Brussels is Belgium’s captivating capital, featuring hip historic culture, bizarre bureaucratic setting and multicultural roots. All totalling up in a cityscape that showcases majestic architecture and fascinating environment. Stroll on the streets, to explore art nouveau facades, 19th-century mansions, and incredible glass art of the Gotham era. In addition, Brussels medieval core can be felt, in each of its beautiful squares, and the café-bar scene that never goes out of fashion.
When and What to expect in Brussels?
A few insider tips will help you prepare, for your first visit, to this multi-cultural Belgian capital. Any time of the year is a good time to visit Brussels, although, it rains unexpectedly, therefore, carry an umbrella at all times. In Brussels, most people speak French and Belgian Dutch. Since most of the residents do not speak fluent English therefore, learn a few key phrases of the local language. In fact, it will be easier for you to understand signage and public transportation announcements if you use a phrase book or a translator app.
The most convenient way to commute from Brussels Airport is the Belgian Rail. You can catch a train every 15-minutes, that will transport you to Central Station in 20-minutes. A second-class ticket on the train will cost you €8.60 for a one-way journey and €17.20 for return. In general, Brussels is a safe city with less crime, however, still flourished with pickpockets. Therefore, to be safe, men keep your wallets in the front pocket, and women make sure to zip your purse and carry it around your shoulder or neck. At all times, stay aware in the tourist areas and the busy train stations.
Places to visit in Brussels
Brussels is undoubtedly one of Europe’s premier cities featuring a thriving cosmopolitan culture, along with well-preserved 17th-century architecture, and an incredible nightlife. This impressive capital will amaze you with its incredibly gorgeous centre, selection of beer, mouth-watering meals, graffiti art, street stands, and candid atmosphere. Here’s a run down of 6 best places to visit in Brussels.
Atomium is a huge metal construction that symbolises an iron atom built for Expo 58. At present, this 102-metre high master piece features 9 interconnected spheres, evolving into the city’s pride. You can reach the top by elevator and stairs to enjoy the spectacular view of the city.
2. Grand Place
La Grand Place or De Grote Markt is the biggest square in Brussels. The houses in this vicinity have a name, as in their own identity, which is inspired by the statues on their facades. When you arrive here, you will notice the 14th-century Gothic style Town Hall, which features the statue of Everard T’Serclaes and a 96 m high tower. Residents say that if you rub your elbow at the tower, it will bring good luck. Above all, every alternate year, the square organises a huge flower carpet in August.
3. Little Man Pee/Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis is a famous statue in Brussels, which displays a boy peeing in a fountain underneath, whose costumes are changed 3 times a week. If that sounds fascinating, then I have to tell you that the original statue, was stolen in the 18th-century and the one you see today is only a replica. Brussels also flaunts the statue of a peeing girl, Jeanneken Pis, and a peeing dog, Chien Pis.
4. Royal Palace of Brussels
Royal Palace of Brussels, is reconstructed over a palace that was destroyed by a fire, in the 17th-century. This Palace houses the offices of the King and Queen of Belgium and is open for visitors during the summer. Visit this Royal Residence to explore gold-plated ceilings, magnificent chandeliers, and the incredible court rooms.
5. Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate
Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat, in Brussels, allows you to learn the production process of Belgian chocolate. This is a fantastic place for chocolate lovers, and I guarantee that you will love this one-of-a-kind experience of tasting your favourite cocoa delicacy.
6. Brussels Park
Parc de Bruxelles is a peaceful garden setting, where you relax under the shade of giant trees and fresh flowers. Pack your waffle lunch and enjoy it in this garden to feel the real essence of Brussels. The best part of the garden is its statue’s, and a 18th-century summer open-air stage, that is now reconstructed for live concerts.
What to eat in Brussels?
Brussels may be famous for its chocolates, however, Belgians claim Brussels mussels and fries to be their national dish. Chocolate seafood, on the other hand, is the typical Belgian pralines, often made in the form of different shells and sea creatures. Also, try the local fruit beer, called Kriek, that can be ordered in the flavours of blueberries, cherries, raspberries, peaches, and other fruits. Then again, there is the standard Belgian beer that deserves your attention, as well. Le marché du Midi Market in Brussels, is the biggest in Europe that offers fresh fruits, veggies, organic produce, cheese, meat, Mediterranean and South African cuisine, spices, tea, and honey by local farmers.
All in all, the most happening place of this Belgian capital, is the Grand Place square! This square is surrounded by traditional establishments, luxurious restaurants, modern cafes, bars, discotheques and music clubs. Been here? Would love to hear your story.