Brussels

Brussels is one of Europe’s most interesting and most overlooked cities. Historic and modern, glitz and elegance, bustle and tranquility, this city has a lot of character within just a few blocks. Every corner has something new and different that always inspires us to come back. 

  • The Grand Place

One of the best things to do in Brussels is undoubtedly a visit to the heart of the city, the Grand Place. The central square is surrounded by the Brothaus, which houses the ornate Guildhouse, the city’s towering Town Hall, and the Brussels City Museum. Most of the buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Grand Place date from his late 16th century, but buildings have been here since his 12th century.

As you enter the square, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by the beauty of the historic buildings on all four sides. Tourists are everywhere picnicking, chatting, looking for the perfect spot for a late afternoon beer, or just trying to snap the perfect selfie. There are so many things to see at once. Well worth a visit (or more) on your trip to Brussels. 

  • Manneken Pis

I have to admit that I don’t really “get” the statue of Manneken Pis, but it’s a must-see on any sightseeing trip in Brussels. to business people are photographed and frowning all day long. Many people are taking selfies with famous boys. 

The statue was created in its original form back in 1619. Thus, despite being a little strange, it is quite historic.

The current version of Manneken Pis, which was first displayed in 1965, has been stolen numerous times throughout the years. He frequently wears odd clothing, several of which have made their way to the City Museum in the Grand Place, where they are on display permanently.

Due to Manneken Pis’ fame, two more peeing statues—one of a young girl and one of a dog—have also been erected throughout Brussels. Make your way to the corner to join the crowd of observers after purchasing some chocolate from one of the many shops in the area.

  • The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula

When I first gazed up the hill to the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, I paused for a second to remember that despite the beautiful building in front of me and the French speakers surrounding me, I wasn’t actually in Paris. That’s how much the Gothic cathedral reminded me of Notre Dame in Paris.

Since at least the ninth century, this location has been the site of a chapel honouring St. Michael. And although though the current incarnation of this magnificent structure honouring the male and female patron saints of Brussels was inaugurated in 1519, it had been in the planning stage for 300 years prior to that. It must be among the oldest and most beautiful sights in Brussels at around 600 years old.

  • Maison Dandoy

Even if you only have one day in Brussels, you should make it a point to indulge in a mouthwatering waffle. The dishes at Maison Dandoy are some of our favourites and, in our opinion, the greatest in the city. Since 1829, this bakery has been producing mouthwatering baked goods, proving that they are experts in their field.

The waffles are frequently reheated at waffle stands in Belgium, which is undesirable. The contrast in quality between Maison Dandoy and those other options is astronomical. Everything is made to order at the counter and in the tearoom.

You can choose between a fluffy Brussels waffle or a sweeter, more compact Liege waffle (there is no such thing as a “Belgian waffle”). Ice cream, hot chocolate sauce, caramel, and a bewildering variety of other delicious items are available as toppings. There are twelve Maison Dandoy locations, but we preferred the one on Rue Charles Buls since you can take your time eating your waffle in the upstairs tearoom.

  • The Bourse

Just off the Grand Place is the Stock Exchange, Belgium’s stock exchange dating back to 1873. The building itself is impressive with large columns and many sculptures, some of which were created by Rodin early in his career.

The real charm of the stock exchange is inside. After being vacant for ten years, the building is now used for a variety of special exhibitions, from photographic retrospectives to immersive experiences with everything from the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii to Vincent Van Gogh’s work. It has been. A beer museum is planned for the upper floors and is scheduled to open in 2023.

  • Parlamentarium

Just outside the historic city center is the European Parliament, a site of international significance. Even if you’re not into politics, the visitor center, the Paramentarium, is worth a visit.

Fascinating multimedia exhibits guide the world wars, show visitors what life was like across Europe during the war, and explain why the European Union was created.

During your visit, which lasts approximately 60-90 minutes, get up close and personal with MEPs (or at least their stories) and watch a mini-documentary about how ordinary citizens benefit from being part of the EU I can.

