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UPDATE: A few days after this answer an attack took place. I maintain that attacks are possible, but very unlikely. Just like anywhere in Europe. I added a community wiki answer focusing on the implications for travelers of the 22 March attack. Read that answer if you are looking for practical information. The last event considered a terrorist attack in ...


24

Ryanair moved all its flights to Charleroi according to their own communication with the original flight times until at least the 29th. You are right that Charleroi can not accommodate all flights for all airlines from Zaventem. But not all airlines are moving to Charleroi. Some are moving to other airports and others are cancelling. As an example, Brussels ...


23

Train segments are handled differently to airline segments, and the implications for skipped segments are slightly different. Unlike air segments, the airline has no real way of knowing if you actually boarded the train, only that you picked up the tickets. So as long as you pickup your train tickets (not just your boarding passes!) at Schiphol then your ...


22

Train Station Facilities At least three of Brussel’s railway stations offer left-luggage facilities. The busiest of the three stations (Centraal) is about two kilometres from each of the others and about 11 kilometres south west of Brussels airport (itself about 45 kilometres north of Charleroi airport): Brussels North (Nord / Noord) Luggage Storage The ...


22

It's Hôtel Le Dôme, Place Rogier, Brussels, Belgium. You can see this building on Google Street view - pretty much the same today as it was in the photo.


22

Because of events a few days after the posting of the question, I'm adding a second answer. On 22 March 2016, there were several attacks on Brussels. At the moment confirmed are a bombing of Brussels Airport and an explosion in or near Maalbeek metro station. The points below are partly speculation, but based on the experience of someone working in Brussels....


21

Between Brussels and Bruges, you've basically got one train every 30 minutes for most of the day, taking about an hour. There's no discount for buying these in advance. It's currently €14.80 for a single, double that for a return. However, if you're doing a return over a weekend (out Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, back Saturday or Sunday), there is a ...


20

You can book this, it will be fine. For the ICE (Inter-City express) part a reservation is optional. If you want to be sure of a seat, make a reservation. If you don't you may have to search a while for a seat that isn't occupied, and if the train is very full you may end up standing or sitting on your luggage next to the doors. For the RE (Regional ...


18

Yes, both automatic lockers and manned storage of left luggage are available as of today. I just went to check myself. Everything is accessible and there is no sign whatsoever indicating anything particular. At the automatic lockers some were occupied (red light and locked), others were available (green light and I could open them). The manned storage was, ...


17

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 ...


14

As Roflcoptr says, your Thalys is booked to leave from Platform 5. Your best bet for platform 5 is to exit the Eurostar platform on the exit about half way along the train - not the one at the very front of the train. This'll drop you down by the Thalys lounge, and pretty much by a set of stairs up to platform 5. There's also a lift there too, handy with ...


14

Thalys is definitely the fastest way of getting from Brussels to Paris. You can buy tickets directly at the Thalys website. You can also buy them at the Belgian (SNCB) or French (SNCF) railway companies. The prices are in principle identical. The trip by bus takes around 5 hours, to be compared to the 1h20 of the train trip. Apart from Eurolines you can use ...


14

Yes, you can travel with regional trains. It takes a little over 4 hours plus the connection times, and there are no good connections, so count on 5 to 6 hours for the journey. The bus takes 4–5 hours and is cheaper than regional trains. It isn't easy to find the train times or prices because online planners tend to go for the fastest journey only. There's ...


14

Regular tickets to Brussels bought in the Benelux (i.e. not the special Thalys, Eurostar, etc. international tickets) are typically marked as “Zone Bruxelles”. The English-language version only has a definition but the French-language website of the Belgian railways lists the following stations as part of the “Brussels zone”: Berchem-Ste-Agathe, Bockstael,...


14

As you state, some Belgians are overly sensitive to language issues. Usually, as a tourist you should not have problems due to that, but of course you can always get unlucky and meet the exceptional sour grape. Brussels is officially bilingual (Dutch-French), but in reality French is the dominant language. It is also an international city, so English (and a ...


