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Brussels

Updated on October 30, 2013

Only 25 minutes away from Paris, Brussels is a city full of surprises that just needs to be seen to be loved. You only need to discover the city centre to be enchanted by the restaurants and top quality but affordable Cheap accommodation in Brussels.

This is a multicultural and polyglot city with at least a third of its population coming from another country. That is what gives Brussels its diversity. It is a paradise for gourmets as the restaurateurs have managed to mix cuisines and flavours from different cultures.

Despite being the capital of the European Union, Brussels is a small city with eclectic facades and forest like parks that give the capital a feeling of being in the countryside.   At least a quarter of the surface of the city is composed of parks and forests -around 4000 ha. 

Brussels flower market Photographer: Ian Britton http://www.freefoto.com/browse/1401-00-0?ffid=1401-00-0
Brussels flower market Photographer: Ian Britton http://www.freefoto.com/browse/1401-00-0?ffid=1401-00-0

Brussels

Places not to miss in Brussels:


1) La Grand Place. One of the most famous stops in Brussels. Take your time to admire the Gothic façade of the Hotel de Ville. Visit the local museum and why not, have an afternoon of shopping in the Galleries Royale.

2) La Place Royale. Around this area you will be able to choose from the RoyalPalace, the BellevueMuseum and the archaeological site of Coudenberg.

3) The Cinquantenaire Park. From here you can choose to visit the Royal Museum of Art and History or the Autoworld.

4) The musical instruments museum. This is a place to admire as much for its architecture as it is for its collection.

5) The RoyalMuseum of Arts.

6) The Cauchie House, built in 1905 is a perfect example of Art Nouveau.

7) Le centre Belge de la Bande Dessinéé. A magnificent Art Nouveau building which houses the history of comic characters in Belgium. Of course, the star of the show is Tintin!

8) St. Michaels cathedral

9) La Brasserie Cantillon. This is a living museum. A brasserie is the place where the beer is made (a brewery) there are only two traditional brasseries left in Brussels and one of them belongs to the Cantillon family. Stop at the Cantillon brewery and you will taste a beer that is a far cry from the industrially made beers. The best time to visit is between October and April.

Visit Belgium

Photographer: Ian Britton http://www.freefoto.com/browse/1401-00-0?ffid=1401-00-0
Photographer: Ian Britton http://www.freefoto.com/browse/1401-00-0?ffid=1401-00-0

Brussels’ parks and gardens


Brussels is a delight to visit for gardeners and lovers of the outdoors. The flowering season starts in April at the ancient Botanic gardens where you can marvel at more than 40 varieties of Irises. In May, the Palace of Laeken where you can visit a tropical forest opens its doors to the public only for two weeks.

In the city centre you can take a green break at the RoyalPark and not only enjoy the fresh air but also enjoy the mythological statues sprinkled along its geometrical set up. If you are looking to wet your toes during a hot summer day, why not stop at the TervuerenPark and see the lovely ponds, this is the favourite place for the locals’ Sunday walk.

If you are a romantic, then the best park for you is the Tournay-Solvay de Boitsfort. The park is dominated by romantic ruins of a neo-renaissancepalace and it has a lovely rose park.

Everybody Eats Well in Belgium a country that boasts more three-star restaurants per capita than any other nation

Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook: 250 Recipes from a Rich Culinary Tradition
Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook: 250 Recipes from a Rich Culinary Tradition

with German and Dutch country-cooking influences. The author describes Flemish food as "still deeply rooted in medieval cookery," with centuries-old reliance on such ingredients as nutmeg, saffron, almonds and dried fruits.

 

Budget:


Brussels is a lot less expensive than other European capitals like Paris or London.

Plan to spend:

- Between 12 and 30€ for a meal.

- Between 2 to 5€ for a museum entrance.

- 1.30 € for a tram ticket.

- At least 1€ for a coffee or a beer.

- At least 4€ for a cocktail.

- Between 6 and 15€ for a disco entrance, a place at the theatre or for a concert.

- Chocolates and pralines will cost you at least 20€ a kilo in the specialty shops.


The chocolate

One cannot talk about Brussels without talking about chocolate. Imagine chocolate in all its forms and you will have an idea of what Brussels can offer. It was here that the “praline” was invented in 1921 by Jean Neuhaus. The quality of the chocolate in Brussels was once upon a time tightly controlled by the state which shows how serious the Belgium’s take their chocolate. Nowadays you can still visit Neuhaus shop on Galerie de la Reine. Stop there and try its Caprice or Tentation (nougat covered in fresh cream). Count to spend at least 34€ for a kilo of chocolates.


Do not miss Pierre Marcolini’s chocolate shop on 1 rue des Minimes. The chocolates are all artisan made, you can choose among the most rich selections of ginger, pistachio, violets and even green tea covered in chocolate.

Brussels Chocolate Tour

What do you know about Brussels?

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The Manneken Pis in Brussels

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    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Staci-Barbo7: The beauty of Brussels relies in that, its diversity and of course great beer and chocolate!

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image

      Staci-Barbo7 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Princessa, how beautiful and diverse a city. I've never traveled to Europe, but Brussels (along with Vienna) will be on the top of my itinerary when I get there. Great chocolate is one of life's purest pleasures!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      badcompany99 : Hope to see you around here soon ;-)

      Isabella: A rainy day is the perfect excuse to spend the day exploring the chocolate shops ;-)

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 

      9 years ago

      One of these days I'll have to do Brussels. I just hope it doesn't rain as much as Wikipedia says it does!! Seemed like it was more then England!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Paper Moon :Really is great to be in Europe, each country has so much to offer that you never get tired of discovering new places.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 

      9 years ago from In the clouds

      Oh I want to move to England or Europe so bad. I live smack dab in the middle of the US. and cant take a day trip anywhere outside of the bi-state region. It is beautiful and all, but nothing like the vastly different places of Europe. You have swooned the Gypsy in my soul with this hub.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Wanderlust : thanks for the link :) You have a very good selection of under rated European cities.  I've just added them under the comments.

    • Wanderlust profile image

      Wanderlust 

      9 years ago from New York City

      Go to Brussels for mussels and fries everytime when I have a chance - great city. Love your hub and put a link to your hub from mine Top Ten Underrated European Cities. Will appreciate your comment :)

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Brian: so many beautiful cities... so little time... I love living in Europe, there is always a place to discover.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      9 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      So many fabulous cities in Europe, don't know how anyone can resist taking a trip.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      9 years ago from France

      Jolanta, the great thing about Europe is just that, that you can spend weekend breaks in different cities without breaking the bank. If you push it, you can even have breakfast in Paris, lunch in Brussels and dinner in Vienna!

    • Jolanta Dougherty profile image

      Jolanta Dougherty 

      9 years ago from Auckland, NZ

      I wish New Zealand would be closer to Europe...would travel there to spend my weekend...

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