Monday, April 13, 2015

Brussels Discovery Tour

Taking a city bus tour is a great way to get to know a city. Brussels is a large city, it can be very confusing. There is a lower city and an upper city. If your hotel is in the lower city where many of them are, you will be within walking distance of the Grand Place. Most of the museums, however, are in the upper city and the connection between the two can seem obscure at best.

Taking a city tour is one way to help get your bearing. In this particular case, while it did introduce us to all the main points, the relationship between upper and lower never became totally clear. Brussels is not one of the easiest cities to become familiar with and the tour is the perfect solution to how to become familiar with the landmarks that are important.

The "Grand City Tour" cost 30 euros for adults, 15 euros for children and 27 euros for seniors and students as of winter 2014. Other bus companies offer the hop on hop off options which would make a great way to travel on the second day of touring as it will get you to the areas that you like which may be quite distant from each other.

The bus picks you up at most major hotels and drops you back at their De Boeck Station. It’s a good idea to know where that is so you don’t get totally lost. Some of the buses have an open-top, and in the good weather, this might be a good idea. In January, it had a canvas cover to protect from the weather, this cover sounded at times as if the wind was going to blow it right off.  I opted to sit in the front seat on the upper level of the bus.

We almost got off at Centenary Park and it’s a good thing we didn’t, because on the Discovery Tour if you get off, there is no getting back on. This is just a tidbit to help you understand the differences in the tours. We had a live tour guide, but we also had headphone tours that we listened to for most of the trip.

I highly recommend this tour, because the Atomium is one of the stops, and actually, it is quite a distance from the Grand Place and all the museums. You also get to drive by the Royal Palace, where the family actually lives, and you get to see the Chinese Pavilion and the Japanese Tower as well. 

You cover quite a bit of ground, and it will give you a good idea of what you might want to come back and visit. The audio also gives you quite a lot of Belgian history, which I’m sure most of us could use a refresher course on.

For more information check out their website

There are a variety of other tours available including ones that geared toward those who love chocolate or beer.

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