We will be in Dusseldorf in April and would like to take a day trip to Brussels. I'm looking on the Deutsche Bahn site at the trains and see that there are several stations to arrive in. Is the central station going to be the best one for us to arrive in, to walk around the city and see some things?
Central is nearest the Grand Place where most of the sights are. Midi/Zuid is not a good area although it is where most international trains arrive. It is easy to go one stop between the two. Nord equally isn't much good for you.
What do you want to do in Brussels? There are many of us in this board that think the city is “meh” and much prefer nearby Bruges or Ghent instead. Since I see you’re a fellow Georgian, I’ll make this comparison- Brussels is like the Atlanta of Europe. Big, cosmopolitan, lots of businesses and industry- but, like Atlanta, I wonder why people go there on vacation. :) It just doesn’t have much that’s pretty or interesting or unique (IMHO). Now Bruges....ahhh it’s so neat with the canals and chocolate and square and cathedral.
Most international trains don't stop at Central. If you travel via Koeln, you might be on either a Deutsche Bahn ICE or a Thalys. The ICE stops at Nord and Midi, the Thalys at Midi only. However, you can get a Belgian national train one stop in whichever direction to Central, and I believe it's included in the international ticket.
There are 3 stations in central Brussels
- French: Bruxelles-Midi, Dutch: Brussel-Zuid is the main and largest one. All trains stop there.
- Bruxelles-Nord / Brussel-Noord. All domestic trains stop eher, but only some international ones.
- Bruxelles-Central / Brussel-Centraal is between the above two, but only some trains stop here, many go through without stopping.
I'd say Brussels Central is the best to arrive in. Tickets are usually valid to all 3, so if your train only stops in Nord or Midi, just hop the next train to Central.
I would however say Brussels is in my opinion a bit far from Düsseldorf for a day trip.
As already mentioned you want to go to the Central Station (Bruxelles Central). It's just a 5 minute walk from the Central Station to the Grand Place. Additionally, as previously mentioned this may be a little far for a day trip? The train will take you from 2 1/2 to 3 hours one way, so 5 hours of your day trip is on the train. Get up and leave early!
While several comments have suggested Brussels is not worth a visit, I had a great time there in the summer of 2016. Bruges may be a lot more picturesque but, it is also a bit farther from Dusseldorf. If you must get your taste of Belgian chocolate then go. Brussels is a lively town, especially around the Grand Place with its decorated guildhalls. We loved the Royal Art Museums, the street performers, the chocolate shops, Art Nouveau architecture, beer, and the frites. There's plenty to see within walking distance of the Central Station, including the over rated but, still worth seeing Manneken Pis. Additionally, there's numerous shopping and eating possibilities in the neighborhood. I say get up early and nap on the train. I am curious as to what you decide!
I hope you have a great trip!
I agree with the above replies. If there's something specific you want to see in Brussels (my sister in law had several paintings there on her bucket list), you can do it as a day trip from Duesseldorf. If your train does not stop at Brussels Central, just take a local train from Brussels North or Brussels South.
However, if you do not have a specific reason for going to Brussels, go somewhere else. It's both far for a day trip (over 2 hours each way) and not very impressive (to put it mildly). The only thing of special interest to me in Brussels was my Art Nouveau tour with ARAU: https://arau.org/en. Otherwise, lots of other places in Belgium are more interesting, not to mention places closer to Duesseldorf (Cologne, Aachen).
Thank you everyone. We don't have anything specific we want to see just thought it might be a great day trip. We don't really mind the 2 1/2 hour trip, we love watching the countryside and towns we go through. We'll be taking plenty of more local day trips while there.