If you live in Europe, there are always a few cities that you regularly hear about and that many people go to visit, such as Amsterdam, Rome, Berlin … and Brussels !
Brussels is based in Belgium, a country situated right between France and The Netherlands. Belgium has not one, not two, but THREE official languages : Dutch, German, and – fortunately for me – French.
I remember visiting Belgium when I was a child, but the only memory I have is about talking to a bunch of fellow toddlers at a hotel, somewhere near a mountain, I think. So I needed to properly visit Belgium, even for only two days !
Before beginning to talk about what we did, in my Travel Posts I always talk about the hotel where we stay, because mostly the places are good. But this time, the hotel we stayed at war reaaaaaaally bad, the only two good things about it was that it was cheap, and right next to the Grand Place. So, if you can afford anything more expensive than the Mozart hotel, do it.
Now, let me show you what we saw during this week-end in Brussels !
+ MANNEKEN PIS & JEANNEKE PIS
Of course, in every town there are some unmissable places that you just have to see. In Brussels, the Manneken Pis is I think the most famous element of the city. I learned there that the Manneken Pis actuall had a girlfriend called Jeanneke Pis ! That’s kinda cute.
When we got to see the Manneken Pis, it was actually wearing some kind of gardener costume, apparently they change his clothes from time to time. There’s even a museum where you can see all of his outfits, who knew statues could be such fashionistas ?
+ THE MAGRITTE MUSEUM
There are a lot of great museums in Brussels, so we had to choose one since we weren’t staying much time. We decided to visit the Magritte Museum, I love that artist’s surrealist works. Maybe you’ve already seen one of his most famous paintings, like the apple with a caption saying “this is not an apple”. I think the inclusion of the words themselves and their meaning in his paintings makes them really interesting.
+ THE COUNTRY OF COMICS
Belgium is very famous all around Europe for its comics. You might have heard about : The Adventures of Tintin, Spirou, Lucky Luke, The Smurfs… and so much more.
We wandered around some comic book stores reading comics, looking at all the goodies, and stumbling upon forgotten comics from our youth ! I recommend you do the same 🙂
The Belgian comic culture is so strong, that you can also see some beautiful comic art while walking in the streets, it’s so cool :
+ THE ATOMIUM :
This looks actually quite small on the picture ! But believe me, the Atomium is absolutely huge. This piece of modern art is 102 m (335 ft) tall, imagine how it feels to be right under it ! It’s shape represents a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It’s also a museum, so you can visit it if you like (if you’re patient enough to wait in the looong line).
+ THE GRAND PLACE
In the same district as the Manneken Pis, you can find the Grand Place of Brussels. It’s literally a big place, where you can find huge buildings with a gorgeous historical architecture. It’s not a place to skip !
+ THE STREETS OF BRUSSELS
In the end, what we did the most during these two days was wandering around the city. Our hotel was located in the middle of the medieval district of Brussels, so there were many great streets to visit. For example, on the same street you can find the smallest house of Brussels, it’s literally the house’s name ! Just walk around, and discover the small and the hidden spots the city has to offer.
+ ALL THE FOODS
There are SO MANY foods and drinks that you just can’t miss in Belgium !
Fries, waffles, chocolate, beer… all these are specialties of the country that you definitely should taste at least once. Yes, even in only two days (it’ll definitely be difficult to move around at the end of the trip though).
FOOD TRUCK FRIES :
Fries is the most Belgian food ever, it’s ironic that in some part of the world they’re called french fries ! Don’t hesitate to stop by any food truck to order some for lunch. They come with a nice portion of sauce, which makes them even more delicious ! We bought the ones in the pic right next to the Atomium.
STREET WAFFLES :
Waffles is the typical Belgian desert (or breakfast, depending on your point of view). It’s syrupy and crispy on the outside but still fluffy inside. It’s topped with chantilly cream, chocolate sauce, caramel, fresh strawberries… you choose !
There are several stands that sell those on the streets in every place of the city, so don’t hesitate to grab one.
BELGIAN CHOCOLATE :
Chocolate is also one important component of Belgian culinary culture. One of the best well known cities in the matter of chocolate is Bruges, but all of Belgium is proud of its cocoa flavored sweet treats.
If you’re interested in buying some good chocolates, I recommend you go to Neuhaus on the Grand Place ! I brought some with me, and they were truly delicious and refined.
BEER EVERYWHERE :
Last but not least, the most typical beverage of the country is … beer ! It’s such an huge part of their life, that UNESCO inscribed Belgian beer culture on their list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. There’s at least a thousand brands of beer, going from Trappist beers, to Abbey beers, Blonde or golden ale, Winter or Christmas beers, Fruit beers … there’s a beer for every taste !
Here’s a list of a few brands that I enjoyed :
- La Corne du Bois des Pendus
Here are some good addresses that I suggest you check out during your stay in the capital, if you want to have a nice meal of a some delicious brew ! :
GOLDEN BAR :
Address : Rue des Chapeliers 12, 1000 Bruxelles
This bar, as many others, served this beer rack with 6 different brews for you to enjoy. It was really an awesome way to taste the flavors of distinct beers and compare them, it’s perfect for any beer novice (as me) who likes beer but doesn’t know much about it ! I HIGHLY recommend that you taste their strawberry beer : it’s definitely the most delicious drink i’ve ever had.
Address : Rue Grétry 51, 1000 Bruxelles
We were actually looking for a place where we would get to taste a local dish called carbonnade, and it was delightful ! I’m a big fan of dishes cooked in sauces, and this one left me completely satisfied. And of course, it was served with a side of Belgian fries !
THE BLUE RESTAURANT
Address : Rue du Marché aux Fromages 18, 1000 Bruxelles
The Blue Restaurant is a restaurant chain that offers a diverse choice of local dishes. It’s affordable, and ideal to taste different kinds of Belgian foods.
I had mini a beef pie stuffed with gravy, it was really good !
And that’s all we did ! Brussels is definitely a very pleasant city to visit.
Have you ever been to Brussels yourself ? 🙂