Brussels: The Lion of Europe…My favourite city

Brussels the Belgium capital is indeed a very unique city, I always feel a different energy and vibe each time I visit. It is very historic with incredible architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, yet very hip with loads of music and festivals to see. It is bureaucratic as the EU headquarters and home to multiple multinational institutions, yet it is bizarre, it oozes with amazing self-confidence yet unshowy, Brussels is multicultural to its roots. It is so central that I can take the train to multiple European cities in less than an hour.

And these are some of the reasons it is my absolute favourite city in the world. The people are incredibly friendly and very welcoming, always very eager to help. After many many many years of visiting this city, these are some of my favourite places to see and things to do.

Grand Place

The Grand-Place is a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site tucked away in the back street of the city of Brussels. It is easily the most popular and main tourist attraction in the city. At the centre of the Grand Place is the beautiful 15th Century city hall but dotted around the square you will also be impressed by the six guild halls and their striking architecture. The square is worth visiting several times at different times of the day. On certain days there is a flower market in the square and visiting at night is very much recommended.

Notre Dame Du Sablon

This spectacular Gothic cathedral just walks away from the Brussels Central Train Station in the Sablon/Zavel district in the historic centre of Brussels is another must-see both for religious and non-religious people. It began life in the 14th Century when it was used as a chapel by the Archer’s Guild but was extensively renovated and expanded in the 15th century to accommodate the rapidly growing popularity and supposed healing powers of the Madonna statue located within. The statue was allegedly stolen by a husband and wife team of thieves in Antwerp and miraculous was able to bring it to the church in a rowing boat. The location of the statue is unknown but the story is commemorated by a lifesize model inside the building. The Cathedral is made up of spectacular Baroque chapels with high baroque sculpture and architecture developed in the Southern Netherlands.

This is a very impressive Cathedral with beautiful history and very worth visiting.

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The Palais Royal

Although the royal family of Belgium now spend their lives at Laeken, the Royal Palace in Brussels remains their official residence. The palace is open for tourists in the summer months and makes a worthy addition to any itinerary whilst visiting the city. The most notable room in the palace has a ceiling covered in the wings of beetles, forming an oddly beautiful mosaic. The artwork as well as the interior decor is also as splendid as you might expect from a royal palace.

Manneken Pis

This is a very odd little status that has risen to fame and is one of the Must see in the city. The name simply translates to “little man pee”. This is a bronze statue depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain basin. The current statue is a copy that dates back to 1965. The original is kept in the Museum of the City of Brussels. The is awkwardly located, it is southwest of the town hall. If you are at Grand Place facing the town hall take the exit on the left, the peeing boy is two blocks behind the town hall. But with Google Map, everything is within range. This is worth seeing and the costumes are quite spectacular and impressive too. Some of them can also be seen on display at the Belgium Museum

 The city in the Broodhuis

The Flemish name of this building translates to “The Bread House” due to the many centuries that the city’s bread market was held here. Fittingly, the building is now home to a museum focusing on the history of the city of Brussels. The exhibitions range from the middle ages to the present day and are set over multiple floors. If you had a chance to visit the Manneken Pis, then you may be interested to see his costumes which are on display here. There is a charged entrance fee for the Museum but it is worth it.

Brussels City Museum ticket prices

Adults: €8

18 years old: free

Seniors: €6

Students: €4

The Atomium

The Atomium, located in Heysel Park in the West of the city, is a jaw-dropping model of an atom which just happens to be a whopping 100 metres tall. The sculpture was made in 1958 to welcome a new and atomic age to Belgium and is an accurate depiction of an iron molecule except that it is about 165 billion times larger!  glass-roofed life takes guests to the top in a time of only 20 seconds, there they can enjoy a beer and snack before descending

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