Brussels, Belgium is situated in Western Europe, just about 3 hours Northeast of Paris. This capital city is full of history and beautiful architecture. With many smaller towns being within an hour train ride, it is a great central spot for fun day trips! Brussels is a relatively small city and can easily be seen in a weekend, or a few extra days if you want to visit surrounding towns! Make sure to try out traditional Belgian cuisine like chocolate, fries, beer and waffles! BUT whatever you do, avoid trying them near tourist locations, they will cost more and likely not taste as good!
This 1.5 hectare square is the city center of Brussels. It is home to the Brussels Town Hall, King’s House, and the Houses of the Grand Place. In 1998 The Grand Place was inscriped as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most significant ladmark in Brussels. The square is considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and hosts numerous festive or cultural events throughout the year, most notably the Flower Carpet which is held every two years. The Grand Place and areas surrounding the square are filled with charm and history. And don’t forget to grab a infamous belgian waffle!
Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace of Brussels is the home to the Belgian Monarchy. Although the King and Queen do not use the Palace as their residence, it still functions as a working government building. It sits directly in front of Brussels Park and wasn’t completed until 1934. Fun Fact: the facade of the Royal Palace is 50% longer than that of Buckingham Palace, although the floor area is less than half of Buckingham Palace’s. Although not accessible to the public during the year, they traditionally open the Palace doors to the public during the summer months.
Parc de Bruxelles
This public park that sits just across from the Royal Palace covers 32 acres of land and was the first public park in the city. The park was developed in the late 1700’s and is still in use today. Within the park there are several monuments and buildings that include the Théâtre Royal du Parc and the Vauxhall. In the north end of the park sits the monumental fountain and the Palace of the Nation can be seen in the background.
Parc de Cinquantenaire
This beautiful park on the eastern side of Brussels was built in 1880 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Belgian independence. It covers 74 acres and features several museums and the Great Mosque of Brussels. The giant arch at the far side is a monumental arch, and the two arms that extend in either direction house the Royal Military Museum, Art & History museum and AutoWirld vintage car museum. As you wander through the park, not only dou you see the incredible buildings, but also tranquil spots to lay or picnic.
Walk Around Îlot Sacré
The opulent neighborhood of Îlot Sacré is full of life and culture! The Grand Place and other notable landmarks and attractions reside in this neighborhood. No matter where you wander in this neighborhood, you will come across charming cobblestone streets, historic architecture and incredible culture.
Palais de Justice
Palais de Justice or Law Courts of Brussels is one of, if not the most important court buildings in the country of Belgium. It was built in the mid to late 1800s and still serves as an active courthouse. When construction finished on this massive Palace, it was the largest building in the world and cost what is equivalent to over $300 million today. As you enter into the courthouse, you are greeted by the 328 ft tall open foyer. It is open and accessible to the public.
Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries
Opening in the mid 1800s, the glass ceiling Galleries were designed to illuminate and bring light to the dark alleyways within the city. Today, the Galleries are home to boutiques, café’s, bars, and other stores that line the sides. The elegance and luxury is a favorite of the locals, and attracts tourists year round.
Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts means the ‘hill or mount of the arts’, and it is just that. It sits in the center of the city and includes the Royal Library, National Archives and a public garden. Mont des Arts is a great place to wander around, sit and have a cup of coffee and just enjoy the scenery. There are also several museums in the area including the Royal Fine Art Museum.
Day trip to Bruges
Bruges is a small town in western Belgium, about an hour or so train ride from Brussels. Train tickets are cheap and the short ride makes it perfect for a day trip. Bruges is a charming town with a lot of history to it. There is a river that runs through the town and there are company’s that offer river tours if you wanted to do a guided river tour. Other notable things to see and do in Bruges is The Markt, see the Belfry, Lake of Love, and even just wander around. No matter which street you wander down, you are sure to be greeted with history and charm.