Introduction

Welcome to Brussels, the city at the heart of Europe! Capital of Belgium and seat of the European Union, Brussels is a highly multicultural city with two official languages, French and Dutch, and several other frequently spoken languages, such as English, German, and Spanish. Famous for its chocolate, waffles, and beer, this beautiful city has both a rich history and an exciting future.


BRUSSELS EXPERIENCES

Sightseeing must do

  • Few suggestions

    There are a variety of walking tours, hop on hop off buses and guided tours available in Brussels, but with a little confidence and a travel card this is an easy city to explore independently using public transport. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Settle into your accommodation first, then head to the Grand Place in the centre of old Brussels - considered one of the most beautiful Medieval squares in Europe. Enjoy a refreshment in one of the cafes in the square while you soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful historical area. The Grand Place is also the location for many special events. The metro stations closest to the Grand Place are Centrale, Bourse, and De Broukere.

    • There are a number of free walking tours which are great for exploring the older parts of the city that buses can’t enter, as well as the European Quarter and the Sablon district. Look for coloured umbrellas in the centre of the square. Tours leave Monday to Saturday at 10.00 and are an excellent way to orient yourself to this area. View unique landmarks, such as the Manneken Pis, and listen to interesting information about the history and culture of Belgium, including where to find the best waffles, chocolate and the largest selection of Belgian beers.

    • Brussels is a city of museums. Whether you are interested in art, automobiles, beer, history, science or even comics, there is a museum in Brussels for you. The Brussels Card gives you free access to 39 museums for a nominated time period, as well as discounts for other attractions, food, drinks and tours. You can also opt to include unlimited travel on public transport. Museums are closed on Mondays.

    • The European Quarter is made up of bustling squares, interesting shops, exceptional museums, tranquil green spaces and is the capital of the European Union. This area has a cosmopolitan atmosphere with cultures from Europe and elsewhere.

    • Start your exploration of the European Union at Station Europe (former railway station), on the Place du Luxembourg. Book in advance to visit the Parliamentarium, House of European History and European Parliament. Alternatively visit Infopoint Europa for information about the EU.

    • The Les Marolles area, in the Sablon district, is where the rich and poor live side by side. The famous artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder lived and painted here. Today it is a lively area, frequented by artists, where you find interesting bars and many restaurants serving typical Brussels dishes. This area has many furniture and antique shops as well as an historic flea market. Les Marolles is near the Palais de Justice and is well worth a visit.

  • Outdoor attractions

    Brussels is a very green city with a large number of open spaces and parks for the enjoyment of locals and visitors. These range from natural forests to quaint city parks. Combine a museum visit with time in an adjoining park, for example the Atomium museum is near the magnificent Royal Park, and the Autoworld museum is within the Parc Du Cinquantenaire. In May the Royal greenhouses are open to the public. Explore the natural beauty of Belgium with a leisurely stroll, or a more energetic run or cycle, through a Brussels park. If you love adventure or want to try something new outdoors, there are many opportunities in Belgium. Outdoor Belgium hosts the `Outdoor Sports and Adventure Show’ in late Spring every year. Cycling, hiking, golf, horse riding, urban sports, water sports and mountain climbing are all featured. Cross country skiing, skating or sledging are also available in winter. Whatever you like to do outdoors, they have it in Belgium.

  • Shopping

    Brussels shopping is not limited to chocolates, beer and lace, although these are all worth checking out for their high quality. Find them on sale throughout Brussels, especially in tourist areas such as the Grand Place. Most shops are closed on Sundays. Hundreds of open markets, in Brussels offer an eclectic mix of goods. They operate throughout the week in the city, as well as in regional areas. They offer a variety of fresh produce and other unique items. Boulevard de Waterloo and Rue Antoine Dansaert are two renowned shopping streets in Brussels, where you can find luxury brands and boutique shops. The Rue Neuve is a pedestrian-only street with a large selection of well-known affordable shops and a large shopping mall called City2. Brussels has a variety of shopping galeries as well as one of the oldest shopping arcades in the world. Unlike ordinary shopping malls, galeries offer high quality brands and luxury items. Situated inside historic buildings, galeries are great places to shop whilst escaping the weather.

  • Night Life

    The nightlife in Brussels is relaxed with many venues for music, dancing or enjoying a drink with friends. Lounge bars and clubs are popular for their DJ music, drinks and comfortable atmosphere. Belgium is famous for its beers and the numerous beer cafes and bars in Brussels are great places to sample them. The Delirium Café, near the Grand Place serves all 400 varieties of Belgian beer! Favourite places for the locals and other night owls are the lively areas of Halles Saint Géry, Place Flagey, and le Châtelain.

  • Culture

    Belgium is a vibrant travel destination in a great location. It is a small country with a lot of heritage. It contains UNESCO World Heritage sites as well as other listings. It includes many sites dedicated to world war battles. Belgium also has many interesting churches and museums. Brussels has a flourishing art scene that involves visual art, music and theatre. Brussels and Belgium provide a whole calendar of cultural festivals and events; ranging from music festivals to light shows and historical re-enactments. Brussels is a cosmopolitan city that honours its past, enjoys the present and confidently looks forward to the future.

Food

It is sometimes said that Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with the quality of French food.

There is a great variety of food here and the quality is excellent. Internationally, Belgium is best known for its chocolate, waffles, fries and beer. Popular local dishes include Mussels and meatballs. Brussels has many restaurant areas such as Sainte Catherine which combines old style and new vibe. Other eating areas include Place du Chatelain, Place Stephanie, le Sablon and around the church of St Boniface. People watching is a popular pastime here and alfresco dining is very common year-round in Belgium.