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Amsterdam

Published in Destinations

Overview

Almost more like a village than a city Amsterdam’s compact streets and winding canals make it a wondrous place to visit with its historical buildings and strong art galleries and museums. Amsterdam is ‘naughty but nice’, with a lax attitude towards all the guilty pleasures you could dream up. So stuff your face with delicious foods, wander the windows of the red light district and relax in an Amsterdam café.
Best Time to Visit

July and August are popular—and busy. If you want to see the tulips, come mid-April to early May. You’ll find better deals and quieter crowds October to March, with the exception of New Year’s Eve. This is a unique and riotous celebration in Amsterdam, and well worth experiencing.
Amsterdam
Transportation
Amsterdam is compact, so walking or renting bikes to make use of the great bike lanes is easy. Yet public transport (trams, metros, and buses) also is excellent. Buy a chip card at a ticket vending machine or counter, or ask the driver for a tourist pass (there are one- to seven-day cards starting at €5).
Amsterdam Weather
August is the hottest month, with an average high of 17°C (63°F), and the coldest is January, with an average 3°C (37°F).

Know Before Visiting
Some attractions (especially the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House) get very busy, especially in summer, so booking a ticket and time to visit in advance. The city is generally safe, but pickpockets operate widely; be careful on the tram and at the market.
Language
Dutch.

Electric
C, E and F type plugs generally fit on Dutch electricity sockets.

Currency
Euro (€)
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Things to do
Red-light district

Despite the city’s wealth of art and culture, Amsterdam’s leading attraction remains its prostitution zone, where skimpily clad sex-service workers solicit customers from the windows of their street-level rooms. Crowds file through a series of narrow alleys to gawk (snapshots will be severely chastised), and services are offered round the clock by a global rainbow of girls occupying nearly 300 red-lit windows. If you can get beyond the sleaze, this is actually one of the loveliest and most ancient sections of the canal ring, revolving around Amsterdam’s oldest church.
Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: yes.
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes.
Address: De Wallen, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank Huis (Anne Frank House)

Of enduring interest to all is the historic home where Anne Frank, her family and four other Jewish people hid from the occupying Germans during WWII, after fleeing their native Germany. The small but highly popular exhibit annually attracts up to one million visitors, so expect lengthy queues.
Opening Times: Daily from 0900-1900 Nov-Mar, 0900-2100 Apr-Oct.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Prinsengracht 267, Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here

Eye Film Institute Netherlands
A must for movie buffs, the Eye maintains an archive of 37,000 films and screens pristinely restored prints of cinematic classics at its various festivals. Perhaps the main draw, though, is the café with its fabulous views of the river and an endless procession of cruise boats, freighters and ferries. To get here, hop on a free Buiksloterweg ferry behind Central Station.
Opening Times: Exhibition daily 1000-1800.
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: IJpromenade 1, Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here
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NEMO Museum
Looking like a massive green seagoing vessel rising from the water, the cutting-edge NEMO Museum is an unmistakable sight on the banks of the IJ, a short stroll from Central Station. Within the factory-like interior, there are plenty of films, workshops and hands-on exhibits to introduce both youngsters and adults to the wonders of science and technology such as blowing giant bubbles, looking at cosmic rays, generating green energy and maybe even creating life. The cascading rooftop terrace is a splendid place to take in the rays on a warm day and in summer it’s outfitted as a beach resort.
Opening Times: Tues-Sun 1000-1730.
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
More Info: Click Here

Koninklijk Paleis (Royal Palace)
This formidable structure on the central Dam Square was built in 1648 as Amsterdam's city hall. When King Louis Napoleon arrived in 1808, he had it turned into a palace. Paintings and sculptures dating from Holland’s Golden Age grace the halls and archways, with allegorical scenes and figures alluding to the values that underpin Dutch society. The admission price includes an audio tour.
Opening Times: Daily 1100-1700 when not being used for official functions.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here
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Rijksmuseum
The largest and most popular museum in the Netherlands reopened in spring 2013. Established in 1885, the museum showcases a collection of masterpieces with the seminal works of Dutch giants Rembrandt (‘The Night Watch’) and Johannes Vermeer (‘The Milk Maid’). The collection spanning over 8,000 works has been reorganised across three floors in chronological order.
Opening Times: Daily 0900-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Museumstraat 1, Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here
Van_Gogh_Museum_amsterdam_beatthetravelagentVan Gogh Museum
Easily the world’s largest collection by the renowned artist, this much-visited museum houses 200 paintings by the Dutch master, many of which come from the collection of his brother Theo. Art workshops for children are offered and on Friday nights museum-goers can unwind until 2200 with cocktails and special DJ programmes.
Opening Times: Sat-Thur 0900-1800, Fri 0900-2200.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Paulus Potterstraat 7, Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here

