Do you only have limited time in Brussels? This guide gives you in-depth tips and tricks on what to do and what to see in Brussels. Click here to get the perfect Brussels itinerary.
Hello & welcome back to my blog! Last week’s post was rather different. I was originally going to write about a place I visited but I have been getting some questions about how I did my highlights on Instagram. And now your questions are *hopefully* answered! Click on the link to find out how to create your own highlights to match your brand and to make your profile look awesome and gain more engaging followers!
Follow me on my Instagram to see how I designed mine!
Today, I am going to talk about my experience in Brussels.
When I was living in Italy, my friend Ivana came over to my place and we spent the night drinking wine and eating tacos. The next morning, we made crepes for breakfast and all of a sudden I was like ‘Hey, let’s go on the Ryanair website!’ We did and we found flights to Brussels for €25 both ways. Me and her both looked at each other, pulled out our cards and purchased our flights! We also added a trip to Milan! That will be a separate blog post.
A week after booking our flights & accommodation, we were on our way to Brussels! We landed at the main airport and got on a train. Our hotel was in downtown Brussels and the area was a little rough but we managed.
At the end of the post, there is a map with all the places I mentioned.
Some things you should know:
Brussels is just like your typical European city. What makes it different than others is that it is the hub of the European Union. For instance, the European Commission, a body that initiates laws in the EU and the European Parliament, are both located in Brussels! This means that there are a lot of lobbyists in Brussels.
Some fun facts that I discovered during my research are that 1) Brussels airport is the world’s largest chocolate selling point and Brussels has 138 restaurants per square mile. How crazy is that! My dream was to live and work in Brussels but life decided that instead, I will be going to Germany and travel the world from there 😉
Best time to visit Brussels:
Unlike Malta, Brussels experiences all four seasons and rain can occur all year round. The best times to visit Brussels are March, May, September and October. Me and my friend went to Brussels in May and I remember it was hot. Spring season is the best time to visit as it is cool and refreshing!
Public Transport in Brussels:
Public transportation in Brussels is fantastic and very efficient! We used trams and the subway and we never had any problem. It was super easy and straightforward, unlike in Paris for example. There’s also the official app that you can download from the App Store or Play Store.
Fun fact: the city of Brussels is divided into three regions – Flanders which is a predominantly Dutch-speaking. Walloon which is French-speaking and the central region of Brussels-Capital Region!
Our hotel was located close to the train station but it was literally falling apart. I tried finding it on booking and Google but couldn’t find it anywhere, which means they might have closed shop or they’re doing renovations! 🤷🏻♀️
- The Hotel Brussels: This 4 star hotel is located in a good area in Brussels and the reviews speak for themselves. Furthermore, it doesn’t break the bank! Definitely check this one out.
- Hotel Des Galeries: This boutique hotel is located in the centre of one of the best areas in Brussels. The rooms are very modern and it is close to many sights!
- Brussels Welcome Hotel: The theme of the rooms is exotic travel and they look so spectacular! This is a great value for money and close to a number of sights.
What to do in Brussels:
▷ See the Royal Palace of Brussels:
This was one of our first stops & we went there early in the morning. The palace is situated opposite the Brussels park & It wasn’t too far from our hotel. I remember it was about 10-15 minutes by tram. This palace is the official palace of the Belgian Royal Family.
It is not, however, the official residence of the family. I am not sure whether or not you can go in. Everywhere was closed when we went and we did try to do some research when we got there but couldn’t find anything regarding admission tickets and admission fees.
The castle was HUGE! The gardens were kept in pristine condition and I especially loved the small architectural details such as the columns by the main gate!
▷ Visit the Grand Place:
The Grote Markt, or also known as The Grand Place, is the central square of Brussels. There are a number of shops and cafes surrounding it.
I stopped to get a quick Starbucks because it was so hot! Plus, I felt like being basic as well 🤣
Adjacent to the Grand Place, you can find the Town Hall. Another beautiful building with intricate architecture! The Town Hall was built in Gothic architecture and dates back to the Middle Ages!
Another building surrounding the Grand Place is the King’s House or the Bread Hall, which houses the Museum of the City of Brussels.
▷ Eat some delicious Belgian Waffles!:
When you’re in Belgium, you can not miss the opportunity to eat waffles! We stopped by a place called the Brussels Waffle Workshop. It is a cute corner store that gets very busy but it is worth the wait.
You can get any topping you want – from the classic chocolate spread to whipped cream like I got, fruits and nuts. The options are endless!
▷ Go to the Atomium:
This model of an atom stands at 100m tall! It is one of the must-see places in Brussels. The reason why this atom was built was to welcome a new and atomic age in Belgium.
It is a must-see monument and a must to take a picture in front of it!
▷ Visit Palais De Justice:
We accidentally stumbled upon this Palace of Justice and we were so excited! It is an open palace where you can walk in freely and marvel at the marble architecture.
This building is the most important court building in Brussels. It was built in the 1800s and it is still as grand and beautiful today! Fun fact: this Palace is located on a hill where hangings were done during medieval times!
As I mentioned earlier, you can just walk in and wander around. Me & my friend ended up doing a photoshoot and took 1000+ photos here haha! I think it’s worth visiting, especially since it’s free. The official website has more information!
▷ Check out the European Institutions:
The European Union is different than Europe. The former is the political organization of 28 countries, the latter is the continent. I am a very proud European citizen and a student of European studies. It is thanks to the European Union that I am able to live freely in Germany and move around the EU without restrictions and it is thanks to the EU that I am able to get free education and study for free abroad!
Fun fact: The EU was born on 9th May 1950 with the Schuman Declaration. Yours Truly was born on 9th May 1995!
We first stopped by the European Commission. The Commission is the watchdog of the EU. It initiates laws and makes sure that all Member States adhere to the legislation.
I couldn’t go to Brussels and not go to the EU institutions. My friend was a student of political sciences & economics and she also wanted to visit so it was perfect for both of us!
We also stopped by the European Parliament and the House of European History! It was so interesting seeing a visual representation of our history! The entrance to the museum was free. I remember we had to leave our bags in a locker and then we were free to walk around and take pictures.
The House of History is a museum in Brussels, very close to the Parliament, that focuses on European history starting from around the late 1700s. Outside the museum, there’s a stunning park where you can relax and sunbathe (if the weather is good!).
- Manneken Pis: An iconic monument with a boy urinating in a fountain! This is one of Brussel’s top sights!
- Manneken Pis: A miniature park with European landmarks such as the Big Ben and Eiffel Tower
- Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert: A shopping centre very similar to the one in Milan!
- Mont Des Arts: This is an urban complex and historic site in the centre of Brussels, Belgium, including the Royal Library of Belgium, the National Archives of Belgium, the Square – Brussels Meeting Centre, and a public garden
- Brussels Park: A large, open, urban public park in Brussels and it is located open the House of Parliament