Brussels Travel Guide

Browse 371 travel reviews, 192 travel blogs and 12,090 travel photos from real travelers to Brussels. Also known as: Bruxelles

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Brussels Overview

As the artistic heart of the EU, Brussels is necessarily multicultural, a vibe that’s only accentuated a feeling that the city’s always been divided – half French, half Flemish - though both halves seem to enjoy their mussels and take their ‘pomme frites’ with an unusual and hefty side of mayonnaise.

The Belgian capital even has an African quarter where you can snack on dried caterpillars, though the more obvious features are in the winding medieval alleyways of the lower city and the stately buildings and boulevards of the upper half. The famous Manneken Pis (a statue of a little boy engaged in endless urination) is the lower half’s primary attraction, while you’ll also find the ornate columns of the Grand Palace highly picture-worthy, and the multiple artistic museums (incorporating anything from cartoons to renaissance portraits) are world class. The new Magritte-museum is worth visiting.
Don't miss the unique statue a few kilometres out of town centre: The Atomium. A futuristic monument what was builded for the World Exposition in 1958.

The upper half, on the other hand, hides numerous parks, the glorious Royal district (which hides the Palace of Justice) and eventually leads to the bustling ambience of the ‘European District’, home to all things EU and a businesslike ambience to suit. The whole thing was polished to a glimmering shine as part of Brussels successful bid to become the European capital of culture in 2000, and to date the city’s aging buildings manage to look as shiny and new as they have in years.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Belgium without a huge array of succulent smelling chocolate shops, each home to its own long-practiced specialties and selling what invariable amounts to the richest and most addictive chocolate you’re ever likely to try. The chocolates play their role in Brussels addictive café culture, too, appearing next to your coffee on the riverside, while Brussels beer customs – another of Belgium’s alluring exports – are strong and vibrant, too.

Belgium’s Europe-wide reputation is that the country’s boring, and somehow less worthy of visiting than nearby Holland or romantic France. While Brussels certainly has a slower pace to it, there’s no denying that it’s now at the heart of European progress, and the city centre and its highly personalized products are as alluring as anywhere.

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