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Autumn in Brussels

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Dana is a Travel Tomorrow reporter. She graduated in Political Science and International Relations. She moved to Brussels from Romania for her studies and Mont des Arts made her fall in love with the city and remain here. She loves animals, especially dogs, and everything food related, but dessert most of all.

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Nature is always the perfect subject for photography, but it puts on its best coat during autumn. Trees display a vivid colour palette that can only be replicated in paintings by the most talented artists. Thankfully for the rest of us, photography is a handy and useful tool, as hard as it is to do justice to natural beauty.

You would fairly think that you need to get out of town in search of mountains and forests to capture that perfect autumnal portrait, but cities can offer impressive views just as well and Brussels does not lack on these picture-perfect spots.

Let’s start at the edge of town. Next to Manneken Pis, the Atomium has become a world-renowned symbol of the city of Brussels. I have to admit that I find it most impressive at night, when it shines as if embellished by stars, but, if you position yourself just right and you’re patient enough for the sun to reach a good spot, you can capture something almost magical. It’s like everything comes into place especially for this beautiful shot.

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The Parc du Cinquantenaire is another landmark of the city. It was built by King Leopold II to commemorate the 50 th anniversary of the Belgian Revolution and Independence. The iconic arches and U-shaped complex house The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History in the northern part, from which you can climb to the top and admire the entire city. The southern part is home to the Art & History Museum and Autoworld, a vintage car museum.

One of the best tram rides in the world goes from central Brussels to Tervuren . Tram 44 passes through the Sonian Forest , part of UNESCO’s Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe natural heritage sites.

In the north-west of Brussels, atop a hill at the end of Park Elisabeth, lies the Basilique Nationale du SacrĂ©-CĹ“ur, The National Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Inspired by the Basilique du SacrĂ©-CĹ“ur in Paris, King Leopold II laid the first stone of the construction himself during the celebrations of Belgium’s Independence 75 th anniversary. The trees along the path in the park show you the way to the world’s 5 th largest church.

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Lastly, my personal favourite spot for an autumn day out. For three years I lived next to Bois de la Cambre. A park and forest in the south of the Brussels capital region of no less than 1.23 square kilometres that flows into the Sonian Forest. Even though it sits between arterial roads, that lead to the centre of the city, just a few steps inside you’re completely surrounded by trees that block out all the noise. The haze of quite autumn mornings always gave me an alone-in-the-world, calming feeling.

travel tomorrow brussels

Honestly, you don’t even have to go to a specific place. You can just stroll along Brussels’ cobblestoned streets and you might just stumble upon a beautiful instagrammable spot. After all, as long as you fall in love with it, nothing else matters.

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13 classic experiences to have in Brussels

Alex Reynolds

Sep 1, 2021 • 6 min read

Brussels, Belgium - August 16, 2019: People at the tables of Le Pain Quotidien cafe inside Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert, an ensemble of glazed shopping arcades in central Brussels.; Shutterstock ID 1937750464; your: AnneMarie; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online Editorial; full: Brussels best of article

Spending time at a quintessential Brussels cafe is a great way to spend an afternoon © Alena Veasey/Shutterstock

Brussels is a city of nuance. Its beauty lies in its details: wrought iron flourishes on seemingly plain houses, locals’ wry jokes paired with warm welcomes, provocative murals that make you do a double take. If you only have a few days, here are some of the top things to do in Brussels to experience the little delights of Belgium’s underrated capital.

Grand Place

Though Brussels’ central square, the Grand Place, is its most touristy spot, you can’t deny that it’s, well, grand. If you only have one day in Brussels, head there. To dig deeper, rather than treating it as a big gilded selfie backdrop, take a moment to sit and take in the intricate details of each building: a swan rearing where Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto, the boatmen guild’s gable shaped like a ship’s stern, a bas relief of Romulus and Remus with their wolf mother.  

Mannekin Pis statue in Brussels

Find the peeing trio

Manneken Pis , the “little pissing man,” is a perfect example of Belgians’ cheeky humor. Most tourists stop at the bronze boy with the bottomless bladder, but he actually has two urinary comrades. Since 1987, Jeanneke Pis has been squatting behind a red fence near Rue de Bouchers. Manneken’s best friend was added in 1998: a statue of a dog, Zinneke , casually answering nature’s call on a Rue des Chartreux bollard.

Eat waffles like a Belgian

Countless tourist shops offer “authentic” Belgian waffles loaded with all kinds of sugary additions. Sprinkles, nuts and whipped cream have their time and place, but Belgians usually skip the shops and mountains of tops. Freshly made and sticky sweet Liege waffles (Luikse in Flemish) are best enjoyed sans toppings. Waffle vans serving piping hot waffles wrapped in paper can be found all over Brussels –  city parks and weekend markets are good places to look.

