I have a seven hour layover at Brussels airport, and I'd like to know whether there is enough time to leave the airport and go into the Brussels city center for a beer or a meal?

If so, what transportation is available, how does it work, how long does it take, and how much does it cost? Are there convenient luggage lockers in the airport so that I can avoid taking my carry-on luggage into the city?

This layover is from 8:30 in the morning to 15:30 in the afternoon on a Monday, and the flight is arriving from the United States. The outgoing flight is within Western Europe.

  • 1
    Bus lines 12 and 21 are slightly cheaper, about 4 euro for a ticket. I'm not sure if this allowed to be mentioned on SO but tickets are hardly ever checked. P.S. I would have left this as a comment but I'm a noob here (gotta love SO).
    – the
    Commented Jan 4, 2014 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


It is a 20 minutes train ride to the city center. A single ticket costs 7.80 EUR and a return ticket twice that price. There are at least 3 or 4 trains per hour. Details about train travel can be found on http://www.belgianrail.be On that site you can also buy an online ticket. This will save you some precious minutes. However, you should be aware of the fact that these tickets are not refundable in case you are not using them.

You should have enough time to go to the city center. The best is to step out of the train at the Bruxelles-Central station. It is just a stone's throw from the famous Grand-Place. In that area there are plenty of spots for having a good beer and having lunch or a snack. Here is a nice spot, just next to the Manneken Pis: http://www.poechenellekelder.be/

There is an alternative to the train. The bus lines 12 et 21 link the airport to the European district. You have to get out at "Schuman" and proceed from there by metro (line 1 or line 5) to the city center. It is cheaper than the train (4 EUR for a single ticket), but takes longer (30-35 minutes in the most advantageous setting). However, the bus can be an interesting alternative if the railway employees are on strike (happens at least once or twice each year).

There are indeed luggage lockers at the airport: http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/passngr/services/luggage_lockers/

  • @nibot: Most major attractions are within walking distance of the city center as well.
    – Jonas
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 21:30
  • It is 20 minutes if you can catch a train immediately upon arrival on the platform. I would say 1h would be more appropriate to get into the city center. Buying a train ticket can be a pain as well.
    – user141
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 12:46
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    @Jonas I do not totally disagree. But this depends on how you define the "walking distance". For some people on this site, it can be a few hundred kilometers. Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 17:37
  • @MarcelC. I didn't think of that, but I hope that other readers would consider walking distance within the context of a 7hrs layover, and not try and walk to e.g. the Atomium :)
    – Jonas
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 18:20

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