Amsterdam Museum
Housed in a former orphanage that dates from 1524, the museum is filled with paintings, prints and archaeological finds that illustrate how Amsterdam grew from a small medieval town into a modern city.
Opening Times: Mon-Fri 1000-1700, Sat-Sun 1100-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 357, Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here

Vondelpark
Just a short walk from Leidseplein, the sprawling Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s ‘green lung’, the 49-hectare (120 acres) park makes a splendid retreat with ponds, gardens, lakes, playgrounds, a skating rink and a resident colony of parakeets. In good weather, the lawns are taken over by groups barbequing.
Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
More Info: Click Here
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Food & Drink
The Pancake bakery

famous for their Massive sweet & savoury pancakes this restaurant is one to try when visiting Amsterdam. A 2-storey converted warehouse with canal views located just off the Prinsengracht canal and just a stone throw away from the Westerkerk and Anne Franks house.

Address: Pancake Bakery, Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS, Amsterdam 

More info: Click Here
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Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx

Holland’s most popular snack actually comes from Belgium: Vlaamse Frites (Flemish fries). These fried potato spears come with a dollop of mayonnaise and nobody makes them better than this hole-in-the-wall establishment, as evidenced by the perpetual line down the street.

Address: Voetboogstraat 33, Amsterdam, Netherlands

More info: Click Here

Bazar

Alongside the city’s biggest street market, Bazar is a North African fantasy within a former house of worship, with spectacular tiled arabesques on the walls and dining on two levels. The big hall is usually buzzing, while the food, abundantly served and beautifully presented on traditional tableware. Daily lunch specials are a real bargain.


Address: Albert Cuypstraat 182, 1073 BL Amsterdam, Netherlands

More info: Click Here
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Chocolate Bar

Hip cocktail bar in De Pijp area with a 70s-inspired interior serving international dishes but you must try the chocolate dessert, that is to die for.

Address: Eerste van der Helststraat 62-A, 1072 NX Amsterdam, Netherlands

More info: Click Here

Heineken_Experience_amsterdam_beatthetravelagentHeineken Experience
An interactive tour through beer giant's Heineken. Exploring the history and brewing of the popular drink. Open 365 days a year and comes with two complimentary glasses of Heineken at the tasting room finale.
Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here

Twenty Third Bar

This Hotel Okura’s top bar gets its name from its floor number and with that height, you can expect some great views across Amsterdam with a side of cocktails and a bar menu with great snacks it’s a perfect location for a romantic night.

Address: Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands

More Info: Click Here

Brasserie Ambassade

Classic Michelin star French cuisine restaurant overlooking the Herengracht canal, surrounded by colourful paintings by famous CoBrA artists. French/International cuisine by Executive chef Erik Zonjee in combination with fine wines. An excellent balance of price/quality, served by professional and above all, friendly staff.

Address: Herengracht 339, 1016 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

More Info: Click Here
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Green House Centrum
This small little coffeeshop has good quality herbs and a great atmosphere. The Green House is the winner of 38 High Times Cannabis Cups. It delivers some of the best cannabis in Amsterdam and it is a great hangout for a traveller in Amsterdam. You can find many interesting pictures on the wall of celebs that visited the Green House. The coffee shop is situated nicely in the red light district next to a canal.

Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191, 1012 EW Amsterdam

More Info: Click Here

snappers_resto_bar_amsterdam_beatthetravelagentSnappers Resto-bar
Snappers is a cute and charming restaurant and bar on the Reguliersdwarsstraat. You’ll find a great selection of G&Ts and other cocktails as well as hearty food like burgers and ribs.
The ambience is warm and cosy with palm frond wallpaper and a homey vibe. Grab a table upstairs or downstairs, or sit at the bar and order a cocktail.

Address: Reguliersdwarsstraat 21, 1017 BJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

More Info: Click Here

De Dampkring

Another High Times golden child, Da Dampkring had a cameo in the Hollywood film Ocean’s Eleven, which is why blurry pictures of Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon adorn the walls – somehow they manage to fit in with the psychedelic, sixties décor. The warm colours, hackneyed bar and indoor plants conjure a laid-back living room vibe, which attracts a youthful crowd. The weed is top-drawer, particularly the hash.

