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Charleroi is a city in the French speaking part of Belgium: Wallonia. It has a little over 200,000 inhabitants, although the total metropolitan areas is over half a million people. It's not far south from Brussels and has its own airport, with mainly budget flights from Ryanair.
The most popular time to visit Charleroi is between May and September when weather is at its' best. Temperatures are generally around 22 °C during the day from June to August and nights around 15 °C. Like most of the Europe, this is also the busiest time of the year so booking in advance is recommended, especially during July and August. The winter months are a much quieter time to visit Charleroi, but you will have to come prepared for colder conditions with temperatures just around zero. Snow is possible but not really common. Most of Charleroi's rain falls during these months as well, though summers can see heavy rainshowers after hot conditions during the day.
Brussels Airport (BRU) is the primary international airport. It is located in the small town of Zaventem, near Brussels. It deals primarily with flights from and to European cities, although a number of African and Middle Eastern cities are serviced and Jet Airways provides flights from India and the USA.
The second major airport is Brussels South Charleroi Airport (CRL), which is used primarily for Ryanair flights. There are smaller international airports at Antwerp, Liège and Ostend. The latter two are primarily used for charter flights.
Internet is widely available in Belgium, but internet cafés are not common, because most people have internet access at home or through wifi. There are multiple internet access points in all cities and it is free in most libraries. Also in multiple gas stations, train stations and diners on the highways there is Wi-Fi available. Many cafés offer free Wi-Fi nowadays and if you can't find any you can always fall back on Quick or McDonalds which both offer free Wi-Fi.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Belgium is: + 32. To make an international call from Belgium, the code is 00.
Belgium has a modern telephone system with nationwide cellular telephone coverage. Belgium uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are three main companies (Proximus, Mobistar and Base, and a large number of MVNOs) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free. You can get sim cards for the three main companies in dedicated phone shops. Sim cards from the MVNOs are readily available at supermarkets (Carrefour, Aldi, Colruyt to name a few all have their own brand). All networks provide UMTS and HSDPA (3G) mobile internet coverage, and are rolling out a 4G network, mainly in the big cities and eventually in the whole country.
De Post is the national postal service of Belgium, with Dutch, French and German versions. They offer generally fast, reliable services. It's a relatively expensive service though, with normal domestic post (cards, letters etc) up to 50 grams costing €0.61. To other European countries it costs €1.03 and outside Europe it's €1.34. At the post offices, you can buy stamps and they have other services as well, including international money transfers. The opening times of post offices are 9:00am or 10:00am until 4:00pm or 5:00pm, depending on whether it's the main central one or a smaller branch or in towns. Some of them might be open on Saturday mornings, and remember that quite a few still close for lunch break! De Post also offers the sending of parcels, but you could also use private international companies like UPS, TNT or DHL, as they offer roughly the same services and prices, but are generally faster.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Charleroi searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Charleroi and areas nearby.
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