Discover Brussels | Recommended Places to Stay & Visit

Brussels, the capital city of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union, is a vibrant and multifaceted metropolis that boasts a rich tapestry of culture, politics, and art. Known for its diverse linguistic and cultural environment, Brussels offers visitors an intriguing mix of historical architecture and contemporary life. This city serves not only as a hub for international politics and diplomacy but also as a centre for Belgian culture, showcasing the very best in fine dining, museums, and parks.

Unique Features of Brussels

Grand Place (Grote Markt)

At the heart of Brussels is the Grand Place, or Grote Markt, a stunning central square that is widely considered one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe. Surrounded by opulent guildhalls and the striking Gothic town hall, the Grand Place is a UNESCO World Heritage site that dazzles visitors with its ornate architecture. It is especially magical during the bi-annual Flower Carpet event, where the square is covered with a beautiful arrangement of begonias.

Brussels Art and Museums

Brussels is a haven for art enthusiasts. The city is home to over 80 museums, including the Magritte Museum, which is dedicated to the work of the famous surrealist artist René Magritte. Art lovers will also appreciate the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, which house an extensive collection of Flemish and Belgian art spanning several centuries, from Old Masters like Bruegel and Rubens to modern and contemporary works.

European Union District

A tour of the European Quarter provides a glimpse into the workings of the EU. Visitors can explore the European Parliament’s visitors’ center, the Parlamentarium, offering insights into the legislative process and the history of European integration. The modern architecture, including the striking Berlaymont building, headquarters of the European Commission, contrasts sharply with the historical areas of the city, offering a unique architectural experience.

Brussels Culinary Delights

Brussels is synonymous with gastronomic excellence. The city is renowned for its chocolates and beer, with countless shops offering handmade chocolates and confectioneries. Beer enthusiasts can explore local brews at traditional bars and modern breweries. Additionally, Brussels' culinary scene includes an array of international restaurants and local eateries where visitors can sample traditional Belgian dishes like moules-frites (mussels served with fries) and a variety of waffles.

The Atomium

An iconic symbol of Brussels, the Atomium was originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (Expo 58). This unique building, designed to resemble a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, offers panoramic views of the city from its top sphere and hosts exhibitions related to science and design.

Practical Advice for Visitors

  • Getting There and Around: Brussels is well-connected by air, train, and road. The city has two main airports, Brussels Airport and Brussels South Charleroi Airport. Public transportation in Brussels is efficient, with an extensive network of trams, buses, and a metro system, making it easy to navigate the city.

  • Accommodations: Brussels offers a range of lodging options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Areas like Saint-Gilles, Ixelles, and the city centre are popular among tourists for their proximity to major attractions.

  • Weather: Brussels has a temperate maritime climate, with mild weather throughout the year. Rain is quite frequent, so it’s wise to carry an umbrella.

  • Language: The city is officially bilingual, with both French and Dutch as the primary languages. English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas and amongst younger Belgians.

Brussels presents a delightful mix of the old and new, where historic cobblestone streets meet modern glass and steel of the European institutions. Whether you’re there to indulge in the arts, experience the bustling nightlife, or explore the architectural and historical sites, Brussels offers a unique European experience that caters to a variety of tastes and interests.