The capital of Belgium, Brussels, is a very versatile place which may seem very serious but then other times it feels very laid-back. The city has a rich history and spectacular architecture in every street. With beautiful grand buildings and lovely, sophisticated culture, this has a lot for you to explore.

My visit to Brussels

When I first read about Belgium I was simply charmed. The whole gothic feel really attracts me which is why I simply love living in London so much. So, in the end, I decided that what better way to explore a country than to first visit its capital? So I went to my preferred travel agents in London and booked an affordable ticket to prepare for my adventure. Suffice it to say, my tip went amazing. Here are some of the best things you can also visit in this lovely city.

Grand Place

Located in the center of the city, the first time you see it, you’ll surely be awestricken by the absolute beauty of the sophisticated buildings there. In the middle of it is the majestic 15th century City Hall and around the square, there are many guild houses. All of them have spectacular vintage architecture. In fact, it has become one of the world heritage sites just for its impressive design. On certain days a colorful flower market takes place here. No matter what the time, it’s an amazing place to enjoy a relaxing time.

Atomium

Located in Heysel Park in the West of the city, is an around 100 meters tall model of an atom. It accurately represents the iron molecule except it is a billion time the size of the actual thing. This model was established in 1958 by engineer André Waterkeyn, as a tribute to the start of the atomic age in Belgium. It became so popular that it is now an iconic monument in Brussels.

Notre Dame Du Sablon

This impressive Gothic cathedral started out as a chapel used by the Archer’s Guild back in the 14th century. There a famous Madonna statue in there that was quite popular for its healing abilities. Due to this the cathedral was expanded a lot by the next century. Sadly, the original statue is said to have been stolen by a husband and wife pair of thieves who came on a row-boat. Today the location or the state of the actual miraculous statue is unknown but there is a life-sized model as a tribute inside that you can view.

Old England Building and Musical Instruments Museum

This vintage building was established during the very last year of the 19th century and was formerly a department store. Today people are attracted to it for that nostalgic feel and because it houses an impressive collection of thousands of musical instruments with rich historical value. In fact, you are given a chance to listen to most of them. Plus the lovely rooftop café provides a great panoramic view of the city.

Palais Royal

Translated as simply the Royal Palace, it is the official residence of the Belgium royalty even though they spend most of their time at Laeken. The palace opens its doors for tourist in the summer months and if you happen to visit Brussels during that time, it’s a must to visit here. The most iconic room in the palace is the one where the ceiling is covered with blazing emerald colored beetle wings, creating an oddly mesmerizing mosaic. You can learn how the Belgium Royalty lives from the elegant interior décor and spectacular artwork displayed inside.

Manneken Pis

This odd statue has become quite iconic in Brussels giving this elegant city a new side that’s easy-going and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Manneken Pis simply translates to “little man pee” and well that’s a pretty accurate name. It can get a bit tricky to find this strange statue unless you get to see it on a tour. However, due to its popularity, I’m sure you can ask around for directions if it doesn’t embarrass you too much. It is said this statue dates back to the 17th century and was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy.

Musee Royaux Des Beaux Arts

While you’re in the European Capital, it’ll be a sin if you don’t make time to go see the top-class artwork. And this museum is the perfect place to do just that. This grand museum is home to both ancient and modern art, ranging in many different styles. It is also home to famous paintings by Antwerpen painter Peter Rubens including the iconic Fall of Icarus. You can also find works by Anthony Van Dyke and Hans Memling on display. I suggest you give this museum at least a day to fully appreciate the amazing artworks here.

Cinquantenaire Park

This extremely regal-looking park has stood proudly since the reign of Leopold II. There are many reasons to visit here as it is not just a park. It has a rich history attached to it like the triumphal arch is a commemoration of Belgium’s 50th anniversary as a nation. Not only that, but it has three amazing museums, namely Autoworld, the Royal Military Museum, and the Cinquantenaire Museum. All three of them are home to a huge number of really cool artifacts. Or if you don’t want to learn more about history then simply bring some food and have a great picnic in the lush green park with charming architecture.

Learn about the lesser known history

Even though it isn’t all that appreciated by tourists, but this city also has a comic book related history. In fact, the city has a whole museum dedicated to comic books, called the Belgian Comic Strip Centre. Another cool thing related to comics is the amazing murals on different buildings. You’ll need to hunt them down and honestly, it’s a great way to get around the city. Makes for unique pictures as well.

Enjoy the nightlife

The nightlife in Brussels is suited to everyone and all kinds of budgets. One of the more popular spots you can visit is Madame Mustache club where waitresses dress up in sailor outfits and give a variety of musical performances. Whether you want an energetic experience or a more relaxing one, you’re sure to find it without any trouble.

 

Published by Matthew Piggot