Address: Handboogstraat 29, 1012 XM Amsterdam, Netherlands

More Info: Click Here
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Nightlife

Sugar Factory

Not just electronica fans will appreciate this dance cave around the corner from Leidseplein. The ingeniously illuminated space stirs art, poetry, comedy and dance into the mix for a richly varied theatrical experience. A mostly Dutch, twentyish set crowd in for the famous and almost famous DJs who customarily kick the club.
Address: Lijnbaansgracht 238, 1017 PH Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here
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De School
Amsterdam’s famous for its clubs scene and De School is no exception, a new 24-hour bar/club/restaurant, brought to us by the legendary owners of Trouw which unfortunately closed at the start of 2015. De school is on the grounds of a former school (hence the name) and follows the layout of an old school in Amsterdam with its halls and classroom-esque theme it is a haven for both tourists and locals .
Address: Dr Jan van Breemenstraat 1,1056 AB AMSTERDAM
More Info: Click Here

Delirium Café Amsterdam

The Amsterdam branch of the Delirium Café is a true beer lover’s paradise, with more than 500 beers on offer, hearty food to soak it all up and even a team of beer sommeliers offering their services. This wonderful Café has branched out from its Brussels original and is always worth a stop both for the best beer and best enjoyment.
Address: Piet Heinkade 4-6-8, 1019 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here
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melkweg_amsterdamMelkweg

The legendary ‘Milky Way’ has been a key component in Amsterdam’s pop scene since the 1960s. Concealed in an old dairy factory just off the nightlife nexus of Leidseplein, it remains a cultural playground with three concert halls, a gallery, cinema, theatre and café. The old hall is an intimate space with excellent sound, while the Max pulls in a bigger crowd for old and new heavyweights.
Address: Lijnbaansgracht 234A, 1017 PH Amsterdam, Netherlands
More info: Click Here

De Nieuwe Anita
Surely Amsterdam’s most alternative space, this friendly club west of the centre has a rough-hewn charm and is consistently crowded by the brainier set. The beer’s cheap and dispensed from a handsome circular bar, along with wine and herbal teas, and there are plenty of mismatched armchairs and sofas to lounge around on. A hall at the rear serves as a venue for fiercely varied programming, from anti-Hollywood film nights to Burlesque to wrestling, plus all kinds of bands.
Address: Frederik Hendrikstraat 111, 1052 HN Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here

Bimhuis
Perched at the top of the Muziekgebouw, a short distance from Centraal Station, the Bimhuis is the city's top jazz venue. An intimate space with windows that offer wonderful views across the city actually form the backdrop for the stage, and the venue’s size encourages direct communication between audience and artist. Every jazz luminary has performed here, including the stars of the Dutch scene. Most performances are divided into two sets, and it’s usually possible to mingle with the artists in the bar afterwards.
Address: Piet Heinkade 3, 1019 BR Amsterdam, Netherlands
More Info: Click Here
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Transportation

Flying to Amsterdam
Airlines offering direct flights to Amsterdam from the UK include British Airways, CityJet, easyJet, Flybe, Garuda Indonesia and KLM. Delta, KLM and United operate direct flights from the USA. No-frills airlines provide cheap flights to Amsterdam year-round.
Flight times:
From London - 1 hour 10 minutes; New York - 7 hours 30 minutes; Los Angeles - 10 hours 20 minutes; Toronto - 7 hours 25 minutes; Sydney - 24 hours (including stopover)

Public transport:
The best way to get around Amsterdam is either by bike or by using the extensive tram, metro, bus and ferry networks, all run by GVB , which has an information office at Centraal Station. Trams are a great way of getting around Amsterdam, with routes heading out from the centre in all directions.
The best option is to purchase single or multi-day cards, allowing unlimited travel on public transport during a specified period. You can buy these at the GVB ticket outlets or vending machines. OV-chipkaarts are smart cards, which you can use for travel throughout the Netherlands; you can load these up with any GVB travel products. It's also possible to purchase a one-hour paper ticket when you get on a bus or tram.

Taxis:
Rather than hailing a taxi on the street, it is more common to phone for one (tel: +31 20 777 7777) or picks one up at an official taxi rank, including ones at Centraal Station, Waterlooplein and Museumplein and Nieuwmarkt. Taxis are metered and have standard rates. It’s customary to tip your driver a euro or two.
*Uber is also available in and around Brussels and is a great alternative than Taxies. Click here for your first journey free.
Driving:
Driving in Amsterdam is not recommended: motorists need to watch out for cyclists and trams, while parking regulations are strict. It makes more sense to park at a P+R (park and ride) car park and use bus, tram and subway lines into the city centre from there, Locations of these.
Bicycle hire:
You can hire bicycles from Bike City on Bloemgracht 68-70 and Macbike at Stationsplein 5. A deposit or a credit card imprint is usually required, along with an additional form of identification. Bicycles should always be securely locked.
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Tips
-Make sure during a busy period to book some attractions in advance (especially the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House) as queues can get very busy.
-Remember Coffeeshops in Amsterdam are permitted to sell up to 5 grams of cannabis to customers over the age of 18 but Smoking tobacco is not permitted in coffeeshops.
-There have been some recent deaths of tourists taking drugs purchased from street dealers - please exercise caution.
-Bikes are quite common in Amsterdam so try to avoid walking in bike lanes and listen out for a bike bell.
-You can always hop on a quick train journey to Rotterdam for a day trip to explore what else the Netherlands has to offer for €14.
-Check out the GVB app to make sense of the bus, tram and metro lines to travel around.
Download iPhone App. Download Android App.
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Brussels

