Charleroi is a city located in the southern part of Belgium, in the province of Hainaut. Situated on the banks of the River Sambre, Charleroi was established in 1666 when the Spanish built a fortress there. The city was named after King Charles II of Spain.
Throughout its history, Charleroi has been under the rule of various powers including Spain, France, the Netherlands and Austria before becoming part of independent Belgium in 1830. It was during this time that Charleroi grew rapidly fueled by the coal mining and steel industries to become one of the most prosperous cities in Belgium after Brussels. As these heavy industries declined after World War II, Charleroi suffered economically with high unemployment and urban decay. Since the early 2000s, the city has been reinventing itself focusing on modern industries like bioscience, engineering and healthcare.
The resurgence of the Brussels South Charleroi Airport has also boosted tourism in Charleroi. The city has a rich cultural heritage evident in its Art Nouveau architecture, comic museum and photography museum. It hosts various festivals showcasing dance, music and theatre.
Charleroi offers something for every visitor whether you are an art aficionado, history buff or an urban adventurer. It provides a more intimate experience compared to the crowded tourist hubs of Belgium. With its industrial relics transformed into modern art canvases adorning the streets, Charleroi is emerging as an offbeat travel destination waiting to be discovered.
Listed below are the top things to do in Charleroi.
- Visit the art deco City Hall (Hotel de Ville). The art deco City Hall in central Charleroi features marble halls, intricate woodwork, and a UNESCO-listed 70 meter belfry tower with 49 bells. The interior contains the Jules Destrée Museum and opulent rooms like the marble Grand Hall of Honor.
- Climb the Belfry tower of Charleroi. The Belfry Tower is a 70-meter tall bell tower with 47 bells located in Charleroi's City Hall. Visitors can climb 257 steps to reach panoramic views of the city. The tower was built in 1936 and plays melodies every 15 minutes.
- See the gold-leaf mosaic in the choir of St. Christopher's Church. St. Christopher's Church contains a striking 200 square meter gold mosaic behind the choir depicting the Apocalypse. The 18th century church also features stained glass windows and an organ renovated in 2003.
- Visit the Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum of Fine Arts showcases 19th and 20th century paintings and sculptures connected to Charleroi's artistic heritage. It includes works by famous Belgian artists and has a room dedicated to Magritte.
- Try the restaurants and cafes along the main thoroughfare. Restaurants and cafes lining Charleroi's main thoroughfare offer al fresco dining amidst historic architecture and street life. Options range from quick bites to upscale bistros featuring regional specialties.
- Visit the Museum of Photography. The Museum of Photography contains over 80,000 works tracing the history of photography. It features galleries, temporary exhibitions, and interactive displays. The museum is housed in a former Gothic Revival convent.
- Visit the Bois du Cazier industrial heritage and memorial. Bois du Cazier is a former coal mine preserved as a memorial to the 262 miners who died in an underground fire in 1956. Visitors can tour the buildings, go underground, and view exhibits on Belgium's industrial history.
- 1. Visit the art deco City Hall (Hotel de Ville)
- 2. Climb the Belfry tower of Charleroi
- 3. See the gold-leaf mosaic in the choir of St. Christopher's Church
- 4. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
- 5. Try the restaurants and cafes along the main thoroughfare
- 6. Visit the Museum of Photography
- 7. Visit the Bois du Cazier industrial heritage and memorial site
- 8. See the museum exhibits at Musee de l'Industrie
- 9. Explore the Glass museum
- 9. Go hiking or cycling on the slag heaps, now nature trails
- 10. Explore the street art and murals around the city
- 11. Visit the Archaeological Museum to see local artifacts
- 12. Buy memorabilia and art at the Charleroi comic book trail
- 13. Go shopping at the art deco Passage de la Bourse shopping arcade
- 14. Tour the Trazegnies Castle
- 15. Sample beers at the Aulne Abbey Brewery
- Where is Charleroi?
- What is the history of Charleroi?
- What language is spoken in Charleroi?
- What are the most interesting facts about Charleroi?
- How many days are needed to see Charleroi?
- Is Charleroi worth visiting?
- What is Charleroi famous for?
- What are the most important people born in Charleroi?
- What to eat in Charleroi?
- How to get to Charleroi Airport?
1. Visit the art deco City Hall (Hotel de Ville)
The City Hall, also known as Hôtel de Ville, is an impressive and majestic building located in the heart of Charleroi, Belgium. Situated on the Place Charles II, the 240 meter long facade faces the central square and dominates the surroundings with its imposing presence.
The City Hall was designed in an eclectic style mixing classicism and art deco by the architect Joseph André and originally inaugurated in October 1936. Three grand bronze doors open into a magnificent marble hall of honor. Seven tall windows separated by columns and a decorative attic give the 240 meter long main facade a monumental feel. Statues symbolizing administration and family grace the front. A slate roof tops the structure, decorated with 13 dormer windows and a 70 meter high belfry and carillon with 49 bells.
The City Hall's opulent interior abounds with marble, copper, intricate woodwork and sculptures. The belfry tower was named to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1999. Visitors can tour the building and view the carillon by appointment. The attic floor houses the Jules Destrée Museum, dedicated to the Walloon movement leader. It displays exhibits related to Destrée's life and work. The only room with artwork is the council chamber, with a seven panel mural and stained glass windows depicting the coats of arms of Charleroi's districts. The City Hall is considered a masterpiece of civic architecture and an exceptional example of Belgium's heritage.
The Hôtel de Ville hosts public events like concerts, dances and weddings in its grand halls and serves as Charleroi's municipal center. Visitors can admire the building's facade for free during a stroll through the Place Charles II. Guided tours are available by appointment for groups or individuals. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted.
Charleroi's City Hall makes an impressive day trip destination for history and architecture enthusiasts of all ages. The beautiful building offers glimpses into Belgium's past while still functioning as a working governmental center. Visitors should schedule tours in advance to ensure availability.
The City Hall is located in central Charleroi and a 10 minute walk away from the Charleroi-Sud train station. The address is Place Charles II, 6000 Charleroi, Belgium. To reach the Hôtel de Ville by public transport, visitors can take a train to Charleroi-Sud station, then walk north for about 0.5 kilometers. Architecturally, the combination of classic and art deco styles makes the building distinctive.
2. Climb the Belfry tower of Charleroi
The Belfry Tower of Charleroi is a 70-meter tall bell tower located in the city of Charleroi, Belgium. It was designed by architect Joseph André in 1936 in an Art Deco style and is part of the Charleroi City Hall complex. The tower is constructed from blue stone, white stone and bricks and features a small bronze bell tower at the top. The full address is Place Charles II, 6000 Charleroi, Belgium.