  • Mont des Arts

Mont des Arts (mountain of art) is, as the name suggests, the “hill of art”. In this area that separates upper and lower Brussels, visitors can experience almost any art activity imaginable. There are concerts at the Beaux Arts, films at the Cinematheque, and exhibitions at the Royal Museums and the Museum of Musical Instruments.

There is so much to do in this area, but my favorite thing is simply to enjoy the scenery.The Geometric Garden and its view of Brussels city center and the City Hall Tower is one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. One of the spots. At any time of the year, there are people on the steps and on the benches under the plane trees. A quiet green space to relax in the heart of the bustling city.

  • Scout out Art Nouveau

With its billowing iron, bright facade paintings, and large windows, Brussels’ Art Nouveau architecture is renowned for its ornate details and use of natural light. Several buildings just outside the historic center are recognized by UNESCO for their design. For lovers of decorative arts, the St Gilles and Ixelles districts are worth the 15-minute trip to see the unique architecture.

Ever since I met him in Riga, Latvia, I’ve loved the fanciful Art Nouveau style, but it varies a little from country to country.Arthis Nouveau dates back to his late 19th century and was introduced to Brussels by the architect Victor Horta. His home and workshop are now the famous Horta Museum. In addition to the museum, you can tour for yourself the many private homes and buildings designed by Horta and his contemporaries. See ornate paintings, intricate balconies, and many other decorations. Many of the buildings can be toured inside by appointment.

If you live near the center, the Comic Art Museum and Musical Instrument Museum are both examples of Art Nouveau architecture and are easily accessible.

  • Cinquantenaire Park

Brussels is a busy metropolis, but it also has a lot of green space. The weather is a bit unpredictable, so the whole city comes to life when the sun shines.

A great place to spend time on a sunny day is the Parc du Cinquantenaire. Cyclists rode the trails, families picnicked in the open spaces, and tourists strolled around the fountains while visiting the sprawling park.

The park also houses the Royal Armed Forces and Military History Museum. Besides being interesting, the museum itself is a great starting point to reach the park’s Arc de Triomphe and take in the panoramic views.

  • Place Sainte-Catherine

Not far from the Grand Place, Place Sainte-Catherine is a lively district with cafes, markets and the church of the same name. A must-see here is De Noordzee, a quaint restaurant and fish bar serving fresh seafood. Enjoy fish burgers and other delicious dishes.

If seafood isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other sidewalk cafes to choose from. You can also return in the evening to explore the nightlife along the wharf. Here you can also visit the food he market and the flower market, which are held all day several days a week, but Wednesdays are especially special, when the market focuses on organic food from 7am.

The centerpiece of this area is Catherine’s Church. Completed in 1874, it is fairly new compared to many other buildings of this type in the city. The architecture of the church was inspired by 16th-century French churches, so you can still see many buttresses, gargoyles and large statues.

  • Gems of the Sablon neighborhood

The first time I saw Petit Sablon Park, a beautiful park tucked away in the middle of a long block, I looked twice. I was on a bus past the sights of Brussels and knew I would have to turn back to find this park.

When Lance and I returned, we were amazed by the manicured gardens, fountains and statues. I just sat and stared in the silence of a quiet room for at least 20 minutes. Even in the middle of an exhausting journey, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to take a deep breath and enjoy your surroundings. Across the park is the Church of Our Lady of Sablon (Église Notre-Dame du Sablon), a 15th-century church frequented by Brussels’ aristocrats and wealthy citizens for hundreds of years. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, you can admire contemporary art and taste some of the best chocolate in town. When you’re done, browse the antique shops, take his coffee break and just enjoy.

  • Palais Royal

The royal family lives about 6 kilometers north of the city, but Brussels’ Palais Royal is the royal executive residence and main office. From the end of July to the end of August, the palace is open to the public free of charge. Visitors can view the magnificent decorations and works of art in the drawing rooms and halls, including the Throne Room, which displays tapestries based on the great painter’s masterpieces, and the Goya Hall.

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