Published in Destinations

 
Overview

From the cobblestones to the sweet smell of sugar on every street corner, Brussels is a brilliant city to visit. As the capital of the Belgium it holds the countries love for food and drink, with the great French fry, praline chocolate, waffles and amazing beers. But it isn’t all food and drink.
Best Time to Visit

July and august are very popular- and busy with temperatures averaging 23°C (73°F), the city is very lively but popular spots can feel overcrowded. In august, many locals take their annual holidays so many shops and restaurants may be closed. Although the Grand’ Place Flower carpet is on every august we would advise the best time to visit is April/may time or September/October.
B
russels Transportation
Brussels is compact, so walking or renting bikes to make use of the great bike lanes is easy. Yet public transport (trams, metros, and buses) also is excellent. Brussels integrated public transport network is operated by STIB and you have options to pay by single journeys (€2.10) or by a jump card for 24/48/72 hours (€7.50/€14.00/€18.00).
Brussels Weather
July/ August is the hottest month, with an average high of 23°C (73°F) and the coldest is December where mild temperatures hover around 5°C (42°F) but don’t let that deter you as festive markets and sparking decorations make December particularly magical .
Know Before Visiting
Some attractions get very busy, especially in summer, so booking a ticket and time to visit in advance. The city is generally safe, but pickpockets operate widely. Most museums are closed on Mondays and most restaurants are closed Sunday so make sure to check each one out separately.
Language
Dutch, French and German.

Electric
Type E two-prong plug

Currency
Euro (€)

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Things to do
Atomium

The Atomium is a 102m tall piece of art designed by architect André and Jean Polak, which was built for the World’s Fair 1958 in Brussels. It is one a kind attraction and is a must see when visiting Brussels weather you go inside it and up to the top or stop for a few pictures it is a must see. There is also a restaurant inside the Atomium see our food and drink section.
Opening Times: 10am – 6pm.
Admission Fees: yes, adult €12, Student €8, Child- €6 under 6 – free.
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes- free access for disabled.
Address: Avenue de l'Atomium, 1020 Bruxelles, Belgium
Transport: Heysel / Heizel metro station (line 6) / or there is a Villo! Bike rack at the Atomium.
More info: Click Here


Grand- Place
The centre of the Brussels which opens up from the narrow cobbled streets into a large square. Inside the square we have the Hôtel de ville de Bruxelles (town hall) and opposite the Brussels city museum (Maison du Roi). Every two years in august an enormous flower carpet is set up in the Grand place and is a must to see if you are over during august.     
Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Disabled Access: Yes
Address: Grand-Place, Brussels, Belgium
Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Wander through the Les Galeries Saint Hubert, a glass roofed arcade in the center of Brussels. Lined with cafes, theaters and luxury stores, the Les Galeries Saint Hubert also has the distinction of being the first covered shopping arcade in Europe.
Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Galerie du Roi 5, Brussels 1000, Belgium
Chinese and Japanese tower
Just across the road from each other you have the Chinese far east museum tower and the Japanese tower inside the beautiful park van Laken. The Japanese tower is a surprising sight in the Brussels landscape and like the nearby chinese far east museum they were built at the beginning of the 20th century. We would advise to stop of at these for a quick photo on your way to the Atomium as they are quite close and always good to see on your perfect trip in Brussels.
Opening Times: Closed for entrance but can still be viewed.
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Avenue Van Praet 44, 1020 Ville de Bruxelles  & Parc de Laeken, Brussels, Belgium.


