Brussels

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Brussels
<map lat='50.836' lng='4.34' zoom='10' />
Information
Country:
Flag of Belgium
Belgium
Region: Brussels
Population: 1,125,728
Major roads: A1, A3, A4, A7, A10, A12, A201, R0,
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Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel, German Brüssel, Polish: Bruksela, Latvian: Brisele) is the capital of Belgium and the European capital. Brussels is a very international city. While still walking around in the center you might be able to spot some cars from other countries. For instance, when heading to Paris, check the French numberplates with 75 or 90-something (Paris and its suburbs).

Hitchhiking out

North-West towards Gent, Brugge, England, (Lille) E 40

Option 1: Petrol stations at Baselix Shopping Centre

1. Take train S10 from Brussels Noord station to Berchem Ste-Agathe station. Head south towards the Carrefour hypermarket and go through it's car park toward the Baselix Shopping Centre and the main road Keizer Karellaan. Here you will find two petrol stations (Shell and Lukoil). Stay there as people fill up with petrol for going to e.g. Gent or Brugge. Just ask people.. won't take you more than 10 minutes to get a hike.

2. Take bus 213 or 214 from bus-stop Brussel Rogier and get off at Sint-Agatha-Berchem Marg.v.Oostenrijk, and then walk 300m west until you reach the petrol stations.

3. Walk 5kms from Rogier metro heading west on the main road R20.

Option 2: Start of E40

Take tram 82 from the Gare du Midi in direction of Berchem until the stop Berchem Shopping. From there turn left and walk up the Av. Charles Quint for about 200 meters and you are at the beginning of the E40 in the direction of Gent. Just hitch after the traffic lights, where there is space for a car to pull over behind you. The circulation is dense but cars can easily pull over and get back on the road quite safely. You can also reach this spot by the following the directions in Option 1 and then continue walking 400m west along the main road R20. This spot was last successfully used on August 22nd, 2010.

Option 3: Motorway service station Groot Bijgaarden

The cheapest way: from bus-stop Brussel Rogier, take De Lijn bus 213 or 214 (direction Aalst) and get off at bus-stop Zellik Drie Koningen. Cross over the street and walk back 50m in the direction from where the bus came to the roundabout. Turn into the first street to the right (Kerklaan) and walk 200m. Turn left into Theodoor Coppensstraat and walk ≈650m till you come to the junction with Louis De Bondstraat. Take a left here (south) and walk 400m until you reach a road on the right (Dilbeek Noord). Walk ≈300m and you will reach the service station.

Many people also take this route to go to Lille and Paris, and there's probably more traffic on this road than on the option going towards Charleroi and Mons.

South-West towards Charleroi, Mons, Lille, Paris E 19

Option 1: E19 Motorway junction Drogenbos

At the Drogenbos motorway junction, there is a traffic light under the motorway bridge. As cars need to wait to turn left to get on the highway, its possible to ask drivers to take you south, or to the next petrol station on the motorway, which is 1.5 km further.

1. Take bus 50 (direction Lot) to Gilson leaving from Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation. This takes about 20 minutes. Walk southeast along Paul Gilsonlaan, then follow the road round onto Grote Baan to the junction with Verlengde Stallestraat. Turn right (west) and walk ≈250m to the traffic light under the motorway. Altogether the walk is ≈500m and takes five minutes.

2. Take tram 4 (STIB) till the terminus (Stalle), then walk further towards the motorway along Rue Prolongée de Stalle/Verlengde Stallestraat (with some massive shops) till you reach the traffic lights underneath the motorway bridge. Dante tried this spot a number of times, and often, within less then half an hour, gets to talk directly to drivers with French number plates going towards Paris.

You can also leave tram 4 at the stop Egide van Ophem (2 stops before terminus). Here you just need to cross the street and you'll find yourself on a DATS 24 petrol station. Depending on the time of the day (best is around evening rush hour, as people are leaving Brussels), it can be easy or very easy to get a ride to the Ruisbroek service station. Make sure to state very clearly where you want to go (Ruisbroek petrol station is on the “ring”) as many people go through it without knowing, for example if their destination is Waterloo.

Option 2: Ruisbroek Petrol Station

To get directly on the Ruisbroek Petrol Station (which is located on the western part of the ring), you need to take bus 50 (direction Lot station) to Ruisbroek Voetbalplein. This takes about half an hour. From here you walk straight and turn the second to the left (into Hemelstraat) and follow this till the end. Go left into Broekweg and follow your way onto the petrol station.