Drink a beer in a brown cafe

Cramped seating, smoke-darkened wooden panels, and an extensive (but tasteful) beer list are defining features of classic Belgian “brown cafes.” Tables packed with friends laughing into the early hours are proof: having a beer in a brown cafe is one of the best things to do in Brussels at night.

No matter where you stay , there’s sure to be at least one brown cafe nearby, but centrally located favorites include Moeder Lambic in Ixelles, Poechenellekelder by the Manneken Pis, and Nüetnigenough near the Grand Place. Delirium Café  merits an honorable mention: though it’s objectively touristy and often sloppy, it does have the world’s biggest beer menu.

Musee Horta in Brussels

Visit the home of an Art Nouveau master

Curling steel vines and floral flourishes were signatures of illustrious architect Victor Horta. Considered to be one of the fathers of the 19th century Art Nouveau movement, his work influenced countless elegantly understated façades found throughout Brussels today. To honor his work, his family home in Ixelles’ Chatelain neighborhood is now open to the public as a museum. It’s not hard to find Art Nouveau’s influences in Brussels, but the Musée Horta is one of the few places where travelers can see the inner workings of Horta’s artistry.

Devour a cone of frites

Belgians love their perfectly crispy fries so much that they want the vendors’ stands placed  on UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage list! Snacking on fries is a must do while in Brussels. Portions come in many shapes with many sauces—mostly variants of mayonnaise—but the classic method is to eat the fries straight from a paper cone. Maison Antoine in Place Jourdan is a centrally located cult favorite, but prepare to wait in line!

Exterior of Africa Museum outside Brussels

Take a historic tram to Tervuren’s Africa Museum

Belgium’s colonial history is dark: “crimes against humanity” was a phrase used to describe King Leopold II’s genocide in Congo. After decades of denial, Belgium is slowly coming to terms with its crimes. Tervuren’s palatial Africa Museum is a must-visit to see the changes in progress. Tervuren is connected to Brussels by a century-old wooden tram line that passes towering trees and stately mansions on Avenue de Tervuren.

Sample gueuze beer at Cantillon Brewery

Subtly sour and extra effervescent? Must be a gueuze beer! The curious lambic-style beer hails from the Senne Valley around Brussels. Some say the doubly fermented brew is a craft substitute for champagne, others find the flavor unsettling. The only way to determine that on your own is to do a tasting at the family-run Cantillon Brewery and museum in the west of Brussels.

Savor the world’s best chocolate

Belgians will never agree on which chocolatier is best. What they can agree on is that some of the finest chocolate is in Brussels. Connoisseurs should head to the Sablon neighborhood: there you’ll find names like Wittamer, a master of the “older” generation, alongside newer chocolatiers, like Marcolini, who are more experimental with their creations. High quality comes at a high price, so if you’re traveling Brussels on a budget , the Neuhaus factory is a more budget-friendly alternative.

Walk the comic book route

Comics are a huge deal in the “comic book capital” of the world. Literally huge: Brussels is decorated with more than 60 multistory murals honoring famous comic strips! One of the best things to do in Brussels is follow the comic book route across the city, seeking out characters like Tintin and The Smurfs, plus local Belgian favorites like Suske and Wiske and Rode Ridder.

Treat your ears at the Musical Instruments Museum

Musical instruments might seem a strange choice for nonmusicians, but the interactive MIM is one of the best things to do in Brussels with kids. They can play for hours, exploring the sounds of squiggly horns and plucky pipe organs neither children nor adults have ever heard of. Once done, MIM has a rooftop restaurant that offers spectacular views of central Brussels through arched Art Nouveau windows. It’s a welcome change from somber art museums.

Moules-frites, mussels and fries

Tuck into a hot pot of moules

Moules-frites, steaming pots of mussels served with sides of fries, are a Belgian classic. Some restaurants dish up pots of mussels year-round, but Belgians claim the best mussels are only available in months whose names contain an “r.” If you’re in Brussels at the right time of year, don’t pass on the chance to tuck into fresh mussels at Le Zinneke or Le Chou de Bruxelles . Pro tip: dip your fries into the sauce at the bottom. You won’t regret it.

Hunt for bargains in Le Marolles

Long a neighborhood of the working class, Marolles is the historic heart of Brussels. The original Brusseleer dialect can still be heard on its streets today. Though times are changing and accents are fading, Marolles is still a place to get a glimpse of the past at bargain prices. Both trash and treasure are sold at the Place du Jeu-de-Balle flea market running 365 days a year, and shopping streets Rue Haute and Rue Blaes around the square are equally rife with shops selling antiques and vintage clothes.

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HOW TO GET THERE

  • How to get there?

