Brussels tours and excursions
Open-top, hop-on hop-off bus tours are available from Brussels City Tours and City Sightseeing. The bus sets off from Central Station and stops at many famous sights, such as the Atomium, Grand-Place and the Mannekin-Pis, during a round trip. Tickets are valid for 24 hours. Both companies offer a range of other tour options, including excursions to other Belgian cities including Bruges and Antwerp.Tel: +32 2 513 7744; +44 (0)1789 299 123
The compact city centre of Brussels could have been tailor-made for walking tours. The Brussels Tourist Office offers three-hour guided tours on a variety of themes including architecture, history, culture, cartoons, gastronomy and classical Brussels. Departure points vary depending on the tour chosen. A series of historical tours are also offered by Itinéraires. Highly recommended are visits to original 14th-century streets beneath the Palais Royal.Tel: +32 2 513 8940; +32 2 541 0377.
Bruges is one of the most beautifully preserved medieval cities in Europe. Visitors can explore charming streets and canals, packed with little restaurants, atmospheric cafés and a cluster of interesting museums and churches. The climb to the top of the spectacular Belfry tower is not to be missed, neither is a boat ride along the picturesque waterways of the old city. Michelangelo's delicate marble Madonna and Child lies within the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady). Situated some 80km (50 miles) west of Brussels, Bruges is well connected by public transport and motorways and is just a one-hour train or bus ride away.Tel: +32 (0)50 448 000
Located 40km (25 miles) north of Brussels, Antwerp is tucked into the east bank of a bend in the Schelde River. The 14th-century Cathedral of Our Lady in Groenplaats is without doubt one of the finest buildings in the Low Countries. Masterpieces by Rubens (a former resident) and Van Dyck are on display at the Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Museum of Fine Art). Antwerp is also a thriving port, the world's leading diamond centre and now an international fashion capital. Antwerp's Centraal Station is easily reached by train from all three stations in Brussels.Tel: +32 3 221 1333.