Belfry Tower of Charleroi is the youngest belfry in Wallonia and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. The tower houses a carillon with 47 bells that play melodies by Jacques Bertrand, a local bard, every 15 minutes. Visitors can climb 257 steps inside the tower to reach the top and take in panoramic views of Charleroi.
Belfry Tower offers visitors the opportunity to take in views of the city, learn about the history of Charleroi through exhibits in the tower and hear the bells chime on the hour. The tower is open to the general public, though guided tours may be arranged for groups. There is no admission fee to enter the tower. The tower offers a unique viewpoint and architectural landmark in Charleroi that appeals to tourists and locals alike. The Belfry Tower can be accessed by public transportation, as it is located near the main railway station. The tower is open daily, though hours may vary by season. Visitors should check the official website for current hours before visiting.
3. See the gold-leaf mosaic in the choir of St. Christopher's Church
St. Christopher's Church, also known as Sint-Christoffelkerk, is a 18th century Baroque, Roman Catholic church located in Charleroi, Belgium. The full address is Place Charles II, 6000 Charleroi, Belgium.
St. Christopher's Church stands out for its ornate interior, featuring a striking 200 square meter mosaic behind the choir. The mosaic were created by the artist Jean Ransy and assembled by Venetian mosaic masters. The mosaic depicts the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation. Millions of small colored glass tiles and squares of gold leaf compose this impressive work of art.
Visitors to St. Christopher's Church can admire the mosaic, stained glass windows and frescoes inside. The church also contains the organ which was renovated in 2003. Guided tours are available on certain dates or by request for those who want to learn more details about the architecture and artwork.
St. Christopher's Church is located in downtown Charleroi, in front of the city hall on Charles II Square. It can be reached by public transportation, as it sits near bus and tram stops. Driving to the church is also an option.
The church appeals to art and history lovers of all ages who want to see a unique example of Baroque church design. Admission to enter and view the interior is free. Photographing the mosaic and other features is permitted, making this a nice stop for tourists in Belgium.
The church has religious significance as an active place of Catholic worship, holding services multiple times per week. Locals in Charleroi use the church for regular mass and special events like weddings and baptisms. Visitors are welcome to attend services and experience the church's purpose, in addition to appreciating its artistic side.
4. Visit the Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) in Charleroi is an art museum that displays paintings, sculptures and other works from the 19th and 20th centuries. It has a collection that focuses on artists connected to the Charleroi region and wider Wallonia area, both historical and contemporary. The museum aims to showcase the various artistic movements and collectives that have been part of Walloon and Brussels art history.
The Museum of Fine Arts is located in central Charleroi at Place du Manège 1, 6000 Charleroi, Belgium. It is sometimes referred to as the MBArts or MBArts Charleroi.
Museum of Fine Arts's collection represents the young artistic history of Charleroi and greater Wallonia. It includes works by famous Belgian artists like François-Joseph Navez, Jan Frans Portaels, Félicien Rops, James Ensor, Rik Wouters, Constantin Meunier and René Magritte. The museum has an entire room dedicated to René Magritte, displaying pieces from the beginning of his career and Surrealist period. The permanent collection traces 19th and 20th century Belgian and European art movements such as Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Orientalism, Realism, Impressionism, Abstraction and Surrealism.
Visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts explore the permanent collections showing Charleroi and Wallonia's artistic heritage. There are also temporary exhibitions held on various themes related to modern and contemporary art. The museum offers guided tours, creative workshops, lectures, concerts and other activities that allow visitors to engage with the artworks. There is an Educational and Cultural Department that provides mediation programs for adults, families, schools and other groups. The museum aims to be a place of discovery and experimentation when it comes to art.
The Museum of Fine Arts is open Tuesday to Friday 9:00 to 17:00 and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 to 18:00. It is closed on Mondays and certain public holidays. General admission to view the permanent collections is free. Some temporary exhibitions require an admission fee of 5 euros.
The Museum of Fine Arts is accessible to visitors arriving by public transportation or car. The nearest train station is Charleroi-Sud, which is about 1.2 kilometers away. There are local buses that stop right near the museum as well. If driving, there is metered parking available right outside the museum.
The museum appeals to a local audience interested in regional history and culture, given its focus on showcasing Charleroi and Wallonia's artistic heritage. The artworks displayed also make it worthwhile for general art enthusiasts to visit. The mediation activities and workshops can engage families and school groups.
5. Try the restaurants and cafes along the main thoroughfare
The thoroughfare of Charleroi, also known as the high street, is the main road that runs through the center of town and is lined with shops, restaurants, cafes and other businesses. Trying the different dining options on the thoroughfare is a great way to experience the local food scene and soak up the atmosphere of the neighborhood. The thoroughfare tends to attract more pedestrians due to its central location, making for a exciting environment for al fresco dining at a cafe. Visitors watch street performances while enjoying a coffee or casual lunch.
What makes dining along the main thoroughfare special is the mix of restaurants set amidst streetscapes full of shops and historic architecture. The options range from quick bites like crepes and coffee to more upscale bistros and brasseries. Sidewalk seating allows for people watching. The thoroughfare also tends to host events like markets and live music. Exploring Charleroi by wandering along the main street and sampling eateries is an excellent way to get oriented. Bakeries offer fresh croissants and tarts. For lunch, sidewalk brasseries serve salads, savory crepes or classic dishes like steak frites. In the afternoon, one can linger at a cafe over cappuccinos. For dinner, bistros feature regional specialties and wine. Nightcaps at cozy pubs are also an option. Strolling the thoroughfare provides exposure to the local culinary scene.
Charleroi city center is easily accessed by public transportation like buses, subways and trains. Major metro stops and rail stations are usually located just blocks away or directly on the main drag. Rideshares, taxis, rental cars, tour buses, bicycles and walking are other options to reach the restaurants and cafes. Hotels are often also conveniently situated close to the action on the main street.
6. Visit the Museum of Photography
The Museum of Photography in Charleroi is one of the most important photography museums in Europe, with a collection of over 80,000 photographs and negatives. It is housed in a former Carmelite convent built in Gothic Revival style and expanded over the years to become the largest photography museum in Europe, with over 2,200 square meters of exhibition space.
The museum is located at Avenue Paul Pastur 11, 6032 Charleroi, in the suburb of Mont-sur-Marchienne, about 4 kilometers south of central Charleroi. The museum is sometimes referred to as Musée de la Photographie or Musée de la photographie de Charleroi.
Museum of Photography's expansive collection tracing the history of photography since its invention, with works by renowned photographers like Man Ray, Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Both Belgian and international photographers are represented. The museum has galleries dedicated to artistic, technical and historic photos, showing the evolution of photography over time. Temporary exhibitions also showcase contemporary photographers.
