Belgium’s captivating capital, Brussels, is not only, a hotpot of historic culture, but also, a prodigious centre of bureaucracy and multifarious ventures. A magnificent city that rounds up in a cityscape featuring majestic architecture and a fascinating environment for travellers. From 19th-century mansions to art nouveau facades, Brussels is one of the best cities to get you introduced to the integral culture of Belgium. A journey that begins at high-spirited streets and ends at admiring glass art of the Gotham era. In between, explore the Belgian medieval core by traversing through monumental landmarks, stunning city squares and the café-bar scene that never goes out of fashion.
Any time of the year is a good time to visit Brussels. Although, unexpected rains may catch you by surprise, therefore, carry an umbrella at all times. If interacting with locals is on your bucket list, we recommend you learn a few words and phrases of the local language. In Brussels, most people speak French and Belgian Dutch. However, to be able to understand signage and transportation announcements, use a phrasebook or a translator app. Brussels is one of Europe’s premier cities featuring an electrifying cosmopolitan culture. Although, what quite makes this Belgian city impressive is its well-preserved 17th-century architecture and gripping nightlife. The Belgian capital is bound to leave you amazed with its centres, selection of beer, mouth-watering cuisine, graffiti art, street stands and candid atmosphere. However, a trip to below-mentioned places is what will truly-introduce you to the real Belgian culture.
Atomium is huge metal construction that symbolises an iron atom built for Expo 58. At present, this 102-metre high masterpiece features nine interconnected spheres, that has become the city’s pride. Take the elevator or stairs to reach the top of the monument and enjoy the spectacular views of the city.
2. Grand Place
La Grand Place or De Grote Markt is the biggest square in Brussels. The homes in this neighbourhood have a name of their own. Meaning, they have an identity which is primarily inspired by the statues perched on their facades. When you first arrive here, notice the 14th-century Gothic-style Town Hall, featuring the statue of Everard T’Serclaes. (Along with, a 96m high tower) Legends have it that if you rub your elbow at the tower, it’s bound to bring good luck. What better way to maximise good luck, right? Note that every alternate year, the square organises a huge flower carpet in August. Hence, planning your trip around this time will ensure a breathtaking floral surprise.
3. Little Man Pee/Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis is a famous statue in Brussels with an ‘engrossing’ concept. It features a boy peeing in a fountain underneath. His costumes are changed about three times a week. Someone stole the original statue in the eighteenth century. After which, an exact replica was installed. Brussels also showcases, the statue of a peeing girl, Jeanneken Pis, as well as, the statue of a peeing dog, Chien Pis.
4. The Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels is reconstructed over a palace that was destroyed by a fire in the seventeenth century. This Palace houses the offices of the King and Queen of Belgium and is open for visitors during summer. Expect to see gold-plated ceilings, magnificent chandeliers, and a trail of incredible courtrooms inside this Royal Residence.
5. Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate
A trip to Brussels is incomplete until you have indulged in tasting scrumptious Belgian chocolates. However, you can also learn about the production process of Belgian chocolates. For that, all you have to do is, take a trip to Musée du Cacao et du Chocolat, the chocolate museum. This is a fantastic place for chocolate lovers. Not only, do they take you through the production process, but also, give you a tasting tour of the authentic Belgian cocoa delicacies.
6. Brussels Park
Parc de Bruxelles is a serene garden, where you can relax under the shade of giant trees. While you are in Brussels, do take out some time to visit this floral-packed estate. To experience it like a local, you must buy a Waffle lunch and enjoy it in this garden with your loved ones. The best part of the garden is its statues and the reconstructed 18th-century open-air stage that hosts live concerts in summer.
Brussels may be famous for its chocolates, however, mussels and fries are the national dishes of Belgium. Chocolate seafood, on the other hand, is the typical Belgian pralines. Often, created in the form of distinctive shells and sea creatures. While you are here, you may also want to try the local fruit beer, Kriek. It comes in different flavours, such as blueberries, cherries, raspberries and peaches. Le marché du Midi in Brussels is the biggest market in Europe. Here you can buy fresh fruits, veggies, organic produce, cheese, meat, Mediterranean and South African cuisine, spices, tea and honey sold by local farmers. The most happening place in Brussels is the Grand Place square. This square is surrounded by traditional establishments, luxurious restaurants, modern cafes, bars, discotheques and music clubs.
Commuting in Brussels is relatively easy if you take the Belgian Railway. It is in fact, the most convenient mode of transport from the airport. The train leaves every 15-minutes. A second-class ticket will cost you €8.60 for a one-way journey and €17.20 for return. All in all, Brussels is a safe city with less crime. However, be aware of the pickpocketers. It’s suggested that you keep your wallets in the front pocket. Ladies make sure to zip your purse and carry it around your shoulder or neck. While at all times, stay cautious in the tourist areas and at the train stations.