Option 3: Internationalelaan/Boulevard International

Another option to go to the Internationalelaan/Boulevard International close to the motorway entrance. There is a lot of traffic and much space for cars to stop, even a petrol station where you could ask people directly. To get there, take bus 78 from the Brussels Zuidstation/Gare du Midi in direction of Humanité and get out at the stop Bollinckx. Attention! The bus only runs every hour. Schedule Keep in mind that you are now in the middle of an industrial zone!

Option 4: E19 Motorway junction 17 (Ceria/Coovi)

Another option to take metro yellow line 5 (direction Érasme/Erasmus) and get off at CERIA/COOVI. Walk Chaussée de Mons/Bergensesteenweg down south (you can ask people the direction of Ikea). Some 150 meters from the metro station you will see a bridge. Go down across the bridge, there you will see entrance (consisting of 3 lanes from 3 different directions) to the motorway in direction of Mons/Paris. 5 km further there will be a big Total petrol station called Ruisbroek, there you will easily find a ride further to the south.

Option 5: Delta (South-East)

Although Delta is mostly known as the best spot to get to Louvain-la-Neuve then Namur and Luxembourg along the E411 (see below), it can very well be suited to get on the E19 (Nivelles, Charleroi or Mons, then Paris, or even Lille). abyssin successfully hitchhiked from there 10+ times. If used properly, this option beats Drogenbos in many cases. Using a sign on this spot is mandatory as drivers are used to see hitchhikers going to Louvain-la-Neuve (E411 rather than E19). After several trials, “Nivelles” proves to be the best thing to write on your sign (this is important). Unless your driver goes further, which is often the case, ask to be dropped at rest area of Nivelles 30 minutes from Brussels (the one with the Total petrol station and a restaurant that is built across the highway).

The spot has direct access from the exit no. 4 of metro station Delta on line 5 (15 minutes ride from the city center).

VUB and ULB students or hitchhikers leaving from Ixelles have a reason to prefer this option as it will save them time compared to reaching Stalle stop (Drogenbos) by tram 4.

Alternatively, you can ask drivers directly at the petrol station Lukoil (30 minutes on average). On the contrary, Texaco petrol station’s staff, on boulevard du Triomphe, has proven to be very unfriendly to hitchhikers once, threatening to call the cops.

Cardboard around Delta hitchhiking spot : There’s a Delhaize shop inside the metro station, easily accessible from exit 4 of metro station right from the hitchhiking spot (steps going down to picnic tables). Also the staff of Lukoil petrol station across the intersection is nice and helpful.

Alternative destinations along the E19

Southeast towards Louvain-la-Neuve, Namur, Luxembourg, Lyon, Strasbourg, Geneve E 411

The E411 to Luxembourg is a recommended direction to head further South. This option should probably also be considered to go the South if you want to avoid Paris. Because petrol is a lot cheaper in Luxembourg you can easily find long rides at the petrol station in Luxembourg before the border.

The E411 heads direction Southeast to Namur, Luxembourg, Lorraine in France and to Germany. Many junctions, such as the southern ring near Jezus-Eik, connect to the E19 (towards Charleroi, Mons and Paris) or the E42 just north of Namur. Using a sign would ease the journey but remember that these junctions are on the motorway and are not safe to hitchhike from.

Option 1: Delta

One of the historically well-known places by local hitchhikers, Delta is on the way towards Louvain-La-Neuve (student town) and is situated right at the exit no. 4 of metro station Delta (15 minutes from the centre), next to the Delta bus depot. To get there, take metro line 5 direction Herrmann-Debroux, or bus 71 to Delta. It is common to bump into one or two other (student) hitchhikers there. There's a petrol station (Lukoil) next to the metro station where you won't wait more than five minutes on a Sunday morning if you say you're a student.

Historical note: as Louvain-la-Neuve is a student town, and Delta is at the entrance of the motorway and next to the VUB/ULB (Brussels university), many students used to hitchhike that route.

Option 2: Station Beaulieu in Ixelles

To get to metro station Beaulieu in Ixelles, take line 5 direction Herrmann-Debroux. You will notice many cars stopping at traffic lights just before the station. This road connects with the motorway towards the South. Some hitchhiker got a lift in less than 2 minutes. There is a big service station 10 minutes down the road if needed for further lifts.

