|Motorways:||A1, A3, A4, A7, A10, A12, A201, R0,|
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).
Let people take you to the Basiliek of Koekelberg. Then ask them the direction for the motorway. They'll indicate you to the back of the Basiliek of Koekelberg = Keizer Karel laan. Hike for 1,4 km till on your right the Baselix Shopping Center, where you'll find 2 petrol stations. 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.
Take tram 82 from the South Station 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 direction of Gent. Just hitch after the traffic lights, where there is an area for a car to pull aside behind you. The circulation is dense but cars can easily pull aside and get back on the road quite safely. This spot was last successfully used on August 22nd, 2010.
There are two services along the E40 between Brussels and Gent that you can always manage to reach:
- 'Groot Bijgaarden' is about 2.5km from the spot you are standing
- 'Wetteren' is some 34km from Brussels and about 15km from the center of Gent
- Dante recommends hitch hiking out of Brussels at the Drogenbos Motorway exit, this traffic light under the motorway bridge: As cars need to wait to turn left, its possible to ask drivers to take you south, or to the petrol station on the motorway, which is 1500 meters further.
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.
- Another option to take bus 50 (direction Lot station) to 'Gilson' from Brussels Gare du Midi/Zuidstation. This takes about 20 minutes. From here you can easily follow the road, alongside the massive shopping area, to the highway. You will find yourself at the motorway exits with traffic lights in five minutes.
- 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 South Station in direction of Humanite 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!
Alternative destinations along the E19
- Halle, to eventually join the E429 to Tournai or Lille.
- Nivelles, at the junction with the E420 to Charleroi and the N25 to Louvain-la-Neuve.
- La Louvière, junction with the E42 eastward.
- Valenciennes at junction with the A23 to Lille.
South towards Louvain-la-Neuve, Charleroi, Namur, Luxembourg, Lyon, Strasbourg, Geneve (E411)
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 gas station in Luxembourg before the border.
One of the historically well known (by locals) hitch hiker places towards the direction of Louvain-La-Neuve (student town) is right at the exit of Metro "Delta". Next to the Delta Bus Depot. To get there, Metro 5 direction Herrmann-Debroux, or Bus 71 Delta. It takes a minute or two before a car stops, and it is not rare 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 University of Brussels, many students used to hitchhike that route.
Station "Beaulieu" in Ixelles (Metro 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.
The E411 starting from there heads direction South to Namur, Luxembourg, Lorraine in France and in 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.
South towards Waterloo (local hitching)
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.
North or East, towards Leuven, Antwerp, Liege, Germany, Netherlands (E40 - E314)
You can easily hitch out of Brussels in direction East from the European / Business Quarter.
- The first option is to hitch at the entrance of the Tunnel located at the gate of the Jubelpark (Parc du Cinquentenaire) on the Blijde-Inkomst laan (Avenue de la Joyeuse-Entree) 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 services in Leuven on the E40 or on the E314.
(Note: 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)
- Another, second, 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 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 hes turn and still go to the town through the petrol station. Nearby public transportation to this second hitch spot are Metro station "Trone/Troon" and also several bus lines.
- A third option is to go to Metro Station "Diamant". You can get there by getting the metro to Schuman (Direction 1/5 Stockel/Hermann-Debroux), then bus 79 (direction Kraainem). Cross "Bld. Auguste Reyers" in east 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.
There is no direct easy way to hitch from Brussels to Antwerp, although there is some alternative means to reach the ring in the hope to catch a ride along the E19 or the A12. Sadly those are always in periphery of the city. You can take the main motorway E19 or the A12 that may be less good if you also want to hitch further North.
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.
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.
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.
Take tram #3, #19 or #23 and get off at De Wand or Esplanade (#4). Walk along the Avenue de Meysse up to the Antwerpselaan, crossing the Romeinsesteenweg. You can hitch along the Antwerpselaan and catch a car that would get onto the motorway at exit #2 of the A12.
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
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.
From there, you simply have to walk towards the Expo park to join the Tram (23 - 81 - 94) or Metro (1A) stations at 'Koning Boudewijn' or 'Heysel'.
If you arrive from the East, you might also ask to be left at the Services along the E40 in Leuven, before arriving in Brussels, with the mean of catching a local ride that would get 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.
West - South
If you arrive from the North-West, (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.
If your ride only takes the Western Ring anyhow (from Gent or the south), you can ask to be left at the Exit 16 and gain the Metro 1b, stations 'Eddy Merckx' or 'Ceria' which are at footsteps.
Checks on the metro system are not common, but it can happen. Fines are over 80 euro for not carrying a ticket. You also need tickets to enter and exit at some metro stations.