Getting Here and Around

Brussels has excellent rail links to the rest of Europe. It's around two hours from both Amsterdam and Cologne via the high-speed Thalys train network. It's also part of the Eurostar line, which links Brussels to Paris (75 minutes) and London (2 hours). Both networks require advance registration. In the city you can catch a taxi at stands around town, indicated with yellow signs. All officially registered taxis have a yellow-and-blue sign on their roofs. A cab ride within the city center costs between €6 and €12. Tips are included in the fare.

Head for the Grand'Place to drink in the gilded splendor of its medieval buildings. Wander the narrow cobbled lanes surrounding the square and visit the graceful, arcaded Galeries St-Hubert, an elegant 19th-century shopping gallery. Head down rue de l'Etuve to see the Manneken Pis, the statue of the little boy who, legend has it, saved Brussels by urinating to extinguish a fire. Walk to the place du Grand Sablon to window-shop at its many fine antiques stores and galleries. If it's a weekend, enjoy the outdoor antiques market. Have lunch in one of the cafés lining the perimeter, and don't forget to buy chocolates at one of the top chocolatiers on the square. Then cross over rue de la Régence to see the place du Petit Sablon before walking down the street to the Royal Museums on rue de la Régence to view collections ranging from the Surrealism of Belgian artist René Magritte to the delicately wrought details of Pieter Bruegel the Elder's The Fall of Icarus. Pick out a restaurant on the fashionable rue Antoine Dansaert for dinner. Finally, return to the Grand'Place to cap off the evening with a drink at one of the cafés to see the shimmer of the golden facades under the glow of lights.

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