After a period of studying and exams, there is time for fun. For example, discover our beautiful capital city of Brussels.
There is plenty to do and see in Brussels. To make it easier for you, we have listed 20 of the best sights for you.
1. Botanical Garden
Once the orangery of the National Botanic Garden of Belgium, but today a cultural centre where concerts and exhibitions are held. The Botanical Garden or Kruidtuin is easily accessible by tram or bus.
2. The Congress Column and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Congress Column commemorates the creation of the Belgian Constitution by the National Congress in 1930. On top of it is a statue of Leopold I, the first king of the Belgians. At the bottom, since November 11, 1922, there is also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to commemorate the Belgian victims of WWI and WWII.
3. Europa building
The Europa Building is the headquarters of the Council of the European Union as well as the European Council. Look especially at the architecture of the building: an urn-shaped construction with a glass cube around it. Definitely worth seeing at night.
Eco Fact: The building uses solar panels and uses rainwater.
4. Cinquantenaire Park
King Leopold II wanted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the state of Belgium. He came up with the idea of creating the Cinquantenaire Park in which a triumphal arch was placed. In addition to the triumphal arch, there are also three museums to visit: the Royal Museum of the Army and Military History, Autoworld and the Royal Museums of Art and History.
5. Park and the Royal Palace of Brussels
The Royal Palace, located next to the Warande Park, is the official palace of the King and Queen of Belgium and is used for formalities. It is not the Royal Residence, because that is the Castle of Laeken.
6. Law Courts and Avenue Louise
When we walk from the Warande Park to the Sablon, we see the Law Courts on the way. This is the most important legal building in Belgium and is located close to Avenue Louise. You will find several boutiques in this street, but also some discos such as the Bloody Louis.
Fun Fact: The Palace of Justice in Lima, Peru is based on the Palace of Justice of Brussels.
King Leopold II wanted a green meeting place as a garden next to his palace. In addition to the many flowers and trees on the Kunstberg, there is also the Magritte Museum.
Bar tip: Be sure to have a drink in Goupil Le Fol. This bar was once a brothel but has now been transformed into a cosy cafe.
8. Manneken pis, Jeanneke pis and Het Zinneke
Visit the Pis family: brother and sister Manneken Pis (Grote Markt) and Jeanneke Pis (Beenhouwersstraat), but also dog Het Zinneke (Oude Graanmarkt).
Fun Fact: Manneken Pis gets dressed up for special occasions. He already has more than 1.000 costumes, of which you can view a hundred in a museum that is a five minute walk from the statue ( Garderobe Manneken Pis ).
9. Eat a waffle
During your visit to Brussels you will encounter many waffle sellers. These sell both Brussels and Liège waffles with strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, bananas and much more. Honest opinion? Just eat a waffle without all those toppings like a real Belgian!
Fun Fact: The Brussels waffle is rectangular, while the Liège waffle is more oval. The Brussels waffle is also lighter than the Liège waffle. The latter already has sugar crystals in the dough.
10. Grand Place
This square is a UNESCO heritage site and is also one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.
When you are in front of the town hall, you will see the Gildehuizen on your right, the Broodhuis is behind you and on your left is the House of the Dukes of Brabant. The Broodhuis contains a museum about the city of Brussels. The House of the Dukes of Brabant is today a cultural center where receptions take place now and then.
Fun Fact: On the left side of the town hall you can see the statue of Everaard t'Serclaes (saved Brussels from the Flemish occupation). Pass by and rub the arm of the statue. This would bring good luck, ensure a return to Brussels, and make a wish come true.
Fun Fact: Every 2 years, the Grand-Place is covered with a carpet of flowers that counts more than 1 million begonias.
11. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert contains several boutiques and chocolatiers. Built in 1847 and thus older than the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan (1867) and The Passage (1848) in Saint Petersburg. One of the four outputs of the gallery opens on the Rue des Bouchers, a medieval street with 17th century decorations, doors and buildings. You will also find many restaurants there.
Bar Tip: Have a drink in the À la Mort Subite (meaning: sudden death). The interior immediately takes you back to the 1910s.
Fun Fact: A scene from The Danish Girl was filmed in this cafe with actress Alicia Vikander and actor Matthias Schoenaerts.
12. Koninklijke Muntschouwburg
Leave the cathedral behind and walk towards the Nieuwstraat, you will come across the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg. Here you can go to the opera or watch the ballet.
13. Rue Neuve
The shopping street of Brussels. Want to rest after all that shopping? That is perfectly possible on Martelarenplein.
Go back to the Grote Markt and take another road, you will end up at the back of the Beurs. The Beurs is surrounded by many bars, restaurants and dance cafes. The Beursplein is the second largest square in Brussels after the Grand Place.
Eating Tip: Order fries at Fritland. The queue is sometimes long, but the fries are worth it.
Nice food corner, with bars, coffee houses and restaurants. During the holidays in December you can also find the Christmas market there. Drink some gin, mulled wine, or eat some pancakes and hot dogs.
16. Walk the Comic Route
Belgium has contributed a lot to the comic book world with, among others, The Smurfs, Tintin, Lucky Luke and Marsupilami. In Brussels you can follow the comic strip route, where you can spot murals of cartoon characters.
The Atomium was built in honour of the Brussels World Exhibition in Expo 58. The monument consists of 9 spheres that together represent the crystal structure of iron. 5 of the 9 spheres are accessible to the public, with the top sphere offering a panoramic view of Brussels as well as a restaurant.
Fun Fact: The Atomium has one of the longest escalators in Europe: 35 meters long.
Fun Fact: The Atomium was supposed to be demolished after the Expo, but the demolition was always postponed. Eventually it became one of the many landmarks of Belgium.
18. Laeken Castle
After your visit to the Atomium, you walk through the Park of Laeken towards the Castle of Laeken, the official residence of the King and Queen of Belgium. The castle is located in the Royal Domain of Laeken which is not open to the public.
19. Royal Greenhouses of Laeken
The King and Queen open the Royal Greenhouses to the public once a year. You can see part of the Royal Domain of Laeken, the Royal Greenhouses and part of the Castle of Laeken. The Royal Greenhouses were built by Balat, a student of Victor Horta. Balat first built a Greenhouse for the National Botanic Garden of Belgium before building the Royal Greenhouses.
Fun Fact: The Royal Conservatory is recognizable by its crown.
20. Chinese and Japanese Tower
The Japanese Tower , the Chinese Pavilion and the Museum of Japanese Art make up the Museums of the Far East in Belgium. The three buildings show the importance of the economic and cultural relations between Europe and the Far East.
Fun Fact: The Japanese Tower is located in the Royal Domain of Laeken and can be viewed when you visit the Royal Greenhouses
Sad Fact: When the Japanese Tower is opened to the public, you can only visit the ground floor because the building has stability problems.
Here's an overview of just a few ISIC benefits
you can score in Brussels:
Musée BELvue: Show your ISIC card and only pay 5 EUR instead of 7 EUR
The BELvue Museum is a museum in Brussels that focuses on the history of Belgium.
Autoworld Brussels: € 10 instead of € 14 admission only for ISIC-members
Come to Autoworld in Brussels. Discover more about the history of the car.
Museum of original figurines: € 7 entrance fee instead of € 12, only for ISIC-members <25 years old
Come and experience the comic strip in a different way! The Moof (Museum of original figurines) immerses you in the third dimension of Comic Art through a unique collection of collection figures. With its playful and creative character, the Museum delights young and old…
Musée Horta: € 5 entrance fee for students
Come and discover more about one of the greatest Art Nouveau architects in Belgium.
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