Parlamentarium
With Brussels known as the capital of the European Union no trip would be complete with seen the European Union for yourself. At this free visitor centre you can discover interactively the journey of European integration in all 24 official languages of the EU.
Opening Times: 9am – 6pm
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: Yes
Address: Esplanade Solidarnosc | Off Rue Belliard,Brussels 1047 , Belgium
Transport: Brussels Luxembourg is at the parlamentarium – accessed directly by SNCB from Brussels midi, central and Nord.
More info: Click Here
Cantillon Brewery
At the museum of Gueuze discover the fabulous family brewery of the Cantillon Brewery, where some of the best Belgian beers are handcrafted. Take a self-guided tour around the brewery and finish off with tasting the many different types of beer (tasting included in the price).
Opening Times: 9am – 5pm, closed Wednesday/Sunday/ public holidays.
Admission Fees: yes  - €7
Address: 56 rue Gheude ,1070 Brussels
Transport: Metro line 2 – Clemenceau or Brussels midi.
More info: Click Here

Manneken Pis
The Manneken Pis is a small broze sculpture in the city centre of Brussels of a little boy urinating into a fountain. It is a symbol of Brussels self-mockery and has been there since 1660’s. A couple of times a year on special occasions they dress the Manneken Pis in different outfits so check out their site to see the calendar.
Opening Times: Daily 24 hours.
Admission Fees: No
Wheelchair Friendly: No
Address: Rue de l'Etuve, Brussels, Belgium
More info: Click Here
Autoworld
 More than 250 vehicles cover the story of the automobile history since its early days. One zone is dedicated to sports and racing cars, while "Belgium at Autoworld" tells the love story between Belgium and the automobile industry. A different themed temporary exhibition is organized every 2-3 months.
Opening Times: 10am – 6pm April – September/ weekends. 10am – 5pm October- markh.
Admission Fees: yes  - €9 adults, €5 children, under 6 free.
Address: Parc du Cinquantenaire 11, Brussels 1000,Belgium
Transport: Metro line 1 &5 station – Merode, Train NMBS – Merode station.
More info: Click Here

Markets:
Every day is market day in Brussels. Among the best is the flower market, Tuesday to Sunday at Grand-Place, also the site of the Sunday morning bird market. Antiques are sold at the market on Place du Grand Sablon, Saturday and Sunday morning, while the flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle, in the Marolles district, is open every morning.



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Food & Drink
Peck 47
Nice quirky café in the city centre that serves breakfast/ brunch until late and has some of the best healthy options we found in Brussels. Defiantly a must to get you started for the day.
Address: Rue Marche Aux Poulets 47, Brussels 1000, Belgium
More info: Click Here
Delirium Monasterium
The Delirium Café is a must when travelling to Brussels it holds the world record for the most beer at one time and it doesn’t disappoint from banana, toffee and chocolate to some of the best Belgium beers home brewed. This place has everything, with its three storey beer house check out the basement bar.
Address: Impasse de la Fidélité 4, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
More info: Click Here


Nuetnigenough
One of the nicest true authentic Belgian restaurants that serve great food and beer, although you may need to be patient and wait as it is quite a small but cosy place with only 10 -12 tables and they don’t take bookings but is defiantly worth it. Check out the Fish Waterzooi, well worth the wait.

Address: 25 rue du Lombard, Brussels 1000, Belgium
More info: Click here
A la Becasse   
La Becasse, "The Lark", is hidden away at the end of a narrow passage, just near the Grand Place. The bar is famous all over the city for its "jeune lambic blanche", a refreshing white beer served in a stone jug. The waiters wear monastic-style uniforms and prepare the house speciality - delicious open sandwiches of sourdough bread with Ardennes ham or smoked herrings.
Address: rue de Tabora, 11, Brussels 1000, Belgium
More info: Click Here
Fritland
Yes everybody calls them French fries but the origin of the fry is said to come from Belgium and at Fritland you can get some the tastiest fries in many different forms. The most popular being in a baguette with many different options of sauce. Sit outside or indoors this is a perfect cheap place to have before or after a couple of Belgian beers.
Address: 49 Rue Henri Maus, Brussels 1000, Belgium
More info: Click Here

Mokafe

For us Mokafe serves one of the nicest Belgian waffles in Brussels, yes there is no fruit or chocolate sauce or all the wacky things you can get elsewhere on the street for half the price. The simplistic feel of Mokafe has won the hearts of the Belgians for years right in the middle of the Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert it is a perfect stop for a waffle/tart and a cup of coffee or tea.
Address: Galerie du Roi 9, Brussels 1000, Belgium
More info: Click Here
Bia Mara
Taking its name from the Irish for ‘seafood’ Bia Mara combines quality fish with fresh cut potatoes to give their own take on the classic fish and chips. The menu changes depending on what is available so you know your fish isn’t long out of the water.
Address: Rue du Marche aux Poulets 41, 1000 Brussels,Belgium
More info: Click Here