Visitors to the Museum of Photography can view the permanent collection galleries, rotating temporary exhibitions and attend lectures or workshops. Interactive displays in the discovery trail allow visitors to learn about cameras and photography techniques in a hands-on way. There is also a cafe, museum shop, library and archive accessible to visitors. The museum can be reached by taking bus 70, 71 or 170 from Charleroi-Sud train station to the Place des Essarts stop. The museum is located about 300 meters from the bus stop. Driving from Brussels takes around an hour via the A54 motorway and R9.
Photography enthusiasts of all ages and experience levels can enjoy the Museum of Photography. The interactive displays and discovery trail make it engaging for children and families. Temporary exhibitions provide something new for frequent visitors. Admission to the Museum of Photography is €8 for adults, with discounted rates for students, seniors and groups.
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm, closed Mondays and major holidays. Guided tours in English, French and Dutch can be booked in advance for groups. The museum also offers photography workshops and activities tailored for school groups of all ages.
7. Visit the Bois du Cazier industrial heritage and memorial site
Bois du Cazier is a former coal mine located in Marcinelle, a section of Charleroi, Belgium. The mine operated from 1822 until its closure in 1967. Today, the site is preserved as a museum and memorial dedicated to the 262 miners who lost their lives in a devastating underground fire at Bois du Cazier on Wednesday, August 8, 1956.
The Bois du Cazier mine site covers 8 hectares (20 acres) and includes two large steel headframes that tower over the brick buildings of the former mining complex. The site features the Industrial Museum, Glass Museum, memorial spaces dedicated to the 1956 disaster, restored machine workshops and 25 hectares (62 acres) of woodlands and three slag heaps that surround the property. Visitors can take guided tours of the surface buildings and below ground tunnels, view artifacts related to coal mining and Belgium's industrial history and walk on the nature trails through the woods and up the slag heaps.
Bois du Cazier is most well known as the location of Belgium's worst mining disaster. On August 8, 1956, an underground fire broke out in the depths of the mine at the -975 meter level. The fire spread toxic fumes throughout the mine tunnels, trapping and killing the 262 miners working that day. The disaster gained international attention and revealed the dangerous working conditions faced by miners. In the aftermath, mining safety regulations were tightened across Europe.
While the memorial spaces at Bois du Cazier honor those who died in 1956, the site also celebrates the history of mining and heavy industry in Belgium. The Industrial Museum displays machinery, tools and artifacts related to coal mining, steel production, glass making and manufacturing. The Glass Museum specifically covers the history of glass making in Charleroi. Visitors can watch artisans demonstrate blacksmithing, glassblowing and casting in the on-site workshops.
Bois du Cazier is located at Rue du Cazier 80 in Marcinelle, just 3 km south of downtown Charleroi. The site can be reached by public transportation on TEC bus lines 1 or 52. By car from Charleroi, take the N90 south and exit onto the R3/E420 heading west toward Marcinelle. The mine site and museums are suited for visitors of all ages and interests. Focus areas make it particularly engaging for those interested in industrial history, mining, engineering and labor issues.
The standard admission price for the Bois du Cazier is €9 for adults, €8 for seniors and €5 for youth and students. Access to the site is free for individual visitors on the first Sunday of every month. Guided tours are available in French, Dutch, English and Italian. Bois du Cazier is open Tuesday to Friday 9:00 – 17:00 and Saturday – Sunday 10:00 – 18:00. The site is closed on Mondays.
8. See the museum exhibits at Musee de l'Industrie
Musee de l'Industrie is an industry and history museum located in Charleroi. The full address is Rue du Cazier 58, 6001 Charleroi. Musee de l'Industrie, also referred asthe Museum of Industry, is housed in a former industrial building and presents exhibits on the industrial past of Charleroi as well as the workers who made it all possible.
Musee de l'Industrie provides an interactive journey illustrating Belgium's 19th century industrial adventure. It is located in the former bathhouse and hanging room, a stenographic program traces the history of the main areas of activity in the Haine-Sambre-Meuse industrial belt. During the Industrial Revolution, the Charleroi region was the center of the country's economic activity. Musee de l'Industrie brings this transforming world back to life. Visitors can see different machines and tools used in the area's various industries such as coal mining, steel production, glass making and more. The museum also has a library and archives open to the public for those wanting to do more in-depth research. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the exhibits chronicling the industrial history of Charleroi and Wallonia. Descriptions are provided in French, English and Dutch. For a more in-depth experience, guided tours are available with advance reservation. Workshops allow visitors to get hands-on with machines from the past. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits highlighting various aspects of Charleroi's industrial heritage.
Musee de l'Industrie can be easily accessed by public transportation, as it is located around 1 kilometer from the Charleroi Sud train station. Buses 72, 375 and 376 among others have a stop right near the museum. By car, the museum can be reached via the E42 motorway. The exhibits at Musee de l'Industrie cater to visitors of all ages with an interest in industrial history and Charleroi. It can make an informative visit for students learning about the industrial revolution. Admission is €9 for adults, €8 for seniors aged 65 and over and €5 for youth and students. Children under 6 enter for free.
9. Explore the Glass museum
Glass Museum is an art and history museum located in Charleroi, Belgium. It is situated at Site du Bois du Cazier, Rue du Cazier 80, 6001 Marcinelle, Belgium. The museum is also sometimes referred to as Musée du Verre or the Glass Museum of Charleroi.
The Glass Museum is dedicated to showcasing the history and artistry of glassmaking. Its collections contain over 6,000 pieces of glass artifacts and tools spanning from ancient times to contemporary works. Some of the highlights include ancient Egyptian and Roman glassware, medieval and Islamic glass, as well as an extensive collection of 18th and 19th century Belgian glass. The museum displays demonstrate the diverse techniques and styles of glassmaking across different cultures and time periods. It also hosts temporary exhibitions featuring contemporary glass art.
One of the unique aspects of the Glass Museum is its innovative backwards chronological layout. Rather than a traditional linear timeline, the exhibits start from present day works and go back in time to the origins of glass. This provides an interesting perspective on how ancient glassmaking traditions relate to modern practices.
Visitors can observe glassblowing demonstrations in the museum's workshop. Guided tours are available in several languages including English, French, Dutch and Italian. The museum also offers glassmaking workshops and summer courses for children.
Besides the glass museum, Bois du Cazier contains an Industry Museum showcasing relics of Belgium's industrialization, as well as memorial spaces dedicated to a mining disaster that occurred in 1956. The grounds also have picturesque walking paths through the woods and vestiges of mining infrastructure.
Travelers interested in Belgium's history, glass art or witnessing industrial archaeology would appreciate a visit to the Glass Museum at Bois du Cazier.
