What to see in Brussels, Belgium

 

Brussels Souvenir Ideas

Souvenir Ideas

1. Speculoos Spread–  Known as cookie butter, it is like Nutella but a more cookie flavoured spread. Apparently it is delicious.
2. A collection of beer glasses for different types of beer. Pair a glass with a bottle of beer and you have a great gift for someone.
3. Maison Dandoy Gingerbread
4. Savonneries Bruxelloises soaps. A variety of different scents.
5. Belgium Map Pillow – Etsy
6. Beauty products from the local Pharmacie. Like JYB Cosmetics
7. Pierre Marcolini Chocolates
8. Pomme-Pidou Ceramic bank. Various animals.
9. Belgian Rotary Waffle Maker 

I posted what to pack, and what to wear for Brussels, Belgium and now I want to talk a bit about what I would do if I went there. Above are a few ideas of what to bring back if you do go. When I think about traveling my imaginative side of the brain goes to all the wonderful things I could see and do if I get the opportunity. My logical side (most dominant side) tells me to come back to reality and find some great ideas on a small budget. If I was going on a once in a lifetime trip I might splurge a little, but my goal in life is to travel as much as life lets us and that doesn’t leave much room to splurge unless of course we win the lottery. I play the lottery.

I also have to find things that work well with kids because I am not one to go on vacation and leave my kids behind. Even though I would love to do a beer tour of the city like my friend and her old boyfriend did years ago. I am such a lightweight now from lack of practice (I was a champ in college though) I would end up pissed drunk by the third place and would need to be rolled back to the hotel.  That isn’t quite as much fun when you have kids ;)  Travelling is such a rare thing for us that I  wouldn’t want to leave the kids at home with someone. I would never want them to miss that type of experience. Here are a few of the places that are on my What to See in Brussels list.

  1.  Grote Markt (Dutch) / Grand-Place (French) – The Grand Place is the central square of Brussels. It isa UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It has a long history starting in the 10th century when it was nothing but marshland. Today it is home to opulent guildhalls, the Town Hall, and the Breadhouse which has The Museum of the City of Brussels. Every two years in August it becomes home to a massive carpet of approximately 750,000 Begonias set up in patterns.
  2. Hôtel de Ville – Town Hall – It is located in the Grand Palace above #1). The construction of the oldest part of the building was in 1402. The Gothic style spire is the belfry, and on top is a gilt metal statue of the archangel Michael, slaying a dragon or devil.
  3. Manneken-Pis – or Pissing Boy – It is a landmark bronze statue of a little boy peeing in to a fountain. It was first constructed in around 1618 but has been stolen several times over the years and was replaced. The statue is dressed up in costumes several times a week.
  4. Musical Instrument Museum – Located in central Brussels, its collection is over  8,000 instruments and is world-renowned.
  5. The Museum of Natural Sciences – This museum would be a must for us because we love dinosaurs, evolution, and the history of human kind laid out before our eyes. I do think Merle my youngest would get freaked out in the insect hall though since she seems to have no tolerance for bugs ;)
  6. Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée – Belgian Comic Strip Center chronicles the history of Belgian comics. Its location is in an old department store that was built in 1906. My kids (and husband) love comics especially my oldest Roo. This is something that everyone would appreciate.
  7. The Atomium – Built for Expo 58 it is half sculpture, half architecture. It is built to resemble the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times, and it is a museum. Each tube has stairs, escalators, and a lift (in the central) and they allow access to 5 spheres that contain exhibit halls, and public space. The top sphere has a restaurant with panoramic views.
  8. Mini Europe – a mini park located at the foot of the Atomium (see #7 above). It has reproductions of monuments in the European Union at a scale of 1:25. There are also live action models such as Mount Vesuvius, gondolas, cable cars, and the chime of Big Ben.
  9. Royal Museums of Fine Arts – Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts are four museums in Brussels. The Museum of Ancient Art (my kind of museum) and the Museum of Modern Art are together in the main building. It houses 20,000 drawings, sculptures, and paintings, which date from the early 15th century to the present.
  10. Shopping – No trip is complete without a little local shopping. Antique lovers should will enjoy the antiques market in Place du Grand Sablon. Brussels boasts its own flea market, the Jeu de Balle Flea Market. If designer is more your style then The Galleries may be for you. There are three Galeries Saint Hubert, Galeries du Roi and Galeries de la Reine.

*Edited to add: What is Belgium  without chocolate? Here is a list from yummy-planet.com with the Top 10 Places to Eat Chocolate in Belgium.

There are truly so many places that you can visit in each city worldwide. What you enjoy, your budget, and whether you are looking for family friendly will all be deciding factors in what you choose to see, do, and experience. There aren’t enough hours in a day to hit everything so my above suggestions are just a small fraction of what you can do.

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Sara

2 Comments

  1. I still remember stepping into a chocolate shop in Brugge (oops, that Bruges for the non-Dutch). The aroma was absolutely incredible. I cannot do justice to how velvety smooth the chocolates were, the variations of flavors of the fillings. I didn’t want to leave. I sure wish I’d been able to visit Brussels as well. Thanks so much for the recommendations of what to do there. Cheers, Ardith

    • You totally just reminded me that I forgot to add the top 10 places to eat chocolate in Brussels link. I am a chocolate lover to begin with but nothing compares with the taste and experience of having real high quality chocolate. Thanks for the reminder :)

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