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Brussels tours and excursions

Brussels tours

Bus tours

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
Website: http://www.brussels-city-tours.com

Walking tours

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.
Website: http://www.visitbrussels.be

Brussels excursions

Bruges

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
Website: http://www.brugge.be

Antwerp

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.
Website: http://www.antwerpen.be

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NH Stephanie

With crisply decorated, modern rooms, this hotel is excellent value for money for those who don't mind staying a little over 1km (0.6 miles) outside of the city centre. A good breakfast is included and the superior rooms feature thoughtful extras such as free, Wi-Fi, coffee making machines and a choice of pillows.

Mozart

This 50-room hotel occupies a 17th-century building in a lively area just off the Grand-Place, amid a plethora of bars and small eating places. For a budget option with simple rooms and facilities, its lobby is surprisingly grandiose, elaborately decked out in marble, patterned tiles and baroque furniture. There's more cheerfully florid décor in the small courtyard garden.

The Dominican

Part of the Carlton hotel group, The Dominican is the place to come if you want to be pampered while on a break in Brussels. It takes its name from the Dominican abbey which was originally built on this site in the 1400s. Its design is first rate, taking on the hushed feel of the abbey’s cloisters. Rooms are huge, the beds vast and the breakfast top notch.

Hotel Metropole Brussels

The 19th-century Hotel Metropole, with its grand art nouveau interior, is the first choice for those wishing to combine a lust for nostalgia with a need for modern comfort. A stone's throw from the Grand-Place, this palatial hotel offers a truly grand entrance hall and an Italian baroque style restaurant, L'Alban Chambon. There are 283 comfortable rooms and 15 suites, many decorated with drapes, swags and chandeliers.

Hotel Amigo Brussels

Although within short walking distance of the bustling Grand-Place, the Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo is a haven of calm and comfort. The building served as a prison in the 16th century and opened as a luxury hotel in 1957. Furnished with rich tapestries and antiques, it offers a friendly welcome and has a restaurant and cocktail bar, meeting rooms and a banqueting suite. The décor of the 176 rooms and suites blends contemporary elegance with dashes of colour and humour - Hergé characters and Magritte graphics appear here and there.