lille, Amsterdam and London. Don’t forget your passport or ID card, and note that some tickets require that you check in up to 30 minutes in advance. Discounts are available for business customers and frequent travellers, and tickets can be booked online or from travel agencies or international ticket desks.
Thalys is a high-speed train that operates between Midi station and Amsterdam, Aachen and Paris. You can book up to three months in advance. It links with the French TGV trains to more than 30 destinations in France. Thalys also offers a low-cost, no-frills service called Izy on its Brussels-to-Paris route; tickets from €19. ICE connects Brussels with Frankfurt three times a day, via Liège, Aachen and Cologne.
Brussels Airport is located in Zaventem, northeast of Brussels. It’s home to national carrier Brussels Airlines as well as major international airlines. Some charter companies also operate from here. A taxi from Brussels Central or Midi station to Zaventem airport will cost approximately €45.
There are direct trains to Zaventem from most major Belgian cities, including all mainline Brussels stations. Buy tickets online, at the station or on the train for a €7 surcharge. A train from Brussels costs €9 each way and takes 20-30 minutes. Stib bus line 12 operates between Trône and Zaventem. Tickets cost €6. A pilot project allows passengers to pay with contactless bank cards on board.
Brussels South Charleroi Airport is the country’s second biggest airport. Located in Gosselies, south of Charleroi, it is popular for lowcost airlines, including Ryanair. There are regular shuttle buses from Midi.
They circulate from 03.30 and cost up to €14.20 each way if booked in advance. Tickets bought on board cost €17. There is also a service to and from Lille, Luxembourg and Metz. A taxi costs about €70 if booked in advance, and up to €120 without a booking.
It is also possible to take a train to Charleroi Sud railway station 20 minutes away and pick up a local bus. A combined train/bus ticket is available from Tec/SNCB/NMBS. Parking at the airport costs from €8 a day.
Long-distance buses leave Brussels every day for destinations including Barcelona, London, southern France, Prague, Bratislava and Budapest. Most buses have free wifi and electric sockets, and some sell drinks and snacks on board. Services depart from Midi or North station, depending on the route.
Currently only P&O serves Belgium, making the crossing from Zeebrugge to Hull (13-14 hours) up to seven times a week.