This guide to using the main railway station in the Belgian capital, which goes by the names of Bruxelles-Midi; Brussel-Zuid and Brussels South train station, will explain:
Somewhat confusing is a pertinent summary of Bruxelles Midi/Zuid station.
Not only is it in effect three stations in one -
(1) The Eurostar terminal
(2) The voies/spors (platforms/tracks) used by the other international high speed trains.
(3) The voies/spors (platforms/tracks) used by the trains to and from other destinations in Belgium.
It also houses two different tram stops, out of sight lifts and a somewhat hidden Metro station - and the signage at the station is tri-lingual.
The trains are also out of sight as they depart and arrive at upper level, so the main facilities at the station are all housed in a passage way that runs beneath them.
These facilities include separate SNCB ticket offices for domestic (within Belgium) and international trains.
This passage way named the ‘Couloir Principal' or 'Hoofdgang' links the main entrance/exit on Place Victor Horta and the secondary entrance/exit on Avenue Fosny.
This main passage way has been smartened up in recent years; so it’s not quite as grim as it once was.
Which is a plus as what Bruxelles Midi lacks is a distinct departure hall, to act as a general introduction to the trains; so the main access to the trains is via this central passage way.
Efforts have evidently been made to make the station easier to use, particularly for its regular users.
Hence there being three exits on each voie/spor (platform/track) used by the trains which arrive from other destinations in Belgium.
So ideal if you know where you are going and will be grateful for a short-cut, but hard to fathom if you are a first time user.
Hence splitting up the pertinent information, which can be accessed on the travel guides below.
ShowMeTheJourney has produced a series of detailed guides to using specific aspects of the main station in Brussels:
Bruxelles Midi/Zuid lives up to its name with a location to the south of the city centre; some distance from all of the city's the most popular tourist areas.
Heading to Bruxelles-Centraal station from Bruxelles-Midi/ Brussel-Zuid can be a good option, as that station also lives up to its name with a location only a 5-10 min walk from La Grand-Place.
The national trains and the InterCity trains from and both Luxembourg and The Netherlands, which pass through Bruxelles/Brussels, all call at Bruxelles-Centraal station in addition to Bruxelles-Midi.
Trains heading north and east call at Bruxelles-Centraal AFTER they have called at Bruxelles-Midi.
However, the international high speed trains to and from Bruxelles/Brussels DON'T call at Bruxelles-Centraal.
So, if your train from the south and west isn’t calling at Bruxelles Centraal, the easiest access to the city centre when arriving in the city by train from London, Paris or other cities in France, is to take a train from Midi/Zuid station on the 7 minute journey to Bruxelles Centraal station.
You won’t have to wait more than 15 mins at Midi/Zuid station for a train on to Bruxelles Centraal; though there isn’t a ‘next train to Bruxelles Centraal’ indicator, to help you work out which platform/voie it will be departing from.
If you have arrived by Eurostar your ticket will be valid on to any other station in central Bruxelles (that the mainline, and not the metro trains, call at).
The Museum of Fine Arts and the other museums in the Coudenberg complex are also a 5-10 min walk from Bruxelles Centraal station.
Taking the train to the city centre from Bruxelles Midi/Zuid is USUALLY a better option than the tram
If you'll be taking a train which terminates at Midi/Zuid station and heading for the area around The Council of European Union offices, take a train (and not the metro) to Bruxelles-Schuman station.
OR If you're heading for the area around The European Parliament building take a train (and not the metro) to Bruxelles-Luxembourg station.
Bourse/Beurse is the nearest tram stop to the heart of the city - but it’s no nearer to La Grand-Place, than Bruxelles Central station.
Bourse/Beurse is three stops from Midi on tram lines 3 and 4 (and 51*)
*lines 3 and 4 run all day, every day, but the line 51 service is more sporadic
These tram lines 3 and 4 (and 51) share an underground station with the Brussels Metro - so if you do want to take these trams, you can follow the signs to the Metro.
The entrance to this underground tram/Metro station is in the main ‘Le Couloir Principal/Hoofdgang’ passage way; opposite the main access to voies 7 - 8.
DON'T use the alternative street level tram stops, located on the opposite side of the taxi rank - that are used by tram lines 32 and 81 and 82.
More info on how to connect to the trams at Bruxelles-Mid/Brussels South is available on the guide below.
More info on how to connect to the Metro at Bruxelles-Mid/Brussels South is available on the guide below.
For the Atomiumm take Metro Line 6 (direction Roi Baudouin) to Heysel station.
Taking a train to Midi/Zuid station is a particularly good option if you'll be heading for the Atomium, as neither Centraal or Nord stations have a direct link with Heysel station.
For the museum complex at Parc du Cinquantenaire take either Metro Line 2 or Line 6 (direction Simomis Elisabeth) to Arts-Loi/Kunst Wet station.
Transfer there to Metro Line 1 (direction Stockel) or Metro Line 5 (direction Hermann Debroux) and leave these trains at Merode station
Though if you're heading to the Parc du Cinquantenaire on a train which calls at Bruxelles-Central station, leave the train there and not at Midi/Zuid station.
There are direct Metro trains from Centraal to that Merode station.
Bruxelles-Midi station is located to the south of the city centre - so there are limited options for finding rooms within a 5 min walk of the station.
The hotels listed below is a fairly comprehensive list of hotels near the station that have guest ratings of above 80% - so early booking is recommended.
There is no 5* hotel in the area around Bruxelles-Midi station.
Alternatively there is a wide choice of accommodation within easy access of the other principle stations in Brussels – Central, Nord and Luxembourg - all of which have frequent direct trains from Bruxelles-Midi.
Hotels within 5 min walk of Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid Station
Hotel Pullman Brussels Centre
Park Inn by Radisson Brussels Midi
Money saving options with direct public transport links to/from Bruxelles-Midi station
By Scharbeek station (frequent trains from Midi):
By the Rogier tram/metro stop:
Both of these hostels are within a 5 min walk of the Rogier tram/metro stop, take the ‘pre-metro’ tram lines 3 or 4 from Bruxelles Midi.
This is an easier public transport connection than via Bruxelles-Central station - though the Sleep Well Hostel is only a 12-15 min walk from Bruxelles-Central.
This is one of more than 300 station guides available on ShowMeTheJourney, which will make it easier to take the train journeys you want or need to make. As always, all images were captured on trips taken by ShowMeTheJourney.