Brussels is a wonderfully cosmopolitan city situated right at the heart of Europe. The capital of the European Union boasts a wealth of outstanding art galleries and museums, as well as a stunning mix of architectural styles, yet where Brussels really comes into its own is in the cafes, brasseries and bars which thrive in every corner of the city. As you stroll around, the aromas of freshly made waffles vie for your attention with delectable displays in the windows of master chocolatiers, while chalkboard menus tempt you with their famous steamed moules and frites.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Brussels
Centre Ville – Much of the Brussels buzz emanates from this elegant quarter of the city. Centred around the delightful Grand Place, its splendid boulevards are a great jumping off point for exploring. For those looking for boutique shopping, head to the Rue des Bouchers.
Kunstberg - Known as the Mont des Arts to French-speakers, this area features some of Brussels’ finest museums and art galleries. Make a beeline here for the best views across the city.
Quartier du Sablon – Surely the prettiest corner of the city, the Quartier du Sablon is a sublime mix of knowledgeable antique dealers and artisan chocolatiers.
Ixelles – The undulating streets of Ixelles offer visitors a glimpse of the real Brussels. From the vibrant immigrant district of Matonge, follow the trail of hip bars and restaurants down the hill to Place Eugene Flagey and the beautiful Art Deco Maison de la Radio.
Things to See in Brussels
Whatever you plan to see in Brussels, it’s important to start with the Grand Place. Considered by many to be the most beautiful square in Europe, its stunning facades are simply captivating. No trip to Brussels is complete without the obligatory selfie in front of the Manneken Pis, a cheeky fountain that’s come to be a symbol of the city. If you can resist the urge to stop for a waffle, head on to the collection of museums known as the Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts, or for something a bit quirkier, pop round the corner to the exquisitely presented Museum of Musical Instruments.
Things to Do in Brussels
Stretch your legs with a half-day city tour on foot, perhaps with some beer and food tastings along the way, or even a visit to a chocolate workshop. Once you’ve seen the main sights in the centre, you can head out to the suburbs and the imposing Atomium. The iconic spheres of this unique structure stand next to Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower - before you check your guidebook, these are two of the miniature landmarks in Mini-Europe, right next door. If you’ve planning an extended stay and want to head out of town for a while, a full day tour to Antwerp or Bruges is well worth the effort. For those with an interest in history, a visit to the battlefields of the First World War in Flanders offers a unique and moving window onto Belgium and Europe’s turbulent past.
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