High 10 issues to see and do in Brussels

Brussels wears three spectacular hats, because the capital of Flanders, Belgium and Europe. It began life as a fortress, then developed right into a market sq. and ultimately blossomed into the financial, political and social centre of the Flemish capital.

There’s heaps to see within the metropolis from the weird cartoon to having fun with its café tradition within the Grand-Place. Here’s a checklist of our ideas:

Grote Markt (Dutch) / Grand-Place (French)

Brussels Flower Carpet

Brussels Flower Carpet 2008 (c) Wouter Hagens

Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Website, is the primary vacationer attraction of the Metropolis of Brussels however its beginnings had been lower than glamourous.

The realm was only a swampy sandbank between two brooks, referred to as ‘broek sella’ which gave Brussels its title. The sandbank was reclaimed and changed into ‘Niedermerckt’ (decrease market) and offered French and English textiles, French wines and German beer.

Within the Center Ages, wood homes had been constructed across the market and by the 14th century, rich households took to constructing stone mansions which led to the market growing into the primary business administrative centre. The city corridor got here in 1402 and by now it was additionally a political centre. That is the place dukes, royalty and emperors had been obtained however the sq. was additionally the location of executions.

At present the Grand-Place is an attractive, wide-open cobbled medieval and is Brussels’ fundamental market sq.. It’s a good spot to hang around and admire the elegant guild homes which changed all of the wood properties. Many have admired its magnificence together with Victor Hugo and Baudelaire who rhapsodised about its attraction and interesting appears to be like.

There’s a every day flower market between March and October and infrequently accompanied with live shows and a lightweight present within the night.

Each two years, throughout the third week of August (subsequent one will happen 13-16 August 2022), Belgian begonia cultivators adorn the Grand-Place with an attractive flower carpet utilizing round 750,00zero begonias. Guests are greeted with three,200 sq. ft of fantastic plant tapestry depicting a theme.

The sq. is the place every day enterprise is completed and the place a flurry of native bars and cafés are an outstanding instance of top of the range café tradition.

Hôtel de Ville – City Corridor

Whereas on the Grand-Place don’t overlook to go to the Gothic Hôtel de Ville. It dates again to 1402 and is the seat of civic authorities. It’s a lovely constructing with arched home windows, towers and adorned with sculptures together with St Michael slaying a she-devil. If you’re feeling energetic, climb the 96 metre excessive Brabantine Gothic tower and benefit from the wonderful views over town.

Handle: Grand-Place
Open: Apr-Sept Tues-Wed three:15pm, Solar 10:45am and 12:15pm; Oct-Mar Tues-Wed three:15pm; guided excursions in English: 3pm on Wed, 10am and 2pm on Solar
Entry: 5 euros, free for kids below 6

Manneken-Pis – ‘Pissing Boy’ aka Petit Julien

Manneken Pis, Brussels

Manneken Pis (c) flickr/Francisco Antunes

The cheeky, chubby-cheeked Manneken-Pis (which suggests Pissing Boy in Dutch) is a significant character within the folklore of Brussels. He’s in all probability Brussels’ most photographed bronze fountain sculpture e, but it is just 60cm excessive.

Manneken-Pis was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618. The water emerges from a tiny metallic penis that factors on the viewer. He’s normally stark-naked however typically he will get dressed. He has a formidable wardrobe of 600 outfits displayed within the Maison du Roi. The one on view is a duplicate. and the unique is saved within the Brussels Metropolis Museum

Handle: Nook of rue de l’Etuve and rue Chêne.


Metropolis Museum – Maison du Roi (French) – Broodhuis (Flemish)

The French title of Maison du Roi is translated as ‘the Kings Home’ however though the constructing is a richly ornamented masterpiece, no royalty ever lived right here. The Flemish known as it ‘The Bread Home’ as a result of the home changed the city’s Bread Market which had been there for tons of of years.

This museum is devoted to the historical past of Brussels, and when you’ve got already seen the Manneken-Pis, in right here you possibly can check out his costumes. The historical past of Brussels is instructed over three flooring from the Center Ages up to now.

Handle: Grand-Place (in entrance of the City Corridor)
Open: Tue-Solar 10am-5pm (open till 8pm on Thur)
Closed: January 1; Might 1; November 1, 11; December 25
Entry: Four euros (free for below 18s on weekends!)

Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée – Belgian Comedian Strip Middle

Belgian Comic Strip Center

Belgian Comedian Strip Middle (c) wikimedia/Bd-blogeur

Do you know that Belgium has extra cartoon artists per sq. kilometre than some other nation? For those who love cartoons, it’s possible you’ll respect this museum devoted to the cartoon.

It’s housed within the Waucquez Warehouse, a masterpiece in itself, designed by Artwork Nouveau architect, Victor Horta. You’ll be taken on the journey a comic book strip artist has to make from idea to buy. There’s over 5000 unique drawings and a complete part to Belgium’s well-known cartoon character hero – Tin Tin.

By the way, you possibly can see six dramatic, shocking and amusing cartoon murals painted on gable ends across the metropolis. These had been fee by town itself. Pop into the vacationer workplace, positioned within the City Corridor, to get a map.

Handle: 20 Rue de Sables/Zandstraat
Open: 10am-6pm on daily basis besides Monday
Entry: Adults eight euros; 12-18 12 months olds 6 euros; below 12s three euros.

Heysel Park and the Atomium

Heysel park, positioned within the west of Brussels, is devoted to recreation and leisure. In 1985, the European Champions Cup tragedy occurred within the Heysel stadium killing a number of spectators. It has been redesigned since then and renamed Stade Roi Baudoin (King Baudoin Stadium).