Glass Museum is widely appreciated by families with children, art aficionados, history buffs, students on school trips or tourists looking to learn about Belgium's past. Essentially anyone curious about the creativity and ingenuity behind glass as an artistic medium and industrial material can find something engaging at the museum.
The standard adult admission fee to access all of Bois du Cazier's museums and sights is 9 euros. There are discounted rates for seniors (8 euros) and youth under 18 years or students (5 euros). Children under 6 enter for free. Guided tours cost extra. On the first Sunday of every month, individual entry to Bois du Cazier is free of charge.
9. Go hiking or cycling on the slag heaps, now nature trails
Hiking or cycling on slag heaps refers to exploring the unique manmade mountains found around Charleroi by foot or bicycle. Charleroi is located in the valley of the Sambre River in the province of Hainaut, about 50 kilometers south of Brussels. Charleroi is surrounded by numerous slag heaps, also called terrils, that were created from the waste material and overburden removed during coal mining operations over the past few centuries. Many of these terrils were left abandoned, as coal mining declined in the 20th century. In recent decades, an effort has been made to clean up and rehabilitate some of the slag heaps for public access. Now, these terrils provide a unique landscape for outdoor recreation in this post-industrial region.
The most well-known terrils open to the public are located within the municipalities of Charleroi, Montigny-le-Tilleul and Marcinelle. They can be accessed via marked hiking trails like the GR412 Sentier des Terrils that allows visitors to walk along interconnected paths from one terril to the next. Cyclists can also access the terrils using the RAVeL network of dedicated cycling paths in Wallonia. The terrils range from 100 to over 200 meters tall. Each has its own shape and landscape – some are conical peaks while others are long ridgelines or more irregular shapes. The steep slopes provide a good physical challenge. At the top, hikers and cyclists are rewarded with panoramic views across Charleroi and the surrounding area.
The terrils are oases of greenery, having been naturally recolonized by vegetation and wildlife over time. Birch trees, willows and grasslands now cover the slopes. The varied habitats shelter birds, insects, amphibians and small mammals. It's a great place for nature watching. Interpretive signs explain the mining history and ecological rebirth of the sites. Some terrils offer dedicated recreation facilities, like the aerial walkway and observation deck atop the Terril du Cazier. Guided hiking and cycling tours of the slag heaps are also available.
The terrils are suitable for all ages, but the steep climbs make them best for older children and fit adults. Admission is free, so it makes for an inexpensive outdoor adventure near Charleroi. The trails can be accessed year-round, but are most pleasant during spring and autumn. The trails range from 1 to 12 kilometers long, so people can choose the length of hike or bike ride that fits your ability and time constraints.
10. Explore the street art and murals around the city
Street Art and Murals refers to artwork created in public locations, typically without official permission. The works are often political or social commentaries conveyed through images, words and symbols painted or installed on outdoor walls, bridges, streets and other structures. Street art originated as illegal graffiti but has evolved into a recognized contemporary art genre including complex and striking murals, sculptures and mixed media installations.
Major hubs of street art exist in cities worldwide, with especially vibrant scenes in European cities like Berlin, London and Paris as well as North American cities including New York, Los Angeles and Montreal. Belgian cities are also popular for street art. Charleroi, an industrial city near Brussels, has emerged as a leading hotspot for urban art. Its outskirts and abandoned tunnels provide ample concrete canvases for artists.
In 2014, Charleroi launched a Urban Dream street art trail along the banks of the Sambre River. The route features monumental murals by artists from Belgium and abroad. Notable works include a geometric piece by Spanish artist Sixe Paredes and a colorful abstraction by New York-based Todd James. The trail connects the city's gritty industrial landscape with the vibrant creativity of street artists.
Other highlights in Charleroi include a series of cartoon murals in the city's metro stations, playfully nodding to Charleroi's comics heritage. Visitors can take self-guided walking tours to admire the array of artwork splashed across buildings and infrastructure. The murals and installations create an outdoor gallery effect, inviting viewers to rediscover and reimagine Charleroi through an artistic lens.
Beyond admiring the outdoor artworks, visitors to Charleroi can explore its history and culture. The Photography Museum exhibits an extensive collection of prints and cameras. Industrial heritage sites like the Bois du Cazier coal mine offer glimpses of the region's working class past. For architecture aficionados, Charleroi has excellent examples of Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings.
The city boasts a range of dining options, from cozy traditional taverns to hip bistros. Rue de Dampremy is a lively street for sampling Belgian specialties as well as international cuisine. For beer lovers, local breweries like Les Brasseurs pour perfect spots to unwind.
Street art continues to evolve in Charleroi, with new works added each year. Murals transform bland walls into vibrant canvases, making Charleroi an ideal destination for urban explorers, art fans and anyone seeking inspiration in overlooked places.
11. Visit the Archaeological Museum to see local artifacts
The Archaeological Museum of Charleroi is located in the city of Charleroi, Belgium. It is situated at Rue du Moulin, 125 in downtown Charleroi. The museum is also sometimes referred to as the Musée Archéologique de Charleroi.
The Archaeological Museum of Charleroi has an extensive collection of archaeological artifacts and objects that provide insights into the history of human settlement in the region from prehistoric times to the Merovingian period. The museum's collection includes pottery, weapons, coins, jewelry and other everyday objects that were used by ancient civilizations that inhabited the area over different eras.
One of the highlights of the museum is the display of the treasures of Childeric I, king of the Salian Franks from 457 to 481 AD. These treasures, which include jewelry, coins and other precious objects, were discovered in the king's tomb in Tournai in 1653. They provide a glimpse into the material culture of the Merovingian dynasty that ruled in this region during the early Middle Ages. Other notable collections at the Archaeological Museum of Charleroi include Celtic artifacts from the Iron Age settlements in Sambre-Oise valley, pottery and votive objects from Gallo-Roman settlements dating to the 1st to the 5th century AD and Merovingian artifacts from the 5th to 8th century AD.
Visitors to the Archaeological Museum can take a guided tour of the galleries with one of the museum docents. Audio guides providing commentary and context for the key items on display are also available. The museum has special programs and activities aimed at school children to spark their interest in history and archaeology.
The Archaeological Museum of Charleroi is located right in the historic heart of the city, about 1 kilometer from the central train station. It is easily accessible by public transport, with several bus routes stopping right near the museum. Paid public parking is available near the museum.
The Archaeological Museum of Charleroi is open from Tuesday to Friday between 10 AM to 6 PM. The visiting hours are from 2 PM to 6 PM, on weekends and public holidays. The museum remains closed on Mondays. General admission to the permanent collections gallery is 5 Euros. Special rates apply for students, senior citizens and groups. Access to temporary exhibitions requires separate tickets.
