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Smart Travel Tips

By Air

The major airport serving Brussels is Brussels National Airport (BRU) (Zaventem, PHONE: 02/753-3913; flight information 0900-70000, www.brusselsairport.be) at Zaventem (sometimes called simply Zaventem), 15 km (9 mi) northeast of the city center. Brussels National Airport has nonstop flights from the United States and Canada. It also has a wide range of amenities such as airport hotels, rental car agencies, and travel agencies.

Flying time to Brussels is about 7 hours from New York and 8½ hours from Chicago. Depending upon your routing and transit time, flights from Dallas last approximately 13 hours; flights from Los Angeles, approximately 17 hours; and flights from Sydney, approximately 24 hours.

Carriers

Air Canada (PHONE: 888/247-2262, www.aircanada.com).

Air France (PHONE: 800/237-2747 in the U.S.; 0845/084-5111 in the U.K., www.airfrance.com). Air New Zealand (PHONE: 09/3362-4242; 0800/737-000 in New Zealand; 020/8741-2299 in the U.K., www.airnewzealand.com).

American (PHONE: 800/433-7300 in the U.S.; 0345/789-789 in the U.K., www.aa.com).

British Airways (PHONE: 800/247-9297 in the U.S.; 0345/222-111 in the U.K., www.british-airways.com).

Continental (PHONE: 800/525-0280 in the U.S.; 0800/776-464 in the U.K., www.continental.com).

Delta (PHONE: 800/221-1212 in the U.S.; 0800/414-767 in the U.K., www.delta.com).

Lufthansa (PHONE: 800/645-3880 in the U.S.; 0345/737-747 in the U.K., www.lufthansa.com).

United (PHONE: 800/538-2929 in the U.S.; 0845/844-4777 in the U.K., www.unitedairlines.com).

US Airways (PHONE: 800/428-4322 in the U.S.; 0800/783-5556 in the U.K., www.usairways.com).

Virgin Atlantic (PHONE: 800/862-8621 in the U.S.; 0129/3747-747 in the U.K., www.virgin-atlantic.com).

From the U.K.

British Airways (156 Regent St., London W1R 5TA, PHONE: 0345/222-111, www.britishairways.com).

British Midland (PHONE: 0870/607-0555, www.british-midland.com).

KLM (PHONE: 0870/507-4074, www.klm.com).

Virgin Express ( PHONE: 0800/891-199, www.virgin-express.com).

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

By Bus

Courtesy shuttle buses serve airport hotels and a few downtown hotels: inquire when making reservations.

Local bus services (De Lijn and STIB/MIVB) operate between the airport and the city.

By Car

To get to the city center from the airport, take the Brussels Ring Road; exits to the city are marked Center.

By Taxi

Taxis are plentiful. A taxi to the city center takes about half an hour and costs about EUR30. Beware freelance taxi drivers who hawk their services in the arrival hall.

By Train

Shuttle trains run between Brussels National Airport and all three main railway stations in Brussels: South (Midi), Central (Central), and North (Nord). The Airport City Express runs four times per hour, from about 6 AM to midnight, seven days a week. The journey takes 18 minutes. A one-way ticket costs EUR3.80 (1st class) or EUR2.50 (2nd class).

By Boat & Ferry

Hoverspeed (PHONE: 44/870-5240241 in the U.K., www.hoverspeed.com) operates a Hovercraft catamaran service between Dover and Calais, carrying cars and foot passengers. Travel time is 35 minutes. Hoverspeed also offers pedestrian-only "SeaCat" service between Dover and Oostende, with travel time just under two hours. Trains at either end connect with London and Brussels.

By Bus

Eurolines (Pl. de Brouckère 50, PHONE: 02/217-0025, www.eurolines.com) operates up to three daily express services from and to Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, and London.

The Eurolines Coach Station (Rue du Progrès 80, PHONE: 02/203-0707) in Brussels adjoins the Gare du Nord.

By Car

Brussels is 204 km (122 mi) from Amsterdam on E19; 222 km (138 mi) from Düsseldorf on E40; 219 km (133 mi) from Luxembourg City on E411; and 308 km (185 mi) from Paris.

If you use Le Shuttle under the English Channel or a ferry to Calais, note that the E40 (via Oostende and Brugge) connects with the French highway, cutting driving time from Calais to Brussels to under two hours. If you take the ferry to Oostende, the distance is 115 km (69 mi) to Brussels on the six-lane E40.

Brussels is surrounded by a beltway, marked Ring. Exits to the city are marked Center. Among several large underground parking facilities, the one close to the Grand'Place is particularly convenient if you're staying in a downtown hotel.

Road signs are written in the language of the region, so you need to know that Brussels is Bruxelles in French and Brussel in Dutch. On the Brussels-Liège/Luik motorway, signs change language with alarming frequency as you crisscross the Wallonia-Flanders border. Finally, Uitrit is Dutch for exit.

By Train

Ten Eurostar (PHONE: 0900-10366 information; 0900/10-177 telephone sales, www.eurostar.com) passenger trains a day link Brussels's Gare du Midi with London's Waterloo station via the Channel Tunnel in two hours, 40 minutes. A one-way trip costs EUR242 in business class and from EUR124 in economy; rail pass holders qualify for 50% discounts. Reservations are required. Check-in is 20 minutes before departure.

All rail services between Brussels and Paris are on Thalys (PHONE: 070/667788 information; 0900/10366 reservations, www.thalys.be) high-speed trains (1 hr, 25 mins). A one-way trip costs EUR106 ("Confort 1"), EUR65.50 ("Confort 2"). Reservations are required.

. Belgian National Railways (SNCB, PHONE: 02/555-2525) is the national rail line. Fast and frequent trains connect all main towns and cities within Belgium.

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