South towards Waterloo N5

Public transport to the site of Waterloo battlefield are deficient, so hitchhiking could be a solution for those who wish to do a day excursion to that historic site. The best is to reach 'Ter Cameren Bos' (Bois de la Cambre) at the border between Ixelles and Ukkel (Tram 94 - 23 - 24) and find a spot along the Chaussee de Waterloo or by taking Tram 92 till "Fort Jaco" terminus, and then walk to adjacent Chaussee de Waterloo to hh further south.

Northeast or East, towards Leuven, Antwerp, Liege, Germany, Netherlands E 40 / E 314

You can easily hitch out of Brussels in direction East from the European / Business Quarter.

Option 1. Start hitching at the entrance of the Tunnel located at the gate of the Jubelpark/Parc du Cinquentenaire on the Blijde-Inkomstlaan/Avenue de la Joyeuse-Entrée on the side of the 'Rond-Point Schuman' (metro access 1A/1B direction Herrmann-Debroux/Stokkel). There is a street light and a side parking just at the entrance of the tunnel, you may simply stand by the light with a sign and the cars can immediately pull over to pick you. This hitching point is an easy start to go to Leuven or Liege or possibly reach the Heverlee services in Leuven on the E40 or on the E314.

This spot works perfectly during business hours, but the traffic is low on Sundays or during holidays; note that it is also possible to catch a ride in direction North Antwerp from there too, but a sign is required)

-- This spot worked well in June 2016! - Darkhawk

Option 2. Another good option is to hitch at the red lights on the Rue du Belliard. It's a one way street with 4 lanes and most cars enter the tunnel at the end of the street that goes onto the motorway towards Leuven, Liege and Aachen. Make sure to ask your driver if they go onto the motorway and go towards Leuven. The first petrol station on the motorway is right after the exit to Leuven. If your driver goes to Leuven he can miss his turn and still go to the town through the petrol station. Nearby public transportation to this second hitching spot are Metro station "Trone/Troon" and also several bus lines.

Option 3. Get to premetro Station "Diamant". You can get there by taking the metro to Schuman (Direction 1/5 Stockel/Hermann-Debroux) and change then to bus 79 (direction Kraainem) or take tram no. 25 from Rogier in direction of Boondaal Station/Gare Boondael. Cross "Bld. Auguste Reyers" in eastern direction. Then walk to the spot on the small street, just after the traffic lights, that leads to the A3-motorway. There is plenty of space for cars to pull over.

Option 4. The best way to leave the city fast and in the right direction is going past the ring road. So, if you're ok to pay the public transport, take the De Lijn bus 351 from the train station Brussels-North and stop at Nossegem - Centrum (it takes 30 minutes and cost 3 euros). Walk a few metres in the direction of the bus and you reach a big crossroad where the highway is announced. Follow the sign and turn right to find a very comfortable point to hitchhike to Leuven or Liege.

North towards Antwerp, Breda, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Amsterdam A12 or E 19

Antwerpselaan

Option 1. Take tram 3, 19, or 23 and get off at De Wand or take tram 4 and get off at Esplanade (and then turn right). Walk along the Avenue de Meysse up to Antwerpselaan, crossing Romeinsesteenweg. By now you should see the signs for Antwerp. Keep following the signs for a couple more roads further on. This will increase your chances when you hitch on Antwerpselaan and try to catch a car that would get onto the motorway at junction 2 of the A12. De Lijn busstop "Strombeek-Bever Nieuwelaan" is good, cars are going slow and have place to stop.


Option 2. Take metro 6 in the direction of Koning Boudewijn/Roi Baudoin and get off at Heysel. Take Keizerin Charlottelaan/Avenue Impératrice Charlotte to the right in the direction of Brussels Expo. Continue along Avenue de Miramar (so don't go to the atomium) and turn left at the end where you will see highway A12 in front of you. Take the next to the right and go under the bridge. Start hitchhiking just after the bridge at the street on your left (Antwerpselaan).

If you don't have any luck with finding a spot to stand you can try your chances at Brussels Airport. You can take bus 21 to the airport and then go to the "Départ" area. Go outside and you will see a lot of cars drive by and drop off people who are catching a plane. When you walk a bit into the direction where the cars are going to (it's one-way traffic) you will find a good spot where you can stand and where cars can stop for you. Use a sign, because probably most cars will move into Brussels and only a few will go to Antwerpen. This road will lead to the highway and also to the petrol station that is described at the section on Brussels Airport.

NATO

The bus stop in front of the NATO is pretty good for hitchhiking further than Antwerp, although there is more traffic at the parallel traffic lights. For hitchhiking to Holland, make a sign for the Antwerp/E19 and get off at the petrol station just before Antwerp: lots of Dutch cars / people here to ask for a ride. If someone takes you to Mechelen though, make sure they drop you of at Mechelen Noord motorway exit. Buses 12, 21 and 65 go to the Nato stop. You can get the number 65 from the Madou metro stop.

