The official home of the European Union, Brussels (capital of Belgium) is world renowned for its packed and dynamic business environment – a cosmopolitan location with plenty of money exchanging hands. It is home to a diverse balance of architectural styles with plenty of museums dispersed throughout. From the get-go, you can see the influence both the French and Dutch cultures have on the city with its street names. Need a classic market square? Look no further than the Grand’ Place with its gothic style hall. There is also a National Opera House and a thriving theater scene with plenty of events and concerts throughout the year along with some of the finest restaurants in the world.
Things to Do in Brussels:
Brussels, like many European cities, is divided into the lower and upper towns. The Lower Town holds the Grand Place with its neat and intricate narrow streets and medieval atmosphere. The Upper Town holds the Royal Quarter with the palace and all of the buildings housing the Belgian Parliament. This section is also synonymous with all of the museums, including the Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts (Royal Museum) along with Belgium’s version of the Arc de Triomphe.
- Grand Place – One of the most beautiful town squares in Europe, the Grand Place is the heartbeat of Brussels. It has quiet, little cobble stoned streets and comes decorated with 17th century style Baroque houses and new style gothic buildings and museums. The town hall building itself is a Gothic style building that breathes life into the surrounding area. Many events are held throughout the year here. Plenty of sidewalk cafes and small eateries dot the scene which provides a neat tranquility yet dynamic environment.
- Place du Grand-Sablon – The laid back Place du Grand Sablon holds the Notre Dame du Sablon, a beautiful Gothic church that used to be a small chapel for archers. The area around the church holds one of the biggest antique and books markets in the world. The Sablon district will introduce you to neat cul-de-sacs and the nearby Place du Petit Sablon is a smaller square surrounded by 48 16th century guild bronze statues neatly aligned.
- Mannekin Pis – The Mannekin Pis is one of the most beloved statues in the world – a little urinating boy bronze statue that represents the spirit of the city. It is a tradition for people to donate clothing to the statue. Town officials then choose the outfit and wear it on the statue for public amusement.
- Cinquantenaire Museum – The Cinquantenaire Museum holds more than 300,000 artifacts from around the world spanning across all eras and national origins.
- Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts – This impressive museum is right next to the Place Royal and comes equipped with two full museums that hold 14th century art to modern day art. One of them, the Musee d’Art Ancien, has works from Memling and Rubens. A short distance away lays the Musee d’Art Moderne which has plenty of surrealist works. There are also paintings by Francis Bacon and Picasso here.
Where To Stay In Brussels:
- Hilton Brussels – This outstanding 27 story building right in the heart of the city is only a walk away from the European Commission and 10 miles away from the airport. It comes with more than 400 rooms and has two restaurants, a gym, and a bar along with more than 20 conference rooms that can seat 600 people. Within the Hilton Brussels are four floors dedicated to executive rooms which come with wireless capabilities and fax connections.
- Amigo – A luxury hotel in every sense of the word. A former 16th century prison, it shares a Spanish Renaissance style with antique furnishings and more than 150 rooms. There are six conference rooms seating up to 100 people along with banqueting suites.
The Eurostar train is a really fast and convenient way for many people to get to Brussels. You can buy your Eurostar London to Brussels train tickets online from just £69 return. Travel by Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Brussels’s Midi Station in just 1 hr 50 minutes.