Curiously Brussels, the Belgian capital, isn’t everybody’s first choice for a weekend away in Europe. Most prefer romantic Paris or party-mad Amsterdam, for example. But few have the pleasure to know that Brussels ticks both boxes and many more. If you’re lucky to be travelling to the city, here are five places you should visit. These are actually places I visit repeatedly, over and over again, every single time I’m in town, but Brussels has a lot more to offer.

THE ROYAL PALACE

Places to visit in Brussels: Brussels Palace

The official palace of today’s Belgian Monarchy, in neoclassic style, is not the royal residence, as the king lives just outside Brussels at Castle of Laeken. Construction of the building we see today started in the 18th century, but the grounds were a part of the palatial complex since the 11th century. Royal Palace of Brussels is open to the public during summer (only), from Tuesday to Sunday and admission is free. It is well worth a visit . Or two… or three! 🙂

BRUSSELS PARK

Places to visit in Brussels: Brussels ParkIf you go to the Royal Palace, it’s virtually impossible to miss Brussels Park. It’s surrounded by the palace and the Belgian Parliament building. Largest public park in central Brussels, it’s a great place for an early morning stroll any time of the year. Autumn, when the leaves are yellow and red, are my favourite time to visit. For those travelling with children, there’s even a playground that’s especially popular on the weekends.

ROYAL ST HUBERT GALLERIES

Places in Brussels: Royal St Hubert GalleriesTo be very honest, I only came here on my last trip to the city, but the fact I returned several times justifies it being here! The galleries were built in the 19th century to relieve traffic and create a (luxury) shopping area for people to come on foot without worrying about rain and traffic – of horse carriages, of course! They are in fact the world’s first shopping galleries, the predecessors of today’s shopping mall.Even today, they are home to several luxury shops selling anything from Belgian delicacies to gentlemen’s hats.

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THE ATOMIUM

This 102 metre tall structure was built for the Expo 58 and is located in Heysel Park, a short drive from the city centre. I only visited the interior of the structure once but I always come here to take  a few snapshots. Having recently read about its complicated copyright, I thought it would suffice if I just say it has the shape of a giant… atom?For the Atomium’s opening hours and entrance fees, please click here.

GRAND PLACE

Places to visit: Grand Place BrusselsAs with everything, let’s leave the best for last! The Grand Place is the city’s main square, its heart and soul and the main reason many visitors come to Brussels. Grote Markt, as it’s called in Flemish, has been a market since the 12th century and in 1998 became a UNESCO World Heritage site. The most impressive buildings on the square are the gothic Town Hall with its 96-metre tall tower and the King’s House. Also on the square you will find many restaurants, artists and flower sellers. The area surrounding Grand Place has a vibrant night life with trendy clubs, gay bars, top hotels and the indeed some of the best restaurants in Brussels.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or you’re backpacking in Europe, Brussels does deserve to be on your list. Stay tuned, as I will also let you know more about this vibrant city.

Every two years in August, a giant flower carpet is laid on the square with millions of begonias. The next one will be in 2018.

In December and beginning of the new year, Brussels Winter Wonders – the city’s main Christmas market – takes place here and the area surrounding the Bourse.

Bruges is another Belgian city I really like and would love to go back and share everything with you. But in the meantime, check out some of the best places to visit in Bruges.

Have you been to Brussels? What’s your favourite area in the city?

 

Other Posts:
Best Burger in Brussels
Harry Potter & The City Of Porto, Portugal
– The Museum Of Broken Relationships in Zagreb
– Morbihan & The South Of Brittany, France

 

 

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8 Responses

  1. Agness Walewinder

    Great post Pedro! I have been to all of these places. There was a great chocolate shop inside the Gallery. Don't know the name but it was on the right side :-). Lovely shot of the Royal Palace.

    Reply
    • Pedro

      Hi Agness, the chocolate and the sweets they sell at St Hubert's Gallery are the best! Glad you liked it!

      Reply
  2. The Guy

    You&#39;ve left me intrigued now, I want to see that building shaped like an atom!<br /><br />Some good highlights there. I&#39;ve only once visited Brussels and it was very brief. Maybe I should head back and appreciate it more.

    Reply
  3. Richard

    Good stuff – the Atomium and Grand Place would definitely be in my top 3. Can there be a lovelier square in Europe than the Grand Place? I love finding a bar there, ordering a Duvel and watching the world go by…

    Reply
    • Pedro

      I totally agree with you, Richard. The Grand Place is just beautiful and has a lovely atmosphere. I can&#39;t think of a better place for people watching… 🙂

      Reply

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