Chocolate
Yes unfortunately there is to many great chocolatiers in Brussels it needs its own section.
Neuhaus
The original of Belgium chocolate and the home of the pralines made here in 1912 as well as the ballotin (a little box to bring your chocolates home) were created. Today this has not changed and is still a must stop to taste their sweet confectionary with recipes going back over a hundred years.
Address: 25 Galerie de la Reine, 1000 Bruxelles

Belvas
For those who are allergic to gluten, diabetic or just love organic fair-trade products, Belvas is the place to go. Not only is this the first organic chocolatier in Northern Europe but, Belvas is self-sufficient for 50% of its energy needs and the chocolate is melted in a system that collects the heat produced by the air-conditioning and tranforms it into hot water. Overall though it isn’t just natural but also very tasty and they don’t use any hydrogenated fat just butter.
Address: 48 rue Rollebeek 1000 Bruxelles
Wittamer
Good enough for the Belgium Royal family then it should be good enough for you. Wittamer is a classic chocolatier that has been around for over a hundred years starting out as a modern bakery and having designed the wedding cake of the Belgium King and Queen they strive themselves in a superior taste. But it isn’t all old fashion chocolates, Wittamer make some strange yet wonderful chocolates such as an insect cricket praline and many different flavours from pepper pralines to delicious cakes and ice creams.
Address: 6-12-13 Place du Grand Sablon, 1000 Bruxelles
Pierre Marcolini
Pierre Marcolini the most famous Belgian chocolate makers holds his shop in the Sablon neighbourhood and is a necessity for any chocolate connoisseur. Prided in the fresh and perfect bean bought directly then treated in his shop Pierre Marcolini makes some the richest chocolate in Brussels. Please remember although his products are very tasty some of Marcolini’s products have a very strong flavour, especially the dark chocolate. PS remember to check his store out around winter to indulge in his perfect hot chocolate.
Address: 1 rue des Minimes, 1000 Bruxelles (boutique)
39 Place du Grand Sablon, 1000 Bruxelles (manufacture)


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Nightlife

rock_classic_brussels_beatthetravelagentRock Classic Bar
A dim lit bar that plays old school rock and live bands, with pinball machines, darts and air hockey. what else could you ask for? this was probably our favourite spot in Brussels and we would advice to give it a go.
Address: Rue marché aux charbons 55, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Opening Times: Everyday 20:00 - 06:00
more info: Click Here
Le Bazaar
An underground Belgian club with a nice dark atmosphere that plays mainly deep house/minimal music.
Address: Kapucijnenstraat 63 Rue des Capucins, Brussels
Opening Times: Fr-Sa: 23:00-06:00
more info: Click Here
The Music Village
A casual and relaxed jazz bar just south of the grand Place that serves brilliant beer and food and is always buzzing with talent.
Address: 50 Rue des Pierres, Brussels, Belgium
more info: Click Here
Spirito Martini
Nothing says nightclub like an old church, this high-end trendy club is guaranteed to give you a good night with its gothic walls and chandeliers.
Address:
Rue de Stassartstraat 18, Brussels
Opening times:
Fr-Sa: 23:00-05:00
More info: Click Here
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Transportation
Airlines offering flights to Brussels from the UK include British Airways, Brussels Airlines and easyJet. Brussels Airlines, Delta, Jet Airways and United operate direct flights from the USA. The cheapest time to fly to Brussels is in the winter between November and March.
Flight times:
From London - 1 hour 10 minutes; New York - 7 hours 30 minutes; Los Angeles - 13 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 7 hours 20 minutes; Sydney - 25 hours (including stopover).

Getting around
Public transport:
The integrated public transport network in Brussels is operated by Société des Transports Intercommunaux Bruxellois – STIB.
Many metro stations display the works of local artists. With comfortable seats, the service is pleasant even during rush hour.
The underground prémétro is a fast way to travel between Gare du Nord, place de Brouckère, Bourse and the Bruxelles-Midi Eurostar terminal.
Tram and bus stops are indicated by red and white signs respectively. The route number and destination are displayed on the front of the vehicle and all stops are request stops. Passengers get on at the front of buses and off at the rear. Brussels' bright yellow and blue trams serve the city centre and suburbs.
MOBIB preloadable smart cards are valid for all STIB public transport in Brussels. You can buy these and charge them up at metro stations, bus and tram stops, or at metro station kiosks, BOOTIK agencies, supermarkets and newsagents. You can also top them up online.
In addition to the STIB network, Belgian National Railways' local trains depart from Bruxelles-Chapelle, Bruxelles-Quartier Léopold, Bruxelles-Schuman and Bruxelles-Congrès, linking the inner city to the suburbs.

