Famed for its beer and chocolate, Brussels also has far more to offer. Belgium's capital draws visitors because of its heritage buildings, cultural attractions, shopping and nightlife.
The city's many colourful events include the Fête de l'Iris in May, a festival of street food, plus artistic displays and free musical performances. In July the pageant of Ommegang carries on a Middle Ages tradition, while the Memorial Van Damme is a major athletics meeting staged in late August or early September. Although Brussels is a destination for all seasons, the warm months from May to September are the most popular time to visit.
When buying groceries, most food prices are slightly lower in Brussels than in the UK. Eating out also tends to cost less, with prices starting from ca 6 euros for a simple meal. A main restaurant dish might be priced at around 13 euros, while beers typically cost from about 4 euros upwards, and soft drinks about 2 euros. Local delicacies include waffles and mussels with chips.
Brussels boasts the oldest shopping centre worldwide, Galeries Saint Hubert. Many people in the city speak English.
If you are flying to Brussels, a train from the airport to the central area can take ca 15 to 20 minutes and costs approximately 8.50 euros. The shuttle bus, Airport Line, is cheaper at about 6 euros paid on the bus or about 4.50 euros paid in advance. However, the bus trip takes longer, around 30 minutes. A taxi ride into the city is likely to cost roughly 35 to 45 euros and could take around 40 minutes. Within the city, transport options include the Metro, trams, buses and the Premetro, a tram with some underground routes. It's possible to buy single trip tickets for around 2.10 to 2.50 euros or multi-trip tickets, at about 8 euros for five journeys or ca 14 euros for 10 trips. You can also buy a one-day travelcard for about 7.50 euros or a three-day version for ca 18 euros. Taxis and bike-share are also available, and it's often possible to walk between attractions. A three-star hotel costs from roughly 55 euros a night and a holiday rental from around 70 euros, while hostel beds start at about 19 euros.