Brussels City Breaks
Brussels city breaks are popular with those looking to visit the many museums, stylish bars and cafes lacing the location's many cobblestone streets. Famous for its vast selection of chocolates and beers, Brussels is fast becoming a busy hotspot for musical entertainment and theatre, appealing to music lovers and those looking to take in the city's architectural marvels.
The architecture descends along the Léopold II's Parisian-style boulevards (Belliard and La Loi) with many grand and governmental buildings draw tourists along. Sainte Cathérine, the Art Nouveau district of St-Gilles and Ixelles attracts art enthusiasts and visitors from the world over. If you visit during the winter months, make sure you spend some time at the Brussels Christmas Market where the charming streets and squares are transformed into a winter wonderland.
- Flight time from London: 1 hour 5 min
- Brussels Airport: 15km from the city centre; transfer time about 20 min
- Nearest railway station: Brussels-South railway station
- Currency: Euro
The Brussels Card offers you free entry to over 30 museums, and discounts in many shops, restaurants and other attractions. The card is available for 24, 48 or 72hrs from €24pp and also includes the substantial 'Brussels Card' guidebook. Please purchase your Brussels Card locally.
Grand Place (Central Square)
The Grand Place is the heart of Brussels and has been since the Middle Ages. One of Europe's more beautiful squares, it lies in the centre of small cobbled streets and is surrounded by richly decorated 17th century Baroque Guildhouses.
Basilica of Koekelberg
The world's largest Art Deco building.
Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall)
Brussels Town Hall is rated as one of the most splendid civic buildings in Europe. The foundations were laid in 1402 and it survived the bombing during World War 2 when most of the other buildings on the Grand Place were destroyed.
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Europe's very first shopping arcade opened in 1847. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece where arcaded shop fronts are situated across two floors and separated by pilasters. Between the various shops, you will find cafés, restaurants and theatres.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts
An unmissable attraction for art lovers, the twin Museum of Ancient Art and the Museum of Modern Art are Brussels's premier art museums. They feature art from the 15th to 18th centuries (ancient) and 19th century to the present day (modern).
The famous bronze sculpture of a boy peeing in a fountain is thought to represent the 'irreverent spirit' of Brussels.
Designer shops and boutiques can be found in the Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo area, Place Stephanie, Place du Grand Sablon and on Rue Antoine Dansaert. Speciality shops are at Rue Haute and Rue Blaes.
The main pedestrian shopping street, the longest one in Brussels, is the Rue Neuve. This street has mainly international chain stores. More original smaller shops can be found between the Grand Place and the Rue Lemonnier.
Chocolate: Belgian chocolate is one of the most famous Belgian quality products. Brussels has a good selection of luxurious chocolate shops:
Pierre Marcolini, Place du Grand Sablon 39
Wittamer, Place du Grand Sablon 6-12
Godiva, Grand Place 22
Dandoy, Rue au Beurre 31.
Aux Armes de Bruxelles
This family-owned establishment is an excellent place for your introduction to Belgian cooking, since it combines traditional cuisine with great quality, and offers just about every regional speciality you can think of.
Taverne du Passage
Located in the city's most elegant shopping gallery, this stylish brasserie offers a wide variety of seafood.
Many locals and tourists meet at the long wooden tables in a 17th-century, brick-arched cellar. It's a great place to try local specialities.
Le Roy d'Espagne:
The city's oldest cafe, located in a 1690 building, spreads over several areas. There is an outdoor terrace and a room preserving a 17th-century Flemish interior, which is a masterpiece of wooden architecture. The fourth-floor view of the Grand-Place is truly spectacular.
A la Mort Subite:
This Brussels favourite is a bistro of great character whose name translates as 'Sudden Death', which is also the name of one of the beers you can buy here. The decor consists of stained-glass motifs, old photographs, paintings, prints on the walls and plain wooden chairs and tables on the floor. Specialities are traditional Brussels beers.
Phil's Jazz Kitchen Café:
This relaxed bar has a good atmosphere and offers jazz and other live music most nights of the week. There's also a jam session on Wednesdays.