Bruges: At its best in April and May
Bruges: At its best in April and May

Travel Question of the Day: Simon Calder on how safe it is to travel via Brussels

Have a travel question that needs answering? Ask our travel expert Simon Calder

Simon Calder
Tuesday 19 April 2016 10:52
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Q My wife and I have booked to go to Bruges on the Eurostar via Brussels for three nights later this month. What would your advice be considering the present situation? An alternative plan we have considered is leaving the train at Lille and travelling to Amiens instead - what would you advise?

Barry Piggott, Enfield

A Following the suicide bombings at Brussels airport and on the city’s Metro four weeks ago today, in which 32 people were murdered, the Foreign Office warns: “There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including on public transport and transport hubs and in other places visited by foreigners.”

While I understand the concerns of anyone booked to travel to Belgium, I urge you to continue with your plans. I believe the risks of harm to British tourists are extremely low, while the rewards of a trip to Bruges are high. This miraculously preserved medieval city is at its sparkling best in April and May, while the food and drink is as delicious as ever.

In terms of the practicalities of your journey: the bombings have led to vastly increased security and random searches, particularly at transport terminals. Brussels Midi station, where you change trains for Bruges, is the biggest rail hub in Belgium and has a heavy police presence. You won’t need to hang around here: trains run every 15 minutes to Bruges, taking an hour or less.

However, if you prefer to avoid the capital entirely, then you can take a train from Lille to Bruges. From the Eurostar station, follow the signs for the 10-minute walk to Lille Flandres station. You will probably need to change trains at Kortrijk en route to Bruges. The journey takes about 90 minutes, so there is little time difference overall compared with the trip via Brussels. The extra ticket would be at your own expense.

Finally: while Amiens, as the home of Jules Verne, has a special place in the hearts of many travellers, I would certainly choose Bruges.

Every day, our travel correspondent Simon Calder tackles readers’ questions. Just email yours to s@hols.tv or tweet @simoncalder

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