One of many highlights of the park is the Atomium. This can be a glistening 102 metre (335 ft) excessive mannequin of an atom made out of chrome and metal designed by André Waterkeyn. To essentially respect this construction, take time to gaze up and benefit from the sheer enormity.

It was erected for the 1958 World Truthful to symbolise a brand new ‘atomic age’. It’s an correct depiction of an iron molecule that has been magnified 165 billion occasions. It contains 9 18 metre diameter metal spheres related by tupes, all of which include reveals.

It’s in all probability extra spectacular on the surface than inside however a high-speed, glass-roofed carry takes guests to the highest in simply 23 seconds the place you possibly can cease for a beer and a snack, take within the views after which get the escalators down stopping off on the varied spheres.

Get your Brussels Atomium Admission Ticket right here

Handle for Atomium: Boulevard du Centenaire, Laeken
Open: on daily basis, 10am-6pm
Entry: 12 euros for adults; eight euros for 12-18 12 months olds; 6 euros for 6-11 12 months olds; free for kids below 6
Getting there: Heysel Metro


Subsequent door to the Atomium is Bruparck, a 25 hectare leisure park of a number of amusements and sights. This features a 27 cinema advanced known as Kinepolis, an all-around Imax display screen, a planetarium and a water park known as L’Oceade plus a clutch of eateries in ‘The Village’.

Satisfaction of place although goes to the show of among the most well-known and symbolic buildings of the international locations of the European Union at 1/25th of the unique dimension. You will notice gondolas, a TGV prepare on its technique to Paris even hear the unmistakable chimes of Large Ben.

Handle: Boulevard du Centenaire, Laeken
Open: Open on daily basis from 9h30 till 18h00m (final entrance 17h00)
Entry: 12.10 euros 
Getting there: Heysel Metro

Basilica of the Sacred Coronary heart (Koekelberg Basilica)

Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels

Basilica of the Sacred Coronary heart, Brussels (c) flickr/Chrstian Inventory

This Artwork Deco church is the fifth largest church on the earth, positioned within the Koekelberg municipality of Brussels. Its spectacular dimensions (89 metres excessive and 167 metres lengthy) look out over the Parc Elisabeth. Although it’s modelled on the Sacré-Coeur in Paris it’s made from concrete, sandstone and red-brick and, in contrast to the unique, just isn’t gleeming white. King Leopold determined to construct it in 1902 and he laid the primary stone in 1905. It was lastly accomplished in 1971 in time to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Belgian independence.

The cupola platform, which has a diameter of 33 metres, provides a superb view over Brussels and the encompassing space.

Handle: Boulevard Leopold II
Open: 8am-6pm April to September and 8am-5pm October to March
Getting there: Metro Simonis then bus 87

Royal Museums of Advantageous Arts – Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts

That is, in truth, two museums. The Museum of Historic Artwork based by Napoleon and is especially famous for its show of the geat works of Flanders. The opposite is the Museum of Trendy Artwork. This was added in 1984 and contains eight flooring, lots of that are underground. Between them, they provide over 600 years of high quality artwork comprising work, sculptures and drawings.

Handle: Rue de la Régence three
Open: Tue-Solar 10am-5pm (ticket workplace closed at Four:30pm)
Closed: Mondays and January 1st, 2nd Thursday of January, 1 Might, 1 November, 11 November, 25 December
Entry (mixed ticket for each museums): Adults 13 euros; Kids three euros (free for below 6)
Getting there: Metro Central station of Park (line 1), Tram 92, 84, Bus 27,29, 38,95


Galeries royales Saint-Hubert, Brussels

Galeries royales Saint-Hubert, Brussels (c) wikimedia/KoS

No metropolis break can be full with out a spot of buying.

Vintage lovers ought to descend upon the vintage market in Place du Grand Sablon the place on the sq. and the streets panning out from the sq., the discerning vintage lover might discover that particular piece. Rue de la Paille, Rue des Minimes and Rue de Rollebeek are significantly attention-grabbing.

Brussels has its personal flea market – the Jeu de Balle Flea Market. Rummage round right here for gems, secondhand items and interval furnishings bargains.

Belgium sweets are a should purchase. For pralines go to Chocolatier Mary, for a tearoom expertise go to Wittamer and for a store of outstanding shows strive Pierre Marcolini. Some sweets are encrusted with actual, but edible, gold.

If it must be designer vogue then head for the Galleries. There are three Galeries Saint Hubert, Galeries du Roi and Galeries de la Reine. They’re value popping into simply to try the wonderful glass roof.

Vintage Market, Place du Sablon
Chocolatier Mary, 73 Rue Royale
Wittamer, 12-13 Place du Grand Sablon
Pierre Marcoloni, 39 Place du Grand Sablon
Flea Market, Place Jeu de Balle, Marolles district.
Galeries are positioned between Rue du Marche aux Herbes and Rue de l’Ecuyer

The place to Keep

READ ALSO: 5 of the perfect resorts in Brussels

HOTEL REVIEW: Steigenberger Wiltcher’s, Brussels

Getting There

If you’re flying, notice that Brussels has two airports: Brussels Worldwide (the primary airport) and Brussels Charleroi (about 46km/29mi South of Brussels, however has the benefit of being served by a number of low price airways).

If you’re driving from the UK catch a DFDS ferry from Dover to Calais (ranging from £35 for a automobile + 9 individuals every manner). It’s a Four-hour drive from there by the Flemish city of Lille then by Belgium and onto the E25 to Luxembourg.

Helpful Hyperlinks

  • Grand-Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Website
  • Brussels’ Flower Carpet
  • Belgian Comedian Strip Middle
  • Atomium
  • Mini-Europe
  • Basilica of the Sacred Coronary heart
  • Royal Museums of Advantageous Artwork

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