Restaurants generally open for lunch from 11.30am or noon until 2pm or 3pm. Dinner starts at about 6.30pm, and goes to 10pm or 11pm. Brasseries have more fluid hours, usually opening by 11am and staying open until midnight or 1am.
Defining business hours for bars and cafés is nigh on impossible. There are absolutely no regulations governing trading hours for these establishments – they open when they want and close when the last barfly drops. Most cafés are open by 10am or 11am, and some will still be going at 5am.
In general, shops in both countries are open from 9am until noon or 12.30pm, and again from 2pm to 6pm, Monday to Saturday. Many shops in major tourist destinations, such as Brussels, Bruges, Antwerp and Luxembourg City, don’t close for lunch, and many also open on Sunday. The occasional convenience shop opens 24 hours – look for signs indicating nachtwinkel or magasin de nuit.
Banks open from 8.30am or 9am and close between 3.30pm and 5pm Monday to Friday. Some close for an hour at lunch, and many also open Saturday mornings.
Post offices generally operate from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and until noon Saturday. Smaller branches close for lunch and larger ones stay open until 6pm.
Throughout this guide, we’ve provided opening hours for sights and activities. For other businesses, like restaurants and shops, we’ve listed hours only when they differ from the norm.
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