Brussels is Belgium’s largest city it is sophisticated and has a vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere. The city centre is divided into the lower and upper towns. Brussels makes a good base if you wish to explore other historic Belgium cities.
You should start your visit with a walk around the Grand Place one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. The Grand Place is situated in the centre of Brussels and dates from the 12th century, and claims to have Belgium’s finest baroque guildhalls. The beautiful Gothic town hall (Hôtel de Ville) with its elaborate 96m high tower, guided tours are available, if you would like more details contact the Tourist Office in Brussels.
The Grand Place is a wide open elegant medieval square surrounded by cobbled streets with pavement cafes. The streets leading to the Grand Place are old and narrow; you will find shops, cafes and markets. In the famous Rue des Bouchers there are many fish restaurants displaying their wares it is a small but colourful street!
A few minutes walk from the Grand Place is the famous Manneken Pis. Approximately 15minutes away you will find the beautiful 19th century Royal Palace, this is not the Palace where the Royal family reside. In front of the palace is the Royal Park visitors are allowed in the park and it is a pleasant place to be especially in the warm summer months.
There are many museums which may be of interest; we will mention just a few that might appeal to you. The Brewery Museum on the Grand Place is a small but interesting museum; the museum is part of the Confederation of Belgian Breweries and occupies the basement of the brewer’s guildhall.
Belgium is the place for beer, so I am told, if you are interested in Belgian beer you will probably benefit from a visit to the Gueueze Brewery Museum, traditional methods are still used here, you make your own way around the brewery and get to sample some of the brews at the end!
Well worth a visit is the Costume and Lace Museum with displays on three floors. You will see antique and modern lace including colourful lace gowns plus much more.
The Museum of Fine Arts will interest many of you it houses Belgium’s best collections of ancient and modern art. It includes works by Hans Memling, magnificent paintings by Rubens and Pieter Breugel. To get the most out of your visit to this museum you should allow several hours.
If your interest lie in Vintage cars a visit to the Autoworld may suit you, it has more than 400 vehicles on display, local and international. There is a collection of cars manufactured in Belgium before the Second World War era.
There are more museums in Brussels including the Royal Museum of Army & Military History, the Royal Art& History Museums and the exceptional Natural Science Museum. If you are visiting Brussels for the first time or for a short stay you can get more detailed up to date information on museums or other attractions that may interest you from the Tourist Office.
One of the oldest churches in Brussels is Saint Nicholas Church named after the Patron Saint of Traders; it has been greatly restored through the centuries. The Cathédral des Sts Michel and Gudule which was started in 1226 took 300 years to build is a mix of styles from Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance. The twin towered cathedral is situated to the north of Gare Centrale.
You may like to take an organized walking or bus tour while visiting Brussels both are available; a bus tour takes in all the main sights and lasts approximately 21/2 hours.
Dining out in Brussels is a delight with many quality restaurants to choose from, if you just want a snack or some refreshment you will find sandwich bars, bakeries, tea-rooms and pavement cafes there are plenty of eateries to suit all tastes and pockets.
Most of Brussels English, American & Irish pubs/bars are to be found around the Grand Place, EU and Ave Louise areas, some offer live music through the week. Clubs open on a Thursday, Friday and Saturday night from 10-10.30pm until late.
If you like Designer shops head for Ave Louise and Rue Antoine Dansaert where you should find what you are looking for!
The main shopping areas are the Ave Louise and Sablon; in the old centre you will see the attractive glass covered arcades. The main thoroughfare has the conventional shops you would expect and department stores you may want to browse around. There are plenty of chocolate shops to choose from in the city, one of the best is Wittamel, you may want to treat yourselves.
A good place to visit with children is Bruparek, a modern leisure complex with its Océade water fun-park and Mini Europe where you can see Europe’s famous landmarks in miniature. The complex includes the Kinepolis multiplex cinema.
There is plenty to keep you occupied in Brussels either on a short city break or a longer holiday stay. We have given an insight into some of the attractions and sights this city has to offer.
Average flight time from the U.K. is 1 hour or you can travel by Eurostar into the centre of Brussels from London. Driving from the Port of Calais or the channel tunnel will take you around two and a half hours or so. From Zeebrugge by car to Brussels it would be about an hour and a half.