Okay so maybe not the first place that pops into your head when you think of a Europe city break right? Too small? Too low key? Well you may be mistaken! Brussels has the architecture, the attractions, the events, the atmosphere and let’s not forget about that oh-so-chocolatey goodness! Throw in a touch of sunshine and it will have you fall in love with Belgium almost instantly. (It’s what we did!)
Top Things To See / Do On Your Trip:
Let’s kick it off with my favourites…
1) Have a Wander: The streets of Brussels are packed with architectural treasures! Place Royale, Mont des Arts, Koekelberg Basilica and let’s not forget the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. Just strolling through, it will take your breath away- filled with luxurious shop displays, tempting you in. And these are just a few places to mention! Have a wander, map it all out (if you like!) and see where the city walks take you!
2) Take a Trip to the Royals: Palais Royal – the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians- is conveniently located in the centre of Brussels. (Can you believe it?!) In the Summer you can have a look around inside on selected days for free! It’s like stepping back in time; with high ceilings and big chandeliers- making your childhood princess dreams really come true!
3) Grab a drink on a Rooftop Restaurant: Choose from Cospaia, Kameleon Sky, I due Signori Woluwé, or the top floor restaurant of the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM Restaurant) installed in the famous Old English Building. This is what we vouched for, grabbing a glass of wine with views across the city on a sunny Saturday afternoon. You can then continue with a bar hop (you’ll be surprised how great the nightlife is in Brussels- even popular for Hens & Stags you’ll find!) followed by live music, shows or entertainment on the evening.
4) Relax in the Parc Du Cinquantenaire: Located in the heart of the European quarter of Brussels this scenic park is scattered with stunning buildings, tall trees, iconic sculptures and a beautiful fountain at the centre. It’s the perfect place to grab a little spot on the grass and take in everything (and everyone!) around you. If you’re heading over in the Autumn, be prepared to be taken away by the colours of the changing leaves. And winter, for the magical feel.
5) Take a Breath at The Grand Place: Honestly my favourite place of the whole trip that I couldn’t recommend more. A must see in both the day and night. Entering the square you will be surrounded by huge, majestic buildings, sparkling with sculptures and gold. Illuminating at night, it is honestly the most awe-inspiring ‘attraction’ on the list. AND to make it even better, is has heaps of hidden restaurants and bars all around it.
Other key attractions not to miss…
- Belgian Comic Strip Center (devoted to the history of cartoons and comic strips!)
- Mannekin Pis (well it would be rude NOT to visit this famous little feller right?!)
- Saint-Michel Cathedral (a Gothic church dating back right the way to 1225)
- Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts (one of the largest and best art galleries in the world– it’s worth popping in!)
- Atomium (best-known landmark attraction & the city’s most surreal sight!)
- Mont des Arts (found right by the Place Royale- we found this little spot to be the perfect place to chill!)
- Notre-Dame du Sablon (considered one of the loveliest Late Gothic churches in Belgium)
- Basilique Nationale du Sacré Coeur (mentioned above, this is well worth a visit!)
- Parc de Bruxelles (Better known as Warandepark: perfect for a breath of fresh air! Regular events held here)
- The city centre itself: for good food, great drinks, cool atmosphere and a spot of shopping!
Whilst you’re there you have also GOT to do some chocolate tasting (I mean, it would be rude not to whilst you’re there. Belgium is renown for it!) and -one step further- chocolate making (guaranteed fun, I promise you!) I also recommend the Hop On Hop Off Bus: preferably for your first day, just so that you can get your bearings with a whistle-stop tour, figure out the places you like most and also find out more about the history. It’s also well worth checking out the events schedule. During our visit, we was lucky enough to arrive during the Iris Festival which offered free concerts and entertainment throughout the cities parks. It was brilliant and only added to our experience there! So there’s certainly enough to keep you busy right?!
Got a bit more time? You can also look into day trips to Bruges & Ghent (have a look here & here), Amsterdam (uh-huh, a new country right at your fingertips!) or even little Luxembourg. With great transport links, and short(ish) travel times, why not combine more than one destination into one epic trip?!
Got any questions? Pop them in the comments box below. I’d be more than happy to help you with your travel questions/ plans! Been to Brussels yourself? It would be great to hear your best bits/ highlights!