Taxis:
Official Brussels taxis have a taxi light with a blue and yellow plaque on the roof, and can be hailed in the street or picked up at a rank; in the city centre, there are ranks at the major railway stations and at the Bourse, place de Brouckère and Porte de Namur. You can also pre-book taxis by phone from Taxis Autolux (tel: +32 2 411 4142), Taxis Bleus (tel: +32 2 268 0000) or Taxis Verts (tel: +32 2 349 4949). Fares are metered and include service; tipping is optional.
Uber is also available in and around Brussels and is a great alternative than Taxi’s. Click here for your first journey free.
Driving:
Although commuter traffic is heavy on the outskirts of Brussels during rush hour, the centre is relatively easy to negotiate, once you've mastered the one-way system. In addition to car parks located in the city centre, there is pay-and-display parking in certain streets. There is also a large public car park under the Novotel Hotel, rue de la Montagne. Free street parking is available on Sundays and holidays.
Bike hire
Brussels also has its own bikeshare scheme called Villo! (tel: +32 78 051 110; http://en.villo.be). You can buy a one-day or seven-day ticket and bikes are available 24 hours a day.
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Tips
-Brugge is only 50 minutes away on a train and trains leave regularly from Brussels midi, central and nord stations and is defiantly worth a day trip if you have time.
-You can bring your frites into the bars, no one will mind!
-When travelling around Belgium (i.e Antwerp or bruge) get a go-pass one which is a one way ticket to anywhere for 6 euro. Only for people aged 26 or under.  
-Keep your eyes open for street art by Bonom (map)
-Try the Jupiler and Vedett beers – cheap & easy Belgian beers available at most places.
-Most museums are closed on Mondays
-Most restaurants are closed Sunday
-Arsene 50 is a great place to pick up half price tickets for concerts, movies, theatres and events from visit.brussels and online (only French or dutch but we have translated the site)

Bonom street art in Brussels

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Start Here Featured

Start Here

Published in Start Here

Planning your next adventure?

It can be difficult to know where to begin when planning your dream trip. What’s the first step? The second? The third? Travelling can seem like an overwhelming topic with so much information available and the longer you travel It seems the more you have to think about. I want to try and make planning your couple getaway/family trip/solo travel/gap year/abroad festival simple and stress-free.
So to get you started and to get that perfect trip booked I will use a simple step by step guide on how to make travelling that little bit less overwhelming.

Step 1 – Plan the length of your trip
This may seem like a simple step but knowing the length of your travel is key in understanding what is available for your choice of holiday. As it would be difficult and time-consuming if you were to travel to say Asia from the UK for a three-day trip as you would spend most of your trip travelling and it just wouldn't be very cost-effective. A quick breakdown would be;
1- 4 days – same country/ city break/ short getaway.
5-12 days – beach holiday/ long getaway/multi-city travel/ festival.
12+ - Interrailing/ whole country/ across America/ Southeast Asia/ gap year/ backpacking.
This obviously isn’t gospel, but a rough guide to understanding what is both cost effective and possible with the time available.
start-here_length_trip_beatthetravelagent

Step 2- Decide where to go
Deciding where to go is half the battle and should be researched to know what your goals are and how you can work towards the perfect trip. It’s a lot easier to then plan when you know ‘I am going to new york’ rather than I want to go to America. This will give you drive and will be overall easier to figure out how much you need and what you need to make this dream become reality.
Get some inspiration
sign_direction_beatthetravelagent
Step 3 –Research costs
Once you have your location and you know how long you are travelling the next step is to work out how much you need and figure this out with the style of travelling you want. Is it going to be a hostel trip or a luxury hotel you need to budget for and how much will it cost for food/drink, attractions and transportation.

Step 4 – Save
Once you have a rough guide of what you need for your travel the next step is saving for that goal. Whether it be cutting back on the Starbucks or just putting money away each month this can be very easily achieved once you budget prior to your trip.
saving_pig_beatthetravelagent

Step 5 – Get your passport and book those flights.
Make sure you obviously have a valid passport and put this into the equation of how long this will take as during busy periods passports could take up to 2 months. Or if travelling further afield make sure your passport will be valid for more than 6 months of your trip as countries like America and Asia can be strict with close expiring passports.
Check the passport guidelines
Once your passport is ready its time to book your flights. When getting cheap flights I advise the perfect time to book is 6-8 weeks before you go as this is when airlines normally lower fares based on demand. Although if travelling at peak time I would advice 3 months in advance.
When you know when you want to travel you should use flight comparison sites to have a look at the price on the dates you are going and pick the location based on the flight prices. The three major costs involved in a holiday are flights, accommodation and spending money and the only one then that is slightly hard to self-adjust is flight prices, so I advise if you are trying to get away for cheap, you need to be flexible with both your dates and location.
Favourite sites for finding cheap fares:
-Skyscanner
-Google flights
-Momondo
-Vayama
- Check the flight companies direct
Remember you can always use reward miles to fly for less, read this blog post.

