Home of the European Parliament, Brussels offers an eclectic mix of architecture, history and culture. Sample world-renowned beer and chocolates as you explore the quaint and quirky heart of Belgium.
Where is it? Brussels, Central Belgium
Language: French, Flemish
Population: 1.1 million
Nearest airport: Brussels Airport
Main train/ferry/bus station(s): Brussels Midi/South (For Eurostar) or Brussels North.
Best time to visit? All year round – but most pleasant in Summer or around Christmas (check out the markets!)
Budget level? £££
How long should I go for?
1-2 nights. Brussels is quite compact, so you can see some of the main sights and have a bit of time for relaxing or shopping in a full day.
You can hop on the Eurostar in London and be in Brussels in just over two hours. Alternatively, it’s the perfect rest stop on a journey between Paris and Amsterdam, or fly into Brussels airport.
Literally translated as ‘Little Man Pee’, this cheeky statue of a boy peeing into a fountain is undoubtedly one of the most famous landmarks in Belgium. The origins of the little mischief maker are shrouded in mystery, but he is proudly said to be the emblem of the city of Brussels.
The main square in Brussels is a delight to behold. Approach from one of the six narrow cobbled streets that lead to it, each with a different spectacular view as you reach the square. Admire the beautiful Baroque façades of the Guild Houses over a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes that sprawl across the huge square.
Just off the main square, you’ll find this delightful old fashioned covered shopping arcade where you can peruse traditional shopfronts and admire the decadent window displays.
The bustling heart of Brussels, home to the magnificent Grand Place, Mannekin Pis and Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.
This historic neighbourhood is home to impressive architecture, namely the Justice Palace and the Palace de Bruxelles, as well as the nearby Brussels Park, the largest urban park in the city.
Brussels’ administrative centre houses the buildings of the European Commission and the European Parliament. You can take a free guided tour of the Hemicycle in the summer months of June to September, which is where the most important debates and votes of the EU parliament are held.
This up and coming arty quarter is home to flea markets, effortlessly cool nightclubs and modern art galleries.
La Pharmacie Anglaise – Travel back in time as you sip a steampunk cocktail in this quirky bar. Once a working pharmacy, the building has now been converted into one of the hottest hidden gems in the city. Popular with locals and known for their excellent cocktails, this is one not to be missed off your list.
Delirium – current Guinness Book of Records holder of the world’s biggest beer selection. With over 2000 beers to choose from, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Fuse – a former cinema, this immense underground nightclub hosts a killer sound system and is the place to quench your thirst for techno. The faint of heart need not apply!
“Ceci n’est pas une pipe”… Immerse yourself in the surrealist world of René Magritte as you peruse the world’s largest collection of his paintings.
Brussels’ most famous open-air market is open 365 days a year. Stroll through buzzing stalls crammed with antiques and bric-a-brac, taking time to browse through vintage records and rare finds.
Watch a chocolate making demo before you explore the history of Belgian chocolate making through two exhibition rooms. Afterwards, treat yourself to some delicious chocolate in the gift shop.