Tomorrowland takes place at the recreation area De Schorre, in Boom. The town of Boom is situated in Belgium, between Antwerp & Brussels.    

Address: PRC de Schorre Schommelei 2850 Boom - Belgium 

Tomorrowland can easily be reached by bike, public transport or car. More detailed information on how to get to Tomorrowland will be available closer to the festival.

Free and staffed bike parkings are provided close to the Tomorrowland entrance.

Tomorrowland can easily be reached by train. Boom station is only a 30 minutes’ walk from the festival site.

From Mechelen: In Mechelen, take bus 500 towards Antwerp. The bus will drop you off near the festival entrance. After the festival, the night bus will take you back to Mechelen.

Parking vouchers will be offered for sale in the Add-On Sale in June.

TTW

Brussels Airlines & Tomorrowland: revolutionizing party flights for a greener tomorrow

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 Favorite

travel tomorrow brussels

In 2024, the renowned Tomorrowland parties are set to adopt a more sustainable approach. Brussels Airlines and Tomorrowland have forged a partnership committing to the use of 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for all designated flights, potentially reducing CO2 emissions by up to 80%. Green Fares, an eco-friendly plane ticket, will become a standard inclusion in the Global Journey package for international festivalgoers. Brussels Airlines envisions expanding such partnerships to significantly diminish its carbon footprint.

Acknowledging their ecological impact, Brussels Airlines and Tomorrowland have long invested in initiatives to mitigate their footprint. The partners strive to strike a balance between their love for music and travel and their responsibility to safeguard the planet for future generations.

“Embarking on a journey towards a better world tomorrow begins with the steps we take today. Together with Brussels Airlines we can unite festivalgoers from around the globe at Tomorrowland in Belgium. Now we are working collaboratively to amplify the power of collective action and create positive change for all, that starts with us. The People of Tomorrow can contribute to sustainability projects and at the same time reduce the environmental impact of their flights.” ​-  Debby Wilmsen , Head of Media Relations & Internal Communication, Tomorrowland

For the 11th consecutive year, Brussels Airlines will transport party enthusiasts worldwide to Belgium for the globally acclaimed music festival. In the 2024 edition, all plane tickets sold within the Global Journey packages on Brussels Airlines will be Green Fares—a unique offering within the Lufthansa Group Airlines. These fares allow passengers to purchase 20% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) while contributing 80% to high-quality, Belgian, and local climate compensation projects.

Taking a step further on the special party flights, Brussels Airlines and Tomorrowland go beyond the Green Fare by jointly contributing to the remaining 80% SAF, ensuring the purchase of 100% SAF for these flights. Lufthansa Group will procure the equivalent SAF for the required fuel on these party flights, with distribution within the group.

“At Brussels Airlines, we work very hard to combine our passion to discover the world with our responsibility to protect it for future generations. We aim to halve net carbon emissions by 2030 compared to 2019, and to be carbon neutral by 2050. Sustainable Aviation Fuel, together with fleet renewal, is a key lever in obtaining these goals. Lufthansa Group is already one of the biggest SAF-buyers in the world. We encourage every individual passenger to contribute to more SAF, with our Green Fares.” ​-  Balázs Németh , Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Brussels Airlines

Ticket sales commence on December 6th.

Striving for maximum sustainability in partnerships, Brussels Airlines aims to persuade more collaborators to establish similar agreements. Already on board is the Royal Union Saint-Gilloise football team, which has joined the coalition, committing to the purchase of 100% SAF for their flights when traveling to international games.

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London to Brussels trains

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Take a train from London to Brussels

Travelling from London to Brussels with us is simple, smart, and speedy. Go direct from city centre to city centre in just 1hr 53mins. And whether you’re going for work or play, we’ll get you there feeling relaxed and rested. Read on to discover why taking Eurostar from London to Brussels is the only way to travel.

High-speed train from London to Brussels

To start your journey, get to London St Pancras International at our recommended arrival time to allow plenty of time to go through border controls and security. This elegant historic 19th-century station is conveniently located in the heart of London and is well connected by underground lines and buses. Before you jump on one of our Eurostar trains you can indulge in some boutique shopping, experience fine dining at a world-class brasserie or enjoy a glass of bubbly at the longest champagne bar in Europe.

On board a direct train from London to Brussels

Travelling with Eurostar is simple, affordable and relaxing. You can bring two bags and one piece of hand luggage for no extra charge and with no weight limits. We won’t charge you for choosing your seats and there are no restrictions on liquids, so feel free to bring something bubbly for the journey. Find out more about our luggage allowances . Wherever you sit, you can email, tweet and post all the way with our free onboard wi-fi. You’ll find power sockets at your seat, so you can stay charged up while you relax. If you find yourself feeling peckish, you can enjoy a range of hot and cold drinks and sweet and savoury snacks at Eurostar Café . And if you’re travelling in Standard Premier or Business Premier, you’ll be served a three-course meal at your seat. Find out more about our food on board . Whether you’re travelling for work, a special occasion, or heading away on a budget break, we’ve got the travel class for you. Check out our seats in Standard , Standard Premier and Business Premier .

