I’m still a little surprised that it took me 35 years to first visit Brussels. I love Western Europe and have spent a significant portion of my life learning more about the people and culture that make the region so much fun to visit and yet Brussels was still a mystery to me. As soon as I started exploring the capital of Belgium though, I knew that I was in love. As with so many great destinations, it’s hard to explain why they’re special, but here are a few things I especially love about Brussels – what are some of yours?
- Random examples of art nouveau Victor Horta architecture around town
- Complete and total devotion to the 9th art, the comic strip
- Discovering that the world of chocolate making is a lot bigger than I thought
- Trying to find the sarcastic statue Zinneke Pis
- Channeling my inner Jacques Brel
- Home to the EU, if that’s your thing
- Tour of the EU buildings, again, if that’s your thing
- Freshly cooked Liege waffles
- Admiring the gothic Cathedrale des St.-Michel et Ste.-Gudule
- Learning more about the famous people who lived here: Erasmus, Horta, Magritte, Brel
- Friendly people who love showing off their city
- Retro chic at the Atomiom
- Seeing Manneken Pis in a variety of costumes, or just naked
- Ice skating at the massive Winter festival every December
- Wandering around the Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR)
- Examining the colonial era at the Museum of Central Africa
- French fries. They invented them. Enough said.
- Exploring the roots of chocolate at the Chocolate Museum
- Randomly finding a new cartoon mural on the side of a building
- Wandering around the trendy Sablon neighborhood
- Easy to get around thanks to a fantastic public transportation system
- Finding a quiet bistro for a classic Belgian meal
- Exploring the nooks and crannies of the Parc du Cinquantenaire
- Spending time admiring the guild buildings lining the Grand Place
- Taking the cartoon walk around town
- Making fun of Little Europe, one of the dumbest tourist attractions I’ve ever seen
- The smell of baking waffles permanently wafting around downtown
- Strolling by the Hotel de Ville at night
- Manicured secret gardens near the royal palace
- Shopping high end confectionaries for the perfect macaron
- Easy to walk historic center with surprises at every turn
- Enjoying a hearty Belgian beer on a chilly night
- Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate
- Finding Jeanneke Pis
- Getting out of town for the day – dozens of amazing places just a hour or two away
- Entering the strange world of Rene Magritte at his eponymous museum
- Hot Belgian waffles with a sprinkle of powdered sugar
- Tracing the roots of Tintin and others at the Comic Book Musuem
- Christmas in Brussels
- Some of the best mussels you’ll ever have
- Repeat consumption of fries, chocolate and beer
8 thoughts on “42 Things I Love About Brussels”
Agree, Brussels is much more entertaining and interesting than one expects from the traditional image.
Christmas time us a great time to visit as the city really embraces it – and the Christmas market and area is buzzing.
I have some tips and ideas for Brussels that hope compliment your posting:
Beautiful! I used to be in Brussels once or twice every month in a former job, but oh, so long ago. Missing it.
Matt, I’ll award 95% for this list, but bear in mind its my own personal opinion not gospel. Your photos also capture a distilled essence of the city. Would you mind if I pinned the Atomium photo on one of my boards on Pinterest?
I added suggestions to your pre visit post so these may be a repeat and of course my own personal choices, not gospel.
43. Hire a Villo! bike to get around the city. You will discover so much.
44. Get the map of Bonon Street Art from Bozar or look on Flickr for some of his work. Other street artists with work in the city include Roa and Muga.
45. Military Museum with access to top of Grande Arche at Cinquantenaire (Free)
46. Free museum entry to see Magritte, Modern Art, Natural History, Cinquantenaire the first Wednesday Afternoon of the month.
47. Art themed metro stations.
Thanks John and please feel free to pin any of my photos, there’s a new Pinterest icon at the bottom of every post now.
Matt, these photos are beautiful. Makes me want to eat a chocolate covered waffle while walking past the Hotel de Ville at night. I’m officially adding Brussels to my list of cities to visit in Europe.
I’d go back for those waffles alone. :) Even without, it’s a really interesting city that I enjoyed a lot.
Great (and appetizing!) list!
I have added your blog (well, Landlopers Belgium) to my blogroll as your posts might interest my readers.
My blog “Unexpected Belgium” features unusual, unexpected, unknown or unique things to do or discover in Belgium…
Beautiful pictures! In particular, that waffle looks very tasty. :) Reminds me of those ones I have had in Amsterdam.
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