13

@blackbird57's answer is correct but refers to a 3rd party site instead of relevant FAQ on the website of the European Commission: An airport transit visa (ATV) authorises you to pass through the international transit zone at an airport located on the territory of the Schengen State and to await a connecting flight to a non-Schengen country. The ATV ...


13

You can buy tickets beforehand, but there is no real advantage. The price is the same and you can't make reservations. A ticket is valid on any train. On those days you should have plenty of place on the train, so I wouldn't worry about that. In my experience the end of the train (going to Bruges) and front of the train (going to Brussels) is where you have ...


12

There is no bus connection between Leuven or Brussels and Luxembourg. So you have to go by train. There is an hourly direct train from Brussels to Luxembourg. There is no direct train from Leuven. You have to make a connection in Ottignies (on the Brussels-Luxembourg line). There is at least one train per hour between Leuven and Ottignies. Alternatively, you ...


12

With one connection in Paris, the cheapest I found on french voyages-sncf.com was a ticket for two passengers at about 170 EUR (210 CHF). But I agree that usual fares are more in the 400 CHF range. It would be worth to spend some time with a SBB-CFF employee or in a travel agency to find the cheapest train at the dates you plan to travel. Alternatively, ...


12

TL;DR - These appear to only be bookable on the website, and must be booked more than 1.5 days before departure, but are a fixed amount as shown in the screenshot . These tickets are a little bit special, in many ways, and seem to be rather difficult to actually book. The prices are given on the Eurostar Belgian website (but not most of the other Eurostar ...


12

Other answers have detailed what is going on with these tickets, let me explain why. These tickets are strange because of the so-called "Lille Loophole". Passengers from Brussels to Lille are making an cross-border intra-Schengen journey and therefore do not have to show their passport to travel. This means that people who are not entitled to travel to the ...


12

You can skip the train ride after the flights, but not the other way around. For example, KLM sells flight tickets starting from a train station in Belgium, where you have to check-in in Belgium already, therefore you cannot just show up in Amsterdam and try to board on the plane. It may still be possible somehow, but it's not guaranteed, hence not ...


12

I have now made the trip and can therefore answer my own question. Yes, they do let you take the earlier Thalys train, but you will not have a seat reservation, so the trip may be less comfortable. Taking the earlier train may be seen as a trade-off between time and comfort. Getting to the earlier train in time was easy as I suspected. It took me less than ...


11

I quote from my Lonely Planet book: Those staying in hostels, doing a museum, filling up with fast fodder like frites (chips or fries) and baguettes and downing a good beer or two can expect to spend from €40 per day. Those opting for hotels with full amenities and midrange restaurants will pay from €120. B&Bs offer excellent value, as do ...


10

The fastest route is the Thalys train that takes 1:22 hours and is a non stop train. If you compare that to the car, you need more than 3 hours according to Google. Consequently, buses can't be any faster than cars. Another option would be flying, but a flight takes around 1 hours, without including the time for getting to the airport, security check, ...


10

I'm in the lounge now, so I can confirm that the Qype review is largely correct. The lounge is at the other side of the station from the main cross-concourse, so you either need to take the lift down from the south end of the Thalys platform, or walk down the westerly corridor and round the corner. If you take the southerly exit from the Eurostar platforms (...


10

Your train leaves from track 5. The Belgian RailTime website can give you this information.


10

If you're willing to sacrifice speed and comfort to travel cheaper, then car pooling or an advance booking on a Eurolines bus is likely to come out cheaper than the train. From Zürich to Brussels, you have to go through either France or Germany. It's quite possible that careful shopping between SBB, SNCF, DB and SNCB will yield a cheaper price than booking ...


10

As long as you remain in the transit area of the airport, you do not need a visa as an Indian citizen in Belgium (or any other Schengen country except France, Germany, Spain and the Czech Republic), even if you need to disembark and catch a connecting flight. This should also apply to any unexpected need to leave the airplane in your case. If you would ...


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