The Archaeological Museum of Charleroi is a must-visit for anyone interested in archaeology, history or art, because of its extensive collections that provide insights into several millennia of human history and civilization.
12. Buy memorabilia and art at the Charleroi comic book trail
The Charleroi comic book trail is a 2 kilometer walking path in Charleroi, Belgium that highlights the city's history as the birthplace of Belgian comic books. Situated in the heart of Charleroi, the trail features murals, sculptures and other public art celebrating famous Franco-Belgian comic characters and authors.
The trail begins at Boulevard Tirou and winds through the city center, passing by over a dozen comic-themed works of art. Some of the highlights include a 7-meter tall statue of Lucky Luke and his horse Jolly Jumper, a mural depicting the Marsupilami and a sculpture of Spirou and Fantasio near the Charleroi-South train station. Many of the artworks are located on the facades of buildings or integrated into the architecture.
In the late 1930s, Charleroi became home to some of Belgium's earliest comic magazines and publishers. The influential “Marcinelle School” of artists, including pioneers like Joseph Gillain (Jijé) and André Franquin, were largely based in the city. Their publisher Dupuis released popular comics magazines like Spirou and Pilote that launched famous series like The Smurfs, Lucky Luke and Gaston Lagaffe.
Charleroi's comic trail pays homage to this legacy. The works of art reflect the comic styles, humor and artistic innovations of the Marcinelle School. While some depict actual characters like Spirou or the Smurfs, other pieces are original abstract creations inspired by the artists. Informational plaques provide background on the comics history.
The trail attracts comic fans, tourists, families and anyone interested in Charleroi's cultural heritage. The artwork is spread throughout the city center, allowing the trail to be combined with visits to restaurants, shops and other nearby attractions. Guided walking tours of the comic trail are available through the Charleroi Tourist Office for €6 ($7, £5) per adult.
The comic trail requires no admission fee to access. Visitors of all ages are welcome. Fans of Franco-Belgian “BD” comics will particularly appreciate seeing their favorite characters depicted larger-than-life through public art. But those unfamiliar with the history can still enjoy the creativity of the works and learning about Charleroi's role in comic books through the informational plaques. The trail makes an unusual and fun activity for a stroll through the city.
13. Go shopping at the art deco Passage de la Bourse shopping arcade
The Passage de la Bourse is a beautiful neoclassical shopping arcade located in the heart of Charleroi, Belgium. Situated at Le Passage de la Bourse 6/24, 6000 Charleroi, this iconic arcade connects the historic lower town (Ville Basse) with the central Place Albert 1er. The Passage de la Bourse was constructed between 1890 and 1892 and was designed by the Belgian architect Edmond Legraive. It was one of the first indoor shopping galleries built in Belgium and is contemporary with other famous European arcades such as the Passage Pommeraye in Nantes, France and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy.
The Passage de la Bourse is most notable for its gorgeous curved glass and iron roof that covers a three-story interior courtyard lined with neoclassical facades. The interior facades feature ornate pilasters, arched windows and a hierarchy of columns in the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders. The arcade originally housed upscale shops and the city's stock exchange. Today, it still contains shops, cafes and businesses, including bookstores, restaurants and home decor boutiques. The Passage de la Bourse was classified as a protected historic monument by the Walloon Region in 1990 to preserve its architectural integrity.
In addition to shopping, visitors to the Passage de la Bourse can simply admire the beautiful architecture and historic atmosphere. The arcade makes a pleasant place to stroll on a rainy day or stop for a coffee or meal. There are two main entrances, one on Rue de Marchienne decorated in neo-Renaissance style and one on Rue Léopold that originally led to the stock exchange building. The Passage de la Bourse forms an important part of Charleroi's urban revitalization and connects the historic city center with the modern Rive Gauche shopping complex.
Charleroi was an economic powerhouse during Belgium's industrial revolution due to its coal mines and steel industry. The city's heyday in the late 1800s generated funds for prestigious civic projects like the Passage de la Bourse. Although the decline of heavy industry in the late 1900s led to economic difficulties in Charleroi, efforts are underway to renew the city, including restoration of historic landmarks like the Passage de la Bourse. Visiting this beautiful arcade offers a glimpse into Charleroi's former prosperity.
The Passage de la Bourse is ideally suited for shoppers looking for unique boutiques, travelers interested in Belgian architecture and history and anyone seeking a charming indoor space for sipping coffee. Locals also frequent the arcade to buy groceries, greet neighbors or just enjoy the ambiance. The central location makes the Passage de la Bourse easy to access by public transportation, including Charleroi's metro system. Visitors to Charleroi should be sure to include this historic shopping arcade on their itinerary for its beauty, history, shops and role in the city's urban renewal efforts.
14. Tour the Trazegnies Castle
Trazegnies Castle is a historic medieval castle located in the town of Trazegnies in the Courcelles municipality of Belgium's Hainaut province. Sometimes referred to as Château de Trazegnies in French, the castle sits on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding countryside. Trazegnies Castle's precise address is 32 Place Albert Ier, 6183 Courcelles, Belgium.
The castle was first constructed in the 11th century, though the original medieval fortress was destroyed in 1554. It was rebuilt in the late 16th century, with the main building dating to the early 17th century when it was constructed in the Louis XIII architectural style. Trazegnies Castle has been recognized as a major heritage site of Wallonia and provides an impressive example of medieval military architecture. It was the seat of the powerful Trazegnies family and played an important defensive role in the region during medieval times. The castle witnessed many battles and changed hands several times over the centuries between various noble families and dynasties. Trazegnies Castle is one of the few surviving examples of a medieval fortified castle in Belgium and gives visitors a glimpse into the country's feudal past.
Visitors to Trazegnies Castle can take guided tours of the castle grounds and interior. The tours allow you to explore the Romanesque cellars from the 11th century, Gothic chapels, the grand Knights' Hall decorated with 18th century frescoes and the main building designed in the Louis XIII style. The castle also houses a museum with a collection of medieval artifacts, armor and weaponry. Outside, visitors can stroll through the sprawling castle gardens and admire the towering medieval walls and towers. Special events like medieval festivals, theatre performances and markets are also periodically held at the castle.
Trazegnies Castle is located around 10 kilometers north of Charleroi in Belgium's Wallonia region. The nearest major airport is Brussels Airport, about 60 kilometers away. Driving from Brussels takes around an hour. Public transportation options include taking a train from Brussels to Charleroi, then a bus to Trazegnies village. The castle can be reached by car or taxi from Charleroi in 15 minutes.