plane_cheap_beatthetravelagent

Step 6 – Book your Accommodation
Once you have a set schedule and you know how long you holiday is going to be the next step is to book your accommodation. Here you have many options whether you want an apartment, hotel, private room, hostel or a couch.
If you are looking at hotels I would advise to first type in your location into Tripadvisor.com narrow the search to your price and look at reviews and work out what the best option for your budget. Once you have a couple of options of hotels, then narrow down by price and location of where you will be travelling from there
Sites I use to book and compare.
-Booking (great for being able to book now pay later so you could book a backup hotel then look for another at a different stage and not pay any fees and cancel)
-Agoda  (great for south-east Asia)
-hostelworld (amazing for hostels and cheap accommodation)
-Hotels.com
 -Remember to check the hotel directly to see on their site if the price is cheaper.
-Airbnb.com – for apartments either a private room or entire apartment and is a great way to save money.  
Alternatively contact people on hospitality websites like Couchsurfing or be welcome and ask if they would be willing to host you.

Step 7- Plan Activities
Draft up the major activities and attractions you want to enjoy and how much this will cost and add this to your budget. Figure out if you need to make reservations for your chosen activities In advance of your trip.

travel_card_beatthetravelagentStep 8- Get cash/card
When travelling you have many options for getting the best rate. If you don’t consider your options and go and get currency over the counter it could be costing you up to £100. For example, if we were to spend 1000 euro.
Speciality credit card repaid in Full- £781
Cash, via UK Cheapest exchange- 798
Cash from the post office – 802
Using a debit card with fees (Halifax) - 829
Change at airport (Heathrow not pre-ordered)- £864
The best option normally is a non-sterling transaction fee credit or debit card meaning that you don’t get charged to use your card abroad for card payment and in some cases ATM’s (see our section on fee-free cards). With these cards, you get to look into the best rates at the time of purchase, which is normally better than the exchange rate at a bureau change.
The next option you have is a prepaid travel card or ordering currency to be delivered online, which can work out cheaper than getting physical currency at the airport or from a high street bank. But be careful to follow our steps here.


suitcase_beatthetravelagentStep 9- Pack & Print
Before getting ready to pack work out what you are eligible to bring on the plane considering both weight and baggage if it is hand luggage or checked. Then from there consider how you are going to distribute it into your suitcases or bags. Then make a list trying to be as minimalist as possible. Have a look at our ideal planning lists. Once you have all your items ready its time to pack. I would advise to put all your stuff out on your bed or floor and narrow down are you actually going to use this item, if the reason follows with I might, or what if… it more than likely isn’t a necessity and doesn’t need to waste weight and space. I Would also advise unless you are backpacking or have a lot of free space to not bring toiletries as 90% of the stuff you bring with you could be bought where ever you are going. Especially when only bringing hand luggage toiletries and liquids alike can not only take up a lot of room but can cause a lot of issues when going through security.
Once you backed its ready to print all your necessary documents, I would recommend having a copy of your travel insurance, a copy of your flight tickets, hotel accommodation, any tours booked, a small A4 map if needed and a sheet with contact numbers.

Step 10 – Have fun
Once you’ve done all that all there is now to do is to get on that plane and go have fun and make sure to take lots of pictures.
have_fun_beatthetravelagent.com

 

 

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Essential Travel Tips

Published in Essentials

Essential tips to ensure you arrive at your destination fresh and ready

Feel comfortable by wearing loose clothing such as sweats or gym bottoms and take a jumper with you to keep out the cold.

If possible book your flights so your flight time coincides with your body clock.

Avoid alcohol, which has a stimulating effect, try Chamomile tea and water instead.

Eastbound journeys produce the worst type of jet lag because you lose time across zones so be aware when booking a trip.

Light exposure regulates your body clock so try wearing sunglasses during and after your flight until you are ready to face the light.

Unwind with listening to music or watch film to help you drop off.

Keep tiredness at bay by having a strategic 45-minute nap at the time you would normally be asleep at home.

Change your watch or phone to local time at your destination as soon as you board your flight to keep your mind on track.

If possible gradually adjust your sleep times towards those at your destination a few days ahead of long haul travel.

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