Bruxelles-Nord train station is aptly named as it’s located on the northern edge Brussels city centre.
The station is has recently been renovated - the main hall has been transformed into a magnificent space - but it is still a somewhat austere location in which to catch a train.
The primary access to the trains is via a passage way under the tracks, and this has been improved.
It now has escalators and lifts up to the platforms.
When arriving from the north, this main passage way is at the front of the trains.
When arriving from the direction of the city centre, it will be towards the rear.
Tram lines 3 and 4 connect Bruxelles-Nord to more central areas of the city with stops at Anneessens, Bourse, De Brouckere and Rogier
Access to the pre-metro (underground tram station) is immediately adjacent to the main hall - but it is somewhat disguised.
Brussels North station is not linked to the Bruxelles Metro (the underground trains in central Brussels).
If you’re heading to the Belgian capital from the north and your final destination is in Bruxelles city centre and your train is also calling at Bruxelles-Central, then it may be stating the obvious, but don’t leave the train at Bruxelles-Nord.
Particularly if your final destination is in the area around Le Grand Place, because the trams which head south from Bruxelles-Nord take you no closer to this heart of the city, in comparison to the location of Bruxelles Central Station.
That city centre station also has access by Metro to many of the most popular tourist areas of the city including the Coudenberg, the Parc du Cinquantenaire and the Atomium.
Thalys trains from The Netherlands don't call at Bruxelles-Nord staton, but it is served by the InterCity trains from The Netherlands.
So of your final destination is in the area of Brussels convenient for the North station, when looking up a journey factor in the 15-20 mins it will take to leave the Thalys train at Bruxelles-Midi station and then to travel back up the line to Bruxelles-Nord.
Thalys trains from Germany don’t call at Bruxelles-Nord, but the ICE trains do, so if you’re heading to Bruxelles city centre by train from Germany, the ICEs can be a better option than the Thalys.
Making the connection at Bruxelles-Nord into one of the frequent trains from here to Bruxelles-Central station is a faster journey than taking the Thalys to Bruxelles-Midi and changing trains there.
The Museum of Fine Arts and the other museums in the Coudenberg can be accessed from the Bruxelles-Nord by tram.
Take a tram on lines 3, 4 or 32 one stop north to the Thomas tram stop and transfer there to tram line 93 (direction Legrand) and leave this tram at the Royale stop.
Don’t leave the train at Brussels Nord if you’re heading to The Grand Place, the Atomium or the museum complex at Parc du Cinquantenaire, all of these locations in the city have easier access by from Bruxelles Central station.
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