The medieval atmosphere and architectural grandeur of Trazegnies Castle make it a fascinating attraction for history buffs and tourists of all ages. Families will appreciate the opportunity to glimpse back in time and visualize life in a real Belgian castle. Photographers will find the striking stone towers and picturesque moat perfect for capturing images. The guided tours allow you to soak in the rich history and intriguing stories of the noble families who once called Trazegnies Castle home over the centuries.
15. Sample beers at the Aulne Abbey Brewery
Aulne Abbey Brewery is located in the ruins of the historic Aulne Abbey in Gozée, near Thuin, in the province of Hainaut, Wallonia, Belgium. The full address is Rue Vandervelde 273, 6534 Gozée.
The abbey was originally founded as a Benedictine monastery in 637 CE by Saint Landelin. In 1147, it transitioned to a Cistercian monastery. The monks had been brewing beer at Aulne Abbey since the Middle Ages. In 1752, a fire destroyed the abbey brewery, but it was rebuilt in 1796. Beer production ceased in 1850 after the last monk died in 1859.
The ruins of Aulne Abbey stand in a picturesque valley by the River Sambre known as the “Valley of Peace”. French revolutionary troops burned down the abbey in 1794 shortly after it had been expanded. The monastery library containing 40,000 books and 5,000 manuscripts was also lost in the fire.
In 1998, Brasserie du Val de Sambre acquired the 18th century abbey stables and restarted brewing beer on the premises in 2000, reviving the centuries-old tradition of abbey ales. The brewery is sometimes referred to as the Abbey of Aulne Brewery or Val de Sambre.
What makes Aulne Abbey Brewery special is its beers are brewed according to the original recipes used by the medieval Cistercian monks who lived at the abbey. The brewery carefully follows these time-honored traditions to produce its abbey ales and other specialty beers.
Visitors can take guided tours of Aulne Abbey Brewery, with tastings included. The brewery's restaurant, known as the Tavern, serves authentic cuisine paired with the abbey beers, which can also be sampled in the garden overlooking the abbey ruins.
Travelers can reach Aulne Abbey Brewery by taking the train to Thuin and then bus 192 to the Gozée Déversoir stop, which is right in front of the abbey entrance. By car, it's located off the N5 highway between Charleroi and Thuin. The abbey and brewery attract history and beer enthusiasts of all ages interested in Belgium's centuries-old brewing tradition.
The entrance fee to tour Aulne Abbey Brewery is 5 euros for adults, 4 euros for seniors and teens aged 12-18 and free for children under 12. The abbey ruins, brewery and tavern are open daily from 10:15am to 5pm between February and October.
What are the best museums to visit in Charleroi?
Listed below are the best museums to visit in Charleroi.
- Museum of Photography. The Museum of Photography in Charleroi is considered the largest photography museum in Europe. With over 80,000 photographs in its collection and 800 permanently displayed, it provides an overview of photographic history and art. Located in a restored 19th century Carmelite convent, the museum features both permanent and temporary exhibitions. Highlights include galleries explaining photographic techniques and optical illusions. It is a must-see for visitors interested in photography.
- Museum of Fine Arts. The Museum of Fine Arts holds pieces mainly by Belgian artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Its collection gives insight into major European art movements like Realism, Impressionism and Surrealism. Visitors can admire industrial landscapes by Pierre Paulus, Surrealist works by René Magritte and Art Deco sculptures. The museum is free and located in the historic Charleroi Town Hall. Guided tours are available.
- Bois du Cazier. The Bois du Cazier is a museum and memorial situated at a former mining complex. Its museums cover coal, steel, glassmaking and the working conditions of miners. A highlight is the memorial commemorating a 1956 mining tragedy that killed 262 workers. Visitors can take walks on the former mining sites and explore the grounds. The location also hosts cultural events and activities.
- Glass Museum. The Glass Museum illustrates the history of glassmaking in Wallonia through its extensive collection of tools and glass pieces. Its permanent exhibition guides visitors chronologically from the present day to ancient times. Live glassblowing demonstrations follow the tour. The museum provides workshops and activities for groups, families and children.
- Scientific Culture Center. The Scientific Culture Center is dedicated to science education through interactive exhibits on topics like biotechnology, astronomy and the environment. Visitors can use the onsite telescope, attend lectures and events and participate in camps.
What are the best things to do in Charleroi with kids?
Listed below are the best things to do in Charleroi with kids.
- Museum of Photography. Museum of Photography stands as one of Europe's most extensive and it attracts children who have an interest in photography. Its location in a 19th-century convent adds a sense of history that entices exploration. The collection boasts over 80,000 photographs and exhibits are updated regularly. Historic photographs are displayed next to works by contemporary artists. The museum features photo booths and optics displays for face warping, reflection play and illusion experiments. Creative activities in photography make exhibits interactive for children. Workshops at the museum offer photography lessons from professional photographers.
- Bois du Cazier. Bois du Cazier, on a historical coal mining site, serves as a museum complex that educates about Charleroi's mining past. Children can inspect historical industrial structures. The Museum of Industry provides hands-on experience with historical mining machinery. The Glass Museum demonstrates glassmaking through live presentations. The August 8, 1956 Memorial allows children to honor miners who died in a past disaster. The grounds include an outdoor theater, gardens and lawns suitable for family picnics and outdoor activities. Bois du Cazier, with its comprehensive exhibits and open spaces, is suitable for inquisitive children.
- BPS22 Art Museum. BPS22 Art Museum offers an experience in modern and contemporary art in Charleroi. The museum, within a historic building supplemented by modern galleries, hosts changing temporary exhibitions. BPS22 engages children with art through interactive guides, storytelling and workshops on artistic methods. The artworks address societal topics in ways accessible to children. A dedicated family area displays art at a child's height, allowing for direct engagement with the art.
- Charleroi City Pool. Charleroi City Pool serves as a gathering place for children during summer. The facility includes an Olympic-sized pool, a pool with fountains, a splash zone for small children and slides. Aquatic activities include climbing, sliding, splashing and swimming. The site also features a beach, sports fields, a playground and a snack bar, catering to family entertainment. Accessible pricing allows a diverse range of children to enjoy and cool down during warm weather.
- Pairi Daiza Zoo. Pairi Daiza Zoo, located near Charleroi, enables animal interactions in habitats that reflect their natural environments. Children can meet pandas, koalas, Arctic wolves and many other species. Activities include giraffe feeding and petting zoos for tactile experiences with animals. Additional attractions are thrill rides, boat cruises and a large indoor playground. Pairi Daiza Zoo offers a comprehensive visit for families from Charleroi, providing an engaging day with animals.
What are the best activities for a business traveler in Charleroi?
Listed below are the best activities for a business traveler in Charleroi.