Airport

Take an overpriced train or for a more normal price bus 12 or 21 to Brussels International Airport. There are many exits at the airport. You can find one and start hitching from where cars pay their parking-ticket. A bit further down the road towards the motorway you'll find a Shell service station. Most cars here stay around the airport, but you may have luck. A final suggestion is to keep on walking along the side-road until it joins with the motorway. Cars go relatively slow here and there is plenty of room for a vehicle to pull over.

In order to get to the airport there are different options.

  1. The fast but expensive (8,5€) direct train to Brussels Airport from Bruxelles Midi, Central or Nord.
  2. STIB/MIVB bus #12 or #21 leaving from Place de Luxembourg (4€), be sure to check the timetable and keep the traffic jams during rush hour in mind
  3. De Lijn bus #272 or #471 leaving from Gare du Nord/Noordstation (normal ticket price around 2€)
  4. Take a normal priced train to Zaventem Station and walk 2 km to the airport. When you leave the station, take the Vilvoordelaan straight till the second roundabout and follow the road to Brussels airport (there is a pedestrian road next to the highway).

Notre Dame Cathedral / Laeken

A relatively good spot in the North-West of Brussels can be found around the corner of Parvis Notre Dame, the Cathedral of Laeken. You can reach this by metro L6 towards Koning Boudewijn and get off at Bockstael Metro station. Turn left when you exit and go through Rue Leopold I, or just follow the pedestrian street-signs for the Cathedral. Tram 94 also apparantly stops close to the cathedral (not confirmed). map.

If your driver is not heading to your destination but goes to the ring, you can get out where the A12 starts. You will find some small spots around the roundabout that should work. map

Hitching in

If you do not encounter a driver that goes inside the city, but takes the Northern Ring around the city, you can ask them to pull off the motorway (E40) at Exit #7a/7b (Chaussee Romaine/Parc des Expositions/Tentoonstellingspark) (basically, the Atomium and Heysel Stadium area) or at Exit #8 (Wemmel). At both exits drivers can immediately rejoin the motorway at the sliproad opposite the exit.

East

If you do not encounter a driver that goes inside the city, but instead takes the northern ring road around the city, you can ask them to pull off the motorway (E19) at junction 7a/7b (Chaussee Romaine/Parc des Expositions/Tentoonstellingspark) (basically, the Atomium and Heysel Stadium area) or at junction 8 (Wemmel). At both exits, drivers can immediately rejoin the motorway from the slip road opposite the exit. From the exits, you simply have to walk towards the Expo park to take tram 23, 81, or 94; or Metro 6 from stations Koning Boudewijn or Heysel.

Alternatively, you might also ask to be left at the service station on the E40 in Leuven, before the ring road around Brussels, with the idea of catching a local ride that would get you into town. This might be necessary if your driver goes up along the E19 to Antwerp, as there won't be any places for him to drop you off.

Northwest

If you arrive from the northwest (Gent), you can ask to be dropped at the Services in Groot-Bijgaarden which is 2.5km before the ring of Brussels along the E40 from where you can walk to Zellik and catch bus 213 or 214 to the centre, or try to hitch a ride into town.

If your ride only takes the western ring road (E19), (from Gent or the south), you can ask to be dropped off at Junction 16 on the E19, from where it is walking distance to the metro 1b stations Eddy Merckx or Ceria.

South

If you coming in from the south and the driver is heading to the east of Brussels, ask to be dropped off at Delta.

If the driver is heading to the west of Brussels, ask to be dropped off at E19 junction at Drogenbos. It comes right after Ruisbroek service station (Total). Walk five minutes and you’ll be at the beginning of tram line 4 going to the centre.

Public transport

Check out this journey planner to find your public transport options to get to the hitching spots. Integrates all modes of transport, eg, bus, metro, train, Le Lign buses, etc.

Ticket controls on the metro system are not common, but it can happen. Fines are over €100 for not having a ticket. You also need tickets to enter and exit at some metro stations. If you have a phone connected to the internet, you can check for controls on the website controlestib.be.

Extra

If you like to have a chat, free coffee or tea or free computer access, be sure to visit Use-it, Tourist Info For Young Travellers. They also have a wide variety of free maps and the best tips what to do and where to hang out in Brussels. Check out: [www.use-it.be]

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