Brussels Charleroi Airport Mini Guide
Why Would I Take a Break in Brussels?
is considered by many to be the ‘capital of Europe’ as it is home to many European-wide organisations and the headquarters of the European Union. It’s an interesting city despite its lack of historic sights – virtually the whole city was razed before being rebuilt at the end of the 19th century as the capital of the new country of Belgium. Only a couple of streets and the Grand Place remain of medieval Brussels and these are must-sees for any visitor. For very modern Brussels, try the Atomium, a weird and wonderful structure designed and built to show European’s hopes for the future.
How do I get to Brussels?
Seven miles away from the city you’ll find Brussels Airport which accepts hundreds of flights each day from all across the world. Many of them are chartered holiday flights but the majority are scheduled and include several from regional airports in the UK including Bristol
operated by Flybe, easyJet and BA amongst others. Access to Brussels city centre from the airport is easy with direct rail links, several bus routes, taxis and car hire bridging the distance.
What is the Airport Like?
The airport is a modern one with its newest terminal constructed in 1994. There are plans, currently on hold, to build extensions to the ‘pier’ system of concourses to allow for further budget airline flights, a market the airport is desperate to tap into following a drop in traffic after the collapse of national carrier Sabena.
What Should I Expect Upon Landing at Brussels?
There are 109 gates for aircraft at the airport but only half of them have jet bridges into the concourses. That means that 50% of passengers may be faced with a walk or a bus ride to the terminal from their plane and then up a flight of stairs into the terminal building. If mobility is an issue for you, please ask your airline how you will disembark so they can arrange assistance if necessary. It’s quite a walk from the furthest gates on the piers until you get to passport control. From there, you’ll need to watch for an indication of which reclaim belt to get your luggage from before going up a level to collect it. Then it’s back down a level to collect pre-booked hire cars or to get public transport. The train station is on the lowest level of the airport, level -1.
The layout of the airport can be confusing with services on different levels so make use of the information desk in the arrivals hall if you get confused, it‘ll save you a lot of time. If you need cash or to exchange currency there are several banks and currency exchange offices as well as ATMs around the airport.
What can I do Whilst Waiting for my Flight Home?
After handing in your baggage, you’ll soon find the range of shops and restaurants at the airport dotted around the various levels. There are dozens of shops selling all kinds of travel essentials as well as delicious Belgian chocolates and items of jewellery. There are the usual clothing outlets and small electrical items too. Restaurants include take away outlets and more upmarket dining depending on how much time you have and the size of your wallet! If all this gets too much, you can always just settle down with your laptop and connect to the airport's Wi-Fi system and surf the net.