- Le Bois du Cazier. Le Bois du Cazier, located in Marcinelle near Charleroi, offers business travelers a window into Belgium's industrial heritage on a 60-acre estate, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Professionals can explore Le Bois du Cazier's original industrial structures and interactive museums, including displays of glass, industry and mining. The site's skybridge affords aerial views of the historic mining complex, while memorials and gardens honor those lost in the 1956 disaster. Le Bois du Cazier is notable for its architecture, technical legacy and memorial significance for visiting business individuals.
- Charleroi Danse. Charleroi Danse, situated centrally in Charleroi, offers business visitors performances in contemporary dance within its capacity of over 200 seats. As a production and performance house, Charleroi Danse presents a variety of dance genres and it facilitates workshops and cultural events for professional development. The location's reputation and cultural offerings make it an appealing destination for business individuals seeking performance arts exposure. For a business trip, Charleroi Danse provides an alternative to conventional meeting venues, offering immersion in creativity and human artistic endeavor.
- Museum of Photography. Museum of Photography, located in Charleroi's Mont-sur-Marchienne area, stands as a premier destination for visitors interested in photographic art. The Museum of Photography spans two locations, showcasing a collection of over 80,000 photographs across various mediums, supplemented by rotating exhibitions. The Museum of Photography presents business travelers with cultural enrichment during work visits, featuring insights into the realms of photographic history and creative expression. An architectural blend of classic and modern elements marks the Museum of Photography, with outdoor installations enhancing the indoor gallery spaces.
Where is Charleroi?
Charleroi is located in the Walloon region, 60 kilometers (37 miles) south of Brussels, Belgium. The city encompasses 554.55 km² and functions as a hub for transportation and business, offering museums, parks and nightlife.
What is the history of Charleroi?
The city of Charleroi was established in 1666, named after King Charles II of Spain. Settlements and activities along the Sambre River predate its founding. Charleroi's industrial significance rose during the Industrial Revolution, with growth in coal, iron, steel and engineering sectors. Post-World War I saw the formation of a Jewish community, diversifying Charleroi's culture. Charleroi has maintained its industrial roots while evolving into a tourist destination with a varied urban landscape.
What language is spoken in Charleroi?
French is the main language in Charleroi due to its position in the Walloon region. This region has long been French-speaking. Migration and societal changes have introduced other languages, reflecting the city's cultural plurality. French remains prevalent, supported by the educational system in Charleroi.
What timezone is Charleroi In?
Charleroi adheres to Central European Time (CET), one hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+1). During summer months, Charleroi shifts to Central European Summer Time (CEST) or UTC+2, in line with European timekeeping standards.
How many people live in Charleroi?
Charleroi's population is 205,363 people based on the latest cencus at 2021. Men numbered 101,956 and women 103,407, with an average age of 42. The city had 10,967 children under four, 11,414 children aged five to nine, 11,854 children aged ten to fourteen and 11,750 teenagers aged fourteen to nineteen. Seniors over sixty totaled 55,651, individuals between thirty and fifty-nine numbered 80,074, those between fifteen and twenty-nine were 35,283 and children from birth to fourteen were 34,235.
What are the most interesting facts about Charleroi?
Charleroi uses the Euro (€), the standard currency in the Eurozone since 2002. It operates under the Central European Time (CET) zone and observes Central European Summer Time (CEST) during daylight saving time. French is the predominant language, reflecting Charleroi's historical and cultural landscape. Power plugs and sockets are of type E, with a standard voltage of 230V and frequency of 50Hz, important for visitors to note. Charleroi is known for its industrial heritage, particularly coal mining and steel production, which drove the city's economy. The city is revitalizing its cultural and artistic sectors, featuring art galleries, museums and cultural centers, indicative of its transformation into a modern urban hub.
How many days are needed to see Charleroi?
Exploring Charleroi typically takes 2-3 days. As the third largest city in Belgium, Charleroi offers several noteworthy sites, most of which visitors can cover swiftly. Charleroi city center, characterized by its walkability, enables visits to Saint-Christophe Church, the Photography Museum and the Sambre riverfront within one day. An additional day allows for visits to heritage sites like the Bois du Cazier mining museum and Rockerill. Charleroi also boasts a notable street art collection. Attractions such as Museum of Photography are accessible via public transport and require only a short visit. Charleroi presents a different charm from Brussels or Bruges, providing insights into its unique history and culture over a couple of days.
Is Charleroi worth visiting?
Well, maybe. Charleroi may not top the list for Belgian trip as its gritty character and unique attractions merit a detour for travelers interested in getting off the beaten path. Charleroi is historically known for its industrial backdrop. Charleroi differs from Bruges or Ghent in atmosphere but offers a genuine slice of Belgium's historical narrative. Its closeness to Brussels South-Charleroi Airport adds to its accessibility. Charleroi's authentic character and distinct sites provide travelers with reasons to stray from the usual tourist trails.
Is Charleroi expensive?
No, Charleroi is moderately expensive to visit. Charleroi compares favorably in expense to other Belgian cities. Essentials like groceries present reasonable costs. Dining out, particularly for breakfast, is affordable. Beer prices are accessible, reflecting typical regional costs. Tobacco products may incur higher costs due to tax. Living expenses in Charleroi generally fall below those in Brussels or Antwerp. Housing varies, catering to different financial capabilities. Transport options in Charleroi provide cost-effective means to travel.
Is Charleroi safe to visit?
Yes, Charleroi is definitely safe to visit as it maintains a standard of safety common to urban environments. Crime rates have declined due to local law enforcement efforts. The police are diligent, ensuring safety for residents and visitors. Vigilance is advisable, particularly against petty crimes in busy or dimly lit areas. Public transportation security is a priority, with safety protocols established. Visitors can feel secure with usual precautions and staying informed of local advisories.
Is Charleroi easy to visit with kids?
Yes, Charleroi is easy and accommodating for a visit with family and kids. The city boasts parks for outdoor family activities. Attractions like the Museum of Photography engage children with an interest in the arts. Interactive and educational exhibits offer family-friendly entertainment. Charleroi’s public transport system facilitates city navigation. Public spaces commonly provide child-friendly amenities. The city ensures a welcoming visit for families, with ample provisions for children’s needs.
What is Charleroi famous for?
Charleroi is famous for a few things listed below.
- The city stands as a vital hub for Belgium's comic strip culture, having launched the influential Spirou magazine in 1938. This publication introduced iconic characters such as Lucky Luke and the Smurfs. Today, travelers can view murals of these characters throughout the metro stations in Charleroi.
- Housing the Museum of Photography, Charleroi preserves extensive photo collections within a building that served as a convent. This museum ranks highly among European institutions dedicated to photography.
