Welcome to Brussels!
For incredible architecture in a small, scenic town, look no further than Brussels, Belgium. Just hop on the Paris to Brussels train and enjoy a week away in this beautiful capital city. Anyone can experience the well-known attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to explore it outside the box. This is an insider’s guide of some of Brussels finest spots.
Where to Begin
If you’ll be in Brussels on a weekend, you need to visit the Flagey Sunday Market, which should be easy to reach from any of the hotels in Brussels. Enjoy the Brussels weather by grabbing a seat in the sun, in one of the square’s cafes. Watch shoppers picking out their weekly groceries and children splashing in fountains, all while you gobble down slices of fresh mango.
Worldwide Local Tip: For a unique time in Brussels, you have to visit Goupil le Fol! The crazy decor covers every square inch of wall space in this former brothel, which has been converted to one of Brussels’s coolest bars. You can find anything, from a politician’s bust to a rusty bicycle, in Goupil’s three-story boudoir. Be sure to order the house specialty, a secret-recipe hazelnut wine served ice-cold in a huge glass.
What to Eat in Brussels
Since you are in Belgium, you already know about the famous waffles, but have you heard about the fries? Also known as “frites” by the Belgium locals, these are sold in small family stalls around Brussels. They may not be the healthiest snack in the world, but when paired with the different sauces, they will get you hooked! One of the best stalls is Frit Flagey; there is normally a line, but they move fast.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you are thinking that Germans are the only ones who have good beer, think again. Brussels is of the best places to get a good pint of beer and it is always “beer o’clock” in Belgium!
Tour the World in a Day
Do you ever feel like you didn’t get to see enough when you get home? There is always one more monument or museum to see. Why not visit ALL of the best icons of Europe in one spot? Welcome to Mini Europe, located in the shadow of the Atomium, featuring reproductions of 80 cities and 350 buildings. It includes the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, Big Ben, the Acropolis, and the Doge’s Palace.
Worldwide Local Tip: A neighborhood that you have to visit while in Brussels is Les Marolles. This neighborhood takes you away from the classic tourist lifestyle and will really immerse you into the local ways of living. Les Marolles is Brussels’s mixing pot, where you can get a taste of many countries and experience how immigrants have come to reside in the city. They all share their cultures and way of life with one another, with food, drink, and a lot of markets.
Architecture in Brussels
While you are wandering around, looking for things to do in Brussels, you should absolutely visit Notre Dame du Sablon. This remarkable Gothic cathedral was built in the 14th Century when it was used as a chapel by the Archer’s Guild. It was extensively expanded in the following century, due to the fame and supposed healing powers of the Madonna statue located within. The statue was stolen, allegedly by a husband and wife team of thieves in a rowing boat. The location of the statue is unknown, but the story is commemorated by a life size model inside the building.
Worldwide Local Tip: There are many things around the city that are going to make you laugh, but if you are in need of a really good chuckle, head over to Manneken Pis. This odd little statue has risen to fame mostly because of the name. The name literally translates to “little man pee,” and it’ll be easy to see why the statue has been given this name. The statue takes a little bit of skill to hunt down, but it is worth the adventure. You will find it by taking the right lane moving away from the town hall. The statue is thought to date back to the early 17th century when it was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy.
Brussels After Dark
While in Brussels, you should check out the nightlife at least one of the nights you are in town. There is a wide variety of nightlife scenes to experience, whether you are into live music, poetry, pubs, or dancing. Whatever your vibe, there is a slice of something for everyone when the sun goes down.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you want to go shopping while in Brussels, don’t try to shop on Sunday. Besides a few morning markets and the butcher, you will find that most shops are going to be closed. It’s best to spend your days walking the streets, or sitting in a café enjoying a beer.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Whether you are a traveler seeking good food, history, art, architecture, or just a liberating time, you can find it all in Brussels. Exploring as a worldwide local will allow you to experience all of its amazing sights and fascinating sounds.