Brussels – Belgium’s capital city – is one of Europe’s unsung city break destinations. Home to the European Parliament, it’s a hugely international city with a first-rate eating and drinking scene. Spend your time sampling Belgium’s best beers or browsing its museums – whatever you do, you’ll sense immediately why it’s a favourite with travellers in the know.
Best online travel guides for Brussels
Looking for tips on what to see and do in Brussels? Lonely Planet‘s guide to the city is a good place to start. Here, you’ll find a variety of advice on things to do, where to shop and where to eat, all written by an expert who knows the city very well. There are even a few sample itineraries you can borrow too, which are particularly useful if you’ll only be in the city for a short time but want to see as much as you can.
Fodor’s travel guide offers prospective visitors more fascinating insight into the city. Here, you’ll find a list of sights, restaurants, hotels and entertainment, as well as a few French phrases to get you started when you arrive. And The Telegraph’s Brussels city break guide is very useful too, with great suggestions on what to see, where to eat and where to enjoy a drink at night.
For a more in-depth online guide, Visit Brussels is indispensable. On this site, you’ll not only find comprehensive lists of restaurants, bars, hotels and attractions but also valuable tips and deals that could save you money. The Brussels Card, for instance, offers free travel on public transport, a complimentary city map, free access to some of the city’s museums and discounts in selected restaurants from just €24 for 24-hours. You can also download the Visit Brussels smartphone app so you’ll have access to all this information while you’re wandering around the city.
What to see in Belgium’s capital city
Brussels’ main attraction is the historic Grand Place, a stunning town square that’s lined with great cafes and bars. Nearby, you’ll find Manneken Pis: a small statue of a boy relieving himself that’s one of Brussels’ oddest, but most popular, sights. And the iconic Atomium, built for the World Fair in 1958, is still a futuristic emblem of the city the world over.
You can lose yourself in Brussels’ museums too. The Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique boasts an array of historic and contemporary works by Belgian artists like Breughel, as well as international names like Van Gogh and Matisse. The Magritte Museum is a tribute to the influential Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte, and the Horta Museum is a local art nouveau favourite.
Don’t forget to set aside some time exploring Brussels’ chocolate shops: Godiva, Galler and Leonidas are particular good brands to pick up. Famous Belgian beers like Mort Subite and Delerium Tremens are great gifts for beer lovers too.
And if you’ve got time, venture outside the city on day trips to the great Flemish cities Bruges, Gent and Antwerp – all of which are easy to get to by train from Brussels.
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