Guidebook Updates for Belgium

When we learn of important changes to the information in our guidebooks on Belgium, we post them here. (Of course, it's still smart to reconfirm critical transportation and sightseeing details locally.) Armed with a Rick Steves guidebook and these late-breaking updates, you're set for a great trip!

Across Belgium

For books printed before April 2023, the following may also apply:

  • Most payment in Belgium is now credit-card (or mobile-device) based. In many situations, such as on public buses in Bruges, cash is not accepted.

Antwerp

For books printed before April 2023, the following may apply:

  • The ModeMuseum and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts have both reopened after lengthy renovations.
  • The relatively new DIVA diamond museum is also open once again.
  • The Rubens House is closed for renovations, possibly until as late as 2027. Temporary exhibits may be back on display later in 2024.
  • Ariane van Duytekom is no longer offering tours.
  • Rosier 10 B&B has closed.
  • Several recommended restaurants have closed: Bij Lam & Yin, Lollapalooza Restaurant, De Groote Witte Arend, Brasserie 't Brantyser, Lombardia, and Pasta Plezir.

For books printed before October 2018, the following may also apply:

  • The #7 tram line now goes all the way from the city center to the Museum aan de Stroom (MAS).
  • Hungry Henrietta restaurant has closed.

Bruges

  • The Arentshuis Museum has permanently closed (but its ground floor will continue to host events and a summer pop-up bar).
  • The Sint-Janshospitaal Memling Collection has reopened.
  • The ruins at the Crowne Plaza Hotel are now only viewable to hotel guests and those who have hired a local guide.

For books printed before April 2023, the following may also apply:

  • Free shuttle buses are now the easiest way to get to the town center from the train station's kiss-and-ride area (no ticket required, run every 20 minutes 7:30–17:00 daily).
  • The Museumpas is now called the "Musea Brugge Card" (€32, valid for 3 days at 13 locations, available online and at museum ticket offices). While it covers fewer sights than the previous version, it's still a good value, as it covers admission to the Groeninge and Sint-Janshospitaal museums.
  • The Beguine House museum in the Begijnhof has closed.
  • Hotel Cordoeanier is now Hotel Rose Red.
  • The Bruges Beer Museum is now called the "Bruges Beer Experience."

 

Brussels

  • The Fin-de-Siècle Museum at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium is closed while the museum undergoes renovation.
  • Local guide Roger van Buynder has a new email address: [email protected].
  • Private operator European Sleeper now runs overnight trains between Brussels Midi and Berlin (3/week, 11 hours).
  • The privately run train between Brussels Airport and the city center is not covered by rail passes.

For books printed before April 2023, the following may also apply:

  • The tourist information office at Rue du Marché aux Herbes 63 has closed, but a new Visit Brussels office has opened at Rue Royale 2. The USE-IT information center at Rue Ravenstein has also closed.
  • The City Sightseeing Brussels bus is not currently running. Tootbus, however, offers a two-hour express tour and a full-day hop-on, hop-off pass.
  • The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium's entry tickets have changed: a €15 combo-ticket covers the Old Masters museum (and Fin-de-Siècle museum, when open), a different €15 ticket gets you the Magritte Museum, and a €20 ticket covers all three. All museums (including Magritte) are now closed on Mondays.
  • The Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate has moved to Rue de l'Etuve 41, and is now called "Choco-Story: The Chocolate Museum."
  • The Cinquantenaire Museum is now called the "Museum of Art & History."
  • The Royal Museum for Central Africa is now called "AfricaMuseum."
  • The Musical Instruments Museum's café is closed for a years-long renovation.
  • Cap Africa restaurant is now Hope House African.
  • Several hotels have closed: La Madeleine (for renovation), Les Clarisses and La Petite Eclipse, Hotel Welcome, Be in Brussels, Hotel Noga, and Hotel Opera (a SafeStay Hostel has opened in place of Hotel Opera).

For books printed before October 2018, the following may also apply:

Ghent

For books printed before April 2023, the following may apply:

  • The Gothic nave of St. Bavo's Cathedral is once again viewable, as is the Ghent Altarpiece, aside from some upper panels that are expected to remain under restoration until 2026 (replica panels are in place till then). While most of the church is still free to enter it now costs €12.50 to view the Ghent Altarpiece (ticket also covers the rest of the choir and the Rubens painting), or €16 to also visit the crypt. Since lines for the altarpiece can be long, it's smart to book a timed-entry ticket ahead of your visit, especially for weekends and any day in July and August.
  • The Ghent Design Museum is closed for renovation and expansion, with plans to reopen in 2026.
  • Simon Says Hotel has closed.
  • Several recommended restaurants have closed: Marco Polo Trattoria, Lkkr, Ramen (on Oudburg Street), and Belga Queen.
  • Wascenter Netezon laundromat has closed.

For books printed before October 2018, the following may also apply:

  • Avalon restaurant has closed.