- Charleroi's history is deeply intertwined with Belgium's industrial era, particularly in coal mining. The Bois du Cazier, a converted coal mine, now functions as a museum that honors the memory of those lost in the 1956 mining disaster.
- Charleroi presents itself as a genuine post-industrial city, offering an unpolished alternative to the well-trodden tourist paths leading to places like Bruges or Ghent. Its landscape tells the broader story of industrial retreat and the resulting transformations in Belgium's industrial regions.
What are the most important people born in Charleroi?
Listed below are the most important people born in Charleroi.
- Georges Lemaître. Georges Lemaître, born in Charleroi in 1894, was a Belgian Catholic priest, astronomer and physics professor at the Catholic University of Louvain. He introduced the concept of an expanding universe and is acknowledged as the “father of the Big Bang theory”. In 1927, Lemaître published research that proposed the universe's expansion, later known as Hubble's law. He presented this idea before Edwin Hubble's similar findings. Lemaître described his concept as the “hypothesis of the primeval atom” and estimated what is now called the Hubble constant. Despite initial skepticism, his theory became a cornerstone of modern cosmology.
- Éloi Meulenberg. Éloi Meulenberg, born near Charleroi in Ransart in 1912, was a celebrated Belgian road bicycle racer. His triumphs include nine individual Tour de France stages from 1935 to 1939, the Belgian National Road Race Championship in 1936, Paris–Brussels in 1937 and the Tour of Flanders in 1939. He secured the gold medal at the 1947 Road World Championships, outperforming Italian Alcide Petrini and Dutch Jan Lambrichs. Meulenberg's professional career spanned from 1934 to 1948.
- Django Reinhardt. Django Reinhardt, born in Liberchies, 30 kilometers from Charleroi, in 1910, was a groundbreaking jazz guitarist and composer. Despite severe hand burns that affected his technique, Reinhardt gained fame in France during the 1930s. His swift arpeggios, chromatic runs and rhythmic styles became trademarks. Along with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, he formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Reinhardt's compositions like “Minor Swing”, “Djangology”, and “Nuages” remain jazz standards.
- Jules Destrée. Jules Destrée, born in 1863 in Marcinelle, close to Charleroi, was a lawyer, writer and socialist politician who co-founded the Walloon Movement. He advocated for Wallonia's autonomy and cultural recognition in Belgium. Destrée's 1912 “Letter to the King on the separation of Wallonia and Flanders” highlighted the cultural distinctions between the regions, contributing to his reputation as a proponent of federalism. He later served as Minister of Arts and Sciences from 1919 to 1921 and continued to support Wallonia's development until his death in 1936.
- Paul Pastur. Paul Pastur, born in Marcinelle in 1866, was a Belgian politician known for advancing education. A Belgian Workers' Party member, he represented Hainaut for 38 years. Pastur was instrumental in founding the Université du Travail de Charleroi in 1911, later renamed in his honor, to provide technical and vocational education. His dedication to education led to the establishment of numerous schools in Hainaut.
- Jean Dupuis. Jean Dupuis, born in Charleroi in 1875, was the printer and publisher who launched the Spirou magazine in 1938. Spirou became a seminal Franco-Belgian comics magazine, fostering the Marcinelle school of cartoonists and series such as The Smurfs. Dupuis' work established his name in the comics industry and left a lasting impact on Franco-Belgian pop culture.
What to eat in Charleroi?
Charleroi offers a variety of foods that reflect Belgian cuisine and typical Belgian food. Visitors can indulge in Moules Frites, mussels served with fries, a beloved dish in Belgium. Local bakeries provide Belgian waffles, customizable with toppings like berries or sugar. Numerous eateries in Charleroi serve Carbonade Flamande, a Belgian stew that offers a filling meal. While exploring Charleroi, visitors encounter many chances to experience the authentic flavors of Belgian food, adding a rich layer to their travel experience.
How to get to Charleroi Airport?
Charleroi airport has several public transportation options for travelers going from Charleroi city center to the Charleroi Airport terminal. These are by bus, by train and by taxi. Firstly, the most convenient and fastest way is taking the direct airport bus operated by TEC company. This bus, called line A, runs every 30 minutes between Charleroi Sud railway station and the airport. The bus stop in Charleroi city is located at the train station on platform B01. The stop at the airport terminal is platform 9 opposite the exit doors. The bus ride takes around 15-20 minutes and costs 6 EUR (7 USD, 5 GBP). Tickets can be purchased from vending machines at the bus stop in Charleroi or directly from the driver in cash. The bus runs daily from 04:30 to 23:00 every 30 minutes.
Secondly, taking the train from any station in Charleroi to Charleroi Sud station, which is the central railway hub of the city. The train station is only 300 meters or 4 minute walk from Charleroi city center. From Charleroi Sud station travelers can take the direct airport bus line A. This combined train and bus trip will take a bit longer, around 30-40 minutes depending on origin, but also costs 6 EUR (7 USD, 5 GBP).
Finally, travelers can take a taxi from anywhere in Charleroi directly to the airport terminal. The fare is approximately 20-30 EUR (24-36 USD, 17-25 GBP). Taxis can be ordered in advance when staying at Charleroi city center by providing the pick up time, flight details and contact information. Taxis are the fastest option at around 20 minutes travel time but also the most expensive.
How to get from Charleroi to Brussels?
There are several options for traveling between Charleroi and Brussels, which are located about 59 kilometers (37 miles) apart. The most popular public transportation method is taking the Flibco shuttle bus. These buses run frequently throughout the day, departing from Charleroi Airport and arriving at Brussels-Midi train station in the city center. The bus journey takes around 55 minutes and costs 18.99€ ($19, £16) for a one-way adult ticket purchased online. Tickets are valid all day so you can take any shuttle bus on your chosen travel date.
Another public transit option is to first take the local TEC bus from Charleroi Airport to Charleroi South train station, then board a train from there to any of Brussels' major stations like Brussels Central. The full bus and train journey takes around 1 hour and 47 minutes. An integrated train and bus ticket costs 15.90€ ($16, £14) for this route.
Travelers can book a private airport transfer from Charleroi Airport directly to their hotel or destination in Brussels, for more convenience and comfort. Companies like WelcomePickups offer fixed-price transfers with helpful drivers who assist with luggage. The drive time is around 50 minutes depending on traffic. Private Transfer rates from Charleroi to Brussels start at 93€ ($95, £82) for a standard sedan.
Taxis are also available at Charleroi Airport but can have variable rates since you would use local taxi companies. The fare is usually over 100€ ($102, £88) to central Brussels. Travelers should also note most local taxis operate only until midnight, so this is not an ideal option for late-night arrivals.
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