Arriving at Brussels-Midi/Zuid

Eurostar trains arrive into the centre of town at Brussels-Midi/Zuid station.

On arrival, you’ve plenty of choice of public transport with STIB trams and metros, and the De Lijn or Tec bus networks.

Alternatively, hop in a taxi or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not walk, it’s only about 20 minutes to some of the best shopping areas in town.

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Typically, the train journey from London to Brussels takes 1hr 53mins. When you view the available tickets, you will be able to see the length of the train journey for each departure time.

Are there additional fees when travelling with the Eurostar to Brussels?

Unlike airlines, there are no hidden costs when travelling by Eurostar. Once you have picked your train tickets (Standard, Standard Premier or Business Premier), there will be no additional fees for seat selection, advanced booking, or luggage allowance.

Can you take liquids on the Eurostar train to Brussels?

You can take liquids on the Eurostar and there is no volume limit, so you can bring all your toiletries and even a bottle of bubbly!

Can you take your own food on the Eurostar train to Brussels?

There are no food restrictions, so you’re allowed to bring your own food from home on the Eurostar.

How early should you arrive for the Eurostar train to Brussels?

Get to London St Pancras International at our recommended arrival time to allow plenty of time to get through border controls and security.

How fast does the Eurostar train to Brussels go?

Between London and Brussels, the high-speed lines allow our trains to drive at a maximum speed of 186 miles per hour (300 km/h).

Check our timetables for trains from London to Brussels

See full timetable

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Reuters

US Defense Secretary Austin cancels travel after new hospitalization

By Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin canceled a trip to Brussels for NATO defense talks after being admitted to a military hospital for a second time this year, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Austin, 70, was taken to Walter Reed Military Medical Center on Sunday for "symptoms suggesting an emergent bladder issue." On Monday, he underwent nonsurgical procedures under general anesthesia to address his bladder issue, the hospital said.

"Secretary Austin will no longer travel to Brussels this week as originally scheduled," Air Force Major General Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesperson, told a news briefing.

Austin had failed to disclose a prostate cancer surgery in December and a subsequent hospitalization in January to deal with its complications, triggering a political uproar and multiple investigations.

The Pentagon has not said whether Austin's bladder issue was another complication from that prostate surgery, but the hospital appeared to be upbeat about his cancer prognosis.

Austin was set to depart for the meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels taking place on Thursday, and a separate meeting with allies on Wednesday on how to continue supporting Ukraine in countering Russia's invasion.

The Pentagon said the meeting on Ukraine's defense needs, known as the Ukraine Defense Contact Group (UDCG), would be held virtually.

"While Secretary Austin currently intends to participate in the virtual UDCG, he will remain flexible depending on his healthcare status," Ryder said.

It was unclear when Austin would be discharged from the hospital, but he has transferred his duties to Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks. Walter Reed said Austin was expected to be able to resume his normal duties on Tuesday.

"A prolonged hospital stay is not anticipated," it said in a statement.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday that President Joe Biden has no concerns about whether Austin can serve after his latest hospitalization.

Under fire for his secrecy surrounding his medical condition, Austin apologized earlier this month for failing to tell Biden and senior staff about his cancer diagnosis ahead of time, adding that the health scare was a "gut punch" that had shaken him.

The most recent hospitalization was publicly announced soon after he was taken there by his security detail.

Austin is scheduled to testify before Congress on Feb. 29 about the secrecy surrounding his initial hospitalization.

His trip would have come at a critical time in Europe.

A narrowly divided U.S. Senate moved closer to passing a $95.34 billion aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan on Sunday, but it would face an uncertain future in the House of Representatives.

The legislation includes $61 billion for Ukraine, which is viewed as crucial by Kyiv as it grinds toward the second anniversary of full-scale Russia's invasion, with front lines in the east and south largely static for many months.

Former President Donald Trump, who is seeking a return to power in the November election, touched off a storm of criticism from the White House and top Western officials over the weekend for suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who failed to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them.

(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Eric Beech and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis, Mark Heinrich and Deepa Babington)

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holds a bilateral meeting with NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg at the Pentagon in Washington, U.S., January 29, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis

IMAGES

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COMMENTS

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    Drink a beer in a brown cafe. Cramped seating, smoke-darkened wooden panels, and an extensive (but tasteful) beer list are defining features of classic Belgian "brown cafes.". Tables packed with friends laughing into the early hours are proof: having a beer in a brown cafe is one of the best things to do in Brussels at night.

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